“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.”