Tracker Pixel for Entry

​A Musical Journey From Baltic to Boardwalk

Music | January 20th, 2022

By John Showalter 

john.d.showalter@gmail.com

Over the five years that I have written for High Plains Reader, I have made no secret of the fact that I think that Fargo-Moorhead has its fair share of artistic talent, musical and otherwise. Surprisingly, in all that time I had never gotten around to writing about a mainstay of Fargo music that has been around for over a decade, Baltic to Boardwalk. So when Ryan Hoffart, vocalist for the band as well as a long-time music promoter and current director at downtown musical mainstay The Aquarium, approached me about the band just having released a new EP, I leapt at the opportunity to rectify that oversight.

The lineup of Baltic to Boardwalk consists of the aforementioned Ryan Hoffart, Adam Smith on guitar, Curtiss Hamende on drums, Jack Stenerson on guitar, and Jesse Kepford on bass, with all but Hamende also providing additional vocals. The band got its start in 2009, when they gained a following from the release of their first four-song demo. This would be followed by their debut EP “Glory Days” in January 2011.

From there they trekked across the Midwest, Mountain states, and Pacific Northwest before dropping their second EP “Ghost Towns” in August 2012. In 2017 they released their first full-length LP, “Heathens” in April 2017 and released two singles, “Dinner Table” and “Empty Patriarch” in 2019. The band now has 39 states under its touring belt with no intentions of stopping and has even hopped across the border to play for our neighbors in the north in 2019.

In all, including their most recent material, Baltic to Boardwalk has self-released seven EPs and one LP over the life of the band.

Of course, the global COVID-19 pandemic came along and threw a wrench in any touring plans over the course of 2020. This by no means meant that the band was inactive. “Before the pandemic occurred, we had our next five to six releases planned out already,” said Hoffart. “But after taking a few months’ break to see how this sudden change in our everyday lives would pan out, we buckled down in our practice space and self-recorded 16 songs in a week’s time and some of our best work, period.”

This would lay the groundwork for their most recent project. “Our friend Griffin Landa from The Establishment studio out of Des Moines, who we had worked with on two other releases (Ghost Towns & Dinner Table//Empty Patriarch), was sent all the songs and he mixed and mastered them,” said Hoffart.

“With a set plan of not really saying what the plan was for these releases we started with dropping an EP called ‘Denial’, and releasing the next step of grief every couple months,” Hoffart said. “’Anger’, ‘Bargaining’, and ‘Depression’ all came out in 2021, and about halfway through folks realized what was happening. Ended up being a super good and easy way to keep ourselves in people’s ears throughout a six-to-eight-month span.”

When asked how he would describe the band’s music, Hoffart said, “Whether you see us as a hardcore band or somewhere between screamo and rock, it’s hard to put a specific finger on our sound. One thing for sure is that when people hear Baltic they know it’s us. Whether it’s the sound of the guitars and just the structure of the songs, people know it’s us. The band collectively loves melodic hardcore and is the genre we’re compared to the most.”

The band’s name, of course, is a reference to the board game Monopoly, and according to Hoffart, “Jack had a dream that he was in an indie rock band called Baltic to Boardwalk. Despite what folks say, we are not Baltic to Broadway.”

As for what is on the horizon for the band, Hoffart said, “We hopefully plan on touring a bit in 2022 if the world around us allows it. It’s been extremely hard to navigate through how any musician should handle this word pandemic. Writing and recording is great, but it’s extremely therapeutic getting to actually perform these songs to people.”

____________________

YOU SHOULD KNOW 

Those interested in listening to Baltic to Boardwalk’s music can find it on Spotify, Apple, iTunes, Bandcamp, and Tidal. 

Official merchandise and physical cassettes are also available on their website BALTICTOBOARDWALKBAND.COM. 

Recently in:

By Olivia Slyteroslyter.g@cord.eduPhotos by Sabrina HornungFor months, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has been asking the heavy question “Should the 1973 ruling of Roe v. Wade be overturned?” On May 2nd,…

MayKenny Wayne Shepherd KWS creates genre-defining rock n' roll.Fargo Theatre, Sunday, May 1,…

Thursday, May 26, 5-7 pm, on view May 26-July 7   Spirit Room Gallery, 111 Broadway N, FargoDennis Terhak attended Moorhead State College after serving four years in the Marine Corps. He spent 25 years wielding a brush, working as…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comOur opinion: It’s not a matter of pro-life or pro-choice, it’s anti-womanI hate to admit it, but aside from the Women’s March in 2017, I hadn’t attended a rally or a march since the Bush…

By Ed Raymondfargogadfly@gmail.com If You Want a Free University Education, Why Not Go to Europe?Why are President Joe Biden and the White House in some kind of sleep mode? Very little is getting done! We can’t afford to go back…

Well shiver me timbers. After weeks of sampling some of the finest drinks in F-M from more bars than we could shake a belaying pin at, the results of High Plains Reader’s 6th Annual Cocktail Showdown are in! For nine weeks,…

By Rick Gionrickgion@gmail.comPhoto by Rick GionAs you may have read, the Hotel Donaldson and the Hodo Lounge are transitioning to the ownership group that runs the Blarney Stone Irish Pubs in North Dakota. Although feelings seem…

By Michael Str!ke  michaelstrike.solo@gmail.comThe word noise can mean so many different things. But here in Fargo, our Noise scene is thriving as what many…

By Greg Carlsongregcarlson1@gmail.com Novelist/screenwriter/director Alex Garland has earned a sizable and devoted following over the years. His previous two feature directorial efforts, “Ex Machina” and “Annihilation,”…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comArtwork: Woodcut by Danielle Gravon titled "Allegory of Fargo Winter I"On June 18, the Rourke will be holding their 62nd annual Midwestern Preview, the date celebrating the opening anniversary of…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comDrag shows, for me, feel like a celebration of artistry, esthetic, music, and camaraderie. With a dash of confetti thrown in.The local drag community is a close-knit family. Giving back to affiliated…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comCharlie Berens is a man of many hats. The creator of the “Manitowoc Minute” is a newsman, comedian, writer and musician. We had the opportunity to speak with the Wisconsin native about his new…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comSpring is here (mostly), and our area is buzzing with people eager to get back out and about -- many newly vaccinated and feeling a bit safer. Partnering with Jade Events, Fargo Brewing is just…

by Laurie J Bakeremsdatter@gmail.com Part of modern yoga is participating in the world around us. We live in a time of upheaval in society and nature, and of great suffering in humans of all ages. Most of us perceive this suffering…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comLehr Mayor and Council Members Donate City Salaries To Save Legion HallEvery rural community has at least one social space that holds multiple generations of memories and has remained a social…

Hukun provided his responses via email. “I live in downtown Fargo. Downtown living makes everything accessible and convenient! I love taking my kids to Lindenwood, and enjoy the food at Rugsan on 13th Avenue. I also like shopping…