STAGE PRESENCE: Sikes and The New Violence (Pittsburgh Indie Hip-Hop)

For our second edition of Stage Presence we explore the art of stage presence with Sikes and The New Violence!

Sikes and The New Violence is an eclectic Indie Hip-Hop group from Pittsburgh, PA. Their latest album Modern Modesty was self-released in November 2018. Sikes and The New Violence is Sikes AKA Brian Howe (beats, rhymes, vocals), Mandy Montgomery (vocals), Evan Thorsen (guitar), and Justin Campbell (bass). Learn more about Sikes and The New Violence, see more videos, hear more songs, and keep up-to-date with their news and shows on their website.

I was reluctant at first. I’m not really into hip-hop, and I’d never seen a hip-hop show. Trevor said we should go see Sikes and The New Violence play for the Trash Bag / Sikes Vinyl Release show back in June 2017, so we did (I always trust his musical tastes). I’ve been a fan ever since!

A Sikes and The New Violence performance is unique. Each time we seen them perform, there’s at least some element that is different than the last time. They use traditional instrumentation like bass and guitar and meld it with samples, beats, and interesting vocal techniques. The visual element is powerful, as well: Provocative images are projected onto a four-piece screen; Sikes sometimes wears costumes or masks or different outfits; and every member energetically moves (jumps, dances, or sometimes writhes) around the stage – or into the audience. 

Sikes and The New Violence at Howlers. Photo by Trevor Richards.

Sikes’ music fuses together hip-hop, rock, electronica, punk … whatever he wants to do (how refreshing). The New Violence band members really bring it all together with exceptional musicianship and a clear passion for both the music and performance. I had no reason to be reluctant: art can connect people regardless of genre, and when artists love what they do, it’s hard not to appreciate it. Sikes and The New Violence goes all in when they perform, and they take the audience with them.

We appreciate Sikes, Mandy, Evan, and Justin taking time to talk with us about the art of stage presence before their show! Everything they said was really inspiring and motivating to me, personally; and I think you might feel the same way. When performers really care about their art – and are concerned about connecting with the audience – it shows. A Sikes and The New Violence performance is all about energy, movement, passion, and connection. Check them out – for the first time, or again – soon!

Live and interview footage for this video was filmed and edited by Trevor Richards and comes from a March 2019 show at Howlers in the Bloomfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA. We’re not sure where the fire truck convention was held.

Get more info about our Stage Presence series here, because more Stage Presence videos are coming! Subscribe to this blog and the Of Music and Mind YouTube Channel so you don’t miss any! Be well!