Musician Hoodie Allen is dropping a new single this Friday that’ll make you want to cry in the shower about that breakup and acts as the friend who comes to cheer you up in the aftermath titled “Wouldn’t That Be Nice.” Mostly known for his rapping in singles such as “Champagne and Pools” and “No Interruption”, Hoodie makes a genre transition to pop-punk on his upcoming eight-track album, giving listeners songs that include punk guitar riffs and infectious pop melodies that tell the highly personal story of his breakup. The cinematic music video for “Wouldn’t That Be Nice” accompanies this new era, one that starts at the beginning of the end of a relationship, with the peaks and valleys of the tune mirroring those of the relationship. However, this new era is not completely unexpected as Hoodie has previously toured with Fall Out Boy, opened for Panic At The Disco, and worked with State Champs in 2017. Affable and honest, Allen is one who thinks what I and others do after a breakup, we should listen to our friends more.
Born Steven Markowitz in Plainview, New York, he began working at Google before quitting to pursue music full time. The Brooklyn-based musician became a sensation after arriving on the scene in 2009. Without a label or management, his 2012 EP “All American” landed in the Top 10 of Billboard’s Top 200. This mainstream success led to a collaboration with Ed Sheeran in 2014. Now the artist is looking to shatter preconceptions and show his range and honest emotions with this new record. “Wouldn’t That Be Nice” is an “appetizer for what’s to come.” on his ever-evolving musical journey.
Hoodie exclusively sat down with Substream Magazine on Zoom for an exclusive, candid conversation on his new single “Wouldn’t That Be Nice”, experiencing heartbreak, and his love of pop-punk.
This new single marks the start of a new era for you. What made you want to switch from rap to pop-punk?
I don’t know if there was a conscious shift when it came to this. My buddy, Nick Anderson, who is the frontman of The Wrecks, is my main collaborator for most of this project. For his music, I would say he lives in an alternative, pop-rock, indie sort of space and when we work together it’s what naturally comes out. There’s no premeditated plan but a combination of someone who’s trying to process the ending of this relationship and kind of wanting to write about it plus what Nick brings to the table musically. These are the vibes that started to flow from it. There was never a point of me saying ‘I’m abandoning rapping’ on this record. It was more so that all the songs felt written best and expressed in this format. It feels honest and I think we shouldn’t force a rap to make it comfortable for the people who know me as a rapper.
People may be less familiar with your connection to pop-punk than they are with your connection to the rap scene. How did your involvement in the pop-punk scene begin?
I grew up in Long Island, NY, at the height of the MySpace emo pop-punk explosion so I was pretty much well ingratiated into the scene ever since I was in 7th grade. The bands that dominated that time serve as a huge inspiration for me but I was also being pulled by underground internet hip-hop as love as well. As my career started to become a reality, I’ve always tried to weave these worlds together, whether through collaboration like when I worked with State Champs on a record back in 2017 or by being the opening act for Fall Out Boy’s ‘Boyz of the Summer’ tour back in 2016. These were always such special moments for me because I felt very accepted by my peers in this world from the jump and the love has always been authentic.
‘Wouldn’t That Be Nice’ is your first single in three years? Why did you choose to release a single?
Depression! No, but actually this story is centered around my real-life breakup and it’s the first album of mine that really tells a singular narrative from front to back, and in order to tell that story correctly I really needed to live through and process the emotions of this very big thing personally for me. Making this album saved me from a very lonely place and now that I feel like I’m out of that place, I am hoping to share these songs that can help someone else.
This album is eight tracks long. Why did you choose this length?
Because there was this long period of continuing to talk and having these up and down moments with a significant other in real life, I had a lot of great content to write about. It’s one of those stories that starts at the end of a relationship in a traditional sense and by the end of the record, it’s not wrapped up with a bow. I feel like in a typical break-up album there’s a little more optimism at the end like ‘I found my next person or ‘Things are going to be okay and I wasn’t feeling that way. I was like’ We shouldn’t wrap it up with a bow. We should wrap it up where I’m at: insecure, vulnerable, and telling myself that it’s okay. But is it really okay? It doesn’t feel that way.’ I wanted it to feel like every song mattered. With eight songs, it feels true to life and digestible for people. I didn’t want to make a whole record of 14 songs that are about the same thing and they get repetitive. So I felt like this was the perfect length for the digestion of the relationship.
The record takes listeners on a journey of the messiness that befalls a breakup. Why is storytelling so important on it?
The story for this record starts at the end of a relationship and it was very interesting because I felt like I was writing a lot of it while experiencing these in-between stages. I think the record pretty much covers the awkwardness and in some ways, trauma, that you set up for yourself when you continue to chase someone after something is over. They let you in a little bit and you let yourself in and at the same time you know it’s not the same and you know what you’re doing is wrong for your heart and yourself but sometimes you do it anyway. From that comes mistakes and high and low moments. It felt like in order for me to process the entire thing, making music about it at the moment was healing.
Your musical journey is ever-evolving. How would you describe your sound to a new listener?
I think I’ve always enjoyed a lot of different music and hip-hop was absolutely one of my first loves and I loved the storytelling. I really liked the storytelling aspect of rap from artists like Andre 3000, Eminem, and Mos Def. Those are the things that really drew me in and why I thought hip-hop was so cool. I felt like that was the only way that I could express myself. Making this album was definitely a realization for me to see that you can make really honest stuff that you tell good stories and it doesn’t have to be solely in a rap form. There might be a lot of people that have heard my name before and they think the songs are going to sound a certain way. Maybe this album and these songs will make them ‘Huh, I really didn’t know he did that or could that’ and that would be a cool moment for me.