Sikes | Pittsburgh Indie Hip Hop & Podcast News

Sikes is an Indie Hip-Hop artist & producer from Pittsburgh, PA. He also hosts a weekly podcast focused on the Pittsburgh Music & Entertainment scene called Start The Beat with Sikes.

AUGUST 2K18. Holler if you hear me!

AUGUST 2K18. Holler if you hear me!

Photo: Dave Walker

Photo: Dave Walker

Before I get into all the SIKES related stuff I just wanted to remind anyone new to this blog that the new GREYWALKER album is finally out! Without Control is available for streaming on all major Digital Platforms so if you haven't given it a listen yet please do! 


Now onto the SIKES news... Last month I announced that we were going to be releasing the new SIKES AND THE NEW VIOLENCE album on November 1st and everything is still on track for that to be the case. This is very exciting for me. I hope it is exciting for you.

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The album is going to feature 10 brand new tracks but there's a good chance that if you've seen me live in the past year or two you've already heard an early version of some of these tracks. That being said, this album should have been released way earlier than the end of 2018 but I don't have the luxury of making music full time and well... life happens. However, having that extra time gave us an opportunity to bring Evan Thorsen (Greywalker, Byron Nash & Plan B) on board whose guitar work completely transformed the sound of this new record into something I couldn't of even imagined a year ago. It's been a blast having him on board and I'm glad things worked out the way they did.

The material is a lot more "hip-hop" focused than anything else I've recorded in the past 5 years and features some of the most sample based material I've ever recorded as SIKES. Just like our last album I've Seen Better this album has zero guest features and everything was 110% self-recorded and self-produced by me at my house in Troy Hill.  If you live in or around Pittsburgh try to keep your calendar clear for that first or second weekend in November. There is most likely going to be an event that I want all of you to be at. I can't say anything else at the moment but as soon as everything is locked in place I'll be making a pretty big announcement. You'll see...


Another SIKES thing that I should bring up is my recent recognition in the Pittsburgh City Paper's 2018 Best of Pittsburgh issue. I made a video the day this was announced addressing my feelings on this and if you haven't seen it I will link it down below. Overall, I'm grateful for the support from every single person who voted for me but after being featured in the past 4 years of this issue I do hope some other PGH Hip-Hop artists get their chance to shine in 2019.


With all of this other stuff going on I've had to take a slight step back from releasing new episodes of START THE BEAT. I am still working on plenty of new content for the show behind the scenes but the public output is going to a little less frequent over the next couple months. Regardless, I had some time recently to sit down with the guys in Smokey Bellows for a really fun talk on Episode 181. Links down below! 

If you want to become more involved with stuff related to START THE BEAT and join in on some discussions centered around topics discussed on current episodes and potential topics for future episodes I have started a Facebook group to help facilitate these conversations.


One last thing to mention regarding START THE BEAT and upcoming video content. As you may have noticed, I recently started experimenting filming the episodes and I was uploading the episodes to YouTube for a while but they weren't getting any interaction and YouTube is just an insanely difficult platform to break into. Especially when you're someone like me who doesn't release consistent content. If you look at my channel right now it's a variety pack of different stuff that isn't really related to each other and I think it has pushed some old subscribers away and only confused potential new ones. 

The plan moving forward is to create a new YouTube channel specifically for Start The Beat and other Vlog style content so I can shift my current channel back to more music related content. I just recently upgraded my equipment a bit so once I have some new content filmed on this new fancy camera I'm probably going to launch the new channel and see how things go from there. Once it's live you'll know!  

The last thing I want to to do before wrapping this up is just remind everyone once again about BREWTAL BEER FEST happening on October 20th at Mr. Smalls Theater and Funhouse. To help promote the event and have a little fun we've started up a silly series called the "Brewtal Boiz" where we talk about beer and metal and pop culture and everything else that our parents said would ruin our lives. The first couple episodes are down below. Check 'em out!

I think that is plenty enough for now. If you want to keep up with my nonsense on a daily basis you still can find me everywhere outside of here @therealsikes.

PS: Here is some art I did recently. Later!


This is what happens when I don't update my website for 3 weeks. #updates

Wanted to start off this post by thanking everyone one last time that voted for Sikes, Greywalker and Brewtal Beer Fest last month in the 2017 Best of Pittsburgh Readers Poll. It has been a really busy year for all of these projects and things are not slowing down any time soon!

I will be performing a solo Sikes set next month with some awesome people here in Pittsburgh at Blue Canary on December 2nd. The people at Blue Canary are really welcoming and this will be an awesome night full of underground sounds. 

In other news, Greywalker is releasing our Hot Sauce collaboration with Allegheny City Farms this Friday at Mr Smalls Funhouse! We've been doing all sorts of fun promo for this including a "Hot Ones' Parody/Tribute with our good friend Sean Valentine of the band Vermithrax. 

Brewtal Beer Fest has launched our Brewtal Alliance Membership Program which is an awesome way for you to stay BREWTAL throughout 2018. Check out this promo video below to learn all about that!

In the middle of all this chaos Start The Beat is still going strong and new episodes have been coming out weekly. I recently had Day Bracey from the Drinking Partners Podcast on my show and it was an awesome conversation. Check out a video clip below along with some links to some other recent episodes!

And of course we can't forget about #oneminuteorless. I've been doing my best to get these out weekly. In case you missed any here are the past few...

And the train just keeps rolling! We opened up the Get Hip Record Store last month as well. Myspace Nite was a blast and yes, I'm still working on the new Sikes album. I promise. See below for photo proof. That's all for now. Later!

New songs. Soon. 👌

A post shared by SIKES aka Brian Howe (@therealsikes) on

VOTE NOW! Pittsburgh City Paper - Best of 2017

The nominees for the Pittsburgh City Paper's "Best of 2107" Readers Poll were announced a few weeks ago and if you have still not cast your votes you only have until 8/18 @ 11:59PM (EST) to do so! Get on it! 

The annual Readers Poll highlights anything and everything Pittsburgh from the "Best Food Truck" to the "Best Place To Take A Bath In Public" and I have been lucky enough to be nominated in a handful of categories alongside some of my favorite people in the city. 

SIKES is nominated for Best Local Hip-Hop Performer.
GREYWALKER is nominated for Best Metal Band.
START THE BEAT is nominated for Best Local Podcast.
BREWTAL BEER FEST is nominated for Best Music Festival.

This is really awesome. Huge thanks to anyone who threw any of those names out there and got us nominated! Again, you only have until 8/18 @ 11:59PM (EST) to cast those votes so don't sleep on this opportunity to support your favorite local businesses, art, music and plenty more!