Brian Howe can’t count the projects he’s involved in on one hand. Between a hosting a podcast that’s now 100 episodes deep, fronting two bands and managing the graphic design and shipment department of Get Hip Records, Howe doesn’t have time for much else. But somehow he also manages to facilitate a monthly anime club and make appearances at more shows in a week than most make it to in a month.
“I can’t even remember everything that I do,” Howe laughs.
The lifelong Pittsburgh resident is the vocalist for heavy metal band Greywalker, and he’s also the alternative rapper Sikes, performing lately as a live-band version called Sikes and the New Violence. He acts as a utility player for both projects — designing and ordering merchandise for both bands, booking shows, and editing music videos. He even spends time meticulously designing and creating hand-assembled packaging for Sikes releases.
Start the Beat is the podcast that Howe produces, and he uses it as a platform to talk to — and find inspiration from — other artists, entrepreneurs and musicians.
It seems odd to hear phrases like “networking” and “maximizing productivity” in a conversation with someone most would consider a punk, but Howe has always been this way. He lives by his Google calendar, even putting socialization on his to-do lists.
It’s the networking and careful organization that has earned Sikes a slot for the third year in a row at the All-Scene Entertainment Festival, a benefit for Mr. Smalls’ nonprofit Creative.Life.Support. The festival takes place at Mr. Smalls on Sat., Oct. 8. Each year he’s spent time talking to the organizer; this time around, he was asked to have a hand in the early stages of festival planning and booking.
“All these things happen because I put myself out there,” says Howe.
When asked if he’s ever taken a break from this full plate of art and music, he admits that there were two years where — thanks to some redirection from outside influences — he slowed down creatively. When that phase ended, however, he had the biggest creative outpouring of his life.
“This is all I know how to do, it’s all I want to do, and I don’t have an interest in doing anything else.”