Interview: tmBlog meets Hoodie Allen backstage at Brixton Electric

With number ones on iTunes and Hype Machine, and a new single featuring Ed Sheeran, if you don’t already know Hoodie Allen you soon will.

We caught up with him following his sold out show at Brixton Electric to talk music and touring, and to put him on the spot with our quick-fire questions…

Firstly, congratulations on the show! How has the European tour been, has it met your expectations?
“I think it’s exceeded my expectations absolutely. We’ve had such a fun time, this whole European run has been amazing.”

Your fans are notoriously fervent, what’s the craziest thing a fan’s ever done?
“I think the craziest thing I’ve seen is probably a fan sleeping overnight for two nights before a show, which was probably a bit excessive – they still probably could have been first either way! But I guess it turned into a really exciting, sort of, camping-out trip for them so it was cool.
Sometimes you see people have shown up and they’ve built almost a village outside, and they’ve got tents and refreshments and games and all that stuff – it’s like the Hoodie Village! But yeah they’re very passionate and it’s amazing to see people queue up so early for the shows cause it just adds to the excitement I think.”

Do you have any touring essentials or things you miss when you’re on the road?

“When I’m over here I definitely miss just being able to get a bagel and cream cheese from New York. Sometimes I just get home sickness as well, but honestly this has been such a fun tour, and kind of a short tour, so I haven’t had to be gone for too long.”

Ave you had any crazy stories from the tour?
“Honestly, I’ve tried to be on my best behaviour for most of the tour!
You know, there’re always some notorious people in the crew who are doing crazy things, but I try to keep it a little more low-key. So my crazy thing is always just the show and putting all my energy into it.”

Do you ever still get nervous before shows?
“Yeah for sure! I think I’ve been more excited for all of these [European] shows, but I’m nervous-excited about the summer tour that I’m doing with Fall Out Boy and Wiz Khalifa because that’s such a big platform.”

You’ve played with some awesome acts in the past, have you had a favourite to tour with?
“I’m a huge Panic! at the Disco fan and I got to play a show with them at a college in New Jersey.
Brendon, their lead singer, and all the guys in the band also, were just so nice; we got to hang out all day and they were just really cool guys. It’s always really cool when you get to play with someone who you like and they go out of their way to be nice to you; it’s not just a ‘oh I played with them but I didn’t meet them’ sort of situation, so shout out to those guys for being awesome.”

Your new album, People Keep Talking, has just been released in the UK. How do you think it’s differed to your other eps?
“I think just a little bit more thought or cohesiveness went into it. You know, rather than just being a collection of songs, I tried to make something that had a theme and had a consistent sound throughout it. I think that just comes with experience, and by spending a little more time on a project, then that sort of naturally occurs.”

What do you listen to on the road?
“I try not to listen to a lot of music when I’m starting the recording process, because it can be so subtly influential. Like I feel if I’m listening to the new Drake album and then start making music, I’ll suddenly be like ‘wait hold on, I really like this.. Did I hear this somewhere or was I listening to something that sounded like this before?’. So yeah, when I’m recording I try to not listen to anything else, but right now since I’m just kind of on the road I have downloaded the new Drake album, the new Big Sean record,  the new Kendrick [Lamar].. There have been a lot of good hip-hop albums that came out lately, so at the moment I’m just jamming those.”

People Keep Talking includes the single, All About It, which you did with Ed Sheeran. Are there any other artists that you’d like to collaborate with?
“I really love so many singer-songwriters and artists from the UK, so I’d love to work on a proper track with Marina and the Diamonds, or on an album produced by Mark Ronson. Any of that would be amazing.”

Do you have any further plans for the UK coming up?
“Well I think this summer, because of the Fall Out Boy tour, I’m sort of missing out on the festival circuit here in the UK. But I do hope to come back and do some cool stuff here, because I got to play a little taste of it last year and it was just so fun to do. Festivals here are just like a really overwhelmingly huge experience, so it’s very fun.”

Do you have anything else to say or a message to the fans? 
“Just thanks to all the fans who are reading, watching or coming out to the shows; you are the reason we have our careers and do what we do, so I appreciate you immensely.”



Quick-fire Questions

Describe your music in 5 words or less:
Upbeat, witty, catchy, lyrical, fun

What’s the biggest highlight of your musical career so far?
Oh geez… Probably going number one on iTunes; that was pretty cool

What’s one song you wish you’d written?
Incubus – Drive

What’s your karaoke song?
Backstreet Boys – The Call

What would you do if you weren’t making music?
Probably working at a start up in Silicon Valley somewhere

Have you ever been starstruck?
When I knew I was within like 200ft of Justin Timberlake, I was starstruck by that, so yeah I suppose so

What was the first album you ever bought?
I think it was either the No Doubt Tragic Kingdom album, or like The Offspring Americana.. one of those albums. I think I bought The Offspring, No Doubt, Blink-182, Sum 41, all those albums, within a really close time of each other in like.. 2001 /2000? 1999? It was like 15 years ago!
I guess I was like 9 or 10 years old, something like that.

Do you have any party tricks?
I’m good at flip cup, do you guys have that? Where you drink and you flip the cup?
I’m a pretty reliable flip-cupper.

(But do your skills last as the game goes on?)
I think I actually get better as it carries on! You’re just able to relax and not think about it and get in the zone!