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It’s game time for Hoodie Allen. The New York rapper/singer/songwriter is currently putting the finishing touches to his upcoming new album, which will once again be released through his own record label. Alongside that he’s also preparing to come to the UK for a handful of headline shows, kicking off in Manchester on 10 March 2019.
Born Steven Markowitz and raised in Long Island, Hoodie broke through by self-releasing tunes recorded in his university dorm room. The musician first caught the world’s attention in 2010 with his viral smash You Are Not a Robot, which sampled the Marina and The Diamonds track I Am Not a Robot.
Hoodie has since gone onto to release three studio albums, all on his own label, breaking into the mainstream and into the charts.
Known for his love of collaboration, Hoodie has worked with artists such as Ed Sheeran, Chance The Rapper, G-Eazy and many more.
Still independent, Hoodie dropped his latest tune never going back earlier this month, the first to be taken from his upcoming project. To date, that track been streamed nearly 500,000 times on Spotify already.
We called Hoodie on the phone to talk about the new track and his upcoming UK tour.
You’re coming to the UK this month! Are you looking forward to the shows?
I’m really excited. It’s always one of my favourite places to come and visit so I’m hoping we can keep that hot streak going.
What can people expect from the gigs?
A lot of energy. I play with a live band so it really transforms how the songs sound on record to a bigger, rockier experience. I’m going to be bringing some lighting production and other fun surprises that I’ve been working on. I’m excited about bringing over a more comprehensive show.
How much are you looking forward to playing your new single never going back live?
It’ll be nice that the first time I get to play it live will be in Manchester, and then Glasgow, Birmingham and London, so the UK will get to hear the song live before everyone else. I’m counting on the UK fans to get it memorised and ready to go before I come over.
This is the first track from your new album, right?
Yeah it’s the first single. I don’t really know what single means anymore but it’s the first song I’m giving people and it very much feels like the classic sound that fans are used to. I wanted to give them something that I knew would instantly be a fan-favourite, so that’s why I released it first.
Do you think about how the songs are going to sound live when you’re making them?
Honestly, that’s not a huge consideration. I feel like you always have to focus on what you like and love first. So that’s all I was doing, making stuff that I really love. Once you do look at a whole project in front of you, you start to think about what should be the first and second thing people hear. This first single is a sample based sound, which I think a lot of fans from back in the day are used to, me creatively chopping and mixing up samples.
Are you a fan of the album as a format, opposed to just dropping individual tracks?
The industry has definitely started to cater more towards singles and this upcoming project is only going to be 8 or 9 songs max. I really want it to be a great listening experience for fans, where there’s no filler and everything will be something that they will love. I think sometimes people see albums that have 14 songs and think ‘that’s a lot, let me just cherrypick two’ but if you can give them something that’s really tight, it makes it easier for them to try the whole thing.
What’s the process of making a Hoodie Allen record like?
It’s definitely different from project to project, but the biggest factor of it is collaborating with other writers and producers. You have to spend a long time writing to get out the good and bad ideas. I’ve learned over time to spend a little bit more time on it, so when I make something, I don’t immediately rush it out. I wanna make sure that it’s going to be a song that I don’t only love in two weeks but I also wanna know that I’m going to love that song two years from now. I try to be very deliberate, making sure that I’m proud of what I’m making.
What’s something we have in the UK that you wish you could take back to America with you?
That’s a hard question! I think I would take back some sausage rolls. I’m gonna need to take a good supply for when I get back to the states. I actually spent Christmas in England because my girlfriend is from there, so I’ve got the inside scoop on things like Yorkshire pudding, the traditional English breakfast and all that good stuff.
Hoodie Allen arrives in the UK very soon. Here are the dates:
10 March 2019 – Academy2, Manchester
11 March 2019 – The Garage, Glasgow
13 March 2019 – O2 Institute2 Birmingham
14 March 2019 – O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
Limited tickets for the Hoodie Allen tour are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk