Friday, May 27, 2022

Hip in Detroit's Picks for the Weekend - May 27-30

Saturday, May 28th - Monday, May 30th - Movement @ Hart Plaza: Techno returns to Detroit this weekend because Movement is back! Electronic music will once again take over Hart Plaza (as well as most of the bars and venues in Detroit) for the weekend. The festival will take place Saturday, Sunday, and Monday and will feature over 110 acts on 6 stages. Checkout the full lineup here. Tickets start at $119 a day or $249 for the weekend and can be purchased here

Friday, May 27th - Monday, May 30th - Monroe Street Midway Opening Weekend: Monroe Street Midway is returning to the area across from Campus Martius this summer and the gates officially open this Friday! Roller skate, shoot hoops, grab food from a food truck, play mini golf, and more at this fun urban oasis. This weekend, there will also be DJs and artists, with performances by DJ Nick Speed, DJ WAX-TAX-N DRE, DJ Sheefy McFly, and DJ Sky Jetta. Get the full rundown of events for this weekend here. For hours and more info, click here

Saturday, May 28th - Vintage Alley @ Vintage Eastern Market: 
Vintage vendors take over the alley behind Vintage Eastern Market every Saturday again this summer! Before or after you shop the goods inside the store, shop with special vendors out back from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Vintage Alley kicked off their 2022 season a few weeks ago and now things are in full swing! Vintage Eastern Market is located at 1515 Division Street in the Eastern Market District in Detroit. 

Saturday, May 28th - Friends of the Underground Fest: 
 Some of your favorite local artists will be playing acoustic sets outside this Saturday for Friends of the Underground Fest, presented by The Pleasant Underground. The lineup includes a dozen artists, with acts like Pancho Villa's Skull and Ryan Allen on the bill. There will also be tacos available all day. Admission is free. The fun goes from 2 p.m. - 11:30 p.m.

Sunday, May 29th - DRUNKBRUNCH @ Mix Bricktown: Sip on Mimosas and Bloody Marys while you eat brunch and listen to DJs at the 10th Annual Drunk Brunch this Sunday! This event will take place inside and outside at Mix Bricktown. The event takes place from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. and pricing is as follows: 


Drink packages end at 2 p.m. Buy your tickets here


Sunday, May 29th - New Found Glory @ ROMT: Take a trip down memory lane and celebrate 20 years of Sticks & Stones with New Found Glory this Sunday night! The band will be playing Royal Oak Music Theatre with Four Year Strong and Be Well. Tickets start at $32.50 and can be purchased here.


Tuesday, May 24, 2022

The D Brief is Throwing a Party and Hosting an Open Mic Networking Night at Frame

The D Brief brings artists together, connects the creative community, and helps Detroiters expand their social imprint by giving them opportunities they can't find anywhere else. To celebrate their third birthday, they are throwing a party and celebrating Kahana's return to Frame's "Big Top" event space this Spring.
On Friday, June 3rd The D Brief, Sofar Sounds, and Khana are throwing a mix and mingle from 5:30 to 9 p.m. The party will include an open mic night where anyone can get up and showcase their talent. Have a new song you want to share? A tight five that you want to showcase, or something special that you want people to see? This is the place to showcase it!

Khana will be serving up their Pakistani-inspired fare (think butter chicken nachos, kebabs, chicken tikka tacos, vegan options, and more) all evening for purchase. Frame’s bar staff will be slinging slushies (boozy and non), cocktails, beer, wine, and creative non-alcoholic options.

For more info about The D Brief, Sofar Sounds Detroit, and Frame, visit:


Monday, May 23, 2022

Win Tickets to See Voivod at Small's

What: Playing at Small's on Sunday, June 5, 2022

Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 the day of the show and they can be purchased here.

Or you can enter to win a pair!

How? Email your full name to with the subject line #Voivod.

Enter now, the winner will be drawn on Friday, June 3, 2022. 


Win Tickets to See Ultra Q (Featuring Billie Joe Armstrong's Son - Jakob Armstrong) at The Pike Room

Who: Ultra Q (featuring Billie Joe Armstrong's Son - Jakob Armstrong) with Why Not

What: Playing at The Pike Room on Friday, June 3, 2022

Tickets are $14 in advance and they can be purchased here.

Or you can enter to win a pair!

How? Email your full name to with the subject line #UltraQ.

Enter now, the winner will be drawn on Thursday, June 2, 2022. 


Friday, May 20, 2022

Hip in Detroit's Picks for the Weekend - May 20-22

We already told you about the Backyard Art Fair in Ferndale. Here are some other fun things happening this weekend! 

Friday, May 20th - Will Sessions @ Spot Lite: Will Sessions takes over Spot Lite Detroit this Friday night. The lineup for the night includes Ian Finkelstein, Marcus Elliot, Dez Andres, Amir Edwards, and DJ Sets by AndrĂ©s and Meftah. 21+ are welcome. The party goes from 9 p.m. - 2 a.m.

Friday, May 20th & Saturday, May 21st - Detroit Women of Comedy Festival: Laugh your way through the weekend with some funny ladies at the Detroit Women of Comedy Festival at Planet Ant & The Independent Comedy Club. Tickets can be purchased a la carte for each show or a weekend pass is $67. Check out the full lineup for the weekend and purchase your tickets here

Friday, May 20th & Saturday, May 21st - Detroit Weekend @ The Redford Theatre: The Redford is celebrating Detroit in cinema this weekend with two fan favorites that took place in Detroit. On Friday night, they will be showing Beverly Hills Cop and on Saturday they will show RoboCop. Both shows start at 8 p.m. and tickets are only $5 per show. 

Saturday, May 21st - Zoo Brew @ The Detroit Zoo: Don't let the threat of rain scare you away! Zoo Brew is happening this Saturday evening a the Detroit Zoo! Visit the animals after hours during this 21+ only event, while you sip on some craft brews. Tickets are $50 which includes admission and 10 tasting tickets. Additional tasting tickets are available for $5/three tickets. There are also designated driver tickets available for $30. You can purchase your tickets online here. The fun starts at 6 p.m. and goes until 10. 

Friday, May 20th - Sunday, May 22nd - St. Joan of Arc Food Truck Festival: It's not very often that we share an event happening at a church, but this event involves lots of great food, so it seems appropriate. St. Joan of Arc in St. Clair Shores is hosting a Food Truck Festival all weekend, with different trucks in attendance each day. Saturday will have the most trucks on site out of the three days, but check out the full breakdown below: 

Friday, May 20 | 5-9 pm
BBQ Daddy, Estia, Raquel Cocina, Deutsch Troit, Missy Hitz Ice Cream, Aruba Freeze, Wing Snob, Detroit Black Coffee, Whoa Chinese, Phatrob

Saturday, May 21 | 12 noon-9 pm
BBQ Daddy, Estia, Grampy's Clam Shack, Raquel Cocina, Deutsch Troit, Phatrob, Detroit Mini Donut, Papelon Arepa Bar, Missy Hitz Ice Cream, Aruba Freeze, Polish Mania, All City Dogs, Wing Snob, Detroit Black Coffee, Kona Ice, Batter Up Waffle, Tim's Good Food

Sunday, May 22 | 12 noon- 6 pm
BBQ Daddy, Estia, Raquel Cocina, Deutch Troit, Phatrob, Detroit Mini Donut, Papelon Arepa Bar, Missy Hitz Ice Cream, Aruba Freeze, All City Dogs, Kona Ice, Whoa Chinese


Thursday, May 19, 2022

The Detroit Women of Comedy Festival Returns to Planet Ant this Weekend!

After a three-year hiatus from the stage, Detroit Women of Comedy Festival is making a triumphant return to the stages of Planet Ant this May. This beloved event is a "celebration of underrepresented voices and diverse perspectives in comedy". This year's event will take place on May 21st and 22nd. It will feature 50+ performers including headliners Marcella Arguello, Simply Shanell, Detroit improv duo Dubalicious, Detroit comic T.Barb, and the Parent Trap: Lord of the Twins Trilogy. You can purchase tickets for specific blocks of the festival or just get a weekend pass and take the whole thing in. 

The Detroit Women of Comedy Festival will take place Friday, May 20th from 7 p.m. - 11 p.m. and Saturday, May 21st, 5 p.m. - 11 p.m. Planet Ant is located at 2320 Caniff Ave., Hamtramck, MI. You can purchase your tickets for the weekend here. Follow DWCF or visit their website to learn more.


Win Tickets to See AEG Presents New Found Glory wsg Four Year Strong, and Be Well at ROMT

Who: AEG Presents New Found Glory wsg Four Year Strong, and Be Well.

What: Playing Royal Oak Music Theatre on May 29, 2022.

Tickets are $$32.50 - $59.50 in advance and $38.00-$59.50 the day of the show and they can be purchased here.

Or you can enter to win a pair!

How? Email your full name to with the subject line #NFG.

Enter now, the winner will be drawn on May 28, 2022.


Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Kick Back and Relax at Sirona Wellness Spa

We love seeing locals doing great things, so we wanted to take a moment to tell you about a cool new spot that Jason David Spencer, formerly from the band Wilson now playing in Lost For Life, has put together with his team and his partner, Taylor Semrow.  
If you are in the Saint Claire Shores area and you need a little me-time, you need to visit Sirona Wellness Spa. This small slice of heaven features state-of-the-art float tanks and massages inside a luxurious space designed to help you escape the day-to-day. The layout and design of the spa is gorgeous and the attention to detail is seen in every aspect of the business. Visit our Instagram to see some videos from our opening day visit and then book your first treatment on their website here.


Win Tickets to See AEG Presents Arkells wsg Mobley at The Majestic

Who: AEG Presents Arkells wsg Mobley.

What: Playing The Majestic on May 27, 2022.

Tickets are $26 in advance and $31 the day of the show and they can be purchased here.

Or you can enter to win a pair!

How? Email your full name to with the subject line #Arkells

Enter now, the winner will be drawn on May 26, 2022.


Monday, May 16, 2022

Honest John's is Always a Good Idea

Can we talk about how hard it can be to find someplace to eat after 8 o'clock in Detroit proper? Post pandemic, most restaurants have decided to keep reduced hours which is cool, but it means if you want to go out to eat after 8 p.m. your options are light, especially on weeknights. Additionally, I'm vegan which can be even more limiting. 

Thankfully, there is one place that is open late at night, offers vegan options, and is always good, Honest John's. We rediscovered this Cass Corridor staple a few times over the last few months because it was open, delicious, and vegan friendly when we needed it. From being open on holidays to serving up a solid late-night menu, this spot knows how to provide a good meal whenever you need it. Don't even get me started on the fries. The curly fries are great, but the traditional fries are also divine, so it's hard to pick and always a good idea to switch it up. I get the Impossible burger when I'm hungry and the vegan chili when I need something a little lighter or heartier. It has a great taste and the perfect amount of spice. 

So, when you find yourself needing a meal later on a weeknight, head over to Honest John's and let them take care of you. They are always a solid choice.


Win Tickets to See Covet with Hikes and King of Heck at The Loving Touch

Who: Covet with Hikes, and King of Heck.

What: Playing The Loving Touch on Thursday, May 26, 2022.

Tickets are $18 in advance and they can be purchased here.

Or you can enter to win a pair!

How? Email your full name to with the subject line #COVET.

Enter now, the winner will be drawn on May 25, 2022.


Win Tickets to See Terror wsg Kublai Khan TX, Never Ending Game, Sanguisugabogg and Pain Of at The magic Stick!

Who: Terror wsg Kublai Khan TX, Never Ending Game, Sanguisugabogg and Pain Of.

What: Playing the Magic Stick on Friday, May 20, 2022.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $23 the day of the show and they can be purchased here.

Or you can enter to win a pair!

How? Email your full name to with the subject line #Terror.

Enter now, the winner will be drawn on May 19, 2022.


Friday, May 13, 2022

Hip in Detroit's Picks for the Weekend May 13-15

Friday, May 13th - Ruther @ Stache International: This Friday night, Reuther will be playing at Stache International along with Now With Real Humans and 500 Miles to Memphis (from Cincinnati). Cover for this great lineup is only $5. 21+ are welcome and the fun starts at 7 p.m.

Friday, May 13th - Jason Takes The Painted Lady: It isn't Friday the 13th without Jason Voorhees and this Friday the 13th is all about Jason at The Painted Lady! The Lady will be hosting a Jason mask art show with masks designed by some of your favorite local artists. There will also be raffles throughout the night and KO Prints will be screen printing commemorative shirts on site. Doors open at 7 p.m. and admission is free.

Friday, May 13th - Sunday, May 15th - Motor City Comic Con: Comic books and pop culture take over the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi this weekend for Motor City Comic Con! The three day event will feature appearance from some of your favorite comic book artists and celebrities, including Alicia Silverstone, Danny Trejo, Freddy Prinze Jr., William Shatner, and more. There will even be a reunion of the cast of Scream. Tickets are $30 for Friday, $40 for Saturday, $35 for Sunday, or $85 for the whole weekend and can be purchased here. Don't forget, photo ops are an additional fee, get details on those here

Sunday, May 15th - Flower Day @ Eastern Market: After a two year hiatus due to the pandemic, Flower Day returns to Eastern Market this Sunday! Flower Day has even more flowers and vendors than a normal Saturday Market, which is hard to believe. Many of the nearby businesses also hold specials or special events in honor of this annual event that floods Eastern Market with nearly as many shoppers as there are flowers. Eastern Market is open from 7 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Flower Day. For more information and tips on finding parking, click here


Thursday, May 12, 2022

Experience Art at the Source and Shop Local at The Backyard Art Fair

Over the last two years, we have learned a lot about ourselves and what we need to enjoy this adventure we call life. It turns out that art, culture, connection, and our local communities matter. When people found out they had to keep away from each other, they found new ways to connect and create. We Zoomed, we did things outdoors, and we tried to find the things we needed locally instead of waiting for the delivery driver to drop them off. One of the coolest things that came out of the lockdown was a new way of doing old things, including local maker events. 

The Backyard Art Fair was created by local artists Kelly Kaatz Ceramics and Carey Gustafson of Glass Action! for people who appreciate locally made and want to get out and see their community. This second-year festival brings together artists by giving them the opportunity to go on an adventure to find something special and unique. This year's fair will feature "approximately 20 locations, hosting over 55+ creatives (that) will be selling their work at their (or their hosts) homes and studios (outdoors) in the connecting cities of Ferndale and Oak Park. Offerings for sale will span handcrafted goods such as paintings, ceramics, glass, illustration, and folk art to locally grown and prepared baked goods, flower bouquets, fermented treats; even a hot dog stand and coffee!". Local artist Jodi Lynn Doodles has drawn up a map of all the locations to make it easy to find each one. You can follow along with the event and learn more about the participating artist by adding them on Instagram or Facebook

Keep it local and have a little fun exploring Ferndale and Oak Park on May 21st.


Win Tickets to See The Hourlies, The Idiot Kids, and The Plutophonics at PJ's Lager House

The Hourlies are preparing to release a new EP called "Symptoms" as a follow-up to last year's EP, "Signs". They have also added Jarrett Koral (Jett Plastic Recordings) to the band, which means you do not want to miss this show! 21+ and vaccinated welcome to enter!

Who: The Hourlies, The Idiot Kids, and The Plutophonics.

What: Playing PJ's Lager House on May 21, 2022.

Win: Your name + 1 on the guestlist for the show.

How? Email your full name to with the subject line #Hourlies.

Enter now, the winner will be drawn on May 20, 2022.


Win Tickets to See The Offspring Let The Bad Times Roll Tour with Special Guests Blame My Youth

Who: The Offspring Let The Bad Times Roll Tour with Special Guests Blame My Youth

What: Playing The Fillmore on May 20, 2022.

Tickets are $44-$89 in advance and they can be purchased here.

Or you can enter to win a pair!

How? Email your full name to with the subject line #Offspring.

Enter now, the winner will be drawn on May 19, 2022.


Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Apropos Brings His Modern Motown Sound to Willis Show Bar

This Thursday night, Apropos will return to the stage at Willis Show Bar! Often compared to greats like Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding with a modern twist, Apropos has been featured on shows like The Voice and received great reviews from Allee Willis and even Sir Elton John. This Thursday night, you have the chance to see him perform in the intimate setting of Willis Show Bar with a live band spread across the two stages. It will truly be a night to remember and Apropos will even be debuting a new single at the show. 

If you aren't familiar with this artist,  give some of his tunes a listen below.

Apropos' last show at Willis Show Bar sold out, so we suggest purchasing tickets in advance to ensure you can get in the door. Tickets are only $15 and can be purchased online here. Doors open at 7 p.m. and Apropos should hit the stage at about 8 p.m. Willis Show Bar is located at 4156 3rd Ave. in Detroit. To learn more about this hidden gem in the city, click here


Win Tickets to See Good Riddance, War On Women and School Drugs at Small's

Who: Good Riddance, War On Women and School Drugs

What: Playing at Small's on May 18, 2022.

Tickets are $ 17 in advance and they can be purchased here.

Or you can enter to win a pair!

How? Email your full name to with the subject line #Good.

Enter now, the winner will be drawn on May 17, 2022.


Win Tickets to See Squirrel Flower, Mia Joy, and Neu Blume at The Sanctuary


Who: Squirrel Flower, Mia Joy, and Neu Blume

What: Playing at The Sanctuary on Tuesday, May 17, 2022.

Tickets are $15 in advance and they can be purchased here.

Or you can enter to win a pair!

How? Email your full name to with the subject line #flower.

Enter now, the winner will be drawn on May 16, 2022.


DIY is looking for Artist and Bands for the 2022 Fair


DIY Street Fair is returning to Downtown Ferndale this September. They have put out an open call for artists to vend at the show and bands and performers to play on the stage. If you want to enter to be a part one of the coolest events in Metro Detroit use these links to apply before the deadline:

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Win Tickets to See Big D & The Kids Table w/ J. Navarro & The Traitors + Brunt of It at Small's

Who: Big D and the Kids Table w/ J. Navarro & the Traitors + Brunt of It

What: Playing Small's on Saturday, May 14th, 2022.

Tickets are $18 in advance and they can be purchased here.

Or you can enter to win a pair!

How? Email your full name to with the subject line #BigD.

Enter now, the winner will be drawn on May 13th, 2022.


Win Tickets to See The Builders & The Butchers with very special guests The Scrappers and Mark Paul & The Red Flag at Small's

Who: Win Tickets to See The Builders & The Butchers with very special guests The Scrappers and Mark Paul & The Red Flags.

What: Playing Small's on Friday, May 13th, 2022.

Tickets are $13 in advance and they can be purchased here.

Or you can enter to win a pair!

How? Email your full name to with the subject line #Builders.

Enter now, the winner will be drawn on May 12th, 2022.


Friday, May 6, 2022

Hip in Detroit's Picks for the Weekend - May 6-8

Mother's Day is this Sunday, May 8th. If your mom is still around, don't forget to give her a call and wish her Happy Mother's Day! 

Friday, May 6th - Bagley Central's 3 Year Anniversary: One of our favorite bars in town, Bagley Central, is celebrating their 3 year anniversary this week! Friday night they will have live music with a great lineup. The bill includes Rough Patch, Hell Dollar, Red Devil Riders, Toeheads, and DJ Marcie Bolen. Cover is only $8 and the fun starts at 8 p.m. There are also drink specials all week to celebrate!

Friday, May 6th - Feisty Femme Fatale Takeover @ Small's: Spend your Friday night with some feisty female fronted bands at Small's! Tiger Sex, Macho, and The Cult of Spaceskull will all be hitting the stage. Cover is $10 and doors open at 8 p.m.

Friday, May 6th - Mustard Plug @ The Loving Touch: Skank the night away this Friday night with Mustard Plug at The Loving Touch! They will be joined by The Pilfers and Dance Contraption. Cover is $18 and all ages are welcome. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Saturday, May 7th - Space Dive Family Day @ The Cantina: If you're a fan of Star Wars, you probably already know about Space Dive, the event that transforms Tangent Gallery into a cantina from a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. Well, this Saturday, for the first time ever, the Mos Eisley Cantina will be open during the day for an all ages event! From 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. fans of all ages can come inside for tours, virgin cocktails, Nerf battles, a costume contest, and more. The event is being held in partnership with Vault of Midnight, that just recently moved in down the street. Saturday is also Free Comic Book Day. So, stop by the shop for some comic books before or after you visit the cantina! Admission is free for kids and only $5 for adults. Costumes are not required for this event, but are encouraged. There are of course still the adult only Space Dive events this weekend as well. Admission for these events is $30 and costumes are mandatory. Get more info here

Saturday, May 7th - Sick Of It All and Agnostic Front @ The Sanctuary: The Sanctuary has also been celebrating an anniversary all week! It has been four years since they moved to their current space in Hamtramck and this Saturday night the celebration continues with Sick Of It All and Agnostic Front! Tickets are $27.50 and they are running low, so buy yours in advance here


Thursday, May 5, 2022

Extra Arms Ponders "What Is Even Happening Right Now"

Photo by Tim Meeks

We have always been impressed by Ryan Allen's drive and ability to keep creating. He has been in countless great bands, put out some amazing solo stuff, and played in some of your favorite cover bands (obviously I'm talking about the time we were in that Hole band together, but there are many more). He also runs marathons, is a great dad, and is always tableside supporting one of our favorite local crafters, Jodi Lynn Doodles. He is also a musician's musician. He cares about the craft and all the steps and pieces that need to come together to make something great. We've often thought about Ryan and people like him throughout the pandemic. How are they handling this, are they creating or completely drained right now? Turns out, we all handled it differently, but I'm not surprised that Ryan and his Extra Arms found a way to create, produce, and prepare to release a complete album as soon as the tides turned. On top of all that, it's a great album, just like many of the other things Ryan Allen and His Extra Arms have done over the years. We asked him a few questions about how this album came together, how his son was involved, and how he got such great guests on this album. Check out his always entertaining answers and get all the deets about the album release party at the end of the interview!

Album artwork by Ryan Cady

Hip - Where did you record your latest album? Can you tell us a little bit about the process?

Ryan Allen - Long version: The album was recorded kind of all over the place, which was sort of a new process for us, I guess. Because of COVID, lockdowns, etc. we weren't really able to get in the same room with one another until well over a year after plans were hatched to even make a new record in the first place. But once we figured out how we were going to go about putting this thing together in a socially distant manner, it slowly started to congeal into a record. In October 2020 I went over to our friend Chuck Huber's home studio (Drifting Sun Sound in Ferndale) and laid down all the songs just playing guitar and singing to a click track. No amps or anything were used - we just went straight into Pro Tools and laid things down. Very unsexy but necessary. So it was Chuck and I in a tiny room wearing masks hoping we didn't get/give COVID to one another while trying to do something creative (which I think we were both kind of starved for at that point in the pandemic). Once that was done I sent the scratch tracks, along with more fleshed out demos I made at home, to the rest of the band. At that point our drummer Dan got to work writing his parts to the songs, and would periodically send me videos of himself playing along to the tunes (since he didn't have a home recording set up at the time). I would then strip the audio from the video, lay it on top of the scratch tracks I did at Chuck's, and then we would have some semblance of how the songs were shaping up. I should add that it all sounded like absolute shit, but we were working with what we had. Once Dan and I felt like we shared notes with one another and had the songs mostly figured out, we planned for one day of in-person, masked tracking at Chuck's studio. This commenced in February of 2021. It was pretty weird to do it this way, mostly because A) I hadn't seen Dan in person since March of 2020 and B) We hadn't played the songs together yet. That said, he was super prepared and we were able to get all the drums and rhythm guitar tracked in one day. I should add that this all happened in a living room using couches as sound absorption, with some cats creeping around, fueling ourselves with soda water and trail mix. Once that was done, I started going to Chuck's every few weeks to add more guitars, percussion, and eventually vocals. I also took advantage of the little home studio I had built up during the pandemic to do a bunch of odds and ends at my house. So I was in the basement basically fumbling my way through writing and recording keyboard parts - running things through software but then re-amping everything and pumping shit through guitar effects pedals to make it sound weird. I also recorded a bit of acoustic guitar at my dad's home studio, which was great because he has some really nice acoustics that I'm too poor to own. That whole process was incredibly fun, mostly cos I was just dicking around trying to come up with cool little earworms that we may not have had time for if we were recording in a traditional studio over a short period of time. I was ALSO reaching out to musicians - both friends and ones we just admired - to try and convince them to contribute to the album (more on that below). In the midst of all that, our guitarist Michael and bassist Ryan were working on their own parts in their respective homes. We were working from demos but also coming up with stuff that weren't on said demos. At certain points Michael and I would get together, masked up, to write guitar parts. Around March/April of 2021, we were able to record all of his stuff at Chuck's studio. At the same time, Ryan was recording his stuff at home in his sweatpants. It's funny because I never actually saw Ryan once during the recording process. I think he preferred it this way (haha). We wrapped up this whole process around May of 2021, which coincidentally coincided with all of us getting vaccinated and feeling a little bit better about getting out into the world. So with that in mind, we booked time to go out to Paul Miner's studio in Orange, CA to mix and master the record. This was the first time I had traveled out of state or gotten on a plane in well over a year, so it felt like a really fun adventure while also offering a bit of a slice of normalcy that we were all craving. Michael joined me on the trip, and we had a lot of fun hanging out in the studio shaping the record, going on runs, enjoying the California weather, and even ate BBQ with the drummer of My Chemical Romance one day. Paul took everything we had assembled in our shambolic way and made it all sound fucking killer, as he always does. 

Short version: We recorded it at Drifting Sun Sound in Ferndale, as well as a little bit at home, and then mixed and mastered it at Buzzbomb Studios in Orange, California. Lots of time passed between when we started it and finished it, then more time passed from finishing it to releasing it, and we all got older in the process. The end. :)

Hip - How if at all has COVID/Lockdown/ the weird world we live in influenced your writing, your music, your attitude towards music?

Ryan Allen -Well if you just read everything above, you can certainly see that COVID had a HUGE impact in how this record came together. Some of the songs were actually written in a small window of time between our last album coming out in November of 2019 and the whole world shutting down in March of 2020. I had actually been writing a lot around then, and when COVID happened, it only influenced me to keep writing more and more. I wrote more songs for what ended up on our new one, but also wrote multiple solo records and EPs that have come out, have done some fun little side projects, and just kept myself busy in general. It's probably way too much music for any single person to care about or keep track of but it kept me sane and motivated through a truly insane and anti-motivational time in pretty much everybody's lives. So in that sense, COVID made me fall even more in love with music that I already am/was. Not only did it influence me to write more and gave me new things to write about, but it pushed me to try new things, to learn how to make better-sounding home recordings, and to feel that freedom of just releasing something whenever the fuck I felt like it. I certainly missed playing live and having band practice, but ultimately I tried to channel that restlessness into creativity rather than just check out completely. 

Hip - What did you miss most about playing live/seeing live music?

Ryan Allen - I think more than anything I missed the release you get from playing and singing your heart out for 40 minutes in front of living, breathing human people. I mean, let's face it, the older you get the more of a drag it is to play live music. The loading in and out of equipment can be aggravating, the waiting around can be mind-numbing, and the anxiety that I get over worrying if people are going to show up can kind of kill the fun sometimes. But nothing compares to finally being able to get up on stage, plugin, and just rip through a set with your volume and energy maxed out. That's an adrenaline rush like no other, in my opinion.

Hip - Your album bio says some of the artwork was done by your son Emitt, can you tell us a little about that? Does he have a favorite track? What is it like sharing music with the next generation?

Ryan Allen - Haha, yes it does. He got into photography a little bit during the early days of the pandemic. We bought him a camera and would go out and take photos at Cranbrook or wherever we were hiking or walking around that day. I wouldn't say he's stuck to it, but we did have him help us out a little bit when we took some photos for the artwork. I'm not sure which ones he took that were used, but he helped with the set up and just having him around making us laugh was enough to merit giving him some credit on the album. For what it's worth, I think Extra Arms and Nirvana are the only rock bands he likes. He's more into, like, Juiceworld and Ski Mask the Slump God, or whatever the fuck. But that's cool by me - he is 100% his own person and I would rather he be into his own shit than having me force-feed him, like, the new Spoon album or something. Maybe he'll get into that stuff in time, but aren't you supposed to hate what your parents like? I remember HATING Paul Simon's "Graceland" until one day it all just clicked and I fell in love with it. But even then I wouldn't admit that to my parents. I had to wait till many years later to come clean about loving "The Boy in the Bubble" and "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes". But yeah, I always play him my new songs and he loves them because he's a good boy that loves his dad, even though he probably wishes I could rap instead of play guitar. I CAN rap pretty good, though, for what it's worth.

Hip - You have a few guest appearances on this album. Can you tell us about them and how they came to fruition? 

Ryan Allen - We do! I basically spent weeks reaching out to anybody who I could think of and asking them to play/sing on some of the songs. We got some rejections, some non-responses, and some things fell through, but we ultimately amassed a great cast of cameos that adds a special extra element to the record. We are super grateful we were able to get some more known folks like Matthew Caws from Nada Surf, Bob Nanna from Braid, and Gregory Macdonald from Sloan to do a little something on the album. But we're also really stoked that our friends like Scott Allen, Chris Hatfield, Matt Jones, and Lily Paul were able to contribute as well. It makes the album feel almost like a bit of a party. Honestly, it gets boring hearing the same 4 people do the same stuff on an album. With female vocals or wacky synth stuff we can't play, or even adding a saxophone, we were able to add elements to spice things up and keep it feeling fresh for both us as a band and the listener as well.

Hip - Is there anything else you want our readers to know?

Ryan Allen -We'll be having a release show on June 10th at UFO Factory in Detroit, joined by the Casket Lottery, Kind Beast, and 84 Tigers - all amazing bands. Then we'll be up in Flint the next day at Flint City Hard Cider joined by Singing Lungs and Sleepology - also great bands. We hope to play here and there throughout 2022 to promote the record, so hopefully, the world stays somewhat stable and we can play these new tunes in front of people without too much stress or anxiety. So yeah, we're looking forward to hopping back into the saddle and rocking for the people soon!

The new album is called "What Is Even Happening Right Now?" It will be released on Forge Again Records on June 3rd, 2022. It will be celebrated with a release party at UFO Factory on Friday, June 10thThe Casket LotteryKind Beast, and 84 Tigers will also be performing. Tickets are $10 in advance and they can be purchased here.


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