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Yung Lean Radio Interview Transcript
[UNEDITED] I saw that many of you non-swedes wanted to be able to enjoy the recent interview he did in Swedish. I have not had time to edit the text yet so it will be filled with spelling mistakes and such but if I have time later on I might fix that. The interviewer is called Mats Nileskär and he alternates between asking questions and explaining stuff so that's why sometimes it's just him retelling things that lean said earlier. Anyways here is the transcript: Mats: There was once a sixteenyearold full of love for screw, drill and Florida trap. Full of fascination for fantasy figures and the cinematic. He rapped honest, drowsy, tentatively and almost apathetic to strange, mind expanding beats. Music that didnt exist in reality. Yung leans journey from his laptop in his room in Södermalm, to sold out shows and rock star dreams in the country of Hip Hop. It is one of the most beautiful stories in the history of Swedish music. And like all beautiful stories it holds plentiful of darkness. Yung Lean could have ruined everything and been scarified on the emo rap scene. Instead he became the influential survivor. Yung Lean and the producer friends in Sad Boys changed the world and intertwined with something beyond their own existence. Lean: I usually don’t sit and count who my influences are. Because I have always had a lot of my own influences that I have payed homage to. But sometimes I don’t think about stuff and then I get a dm on Instagram. Like I got a dm from Trippie Redd that read like “Shoutout to one of my biggest influences.” Music break Ugly God. Like lots of rappers that I wouldn’t think were fans of me. Then there are these that are a bit more obvious like maybe suicide boys, Pouya. When they meet me at festivals, they are fans. And I don’t want to come off as bragging, it is the same way when, like I met young thug once in New York, and then I get star struck, I am a fan of him, nothing weird about that. But there is like, you know, group from group, it goes back. If you look at Wu Tang, and then it goes down, it gets weirder, like Odd Future and Asap Mob. And when we started, there was probably more people that thought like, like Yung Sherman, Yung Gud, Bladee, and all in Drain Gang and Sad boys and this is what we look like, we can also do this. I think we made it even more easy to access. And even more like, you only need a computer and internet. And less of, like maybe you don’t even have to skate, maybe you don’t even have to live in New York. More of like, you have a concept, and we were strict with that concept, we had a clear aesthetic, a clear way of making music videos, a clear message. It was easy to take things from that goth aspect, or the sad aspect, or like, people had purple hair like Ecco had. People dressed exactly like Bladee or Sherman, or rapped like me. And I still think that I see that today. And I’m proud, and I’m happy. I don’t see it as something negative, like, shit these boys are stealing or all these rappers are stealing, it’s more like, in that case I have also stolen. Everyone has been influenced by something, and as long as you are not ashamed about that, it’s okay, because that is how it goes. People can be like, I’ve never listened to Yung Lean, And I can see that they obviously have, and like… Music break (Unreleased Lean) Lean: We got a lot of the autotune aspect from, like Bladee and Whitearmor started using it a lot, and me and Micke (Gud) used it a lot. For us that was inspired by Future and Atlanta. And Casino and the first FBG mixtapes with young scooter and all those. Like those were using autotune. But we were from Europe, like, we are from The Knife country, Håkan Hellström, Broder Daniel (Swedish artists), it is more like Kraftwerk when we do it. It is more monotone, a bit more dead, maybe a bit more ABBA english. It is a bit more depressing I think. And that is not something you try to do, it just ends up like that. And then I think that, a mix of that, we we got big during 2013, Hip Hop went more Nihilistic, dark, it was grim. The way Chief Keef rapped, everything after Finally Rich, Bang 2, Almighty So, it was like melodies but dark mumbling about killing people. Hip Hop was going that way. You no longer had to have a hook like “Woke up in a new Ferrari”. The whole song could be the same melody. Mats: The bored and monotone mumbling turned into an anxiety lowering melody. And a manic flow of words. Yung Lean and sad boys, deeply uninterested in conventional song structures landed in the beginning of the start of a new era. Post Hip Hops surrealistic and psychedelic era. The new era was open for people that had not belong before. People that looked and sounded like Lean. A new sound, a new way to experience and listen to music. It was perplex and fascinating. Something Sad Boys happily utilized. Lean: Yeah, it’s true. As long as you, like for us it was the natural thing to do. For us it wasn’t that we were exploiting this style of music or what they were doing in the US. For us it was more like, I have rapped since I was a kid, same for making beats for Micke. Drain Gang had a punk band. All of us made music. And when the time came it was just logical for us to take part. Same with rapping in English, it just came naturally. I actually lived in Vietnam three years before that. My mom is a diplomat so I was in the English school and spoke English so rapping in English came naturally. That the beats were slowed down, that, like everything was a bit weird, it came naturally to us. And of course the timing was perfect, it wouldn’t have been able to come at a different time. I think I’ve said that before. That if that had happened in 2009 it would have felt fake. I would have had to be more of a Paul Wall character or like Petter (Swedish Rapper). I was very lucky with coming up during that time. But after all I was just being myself to 100%. I think that if I hadn’t been, it wouldn’t have worked out. Music break Lean: Except for you and some others it was typically Swedish, a prime example of how it is in Sweden. A Swedish artist comes up, something they don’t recognise. They think it’s embarrassing. A Swedish sixteen year old boy from Södermalm, a middle class boy. He shouldn’t be doing this, it’s embarrassing. They wouldn’t want to touch me with a ten foot pole. He can’t be included here blah blah blah. But the second that the US started appreciating it and when he was in the New York Times or when he collaborates with Frank Ocean or other big names. Then they are ashamed of themselves. Like “Oh shit, he is Swedish, he is with us now…” It’s typical for Sweden, the law of Jante, like you shouldn’t think that you are somebody. That was basically what I witnessed since I was sixteen. It’s sad that we can’t trust each other and support everyone. I really believe that there is room for everyone to make it in Sweden. Mats: What did it do to you, experiencing this? The Journey from hate to understanding and in the end to love. Lean: I think that it might have been easier with hate. To be completely honest, if you look back at a lot of rappers, when they were hungry, when they were still hated or underground, they had so much to give. And I had that kind of idea in my head. That it was more exciting when Sweden hated me and I was only famous in the US. I really thought it was interesting. But I have matured now, time has passed, six seven years since we talked. The music I make now is different. If I had not been loved and was still hated, it would have been a bit perverse. Maybe then I had only been provoking just to provoke. I don’t like that. Right now I think I deserve to be where I am. I wouldn’t want to be in any other position. Music break Mats: What happened when you got to the US for the first time, as an unlikely star? Lean: What happened? I can’t say I remember a lot. We were very young. Suddenly we were sitting in limousines. Lots of drugs, lots of illegal substances. We were very young, you know almost like a Metallica documentary, suddenly someone is sitting there with a knife in some group or something. No but a lot of things went downhill, but all the gigs were so much fun. It was some kind of friendship, like a family. You can’t take away all the gigs and the touring we did in the start. When we arrived in the US, it’s like, you know Femi, Emilios girlfriend, that has been with us since day one. She says it’s like we were all a part of Lost. Like the airplane crashed and when we meet each other now all of us know that we were part of that. Character wise I don’t remember anything that was any special. I remember us playing at Röda Sten in Gothenburg for 150 people. And when we got to New York we sold out Webster Hall twice, back to back. And rappers were contacting us, we were hanging out with artists. It was another level of respect. I guess I’m a bit like you there. I’m a hip hop nerd, always have been. When I started expressing myself through this music it was easier for Americans to understand what the fuck I was doing than for like a 40 year old Swedish man. So there’s nothing weird about that. But I wish I remembered more from the first tours (laughing). Music break Lean: You are sixteen, you go to the US, you are living in some hotel, you get to meet some drug dealers from Florida whom are also promoters, they have a Cadillac, and someone is backstage and lots of different rappers are coming in and suddenly Travis Scott is there and blah blah blah. Things are happening all the time. You wake up in a bed there are people around and then you have to go on stage. (Lean starts talking about something else) Is that David Lynch? Sorry we are watching a movie, we are watching Dumbo. (Back to interview) I wasn’t really ready for that. That it was going to be so much work. You don’t think that but there is so much work. Now I can do many shows. Like the last tour that I did sober I was able to do like 70-80 shows and been able to do that but you are still tired. Like you have to workout and sleep. But back then, where did all the energy come from? Including all the drugs and the shitty sleep and all partying. I don’t understand it at all. Mats: Let’s talk some more about Florida. How was it to meet spaceghostpurrp who sort of created the foundation for what you got your inspiration from, the do it yourself attitude, punk, the south, three six mafia meets other genres in Florida. How was it to meet him? Lean: I-I have to be completely honest. Spaceghostpurrp is insane you know. He is crazy as a human being. I think he is bipolar and doesn’t take his meds. And the people who actually met him, I met Denzel Curry, Travis Scott and some other people from raider klan, while all the rest of Sad Boys met Spaceghostpurrp. Because I had a bad comedown. So I didn’t meet him that time but our old manager was a good friend of him and he is a misunderstood legend, he really is. But the whole thing about him is like Rocky, the pretty artist and the genius ugly duckling. We both know that Asap Rocky got more famous because he is prettier and it just fit better. The picture was prettier to give to the people than that of spaceghostpurrp who was kind of wacky. But yeah I hope that everything is good with him. I have no contact and don’t know how he is doing nowadays, I don’t. But blacklander was some of the best. I remember when that was released and I was in eight or ninth grade. First I was so into MF DOOM and madvillain and then suddenly I saw a picture of Odd Future and then spaceghostpurrp came and then that was what I wanted to listen to all the time. And via spaceghostpurrp, I remember he linked a lot of good artist that I started listening to. So then came Waka Flocka. Mats: It must have been like heaven, but as time would tell also hell. Landing in Florida. Lean: It feels good. We were there a bit too long but it’s such a special feeling. You can go to Everglade and see alligators and you really feel all that in fort lauderdale that is it like a swamp. We recorded at a place called pink house, pink mansion. They had a lot of brick that they had thrown down so that it became pink. Rick Ross had recorded there and it’s really Florida. People run around with machetes and it’s voodoo and all of that Haiti thing. Music break Lean: And then we were there in the pink mansion and recorded all of Warlord. It was insanely creative and it was like, I guess like when you read about Black Sabbath recording it feels like you have like a demon in you and you just make so much music and don’t realise what’s happening and yeah it ended up bad. It ended up with me at the psych ward, smashing a balcony and covering myself in the blood and the same night my manager died and then I got back to Sweden and was in convalescence, like at the psych ward. After that trip a lot of things changed in my life. I remember after a while when Hoover was released, maybe two months after. All the boys, I remember Axel and Benjamin, Bladee and Sherman was like, this might be Jonathans last video ever. And I was sure of that as well for a while. My mom helped me write a CV and I walked around with that and was thinking about working at a kindergarten. Music break Lean: I was so fucking tired, of all that had to do with music, and all that shit. Music break Lean: It went down like this. Barron, may his soul rest in peace, me and Benjamin and Hunter lived in an apartment that was owned by Barrons father, who’s a lawyer named Stephen Machat. Stephen was a lawyer for Ozzy Osborne, Nate Dogg and his father, Barrons grandfather, was the lawyer that cheated Leonard Cohen out of a lot of money. So it’s a lawyer family. I had started to go into psychosis, or like drug related psychosis or an overdose for some days and I wasn’t feeling any good. Barron and Hunter was out to buy some paper, paper and soda. And while that’s happening, at the same time that Barron crashes, I’m smashing this balcony without knowing what had happened. And Benjamin calls 911. I was not in the car with him and the car did not catch on fire either. He crashed into a tree. There are a lot of weird versions of that story. But I have also heard a lot of terrible things from family members and people around that were sure that I was the devil and that I had evil powers and all that. If you think about it, I was seventeen eighteen how the fuck can you put the blame on a seventeen year old. It was tough for me as well. But I have no magic powers. Unfortunately. If I had I would use them for good things. Mats: It was the father of the manager, Stephen, that accused you of being pure evil. Lean: I wonder why it was me that got that since he has worked with like Ozzy Osborne and have told stories about when Nate Dogg ran into his office with an AK-47. Music break Lean: Yeah I wonder how I ended up being pure evil. But I guess there was something there, Swedish folklore with midsummer powers. Mats: The troll syndrome or something like that? Lean: Yeah haha, exactly, the big monster, Näcken (Water spirit) haha. Mats: But there is something provoking about it still right? Lean: When it is about peoples lives. I knew Barron, we were with each other every day. It is not fun to be called the Devil or pure evil when I was just seventeen and ended up at the psych ward. It’s about real peoples lifes. You can’t just call young people those things. And of course I understand that someone is scared and upset because their child died, but you can’t put the blame on people or call them things like that, it’s sick. But if it had been in a completely different scenario I would probably have been more proud of being called that. If it had to do with my music. But when it’s about real things it’s just scary. Music break Mats: Yung Lean took drugs, dressed up as a nurse and wrote an unreadable book about his life. Everything got out of control around the making of the dark album Warlord. Where Sweden and Florida in songs like the Billy Bragg sampled song Miami Ultras. Yung Lean took an overdose, experienced psychosis and ended up at a mental hospital. At the same time he lost his American manager in a car accident. Barrons father, the well known show business lawyer with ambitions to reach the American senate put the blame on Yung Lean. He planned to release an unfinished version of Warlord. Back in Sweden, Sad Boys could see how a version of the album had leaked. Lean: Yeah shit I remember that. Yung Sherman was celebrating his birthday and we were out bowling, or maybe it was his old girlfriend who was celebrated and suddenly everyone was on their phone like shit, Stephen has released it all. Directly on band camp connected to his account. Unfinished versions of the songs, the song names were wrong. We had been working on that album since we got back home, it was all we had. Leaks can be the worst things. If you have been quiet for so long and so much has happened and you just want to release Warlord the right way, with the correct videos and artwork and then something like that happens. It’s like a fucking punch to your face. We lost a lot of hope that day. Music break Lean: I think that the most crazy, for me, was a while ago, the had been at Fort Lauderdale at a large fair and I had bought a costume that was made for nurses and I wore that all the time. We were going to a hotel with an artist and he was buying weed from a stripper. And when we are at this hotel a man in there is arguing with the workers there and he has a large entourage and I recognise the voice. I’m like it’s Jim Jones, Jim Jones from dipset. I did not realise It by then but I had started living a little in my own world. I was begging to enter the psychosis. I was wearing the nurse outfit and took a picture with Jim Jones and we talk for a while. When I have looked at that picture years later I’ve been like what the fuck is this shit. Music break Lean: Who was it, I think it was The Who, who met in a clothing store, and a guy was like you should make music. And then they made music. And it kinda felt that way, like yeah you guys should make this music. Music break Lean: Sad rap, haha. Sad rap is quite a sickening term. It shouldn’t exist. We don’t make sad music. When you start going into the dark water you just want to go deeper and deeper. And you can only get back up when you are really hit by the waves. It was a mixture of destructivity, teenage anxiousness, and yeah, just how I felt back then. Music break Mats: What for some appeared like a smart joke in the beginning, and for others like INAUDIBLE (he speaks danish accent Swedish) entertainment had in the middle of the 20th century attracted a dedicated fan base in the US. Something that no Swedish rapper had dreamt about. Yung Lean saw the opportunity to create surrealistic art and shabby rap. And history was written when Yung Lean was the first swede to enter the top 40 American R&B list. A list whose history goes back to Harlem Hit parade, 1942, where leaders like Louis Jordan and Lionel Hampton ruled. Yung Leans Unknown Memory entered at 36th place on the album list, right above Kanye West and under Migos. It was October 2014. Lean: It sounds like a lot of fun now that you say it but the most fun was just if the songs and the album were great for me, like it goes so far. Prices and stuff comes but it’s so temporary compared to creating it, what you have gone through to create the music. Mats: Yung Lean was a a part of the drug cult. The cough syrup drinking and pill popping that defined a depressed generation. Lil Peep with Swedish roots had just started building his emo vision, related (musically) to Yung Lean, and Juice WRLD stopped breathing after just a couple of albums. Lean: The death that affected me the most among those is a person that I didn’t know that well. But it was when I met Fredo Santana and we were in the studio. Me, Fredo, Axel and some of his boys. He was the kindest. We were listening to get rich or die trying and made a song together. He was a really good guy. And the day after I got a message that he was dead. It’s not more than that. In the US and in Sweden. I have friends that have died from benzodiazepines in Sweden as well. I think that it has a lot to do with, like lean, it goes hand in hand with the sales. Lean, Codeine. First Actavis, and then it gets so expensive and after a while completely banned. Then people start drinking red, and it costs like a thousand dollars a pint. You can’t pay that much unless you are a rapper. If you are a rapper you get special prizes. And then you want to get cheaper stuff, you want to take the same things as the rappers you look up to. I guess that once everything was very weird. Around 2013-2014, there was ILoveMakonnen there was, like mushrooms and that stuff. Before it was all opioid based with Percocets. Music break Lean: It felt like, I don’t want to be that guy but, the music often gets very interesting when people are trying different stuff. I think that’s the sad reality. Maybe not with my music. I feel as I can create more when I’m sober. I have tried most of the drugs so if I feel I want to channel some type of drug I can go back in my memories to get the feeling if I want to sound a special way. If you think about like Young Thug when he made I came from nothing, you could hear he was all fucked up. You can’t do that sober. Gucci Mane is also an example. But now Gucci mane is also an example because now he’s skinny, he looks good, he has a great body, he has his wife, I wanna give him that. I don’t want him to be fat and have a codeine belly, be constipated and on the brink of dying all the time. I want him to look like he does now. I will sacrifice the music for that. His music is not good any more. But fuck that I can listen to the old songs. I’d rather have him healthy. And with Future as well. That he is afraid of going public with having quit lean because his fans wouldn’t trust him no more. That’s sad. But the music is explosive now. There is more hip hop being created now than ever before. It used to be kind of a mainstream genre with Lil Wayne and people thought it was a joke and the underground stuff was much cooler. But hip hop now, the biggest artists, it is the most experimental genre right now. It is more experimental than experimental indie pop. They use more drugs than those who do experimental jazz. It is weirder than punk. It is the weirdest there is right now. And people just have to live with that. That so many people die on the way doesn’t have to be a part of that. It could continue to be this special without people dying. Music break Lean: Much of the trap you listened to in the beginning was like, more voices, almost choirs, Siberian choirs. Gucci Manes adlibs are louder than the main track. One of Chief Keefs biggest hits, Citgo, you can’t even hear the instrumental. There’s like six different layers of “smoking on the gas, gas citgo citgo”. It’s amazing. It’s weirder than anything else and I think I saw it from my own perspective. For me, all the elements of hip hop ant trap, and the clothing, has been art. And my way of expressing myself, minimalistic, if it’s with an iPhone camera or if I get to direct a whole video, it will always be done my way. It’s a mix of movies I’ve seen, experiences I’ve had, colours I think about that day. I think that this timing. Luck doesn’t exist to put it that way. If I am allowed to leave it at that. Haha. Music break Mats: When you got back to Sweden from Florida. Your dad picked you up right? Lean: Yeah, I think both my parents were at the airport. You mean that my dad came to Florida and I walked around the mental hospital and I called my dad the king of California, because I didn’t recognise him. I just told him several times, “Are you the king of California?”. He became quite sad, but he has also been able to joke about it a lot now. There was one story that was quite scary actually. I kept saying that there was a doctor that was coming in and fucking things up for me. He was threatening me that I was gonna go to juvie and things like that, threatening me. And my dad asked me what the doctor looked like and I explained it to him. And he was like, that is not a doctor, it’s the guy who comes in to clean. He just came in to provoke me. And I was told that months later. It was quite scary. I have actually been at the psych ward in Sweden as well, much longer than in the US. 2017 I was at Danderyds (place outside of stockholm) closed section for a month. For psychosis as well, but not drug induced. But I have been sober now for two almost three years. I work out, I do boxing. I’m really happy and I’m more creative than ever. I think that everything that we’ve been talking about, me being a part of drug culture. Kids that say like, Yung Lean, I smoked my first joint for you, I took my first E for you. They would have done it to someone else’s music as well. I promise that. I’ve never pushed anyone to do drugs, I promise. I’ve just told it how it is, from my perspective. And you can do exactly the same thing and be sober as well. It is as much fun if not more fun. If I go out to club now, I can be out all night, I don’t get tired. I have much better relations now with everyone around me. I’m just a happier person. I think it’s much more fun for me to do this interview now compared to last time. (They put in a clip from the interview they did way back) Lean: It sucks to be in school but that’s also a way to be down to earth and not feel so like I’m so fucking special, which I’m not. In a way it’s nice to be in school. Like, I’m no superstar. I have a normal life. It’s nice to live out my teenage life before something crazy happens. Mats: How old are you right now? Lean: I turn eighteen this summer. (Back to the interview again) I was at the Mount Sinai (Medical Centre) in Miami. And I found out Avicii was also there when I watched his documentary. And when at the hospital in Danderyd. It was very nice I must say. I was fucked up, completely manic, but it was a very nice place. Big up to the Swedish health care. That they put up with all the people there. Music break. Lean: Those hours. All the people who are there, who try to break out, or try to commit suicide, or are screaming. You are laying there and you hear screams all night. It’s like being in a nightmare 24/7, plus that your own head is a nightmare 24/7. I had plans of escaping, I had a map of the hospital that I took a copy of and hid under my pillow. It was like One flew over the cuckoo's nest. You walk around there. Mats: Do you remember when you started making music after all this? The first attempts at getting back there musically. Lean: I was still a bit manic and when I was allowed to leave for some hours I chose to go to the studio. So I was driven to the studio from Danderyds hospital. I recorded six songs and then had to go back. When I finally left and was convalescent and quite low because of all the medication I just chose to never listen to those songs) Music break (Lean starting singing I’d rather go blind by Etta James) Lean: I have no idea what I’m talking about there. I don’t really want to know. I just remember that I made a listen to your heart cover and I made a version of Etta James song because I had listened to that so much when I was at the hospital. Music break (Lean continue to sing I’d rather go blind by Etta James) Lean: In the beginning you just try. You are like Bambi on the ice, trembling. But then I finished Stranger. We had made that album before I ended up at the hospital. Me and Micke finished it in the studio and then Whitearmor and I did our own tape. We went out to Mariefred where a guy named Pontus has a studio. He produced Britney Spears Toxic. And there we were making Poison Ivy. It felt very nice to just clear my head and the music turned out great. Those days were nice. Music break Mats: (talking about the upcoming album) The adventure continues. The new album that follows up the anxiety filled milestone, Stranger, is punky millennium R&B, that can only be made by Yung Lean. Lean: It’s everywhere. Some of the songs are almost like ballads and some are more to the classical witch house, others sound like some, you know SVT Play (Swedish national TV) intro with piano haha, it’s everywhere. But I’m very inspired by The Stooges, I wanna be your dog. That song, and R&B. Music break Mats: Jonathan spend the first time of his childhood in Belarus. Lean: You know you have some fake memories. You have a picture of an apartment. But I have one memory that I’ve been told so many times that It’s like I can see it. It’s when I was at kindergarten and my dad comes to pick me up. He asks for me and I’m not with the other kids. I had been bad so I was put in the corner with a large cone on my head. My dad walks over there and since he is Swedish he gets super mad and wanted me to quit going there. My mom was calmer and explained that that’s what they do, nothing weird about that, just some discipline. My mom is grown up in Soviet you know and went to a Russian school. Two different worlds. But I have lots of nice memories from there. I went to a school theatre and danced in snow and that stuff. I must have been a Pinocchio, somewhere around there I turned into a donkey. The cigar came. (Referring to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCBjfgXg8A4) I had a very nice childhood, middle class, Södermalm. My dad’s a writer, raised in Söder as well. My moms raised in Russia, she’s a real boss. She has had a crazy life. One time she told me that she was a cleaner at an embassy, and that one day she would be in those rooms. Now she is becoming an ambassador in Albania. She has worked her way up. I’m very proud of her. We lived in Söder. I have been to a lot of schools, Södermalmskolan, Gamla Maria, Katarina Norra, Kärrtorp… Music break Lean: When I got back to Sweden from Belarus I started going to a kindergarten. It is one of my first memories. I was still speaking Russian and I so badly wanted to be understood. I walked around speaking in Russian Swedish, can I have milk and bread, can I have milk and bread. I really wanted to learn Swedish so I forbid my parents to speak Russian with me. That was very stupid, I really wish I hadn’t said that. I wish I had learnt Russian as well. Music came into my life early. It was what made my life fun. It was always my thing and what I was good at. I think I said that last time we talked. When I was young I got a little bit famous with a song called Söder Söder. I was opening for Adam Tensta (Swedish rapper) when I was in fourth grade. Then I made a mixtape with a friend during a summer, and I made a lot of music with my sister. I dressed up and put on makeup. Went to school and listened to Green Day. You know, you wanted to, I basically dressed up the way I do today. I did the same thing back then as I do now. The only difference is that I make money now. I think that they were worried a lot. I guess the drug aspect of it. When you get so interested in things, those things comes with it. When I was I seventh grade I was caught with some weed, petty shit, and yeah they were worried about all that. But in the end they have been very proud and they will come tonight to my show. They have been to so many of my shows and they are very proud. If I make a good song I want to show it to my mom. If she likes it then it will be released. Same with my dad. I don’t know if they understood if they that there was always something extra or something special that I wanted to do. I guess you will have to ask them about that. But I know that they are proud. Music break Lean: I think it’s so much fun. That I’m Swedish and that there are not that many Swedes that like me. I means that I’ve made it. I remember when I went out to eat with my mom, she had got us Indian food, I told her that I had gotten a gig in Gothenburg. And she asked like for who, for yourself or what? She was just laughing at me. I had to convince her, showing the event. And she asked like, Yung Lean, is that you? And I showed her videos and she still didn’t get it. I finally had to call Emilio on speaker and have him explain it to her. My dad didn’t get any of it either. It was quite tough because someone had written an article where it said that I was the son of Kristoffer Leandoer, the horror writer. He was so mad, I came home from school and he was furious. He was like “What’s all this? My name, and this song, greygoose?”. But afterwards when he understood it he was proud. But no one ever understood how big it was. I was at my room all the time. We remade the basement into a small studio and I was always there. I was smart with that shit. I got like Lofty 305 and people from Miami and small underground people that I kept sending my songs to. I just sat home and we had this Tumblr that Axel created and we were like dolphins, we communicated directly to the fans, even if I had like 3 fans, and suddenly I had ten thousand fans, and we still communicated directly to them. They got to know all about us. They knew exactly what we were doing. Music break (Again a clip from the older interview when Lean was seventeen) Lean: I do not claim that I do all the things I sing about in my songs. I’ve never said that. That would be completely crazy. I wouldn’t be a good seventeen year old then. It would be insane. But I guess you should believe that Yung Lean doesn’t exist. That he is just some fucking seventeen year old that’s completely crazy, and then the real me comes in and say things and have real emotions and real lyrics. I guess the mix between those things are Yung Lean, that’s what Sad boys are. The mix of what’s real and what’s not. That’s what the listeners have to think about themselves, and decide what they want to believe and now. And what they like, is it the music or the person. Mats: And it is when you balance that where everything becomes interesting. Lean: It’s exactly that. And it’s so nice because you get to do that, while really you are not allowed to do it, it’s completely wrong, but if you really want to do it, do it, and then you do it. Everything that’s written should have to be thought of several times, nothing should be just straight forward. I get it, that’s good, now I won’t listen to it again. That’s no good. If it’s an album or a song where you get everything there’s no fun in it. It’s like watching a bad film. You want to see something that leaves an impression. It’s much more fun that people talk about me. Rather than that they just say like he’s such a good rapper. It’s not like I’m trying to be a weird rapper, I guess that what I feel like doing, that’s real. I make things from myself. I don’t rap about these crazy things because I want to be like that or because I want to build up an image. I do it because it’s what I feel like doing. I do it because it’s what I want. Music break (Back to the new interview again) Lean: I remember Charlie XCX saying that her and Robyn had been in the studio and she had shown her Ginseng strip and they had been like turn it off, turn it off. They hated it. And then some days passed and both of them had listened to it by themselves. And when they came back to the studio the just kept on listening to it. It’s like you have to hate it at first. It’s so provocative. Like he looks this way, or it’s so honest, or it’s just something. It’s too close, or I don’t know. Like it’s still a meme on all my YouTube videos. Listened first time, hated it, listened tenth time, my favourite song. It’s the Yung Lean effect. Music break Lean: I would love to make film when I get older. I would like to make film of greek tales. There is a tale of a man called Geryon, he is completely red and has a red dog and lives on a red island. He is killed by Hercules. I would like to make a film about that but more of a psychological thriller. Kinda like pusher, Snabba Cash (Swedish movie) meets Greek mythology. Mats: You have the John Ausonius (Swedish serial killer) project, you are drawn to darkness. Lean: Yeah, yes I do. It’s natural and not at all an image. I remember my dad joking about that when I was small. I always wanted the orchs to win in the lord of the rings, and that Voldemort was much cooler than Harry Potter. I think it’s quite simple psychology really. That it’s just more interesting. If I had a history of real darkness. Like growing up in war or torture. I think I would be very interested in happy stuff. But now I am not. You are attracted to what you are not from, where you don’t think you belong. But where I am is where I belong the best. I am privileged where I do not belong any more. I think everyone wants to find a world where they don’t naturally belong. For me that has been music. No one in my family had anything to do with music. No one has been a rapper. I have always felt at home in front on a microphone. Mats: When you found the darkness in Florida and managed to get out of it, was it mission completed? Lean: I don’t know if it was mission completed really. Barron died so I would want to take back a lot of what happened there. I think I had the darkness within me before that. It is inside of you.
Tons of posts are asking about this town (mine included), so I decided to go through the /kelowna history and put all the responses in a central place. It can be a guide for visitors and Kelowna newbies in general. All the information has been gathered exclusively from posts here. If you'd like to add anything to the list, or see any errors, reply below and I'll add it to the main post below. (Mods, if this is long-term useful, you can sticky it.)
Activities & Things To Do
Swimming pools (see Swimming Pools below)
Gaming (see Gaming section below)
Live music (see Live Music below)
Go-karts, arcade games, and mini golf at Scandia
Karaoke at Creekside pub
Play pool at McCullough pub
Bowling at McCurdy
Indoor rock climbing at Gneiss and Beyond the Crux
Sushi classes at Start Fresh Kitchen
Start to finish pottery at That Pottery Place
Crafts at the New Art Collective space.
Comedy at Dakoda's (Open mic night Thursday 7pm, $5 show at 9pm, Friday and Saturday at 7pm & 9pm)
Comedy at Dunnenzie's ("Big Slice Of Comedy", a pay-what-you-want show Wednesday at 7pm)
Indoor batting cages at The Yardhouse (on Spedding Court)
Camping (see Camping below)
Hiking (see Hiking below)
Fly fishing (see Fly Fishing below)
Snow skiing & Snowboarding (see Skiing & Snowboarding below)
Go up to postil and find one of the large, open fields. This works better in the snow because it's more comfortable to lie on than dirt, but one can get creative if need be. Bring a tarp and blankets and warm clothes, fire supplies and snacks optional. Pretty much bed down under an open sky with zero light pollution, and watch the stars.
Ice Skating at Adventure Skate Trail at Apex in Penticton, Big White
Corn mazes (O'Keefe Ranch, etc)
Hay rides at MacMillan Farms
Tubing and Snowboarding at Big White
Drive from Lake Country to Vernon, then take Westside road back from the North Okanagan.
"The drive down this route beside the lake is one of our favourites. Stop at the salted caramel on the way for some good treats and coffee."
Beaver lake area. Car camping OK. Just take a left instead of going into the resort and you'll see the turnoff along the main road.
Peachland lake on the West Side, just above Princeton Rd. Few good sites along the lake to use and there some decent sized trout in the lake. There's a quarry area a lot of people use, but you go to the right along the lake there's some better spots.
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Hey StardewValley! Given the influx of new players here, I thought I'd share a list of the tips & tricks I've discovered myself or gathered over time to help players both old & new. This sub's been great for inspiration, & I wanted to give back to you guys. Even experienced players can play dozens of hours without ever discovering the things here. It's not a guide on how-to basics (e.g. watch TV); that's beyond the scope of this list. For that, I recommend checking out the FAQ & Wiki. If you're looking for a way to take full screenshots of your farm (& any other area), check out my guide here. Also, check out this site by u/kihashi for a great way to track bundles (sub), and this site for fish (link is dead - if this tool was moved rather than closed, please let me know if you have any info about it!) Last Updated: 15 October 2020. Total number of tips so far: 133! Added/revised in latest update: updated formatting for spoilers (thanks u/Blixtmen). Check back from time to time to see what's new!
This list is spoiler-free. They're marked like this & can be safely ignored, with enough visible for you to decide if you want to see it. However, things widely discussed here (such as Junimos) are unmarked.
I'm on PC, so I've written these tips from that perspective. Please account for minor differences (such as controls) for your platform.
For unique tips I've read here, I've done my best to credit you! Forgive me if I've missed you, & please let me know. I'll link your original post.
I try to ensure that the list's always accurate & up to date, with multiple sources or testing myself. This post is now archived but I continue to maintain it - if you have any input, you won't be able to comment, but please PM me! I'll mark an edit next to my tip & credit you.
I love feedback! If this helped you, please link back to it when you share so that others may read it too. Thanks!
Farm & Buildings
Place scarecrows, sprinklers or lights on flooring/paths to prevent the hoe from digging them up.
Left-click to drop a sellable item you're holding into the shipping box directly without opening the inventory.
Retrieve the last shipped item from the box by right-clicking on the shipping box & clicking on the shipped item.
With upgraded tools, hold down the button to increase the area of effect. This seems obvious, but a surprising number of people miss it (e.g. watering cans not only have better capacity, but water more tiles & in different patterns if held down). Bonus:tool sparkle colour corresponds to the upgrade level.
The pickaxe can undo tilled soil.
All tiles above tilled dirt that uncovered an item (always clay except winter) will also contain that item. Video. (Patched, thanks u/greymeta).
Shake trees for seeds. Edit: during the last 2 weeks of fall, maple trees drop hazelnuts instead of maple seeds (thanks u/rabidcow).
If you don't get giant crops on harvest day, leave mature crops unharvested for a few days (ensure continued watering) & they'll form. The number of days needed varies; personal experience has been 4-12 days for fusion.
You can plant fruit trees inside the greenhouse, both in the plot & on the floor outside the plot border. Planting behaviour differs slightly normal; you can plant trees in tilled & untilled soil here (unlike only untilled on farmland). The most efficient is my layout. You can plant more trees along the bottom edge, I chose not to as they obscure the view of the plot.
There's a 0.5% chance that you can get ancient seeds from the seed maker instead of the same variety as the input crop. Blueberries & cranberries are great choices for farming ancient seeds.
It's faster & easier to hold right-click while harvesting crops rather than clicking individually on every tile. Hold seed bags to replant the tiles simultaneously, saving time.
Junimos can phase through trellis crops to harvest, so you can plant them without gaps. Remember they don't harvest when it's raining.
The star quality of crops that you put into machines such as kegs has no effect on the end-product quality. To maximise profits, process the lowest star goods & sell the leftover higher star goods (unless you can afford to wait & process everything). However, note that cheese in casks is an exception. Cheese ages from base quality to silver (3d), to gold (4d), to iridium (7d). Putting in cheese that already has a star quality begins its processing at that stage, cutting down the days taken to reach the next higher quality, giving you quicker turnaround/profit. Therefore, star quality does have an impact on the end product here.
You can place torches on fences, the floor, & behind objects/furniture.
You can make oil from sunflower seeds, sunflowers, & corn in the oil maker (corn's usually overlooked).
You can make wider fence gates by having a different kind of fence on either side of the gate. For instance, (HW) = hardwood fence, (W) = wood fence, & (G) = gate. Normally, you'd make (HW)(HW)(G)(HW)(HW). Instead, make (HW)(W)(G)(W)(HW). The stumps to which the gate is attached must be a different material than the main fence (it doesn't matter which), so another example: (W)(HW)(G)(HW)(W). Screenshot. This makes it easier for a horse to go through. Source.Edit: it doesn't necessarily need to be fences, as long as you disconnect the gate's stumps. The rest is cosmetic: other path blocking items (such as tub o' flowers) also work (thanks u/greymeta).
Self-sustaining grass feeders can regenerate grass to keep fields green & animals fed. Grass spreads on its own (including from under fences), provided it isn't eaten first. Animals will only eat grass they can stand on; a feeder's a patch that we prevent them from eating. Lay down grass starters & put fences on top of it (suggested: 2x2, but any config's okay). After a few days, you get new grass around it that animals eat, while the grass underneath remains unharmed, making new grass around it. Screenshots w/ spread.Source.Guide w/ math.Edit: lightning rods work too (thanks u/Raichu7).
To get flower honey, it doesn't matter if there are flowers around a bee house when the honey starts forming. They only need to be there when you collect it. Similarly, if you harvest a flower around a bee house that had flower honey ready for collection, it will become wild honey. Bonus: to get just "honey" (not wild honey), use the pickaxe on a bee house that's ready for collection to pick both up. This unlabelled honey doesn't serve any different purpose & sells for the same amount as wild honey. Just a little quirk.
Use "indicator kegs" outside barns/sheds to signal when the kegs inside are ready for collection. Load all the kegs inside with fruit & load one outside (e.g. next to the door) just after. You don't need to go inside the barn to check whether the wine's ready - once you see the indicator keg's ready, the rest are too. Edit: currently, a known issue (as of 1.11) causes indoor & outdoor keg timers to go out of sync during festival days. Time elapsed when you come back to your farm (after the event) is only applied to the indicator, making them finish processing faster, yielding a false positive. Source (thanks u/GlassDeviant).
If you're not carrying an axe/bomb, don't get boxed inside fencing/trellis crops. You won't be able to chop your way out. You'll have to sit there until you pass out. That is your life now. If you're carrying/able to craft a gate though, you can "overwrite" the fence with it and let yourself out (thanks u/idonteven93).
Underrated side effect of the botanist perk: all foraged items use less inventory space (the same quality will stack). Very useful when collecting truffles.
You can axe away unwanted bushes in the forest farm, but note they won't grow back.
Remember that Sandy sells unique seeds that you can't buy anywhere else.
Plant grass starters on the 28th for batshit growth the next day. It's a good way to keep animals happy in a small space (thanks u/owlrecluse). Remember that grass dies in winter, so cut everything by fall 28 into hay; new grass will spawn in spring (thanks u/aznanywayz).
A pickaxe isn't strictly necessary to pick up an object that usually needs it. Click on it repeatedly with an empty hand, & it will eventually pop up for collection (thanks u/owlrecluse). Edit: I tested it with sprinklers, kegs, oil makers, seed makers, recycling machines & cheese presses (gates too, thanks u/MuphynManOG).
You don't need to remove broken fences before mending them. Just place a replacement on top of it even if the tile is red (thanks u/AlfLives).
In the forest farm, tall grass can be planted on short grass, but will not spread there (thanks u/EndlessArgument).
Remember that you can process coconuts & cacti in machines (e.g. preserves jar) (thanks u/blasek0). Buying coconuts from Sandy just to process them isn't worth it (math here), but if you have idle jars, throw in coconuts you find in (spoiler, unlockable area:) the desert for profit (thanks u/Psylisa).
Fences decay over time unless you get the golden clock. Instead of making traditional fences you have to fix, you can make indestructible, functional fences by using objects such as preserves jars instead. See my farm for an example. Others include tub o' flowers, lightning rods, kegs, etc.
Giant crops can survive indefinitely through the seasons (they don't die out like normal crops if they're not in season). If you just want some giants for aesthetics, don't harvest them & they'll live on even through winter. Example.
As of 1.07, lightning is more likely to strike trees & crops, but lightning rods have a very good chance of intercepting them if they aren't already processing a battery (thanks u/Avarice0107).
If you like having Junimos hang around your farm, fence in a harvestable crop/flower in the vicinity (single tile will do). Junimos will come out to harvest it, but the fence will prevent them from reaching it. This way, you can have them about all the time, not just on harvest days.
Follow-up to #33: Junimo huts have a toggle harvest button. If you don't want Junimos to harvest but still like them hanging around, you can stop them by toggling it off. You still need ripe crops to lure them out (or else they stay in), but you can toggle it on/off midday, so you can have them harvest most crops & then just stay out until you want (thanks u/some_internet_rando). Update: use this to grow giant crops in range of the Junimo huts. Junimos don't harvest giants if they're already there, but this lets you leave ripe crops on the field for some time to fuse (see #8).
To save time tilling the field for planting in a new season, leave crops planted that will die out on next season's day 1. You can then quickly clear away the dry plants with a scythe & be ready to plant new ones, so that you have more time to do other things on that day. Useful in the transition from winter to spring where you can use cheap winter seeds that you don't mind losing.
If you blow up your Statue of Perfection with a bomb it is destroyed & does not drop as an item. However, you can just get another one by interacting with the shrine again. Source (thanks u/reverendsteveii).
If you want to redesign your farm, the quickest way is to have Robin/Wizard move your buildings & use bombs to clear the rest. Note that explosives are destructive on certain items, so if you want to reuse something, remove it manually. For e.g. if you use the pickaxe to remove 1 tile stone fencing, you'll get 1 unit of stone fencing intact to reuse elsewhere. Bombing it turns it into 1 stone (2 units stone = 1 tile stone fencing, so you get back half the ingredients).
Debris around the farm (e.g. wood) can spread, destroying placeable objects/crops when it does. Pathways prevent debris from spreading onto (& across) them. If you have a valuable crop such as starfruit or a rarecrow (some of them are irreplaceable) ensure you protect them by placing the scarecrow on a path & have paths around the crops (thanks u/ghoulavenger). Source.
If you're lacking farm space to tap trees or need lots of resin to make kegs, use empty spaces outside the farm to plant trees there. See The Valley, Shops & Gifts #27 on how to plant trees outside the farm. Example.
You can use a crystalarium trick to change any gem/mineral into another. Video & source.
If you are dissatisfied with your choice of farm cave & want to change it, you can use the What FarmCave mod or edit your save file. Neither choice is the end of the world. They're not moneymakers; they just give you a nudge towards completing a relevant community center bundle.
Hold bait while harvesting from crab pots to prevent accidentally picking them up & reload them in one go.
Cast the fishing line at bubbles in the water for quicker bites.
Fishing's not limited to water (you can fish in lava/swamps).
You can pause time while fishing by clicking the on-screen journal button (not shortcut key). Fishing continues with the journal open. Once you hear a bite, close the journal to start reeling in the fish. This allows you to catch nearly 4x the fish in the same time, & hit a high fishing level early on. Edit: you need to have a quest in the journal for the button to show up; complete any quest & not collect the reward to keep it there (thanks u/greymeta) patched in 1.4 (thanks u/LandoChronus).
It's possible to reach reach unreachable fishing spots like this by casting your line at an angle. Press the WASD keys once you start casting & it will move the hook slightly in that direction (thanks u/teibbes). Screenshots (thanks u/Kairuni).
Animals & Ranch
Silos can be reloaded not just by cutting grass, but manually from outside & from within a coop/barn. Hold hay & right-click the silo/indoor dispenser to add it to the silo. This allows you to have less silos on your farm. Put a chest down nearby to hold multiple stacks of hay (much larger capacity than a silo) & just reload it when it gets low. Full tip here.
Hold a piece of hay while petting animals to prevent the mood dialog from coming up & pet all quickly.
You can place machines (e.g. mayo) inside barns/coops.
If an animal is blocking your path inside or sleeping in an inconvenient spot, exit the barn/coop & come back to randomise their positions. Also works with pets in your house.
The hitbox for cows is centered on the bottom of their sprite (makes sense: udders). It's fairly large, but does not cover the top of their sprite. To milk them, aim low, below their hooves. There's no specific order between animals, so if there's one you want to hit, aim away from overlaps (thanks u/rabidcow). On PC, get the Better Ranching mod to make this a lot better.
Hold a tool that doesn't have a right-click action (such as the scythe or copper pan) while picking up eggs to prevent the dialog asking you to eat it from coming up (thanks u/KwinAlexander).
You can use symbols when you name your animals. Use the = key to get a star in the name & + for a smiley face (not sure about the console equivalent).
Further to #4, if a really stubborn animal is in your way, you can move them by clicking on their change/barn coop button & cancelling it out. When the screen closes, they will be in a different location (thanks u/aznanywayz).
As of 1.2.x, you can now choose the colour of the animal you buy from Marnie, mentioned on the "choose a new for your " screen. If you don't get the one you want, cancel & re-roll until you do. Source. Relevant Shane's 8-heart event spoiler: this also applies to blue chickens, so you no longer need to depend on the 25% RNG which converts a regular chicken into a blue one.
A floor in the mines containing tons of mushrooms (see video) spawns on a regular, predictable basis. It's very useful for money, completing bundles, & cooking.
You can reset mine levels by re-entering the mine. I farmed iridium fairly quickly by repeatedly reloading skull cavern level 1.
Get the slime charmer ring faster by killing big slimes in the skull cavern (they split into many tiny slimes, each count as 1 kill).
You can till soil in the mines to find artifacts, cave carrots, clay, & geodes.
You can tell the difference between regular rocks & rock crabs in the mines by glancing at their shadow. No shadow = it's a crab. (note: may not work any more). Bonus: hitting a rock crab with a pick will wake it up & it will attack you, but hitting it with a weapon does not (you get the PING & a 0 damage indicator. A bomb or explosive slingshot ammo will shatter the shell, & it'll run away from you instead. Using the pickaxe from above hits them down, so they don't come at you & do damage right away (thanks u/Caillielf). You can use the pickaxe to pop the shell too, though it takes a few swings (thanks u/Isalan).
You can use eggs as slingshot ammo. Hide behind the bushes & egg people (you know you want to). Edit: you can also load it with ore for combat, & explosive ammo makes a decent combat/mining tool (thanks u/pimhazeveld).
Holding C will allow you to spam weapon swings faster than you can manually click. This can make weapons such as daggers much more effective in combat. Also works with any swing-able tool (e.g. scythe).
You can eat something while a bomb explodes to deny the damage & stop time for a bit (if you time it right). It still causes damage & knocks mobs back (thanks u/Joey0312).
You can till dirt at mines, get items, un-till it using the pickaxe, & repeat to get more items (random each time, may include artifacts). Source (thanks u/Alkaizen). Note: this tip's for educational purposes only; even though this is possible, it's not the most efficient way to mine for artifacts. It's much easier to go to floor 15/55/95 (the layout is the same every 40th floor), till the dirt right by the elevator, leave, & come back. The dirt resets every time you go to the floor. This is much less of a drain on energy & time & is the recommended method (thanks u/Zolge).
You can pick up coal from minecarts.
The Valley, Shops & Gifts
You can buy ice cream in non-summer seasons even when no one's manning the stand! Park your horse behind the counter & instead of getting the message that says no one's working there, you can now buy as much as cream as you like, whenever you like. From your horse. This is one of my favourite tips because it's just so random. Source.
You can plant fruit trees outside the farm. (Patched, thanks u/OldManInternetz). If you planted some before the patch, those will remain.
When a villager's heart meter is full, it will no longer decay over time even if you never talk to them.
Buy items from shops in multiples of 5 by holding Shift while right-clicking. Edit: on console, hold ▢/X (thanks u/wohlstand). On Switch, hold A+Y (thanks u/maniolink).
You can put chests & machines almost anywhere in town (chests at the mine entrance/people's houses, kegs in the tunnel, furnaces/kegs at the quarry, worm bins outside Willy's etc.). Remember to store them away from NPC paths (they trample & destroy anything in their way).
Villagers appreciate the star quality of gifts if they are liked/loved.
Due to the internal re-use of some item IDs, you can use certain wallpapers as stand-ins for some items in the game, including the prismatic shard (e.g. giving Haley a specific wallpaper is equivalent to giving her a coconut). If you have a catalogue, you have an unlimited free supply of some neat items & gifts. See video.Note: video contains an animal & quest spoiler!Edit: patched (thanks u/Chenjiringu & u/chalo1227).
You can forage in the trash bins around town for some decent loot. If someone (except Linus) is within 7 tiles when you do it, they'll disapprove & lose some friendship points (line of sight doesn't matter, forage freely).
Clint's ore quests can't be instantly completed with ore you already held or took out of a chest in a stack straight away. Put the stack in a chest & take it out one by one for it to count (video)Edit: dropping the exact amount & picking it back up works too - if you drop & pick up more than what's required at once, it won't register (source). You'll hear a "ding" (journal says "Talk to Clint."). It doesn't matter what you do with the ore now. You don't need to hold it while talking to him or even have it in your inventory (don't risk gifting it to him & making him depressed). Source (thanks u/justintnelson, u/grand_cheesemonger, u/FutureCode, u/diakked, & u/Raichu7).
When you hear a whistle & get a notification saying "a train is passing through Stardew Valley", head up ASAP to the tracks & catch it go by. You might get lucky as it drops some resources. In winter, the train carries presents (just cosmetic but cute).
If you want cash instantly, you can sell directly to Willy & Pierre instead of waiting for the shipping box overnight. Useful in early game if you want money for same-day planted seeds. Edit: you can also sell mine loot, weapons, & shoes at the Adventurer's Guild (thanks u/Caillielf & u/Lykanth), wood/stone to Robin, & ores/minerals/bars to Clint (thanks u/Fiametta37).
Birthday gifts can be given to a villager at any time, regardless of whether you've already given a villager their 2 gifts for the week. Useful to boost friendship quickly, especially for the spring dance.
You can give everyone a bouquet & see all their heart events without penalties before choosing one to give a pendant to.
Remember that the travelling cart comes on Fridays & Sundays & can be very useful in completing community center bundles (especially for off-season goods).
You can access the lower portion of the (mild spoiler, unlockable area after upgrading axe:) secret forest for some more hardwood. If you ever wondered why the wiki claimed you could get 12, this is why.
Make Pam reach the bus stop faster by blocking her path when she's on the way there. She'll run past you. You can also plant a tree in her path to block her to make it more permanent (see #27).
You can complete the crab pot bundle without ever building a crab pot. Cockles can be foraged at the beach & crabs drop from the rock crabs in the mines.
Once a bachelor or bachelorette is at 8 hearts, you can repeatedly give them more bouquets to quickly raise their hearts to ten in the same day. You don't have to wait another potential 2 weeks to see their 10 heart event. It takes approximately 20 bouquets (thanks u/Cocowife).
When trying to complete a community center bundle, check how many blank squares it has. Some bundles show a large list of items needed, but you only need as many items as there are empty squares; you often don't need everything (thanks u/bagelpizzaman).
You don't need to go to the community center (& each room separately) to check on bundle progress. See it at any time by clicking on the bundles button (thanks u/Trayoos).
If you plan to process geodes & upgrade tools on the same day, process the geodes first as Clint will work on your tool only until it's done (thanks u/Lemerney2).
In your co-op partner's house, you'll find a chest inside with level 1 tools to use. This is helpful early in the game your tool is being upgraded at Clint's. Note that you can't upgrade these tools if you've already upgraded the others. For example, if you take a regular watering can to Clint's to get it upgraded to copper, and you already have a copper watering can, steel is the only available option (thanks u/vegankilljoy).
Unlockable area spoiler: if you can't enter the casino, zoom all the way out to be able to interact with the bouncer & the vendor (thanks u/moonlawliet).
Unlockable area spoiler: you can buy deluxe speed-gro at the Oasis on Thursdays for cheaper than at Pierre's (thanks u/FutureCode & u/eyemahdin).
During fairs & events, always remember to check for interactions everywhere. For e.g. the fall fair has a top area that is easily overlooked, near the water fountain. If you ever wondered why Gus, Elliot, Maru, George, & Evelyn were, that's where they went. You can click the grill to get burgers there!
1.1 building spoiler: you can bring your horse with you when you use a warp obelisk, so you're not stuck with having to walk. Park your horse right in front of the obelisk. Dismount (be careful where you click, otherwise you'll warp without your horse). Start walking into it until it shakes & you phase into it, so you occupy the same space as the horse. Click the area that covers both the horse & the obelisk, & as you warp, you will jump on to it. As long as your cursor covers both the obelisk & the horse, you'll be transported with it.Source.
You can plant non-fruit trees outside the farm. Pick a spot, use the hoe to dig there, & plant your maple seed/acorn/pine cone there (thanks u/gridbuster).
Unlockable area spoiler: pay back the cost of the 500 g bus ticket to Calico desert easily by foraging. Even the lowest quality coconut goes for 100 g, so pick up a few coconuts/cacti along your way to the skull cavern (better still process those in preserves jars/kegs), & you can make back the money without much effort, besides any good loot you'll pick up in the skull cavern as well.
To rearrange the museum exhibit, you'll need to have something to donate (to access that screen). If you give your last item to complete the collection & have nothing left to donate, you'll get stuck with that layout, so make sure you set up everything beforehand. PC players can get around this by using the museum rearranger mod which allows you to change the layout at any time.
Unlockable area spoiler: Calico spin at the Casino is the best/only way to make the Qi coins you need to buy everything, & it follows a pattern which can be exploited. Video tutorial (thanks u/KippDynamite). Illustrated tutorial (thanks u/Joey0312). pattern exploit patched in 1.5, but now the game favours the player and is greatly affected by luck (thanks u/Piececrafter).
1.1 quest spoiler: in the witch quest, you have to get past the goblin henchman by giving him void mayonnaise, which is easily obtained by fishing in the swamp right there. The first item you'll catch is void mayo. If you put a chest there & stash it, you can fish another one, stash it & repeat ad infinitum (you get it about 25% of the time).Source (thanks u/Myrandall & u/Nuderval).
Remember that you can regenerate health & energy at the spa by standing still in the pool. While you're there, you can enter the opposite gender's locker room, even though it says you're not allowed in. At the pool, push up at the stairs continuously while spamming the button to dismiss the notification & you'll get through (thanks u/Skinn_Bones). Source.
On the 28th of any season, go to the bush in the little alcove north of the swings/slide in town & click on it at exactly 12:00 pm to get a secret gift! Furniture item: Junimo plush..
Standing at the edge of the map & swinging your tool will allow you to creep forward & escape the map, to do some cool things. Video & source.
The map-escape trick in #34 can also be exploited to get infinite health & energy at the spa. Video & source.
You can force the quality of spring onions to be gold only (especially helpful in early game). Fill up your backpack completely, with a gold quality spring onion in 1 slot (no other type of spring onion in your pack). When you click on a spring onion to pick it up, it will spawn as one of the 3 or 4 qualities. Since different qualities occupy different slots, any time a non-gold quality is spawned, it won't let you pick it up since there's no space. Keep clicking until a gold is spawned, whereupon it will be added to the stack in your pack. The quality also affects how much people like them as gifts. Video & source.
Don't waste resources making chests for community center quest items. You can lock them into the slot as you get them (note multiples need the exact number). That way you don't have to keep track of what you have (thanks u/lolcrunchy).
Unlockable area spoiler: buy Qi coins easily by holding right-click on the coin machine & spamming Y on the keyboard (thanks u/deadline_wooshing_by).
Player, House & Skills
Stay up past 2 am by clicking on the on-screen journal icon (not shortcut key, as with Fishing #4) once you see the pass-out animation begin. You get a short time to get to bed safely before the animation is triggered again (this is repeatable). You still get an energy penalty the next day, but it's better than losing money early in the game. (patched, thanks u/vegankilljoy).
If a pet/villager is blocking your path, keep walking into them. They vibrate at first, & after a moment, allow you to phase through.
Cooking ingredients are pulled from both your inventory & the fridge. I used to put cooked food in the fridge before I realised this. Edit: inventory items are pulled before the fridge (thanks u/Pellantana).
Don't store your legendary fish in the fridge. You might make legendary sashimi by accident. It tastes of regret, & a reloaded day.
Sashimi recipe + crab pots = easy energy. If you have fish that isn't very valuable, make it more profitable by turning it into sashimi. Useful if you have a lot of crab pots.
Foods that give you speed buffs stack with coffee, & the horse. Wiki.
You can place objects on top of & under furniture, even furniture on furniture (e.g. artifacts & decorations on tables, torches underneath tables, & chairs on top of tables). Place a torch behind the Tree of the Winter Star to give it a nice glow.
Rotate furniture with right-click before placing it.
You can hide chests behind bookcases & under tables. Place the chest in the same spot & you can make functional furniture while saving space in the house. To move a hidden chest, pick up the furniture first to get to it. Source.
You can place paths inside the house.
Turn on "always show tool hit location" in settings to better see where tools will hit.
Controller players: do you often find actions taking place outside the spot you're facing? Are you watering a random tile behind/around you instead of the one in front? This happens because your cursor location interferes with where you're facing. The quickest correction is to hit Y/equivalent to bring up your menu/backpack & dismiss it again. This resets your tool hit to the spot you're facing. I made a gif to demo this.
If you randomly/accidentally click things, you might use a tool which costs energy even if it doesn't accomplish anything. Equip a weapon or the scythe instead, which costs nothing to swing.
Hover the cursor over the energy & health bars to see the exact numbers of how much you have & use.
If you lose your scythe (e.g. after passing out in the mines), & can't find it anywhere, you will likely find it in the fridge.
You can change the pitch of flute & drum blocks by right-clicking them. Here's a creative example!
When selecting items from the inventory/chest, you can Shift-click a stack to halve it. Useful if you want to redistribute resources, split stacks, or to get to a certain number quickly (e.g. if you want ~300 wood, halve a 400 stack, drop it in your inventory, & halve the source again for another 100) (thanks u/Ihateleeks).
Some objects, such as campfires, can be placed both inside & outside the house/sheds.
As of 1.2.x, you can use the Del key to trash items in your inventory. You no longer need to drag them into the trash can. Just select the item & press Del.
As of 1.2.x, you can use LB/RB (Xbox controller, tested on PC) to scroll through your three inventory rows, so you have a full new hotbar accessible with the controller without needing to open up the inventory screen (thanks u/fearofthesky). Source. If you are on PC, Rotate Toolbar does the same for KB/M.
Just as you can use Shift to buy items in batches of 5, you can hold Shift while clicking on an item to craft it in batches of 5 instead of 1. Useful for items you usually want to craft a lot of at once, such as fencing (thanks u/spambreakfast).
Remember to have free space in your inventory while picking up presents in the mail from your neighbours. If you don't (or otherwise ESC the screen before collecting it) you'll lose the mail (thanks u/pikaababe).
The year is 2016, Alex Turner has returned home from 30th birthday celebrations to discover a brand-new Steinway Vetregrand piano. It was a gift from his manager, and it opened a whole new world for him. “Looking back now it seems really... significant. It changed everything really.” He states about it within an interview from Mojo Magazine. He was correct. The piano sparked everything to life becoming the “centre of the universe” for the album. Guitars were just not giving him ideas anymore, but the piano was. Stored in a spare bedroom within his LA home, this became “The Lunar Surface” his almost makeshift recording studio. The name coming from the theory that Stanley Kubrick faked the moon landing. Alex even stating to Radio X that, “It was amusing to say, “I’m going down to the Lunar Surface.”” The makeshift studio also helped shape the album title, it was “instrumental” to the process. But the piano wasn’t the only thing within the makeshift studio. There was a drum kit, a Vox Continental organ, and a Tascam 388 eight-track recorder. The eight-track recorder would serve as a substantial part in making the album. “I sat with all my instruments and recorded the songs into the machine. That way, I could hear everything at once, whereas in the past it was all in my imagination until I could play the songs with the band.” He also considered it “a writing tool” as much as a recording tool. Working in isolation, he recorded tapes that would later remain on the record in forms of elements such as vocals and various instrumental parts. The eight-track even served as part of the album cover with the “lobby model” of the Hotel + Casino sitting overtop of it, with an earlier version of the record as the tape on it. The model itself was constructed by Turner. The model itself was birthed from the album title and the fact that this is the 6th Arctic Monkeys album. Thus, explaining the hexagon imagery, 1 side per album. The model first started as cardboard, left over scraps from this model can be seen in a photo from inside the Lunar Surface shot by Zackery Michael. Then it was built more and more until we arrived at the model showcased on the album’s cover. The model has a rotating sign bit that was inspired by the House of Pies rotating sign.
VOX, LA FRETTE, & BRINGING IT TOGETHER (Enter the Others)
Upon assembling some of the track, Alex took them to fellow bandmate, guitarist Jamie Cook. Jamie is considered the “gatekeeper” to band, almost like the human bullshit meter. Alex almost feared that he would underwhelmed with it. But Jamie was the one told Alex, “This is definitely what we should be doing.” This led to the pair adding guitar parts to the songs. The majority of these, like the demo tape vocals, stuck with the album. From here they took the album to Vox Recording Studios on Melrose Ave. in LA, in May 2017. This is where the first full band sessions were recorded. Some of the “more interesting” keyboard sounds within the album came from these sessions. But this did not really work out for the band. So, later in September, the band went to La Frette Studios, a residential recording studio on the outskirts of Paris. This was where the album really came together. The band spent about 5-6 weeks recording here. This was Jamie’s idea. La Frette ended up seeing the band bring in an extra 9 musicians to play with them. This also led to a ‘Pet Sounds’ style of recording. This was a large ensemble recording style with these multiple musicians and the band themselves on multiple different instruments including multiple of the same type. So, 2 drum kits, 3 guitars, a couple of pianos. This did not work for every track but did work for a few. (Specifically, The Ultracheese, but I will talk about this more later) Alex stated to BBC Radio 1 that, “A lot of the energy I feel like came from that session. It was all like together in La Frette.” Some of the La Frette sessions can be seen in the Warp Speed Chic short film shot by Ben Chappell.
THE ALBUM (Natural Progression and Influences)
The album overall is 11 tracks. Many believe that the album is a concept album revolving around the Hotel + Casino, but that is not the case. Each one is a “short story” in the words of Turner. Four Out Of Five and the title tracking being the most connected of the collection. "But in other ways it does seem like a collection of short stories and we named the collection after one of the stories which is this one [Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino]. The other ones belong in the same place as this." (Radio X Track by Track interview). The title of the album itself came from a variety of things. The two most prominent being: the fact it is a “place”, and the location of the Apollo 11 moon landing. One thing should be known about the idea of the hotel and casino being a place, Turner loves to think of albums of places. “I think of some of my favorite records as places that you can go and stay for a while, and sort of spurred me on to give this record the name of a place.” (iHeart) The other part of the name itself coming from the Apollo 11 landing may be considered more interesting. This is due to the fact it may have come from cups themed with the lunar landing. The title of course is not the only interesting thing about the album. The sound itself is a departure from their last, AM. But the band all feel like this was natural progression. But the AM era was where they felt they had went a little too far. Bassist Nick O’Malley told Mojo Magazine that he felt that they had lost the “realness” in a sense with that era. “I think we'd gone as far as we could go. I had these crazy ‘80s hair metal leggings on-stag. I'd worn ‘em on Halloween, which I'd done dressed as Macho Man Randy Savage, the WWF wrestler. That was a big sign that it was time to have a break.” And with that they took a break, a five year long one. Turner himself was also aware that he could not do what he did on AM again, “I was aware of the idea that, I don’t think I could have been singing about the things I was singing about on AM anymore.” (Studio Brussels) This was not the first time the band has faced this “challenge” of switching it up. The same thing had happened with their 3rd album Humbug. Drummer Matt Helders states, “We’ve had that challenge before, after the first album success where we had to just get on and make the second, or else forever be dwelling on it. But this one didn’t feel like that. I mean, maybe there’ll be fans we gained from AM that will be a bit confused now. Like, that was their first experience of the band... ‘and now they’re going this?’” (Mojo Magazine) But the band did not want to make AM 2.0. Guitarist Jamie Cook stated to Mojo Magazine, “If we were worried about that we would never have made Humbug. And to disappear for a couple of years then come back with AM2? I think people have been, ‘Fuck off.’” But of course, this move was not met without criticism. Many fans and critics found themselves in a state of “What the fuck happened to Arctic Monkeys?” upon their new era and album due to the departure of sound from AM. But Turner himself does not see this a full-fledged departure, “There’s an idea that this album’s radically removed from where we’ve been. I can sort of see that, but I don’t think it’s as much of a move as people suggest.” (LA Times) The album takes multiple film influences, science fiction influences, and musical influences from film scores to help make these “short stories”. Science Fiction inspired Turner to explore other worlds to create the album. Worlds he made up as he went along. Three films from Jean-Pierre Melville served as main influences on the album. The films being Un Flic, Le Cercle Rouge, and Le Samouraï. The films mostly center around a jazz club. The set interiors of these films piqued Turner’s interest. “So, when I would sit at the piano and play these types of chords, I was thinking about those Melville interiors a lot.” (Pitchfork) Overall, the sci-fi influenced led to Turner accessing sort of a “vocabulary” to say, that helped paint this picture of this hotel and casino on the moon. The album also has this “magic” that they just could not get upon other recording sessions. This led to many of the demo tapes and early session elements making it to the file cut. They wanted to make an intimate experience but just could not get it to be as intimate as some of the early recording. The album itself is also “autobiographical” in a sense. Turner sees it as him talking to himself all throughout the 11 tracks. But this wasn’t his first time trying to write things towards himself. “I tried to write this kind of thing before, I just didn’t know how to, really. I think I tried and recognized, thankfully, that I wasn’t ready. It's like the natural place to have gone, after that first record, was somewhere around ‘ere.”
STAR TREATMENT Opening the album, we have Star Treatment, an almost 6-minute-long track. The track itself beings with the line “I just wanted to be one of The Strokes.” A polarizing opening line for a polarizing album. This lyric was originally meant to be replaced, but Turner kept it in. He was using the “Scrambled Eggs” method for the album. The “Scrambled Eggs” method comes from Paul McCartney where he used “scrambled eggs” as temporary lyrics while writing The Beatles’ song ‘Yesterday’. This just happened to be one of those lines. But he took a liking to it the more time went on. The Strokes of course were a big influence on the band, they were even coined “The British Strokes” upon debut. But truth is, time has passed since then. About 12 years to be exact. “But when I circled back around to it I felt like it was right where it ought to be because of how it makes me think, “Shit. The last 12 years just flashed by.” There’s an honesty and a truth to it.” (Pitchfork) The passage of time is a constant theme within this track, with references to the ‘70s, the ‘80s. This track was the first thing Turner had written for the album. It came about during the last run of The Last Shadow Puppets (Turner’s side-project with Miles Kane). But this is also the most direct Turner was with himself on the album. Specifically, about songwriting. Lines like “The golden boy’s in bad shape,” refer to the fact he was lost with his songwriting and did not know where to go. But like how the track had started before the album itself had started, there’s a particular line that had existed since 2009. “Here ain’t no place for dolls like you and me,” That was the line. He had tried giving it away to others to put in a track, but no one would take it. So, he saved it because he didn’t have “follow up” per say yet but found it within this track. Another focal point for the track is the lounge singer and his backing band. This lounge singer theme can be seen through, but this is where it starts. This is where the lounge singer gets the name for his band. “I think I like the idea that there would be a longue singer sat at a bar, overhearing somebody being cut off from having another martini and hearing them say “Who are you to cut me off? The martini police?” and then this lounge singer thinking “That would be a good name for my backing band.”” (Radio X) But this track serving as the opening track overall sets a tone for the album. Upon sharing the music with others, they decided this would be the best place to start the album, a way to get people to hear it first and foremost. The other way to do this would have been releasing it as a single. But they took what can be seen a controversial move in this era of streaming and singles being more prominent than albums to release no singles. Like how this track led to Turner writing the rest of the album, it leads you, the listener, into the rest of the album. ONE POINT PERSPECTIVE One Point Perspective is the shortest track on the album, but it does pack quite a bit of a punch. With the title coming from a filming style, specifically one used a lot by Stanley Kubrick, a main influence on the album, we dig a bit more into the sci-fi roots. The track itself focuses on conversations, dreams, and how they are often interrupted. “It was informed perhaps by conversations I may have heard or been involved with. Under the influence of some narcotic draft or another. And fragments of those things are appearing the lyrics on this tune.” (Radio X) The track also focuses briefly on a made-up documentary called “Singsong ‘Round the Money Tree”. “I think specifically in the case of this documentary, there was something else there. And it came from the “If I’m gonna end up singing to a quiet room, like what comes before that.” Perhaps someone had told me they’d been singing along to a score or something.” (Radio X) Of course this brings us to the quiet rooms. What exactly are the quiet rooms? Well they’re exactly what they sound like, literal quiet rooms. But they also refer to isolation experienced by Turner while recording the album. With the vocal takes, especially the early tape ones, it would just be him, alone in the Lunar Surface with his eight-track. Of course, there’s also the line “Bear with me, man, I lost my train of thought.” This one is followed by a pause in the vocals and is usually played up for the live shows, but it represents that spot in a conversation where you really do lose your train of thought. Maybe it’s your mind wandering, maybe it’s that you are being interrupted and then trying to resume what you were talking about but forgot. But, it’s a universal feeling that ties together this track. AMERICAN SPORTS American Sports is an interesting track. Not just musically, but lyrically. Music wise an organ plays a main part in the track. The organ though was strangely organized upon recording. With Turner doing one bar, recording it, stopping, doing another bar. Eventually in later recording sessions they attempted to play it all together but just could not get the same effect/sound as the one from the eight-track tape, so they stuck with that. The vocals were also from the eight-track tape. Lyrical wise the track was pulled together by a line given to Turner from his grandfather. “I visited me Granddad one day and he said to me, ‘You know, I often think of phrases even there that I think you might be able to do something with.’ And I sort of went ‘All right.’ He likes to watch the horse-racing, and he began to tell me that whenever there’s what’s called a ‘steward’s inquiry,’- All you ever hear back after the steward’s inquiry is the phrase ‘the trainer's explanation was accepted by the steward.’ Which, as he said it I just thought was loaded.” (iHeart) This was what sparked the rest of the track. But there’s one question left, what the fuck is Lola? Well, a Lola is his writer’s block. Seen within the chorus with the line “And I never thought, not in a million years, that I’d meet so many Lolas.” He gives the writer’s block a bit of a personification. The track also gives us more callbacks to technology, another overlapping theme within the album. The narrator describes a video call with God, and a virtual reality mask stuck on ‘Parliament Brawl’. The parliament brawl also allows this track to get a little political. This can be seen heavily within the first line of the second verse, “Breaking news, they take the truth and make it fluid,” mostly referring to the phenomena of ‘Fake News’. Overall, the track makes for an interesting take combining writer’s block, political problems, and technology. TRANQUILITY BASE HOTEL + CASINO The title track serves as the fourth track to the album. Opening with imagery of Jesus in a day spa. But the track itself is built upon the idea of the character Mark. Mark of course is a character in the track who answers phones, mostly stating the name of the hotel and casino while asking where he can direct your call. First Turner pictured Mark at this phone, then he pictured where the phone was after that. This led of course to the album title, but it also leads back into the track itself. This of course is played off well in the video, but we’ll get to that in a bit. As the track builds you a bit more of this world of the hotel and casino on the moon, it also leads to some interesting lines. One in particular being “Kiss me underneath the moon’s sideboob.” Question of the year being, what the fuck is the moon’s sideboob? Well, the term was coined by guitarist Jamie Cook. “There was a really thin crescent moon in the sky, which Jamie from the band described as the moon's sideboob and I thought that was like quite profound.” (Studio Brussel) Another odd line within the track is “Technological advances really bloody get me in the mood”, this is a bit of a satire. But is also a slight observation. This observation being that technology sometimes changes society, especially when advances are made. These changes can be reflected in the way we talk to others, the way we act, and many other aspects of our life that we may not fully realize at first. For the record though, technological advances do not turn him on. Onto the video, this was the second single from the album, and the second video. The video was released on the 23rd of July. Directed by Ben Chappell and Aaron Brown, the video continues an overlapping Kubrick inspired theme. Unfortunately, Turner is the only one from the band who fully makes an appearance in the video. The others are briefly shown through footage from their BCC Maida Vale Studios session appearing on displays though out the “sets”. Throughout this video there’s sections where the track and video break a bit for some flashing red lights followed by some “doots” taking over the audio, like the Four Out of Five video. The video was filmed at the Peppermill Reno, a hotel and casino within Las Vegas, Nevada. The Peppermill Reno were nice enough to write a blog post about the video breaking down the locations of the video. The video took two days of film to shoot within the area. The first location they filmed at was the Fireside Longue. This is the first time Turner, playing out the character of Mark, is handed a phone. The phone was handed to him by a worker from the Café Milano within the hotel and casino. Two different suites are featured throughout the video. The first being the Safari Adventure Suite. This is home to many of the hot tub scenes. The other being the Roman Opulence suite, this was the all gold room. There’s also the elevator shots that came from the 17th floor elevators. The wandering around the hotel and casino shots, mostly shot within the cube bar and the island buffet. And some phone call answering with the Tuscany Tower’s courtesy phone. There’s one other particular phone scene within this video I decided to save for last due the fact that it is going to come up a bit later. The second phone call is answered within a replica of the 1966 Batmobile via the Batphone. This serves as a nice callback to one of the later tracks on the album titled, Batphone. During these shots he also is fake driving with a projected image of a tunnel in the background, this also comes up in the Four Out of Five video, but we’ll get into that on that track. GOLDEN TRUNKS Believe it or not this the “love song” on the album. Yeah. The track is described by Turner as being a conversation between him and an unnamed female character he is falling for. But that all gets overshadowed by the semi-titular line, “The leader of the free world, reminds you of a wrestler wearing tight golden trunks.” The line does steal the show for being out there in a sense. The beginning of the line is a bit cumbersome to say the least, but it is almost melodic in another sense via the delivery. But this overall is just another part of the conversation with this female character. It may even be part of her imagination, you know, something she’s saying. Almost giving us a retrospective into her thoughts, feelings, and sense of humor. This all leads towards the bridge of the track. “Bendable figures with a fresh new pack of lies, Summat else to publicise, I'm sure you've heard about enough.” Almost showing us how fast the conversation is moving along. But also showing that you get to a point where you don’t know what to believe in the conversation or really what to believe in the track. The bridge also brings another interesting point forward. The words in particular, ‘Bendable Figures’ was almost the track’s title. “Which was because, someone got me a toy Batmobile, and it came with bendable figures of Batman and Robin, I assume, among others possibly. I’ve made a bit of a name for me since, and I mean, I am a fan of the old Batman book. I remember looking at this box and on the box it said ‘bendable figures’ and I don’t know. The news might have been on in the background, and here we are.” (iHeart) Another interesting point of the track is how straight the narrator and this female character are with each other. They both are basically telling each other that they fantasize about each other. She says it by whispering in his ear, he says it by responding to her straightly. FOUR OUT OF FIVE Another track with an interesting open, this one was originally different lyric-wise. Originally the words were ‘Karaoke and raspberry beret, in imaginative ways, and I get signed right then and there by a hotshot executive / I wasn’t expecting it that easy.’ Quite a departure from the final version that appears on the track. Four Out of Five served as the first single to the album. The track describes a taqueria on the roof the Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino, and more particularly how it is boasting four stars out of five. Mostly just how perfect scores are unattainable so a four of five is great enough, “Because the people that are in charge of giving the scores, they never give a perfect hundred.” (Beats 1) The taqueria itself is named “The Information-Action Ratio” this comes from Neil Postman's book ‘Amusing Ourselves to Death’. “I was attracted to the idea as soon as I heard that phrase; even though it was in this book from  it still seemed relevant—more relevant than it probably was when the guy made it up.” (Pitchfork) The phrase itself explains that we don’t need the vast amount of information we receive and that we don’t do much about this information. But it’s a great name for a taqueria on the roof of a hotel and casino on the moon. The track itself also gives us more of the story about the hotel itself. Mostly its location, other than the moon itself. We learn that the entire moon is getting gentrified due to an exodus. There’s also a really cool play musically where the last chorus literally is lifted up another semitone after it’s said at the end of the bridge. Onto the video for this one, the Kubrick fantasy filming begins here. Directed by Ben Chappell and Aaron Brown, the video was released on the 13th of May. The video was filmed at the Castle Howard in Yorkshire and the Munich Marienplatz station in Munich, Germany. The video starts with Turner playing a piano but then stopping to go look at the model of the hotel and casino. Throughout this video there’s sections where the track and video break a bit for some flashing red lights followed by some “doots” taking over the audio. Then, the video sees Turner taking the role of a director for some “Video Lifestyle Packages” for the hotel and casino. But it also gives us two different Turners. One with a beard, one without. The two doing seemingly parallel tasks within different areas. The other band members are also seen within the video, mostly jamming out. Especially with the nice little jam session with beardless Turner in the end. Due to the fact there’s two seemingly different Turners this has led to fan theories surrounding the video. Some stating that maybe the hotel and casino is some cover up for a mental hospital, another stating that maybe it’s both sides of his life (regulaprofessional). Assistants are also seen throughout the video setting up sets and other things, almost as if this was a film set. There’s also one scene in particular I’d like to touch on, the car scenes. This one is a bit important because it almost calls back the “haunt you via the rear-view mirror” line from Star Treatment. This scene was originally intended to be used in a video for Star Treatment, but they used it here instead. Overall, the video a bit of a visual treat with its cues from Stanley Kubrick and was more than a fitting visual return for Arctic Monkeys going into this era. THE WORLD’S FIRST EVER MONSTER TRUCK FRONT FLIP Yeah that’s a title to get your attention. The title comes from the actual event of the world’s first ever monster truck front flip. This was something that had caught Turner’s interest and will probably catch yours too upon just reading it. Sure, he may have only watched the video once, but the headline itself was what caught his attention. Later on, he used it create the base for what he was imagining with the track. “I think I imagined a sort of old presidents’ men style news room with just enough men in there. And sorta trying to get the editors attention like “You'll never believe it, somebody's done it forwards” and I think going off in my mind, perhaps and I thought, I don't know... It seems like that's where were at now innit, that sort of things are happening." (Radio X) The track itself lyrically describes TECHNOLOGY. More specifically, how people love their devices. “You push the button and we’ll do the rest” a repeating line that refers to how we’ve gotten so far that you can just push a button, and something will happen. Whether it be something within an app or data storage. Data storage is another important theme within the track. Our data is being stored everywhere. The track uses the data storage as a metaphor in many ways, with things like someone trying to breach into it. But overall the track itself just shows us how technology is changing us, references to technology changing us lie throughout. But we also see a bit of a jab at how no one wants to explain what the technology is exactly doing, “There are things that I just cannot explain to you, and those that I hope I don’t ever have to.” This wraps everything back around because it ties into the theme of just pushing a button and having everything done for us. We don’t see the background process, we don’t know what exactly they do, we just know that we can push a button and it will be done. SCIENCE FICTION True to the title, the track explores the themes of Science Fiction. Science Fiction is the “lobby model” of the album, as in it brings it all together. The track started with the idea of exploring Sci-Fi further and exploring worlds created from this, same with the album. One of the things in particular that sparked this was the Fassbinder film ‘World on a Wire’. Sci-Fi takes these themes and attempts to connect them to the real world and even Tranquility Base. Continuing the overarching theme of technology, this one takes the focus on how we’re viewing society due to technology, again. Making light touches on religion, we can see how in this “area” per say, science has won. But we also see how it feels like Sci-Fi is taking over in the form of a reality that feels strange and almost fictional at points. Technology keeps becoming a bigger part of our lives to the point where it almost disconnects us in a way. The narrator in this track wants to avoid that, he wants to stay within the life of his love. But it’s hard with things changing so much and society also changing. He states that he wants to make a “simple point” about peace and love but not too obviously. And this track almost feels like that point. But then it takes a bit of a turn at the end. We see the narrator take this back a bit and Turner begin to doubt if he’s wandering on too much with the track itself. “So, I tried to write a song to make you blush. But I’ve a feeling that the whole thing, may well just end up too clever for its own good.” Describing it as too clever shows that he feels like he’s overthinking it all. With a track with an almost double meaning like this it is a bit easy to understand why it may be “too clever”. SHE LOOKS LIKE FUN Ah yes, the rock and roll song of the record. Or well, the rock and roll without the roll. IT’S ALL ROCK MUSIC TO ALEX TURNER DAMMIT. This track has been described as frenzy but controlled. The structure of the track itself reflects that, “It goes like 3 verses in this tune before anything else changes. And I think like by that third one you get this sense of like you shouldn't be doing it again, it's time to move somewhere else. And eventually it does happen.” (Radio X) The main idea for this track came from the fact we almost create these “characters” within the virtual world. You know, your online presence through social media. The title itself is refrained throughout the track as the chorus and refers to how we just look a photo and decide what people are like. In this case the female titular character of the track is described to look like “fun”. Furthermore, this is joined but what may seem to be a non-sensical string of words. But, it’s meant to represent scrolling through a social feed like Instagram. “As far as the “cheeseburger” line, I was actually watching an episode of the show “High Maintenance,” and there’s a part where the person’s taking their picture with a cheeseburger and posting it and all this.” (Pitchfork) The verses focus more on the internet culture and the behavior of those within. Whether this behavior be something like a VR experience of New Year’s Eve at Bruce Wayne’s Manor or being a dickhead to someone. It’s about how we can almost do whatever we want with almost no restrictions in this virtual landscape. The bridge brings it to a point where we realize, it almost feels like everything is online nowadays. This follows by some lines of Turner criticizing himself for constantly talking about marital arts to people in bars. This mostly draws from Turner’s frequent kickboxing sessions. “Maybe sometimes I put stuff into a song to stop myself from doing it - I think I’m just realising that’s true. Like there’s a line in the middle of She Looks Like Fun about waffling on to strangers about martial arts in bars, and that was definitely something I was doing a lot of and was aware I needed to stop doing.” (Mojo Magazine) Also this marks the second time within the album where he says something regarding the music and it happens. This time being in the form of a key change. The last chorus features a key change that is in time with him stating it in the track. BATPHONE The all mighty Batman comes into a focus theme upon this track! Okay... Barely. A “Batphone” in the sense of this track is a direct line to Turner via his phone. The track deals with analysis and criticism of technology all at once. Opening on Turner realizing that he can just use a search engine to find a more interesting word to describe what he’s trying to say. Which, it wasn’t always like this, there was a time where you’d have to go through whole thesauruses to find this interesting words or phrases. Now they’re just a click/tap/touch away. Moving along we see that the narrator in the track specifically is of high class, stating that there’s much to discuss over a game of golf. Of course, that is phrased better within the track itself but for simplicities sake I’m just going to leave it at that. Then he gets into the fact life is a “spectator sport”. Through social media we sit and watch other people’s lives unfold like watching a sport almost. Then we get to a line that may seem more polarizing that it is. “I launch my fragrance called ‘Integrity’ I sell the fact that I can’t be bought.” Upon hearing this line for the first time you may think “What the fuck kind of pretentious bullshit is this trying to be?” Well, that’s exactly where you’re wrong. The idea of a fragrance called ‘Integrity’ is literally just that. “With something like that, I can’t sit here and tell you I wanted to make some comment about integrity and my relationship to it, and then make a fucking perfume out of it and write a smart-ass line like that. It’s more like I see the shape of the letters of “integrity” on the perfume bottle in my mind’s eye—once you know what that font looks like, then it writes itself after that.” (Pitchfork) Yeah, the line came from the visualization of perfume literally called ‘Integrity’. (Which, hilariously, there is one now called that.) Back to the lyrics, we see Turner talk about how he got “sucked into a hole” through a handheld device, this means his phone. Of course, we do all get a bit sucked into our phones now and again. It happens. And now it’s easier than ever. This being due to things like updates to make it easier to access things. The glow of the low beams within this track may be the car lights of your lover. But we do know that he will be by the Batphone if you need to get a hold of him at all. With our phones so close to us at all times, it’s almost like we all have personal Batphones. Then we get into how phones have changed over time. Coining them as “re-decorated” with new lights and sidebars upon them changing. Back the chorus again we see Turner sitting in his living room, with blinds closed, watching the lights of cars going by, but knowing that he'd know those of the car of his lover. Ending upon the panoramic windows again. These are said to be “looking out across your soul”, this is simply just our phone screens. They’re glass, windows are glass. But we look and see things on display including our souls, you know, our lives. Thus, making your soul being put on display through these “windows”. Sure, it’s not just your own soul, there are other people in this world, but it’s important you know that it is yours first and foremost on display. Always remember, whatever you put online, others will see. THE ULTRACHEESE Our closing track is a something that could be called Turner’s “Default Position” at this rate. But that does not mean it’s a bad thing. This track in particular is one where we see the Pet Sounds influenced recording style come to life, with multiple drum kits, multiple guitars, and pianos within the recording. The track sees Turner reflect on his past and how things have changed overtime. The title comes from the fact that the track may be a bit too “Cheesy” for everyone except himself. Songwriting of course has changed over time the most for him, upon talking about old tracks he stated, “It feels like we’re doing a cover or something when we play the first album, really, but that’s fine. I don’t hate doing that. It’s just come to the point where I play ‘Mardy Bum’ or something like that and it doesn’t even feel like mine anymore.” (BeatRoute) He feels disconnected from his old lyrics, which is sad but true statement. Of course, this track also touches quickly upon the themes of technology and politics throughout the track. But overall, it’s more just a personal reflection upon everything. Turner even describes himself as not being deep in thought, even if it looks like he was. He’s just living his life, good or bad, it’s just how everything is going down. The track ends the album on the line “I’ve done some things that I shouldn’t have done, but I haven’t stopped loving you once.” We all have things we regret in our lives. Sometimes that shit gets us out of nowhere and ends up on our minds. But we also see Turner telling his lover that he just loves them throughout it. Throughout all the good, the bad, the dirty bullshit, he still loves them.
THE B-SIDE (Anyways)
Yeah I was not finishing this without talking about the B-Side that was released with the title track on the 7” single. The B-side is titled ‘Anyways’ and was cut from the album. “I had a song that didn’t make this record with lyrics that mentioned both Bing Crosby and Randy Newman. And I just thought, You can’t do that. You can have one or the other. Just fucking calm down! You don’t want to make a song too lumpy.” (Vulture) Anyways here means the topic of a conversation and trying to change it. The narrator keeps trying to change the conversation. This can be seen throughout the track with a change in subject seemingly every few lines. One minute talking about toga parties, the next asking about if Mum and Dad are doing well. It’s just topic after topic in this “race” to Anyways. Technology appears again, with a quick mention of oversharing, something that is prevalent throughout the world of social media. Going back the Four Out of Five video from earlier we have a quick mention of a double life. This of course being the public/personal personas or home/professional personas. Much of the rest of the track just shows Turner bearing his all out there for everyone to see and making light of this. “You sort of reveal a piece of something as you’re writing and recording it. Then you find what you’re attracted to, scribble away a bit more of the dust and discover a bit more of the picture. Gradually, it becomes what it is. Each time you reveal another bit of it, it commits you to take the next step.” (BeatRoute) Some argue that this would have made a more “fitting” close for the album than The Ultracheese, other argue that it could have fit in literally anywhere on the album. Overall, I’m just glad it did get released it in the end.
REFLECTIONS IN THE SILVER SCREEN (An Outro)
I first listened to the album when it leaked. Shit on me all you want but I was just so curious. The whole no singles thing intrigued me alongside the sci-fi theme. I was looking for something different and I found it with this album. At the time did I know this was going to be my album of the year? No. Fuck, I barely knew anything about AM at the time apart from Do I Wanna Know?. I coined it as something along the lines of “What Death of A Bachelor could should been.” Turner constantly describes this album as one where he wanted to take people to a place, to this imaginary hotel and casino, and I was taken there upon first listen. I felt like I was sitting, watching a longue singer belt out tunes about his life. Of course, now on the right night I can recreate that feeling, but not always. But the album has just stuck me. Sure, many upon first hearing it found it off putting, but I loved it since first listen. If anything, this album was what made me a fan. This is what me look at AM and go “There’s something here I was missing.” Sure, it did take me months to act upon that, but I’m glad I did. Do I know where AM are going to go next? No. I don’t think any of us really do anymore. This album proved how unpredictable it is to calculate Arctic Monkeys in a way. Maybe the next record will be guitar based again, maybe not. We’ll only know when it comes, no matter how far away that is.
Free 30+ page travel guide about Budapest, Hungary and bits of Central Europe. Enjoy! Information correct as of summer 2020. If you find anything incorrect or would like to make requests, suggestions (or just want to say hi), please do that here! You should also drop by in /budapest to see past questions and to get advice from multiple people. I would also greatly appreciate your post-trip feedbacks about whether my recommendations worked out for you or not! Restaurants, clubs can undergo radical changes and it's not always possible to keep track of every single one. The local charity I support is the Hungarian Food Bank Association. For every €1 donated they are able to save €30 worth of perishable food and have it reach underprivileged Hungarian families. If you find this guide useful, please consider donating to them! Some links use URL-shorteners, so I could track how many of you are using this guide. Nothing fishy waiting for you behind them. See my suggestions in the comments below about:
===CORONA RESTRICTIONS=== The situation is subject to change momentarily, this information is current as of September 2020. Eastern Europe as a whole has largely been spared from the worst of it, including Hungary, and the risk of transmission is low. Presently foreigners are banned from entry altogether. Exceptions are in place for people with ties to the country (family members, studies, work, those holding residence permits), and people transiting by car on designated highways. The situation will be revised monthly, with experts saying the second peak is expected for December-January. In the country, you need to wear a mask on public transport, inside shops, malls, cinemas, museums. You don't need to wear them inside restaurants, cafes, bars, but they must close by 23.00. Social distancing rules are in place, but largely ignored. ===END OF CORONA RESTRICTIONS=== Hungary has a continental climate with 4 seasons. Summer is the main season, a slightly less busy time to visit is April to mid-June and September to October, but the weather is less predictable. Those uncomfortable with 30+C (>85F) temperatures should visit around then as 35+C (>95F) is not uncommon in the summer. November through March has -5 to 10 (20-50F) and possibly gloomier weather – but fewer tourists. Currency: the Hungarian Forint (HUF, Ft). Fair exchange rates for Euros is around 330-335Fts, for US Dollars around 300. Only use currency exchanges where the buy/sell spread isn't greater than 5-6Fts for these two currencies! Citizens of 62 countries do not require a visa to enter the Schengen Area and can stay for maximum 90 days within a rolling 180-day window. See here if you don’t know what that entails. EU member countries that are not members of the Schengen Area are Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania, and the United Kingdom, visits to these do not count toward your 90 days. Non-EU countries part of the Schengen Area are Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, visits to these do count toward the cap. Because we both know you want to do your own research, use:
WeLoveBudapest, the definitive city magazine in English, from top lists to current events,
Offbeat Budapest, a new site with the author’s finger very much on the city’s pulse,
Spotted by Locals, for even more local insight. Their offline city guide is worth $3.99.
TripAdvisor, a small number of reviews might be bought, but no other site competes with their sheer volume of input. Be skeptical of places with unbalanced (90+% 5-star) reviews, the remaining ones should be accurate.
See the city in 4K, or with Rick Steves. However nothing beats having a physical guidebook in your hand! Lonely Planet has the best and most recent issue. Read up on the concept of coconut and peach cultures, as sometimes the reserved and distant behaviour of locals can be misinterpreted by ‘peach’ visitors as rudeness – nope! This is a comprehensive itinerary, but leaves out the best museum of the city: the House of Terror, a solemn museum of the Nazi and Soviet occupation and crackdowns (get the audio guide or be prepared to peruse dozens of pamphlets). There's an attendance limit, so you might need to wait up to 30-45 minutes to get in when it's the busiest. When you are around Deák Ferenc tér, drop by in the Tourinform office (Sütő utca 2., the small street near the church) to stock up on free maps, printed guides of the city. WeLoveBudapest prints a comprehensive and free one every year around June. I suggest 4 full days to discover Budapest, or 3 faster paced ones. Make it 5-7 if you'd like to make a few daytrips (Szentendre - open-air ethnographic museum, cobblestoned, quaint center, Esztergom - Central Europe's largest cathedral and religious center, Visegrád - medieval castle, Eger - medieval castle and wine region). Most of Hungary’s highlights can be visited in 2 weeks. For more details on countryside and international trips, see my comment below. Meal times and habits are typical to central Europe: breakfast is usually done at home, not much of a culture of eating out in the morning. But a large number of new wave breakfast places have popped up in the past years, which offer ample opportunities for visitors, normally from 8am. Lunch is at midday, after 1pm most places are going to be fairly empty and many will stop serving lunch after 2pm. The standard time for dinner is 7pm, bookings for later than 8pm are unusual. Lots of restaurant kitchens close at 10pm (with the restaurant following suit 30-60 minutes later), finding a meal after that hour is challenging for anything other than street food. Baths Gellért is the most aesthetic, Széchenyi the largest and most popular among foreigners (Sparty can get crazy with lots of drinking, puking and sex going on in the pools, but it is wildly overpriced and 100% aimed at visitors). Rudas is a Turkish hamam with swimwear optional, single-gender weekdays (women-only on Tuesdays, coed and swimwear-mandatory on the weekend). Lukács is plain and personally I’m not a fan of it – tourists only visit it because it’s included free with the Budapest Card. For more details on the baths, see this. For off the beaten path sights, ride the D11 or D12 public boat lines for a cheap alternative to paid cruises (travelcards only valid on weekdays, otherwise 700Ft), check out the Pinball Museum, Hospital in the Rock or check out this section for a lot more off the beaten path ideas. Shopping Hungary has the world’s highest effective VAT (=sales tax) at 27%. Non-EU/EEA tourists are eligible for VAT refund on their qualifying purchases if they complete the paperwork (min. €175 value per transaction, passport+reclaim form stamped by customs official). The most popular and best accessible mall of the city is WestEnd on Nyugati tér. Arena Plaza is larger by floor area and carries a couple brands that can’t be found elsewhere, but is less centrally located (10min walk from Keleti train station). Don’t expect to find bargains on clothing or electronics, prices are similar to Western Europe and over North American or Asian ones. For more information on shopping and VAT refund, see here. Paprika Market is a decent souvenir shop in the sea of overpriced, terrible quality crap on Váci utca. Magma Gallery for contemporary and affordable jewelry, ceramics and home decor items by local designers is just one street over on Petőfi Sándor utca. Check out the antique bookstores alongside Múzeum körút between Astoria and Kálvin tér, some have Socialist-era posters available for sale from 30€ and up, that could be a unique gift/home decor to take home. Ecseri road flea market for more antiques, go early on Saturdays. Hungarian cuisine is hearty and filling, with a heavy use of meats. Must-try foods are:
Hortobágy crêpes: Hungary's more sophisticated answer to enchiladas, these savory crepes filled with either stew or minced meat covered in creamy paprika sauce make excellent starters or even entrée.
pörkölt/paprikás: a thick stew without or with sour cream mixed in and what the rest of the world incorrectly believes goulash is – my favorite is catfish with curd cheese&dill noodles, though beef, chicken and the inferior pork are more commonplace
roast sausage and blood sausage (hurka-kolbász): the breakfast of champions! Ideally eaten at an authentic butchershop like Pinczi or Balla with a side of pickled veggies, mustard (or horseradish) white bread and cold beer at 8am on a Saturday.
everyone’s favorite street food, lángos: Hungarians only eat it with salt, garlic, sour cream and/or cheese, the Frankensteinian concoctions with sausage or kebab toppings are 100% aimed at tourists
Somló trifle: a scrumptious walnut sponge dessert with chocolate sauce and whipped cream
Chimney cake: a sweet, spiral pull-apart bread baked over charcoal, rolled in the topping of your choosing (typically nuts, cinnamon, vanilla sugar, cocoa, coconut flakes)
For authentic recipes, recommendations for recipe blogs or cookbooks, tips for cooking traditional Hungarian meals, see here For edible souvenirs to bring home with you:
Pick winter salami: only choose the original, typically ~6000/kg, comes in sizes of 380, 800 and 1250g and in trays (100 and 250g). The brand has a deli & store (working with regular prices) on Kossuth tér, next to the Parliament, open from 7am on weekdays for breakfast and lunch.
Tokaji dessert wine: aszú being the premium product with the at least 4 puttony varieties suggesting quality, but they make regular whites as well, so check the label. Should cost at least 3-4000 per bottle. Suggested wineries: Disznókő, Oremus, Dereszla. Avoid: Royal Tokaji
Premium pralines in lovely, traditional packaging from Stühmer.
Grocery stores include Spar, Tesco, Aldi and Lidl. Avoid CBA and Coop, low quality for high prices. Small convenience stores, many 24/7, also dot the city at higher prices. The most popular and best accessible mall of the city is WestEnd on Nyugati tér. Alcohol is sold at every one, but some (mostly residential) districts enact a ban on the sale between 22.00-06.00. The central Pest districts don’t have such limitations in place. Tobacco is sold at tobacconists (‘nemzeti dohánybolt’ ). These shops are also exempt from the evening alcohol sale ban if you find yourself in such a district. Flavored cigarettes are banned in Hungary, so no Black Devils or Sobranies. Budgets (per person) For reasonable comforts, I would suggest aiming for at least €50 per day excluding accommodation. Hotel prices significantly vary in and outside high season.
Shoestring: <€50 (hostel dorm €10, attractions €5+, meals and entertainment €10+)
Mid-range: €75-150 (1/2 of hotel room or great Airbnb €30+, attractions €20+, meals and entertainment €25+)
In comfort: €150+ (1/2 of comfy hotel €75+, attractions €30+, meals and entertainment €50+)
Getting around Do not buy the Budapest Card, it is not a bargain, even if every travel blogger seems to think otherwise! You would need to visit at least 3-4 museums a day to break even and the free visit to the pretty plain Lukács Baths could mean you’d deny yourself going to the much more interesting mainstream alternatives, such as Gellért or Széchenyi. The discounted museums are second-rate and typically not what most visitors choose to hit up on their own. Do buy a public transport travelcard, the 1, 3 or 5-day unlimited options require no validation or ID (common reasons for fines). For week-long stays, the 7-day travelcard needs an ID number and that you have the document on you at all times. Please do not try to get around by using single tickets! The travelcards are economical (from €5/24h to €15/week) and easy to use: no validation, you just show it to the controllers. Validity starts immediately by default, or you can select a later starting date (always from midnight). 7-day and monthly passes require an ID/passport number, and you must have the ID on you whenever you travel, otherwise you risk getting fined! Groups of 4 or more can also buy the even more economical '24h group travelcard', but all persons must travel together using that. Common reasons for fines
Forgetting to validate single or transfer tickets
Entering the subway station without a valid ticket
Not having the ID on you for the 7-day travelcard or monthly passes (if you are fined for this, you have 2 business days to present it to the central BKK office for a reduced fine)
Ticket inspectors (must have an anonymized badge and armband) are notoriously brash, speak subpar English. Paying on the spot lets them give you a discounted fine of 8000 instead of the regular 16000 through postal order or wire transfer, they aren't looking to scam you if they offer you that. Fines are pursued internationally through collection agencies, multiplying the original amount once their fees are added. Cheapest way to get to the city from the airport is by public transport. I suggest paying the 900Ft supplementary ticket for the 100E bus. The southern portion of the M3 subway is under reconstruction, during that period the 200E buses go beyond their usual terminus, Kőbánya-Kispest and take you to Nagyvárad tér station, where the subway runs from. The purple ticket machines at the airport and all over the city take chipped cards. Shuttle bus is a good compromise between price and comfort and depart when full or close to. Ignore touts walking up to you offering cabs in the arrival hall, use the official Főtaxi booth immediately outside the building. Rates are centralized: flagfall 700Ft, 300Ft/km, 75Ft/min waiting. The fair price to the centre is around 7-9.000Fts. Rides inside the centre are typically under 3.000. All taxi companies have passable reputations with a few horror stories about each, Főtaxi (+36-1-222-2222), 6x6 Taxi (+36-1-666-6666), City Taxi (+36-1-211-1111) are a few. There are some stories of even company cab drivers trying to rip off naive-looking tourists, especially around train and bus stations, so consider legal Uber-alternative Taxify/Bolt (Android, iOS). Uber is banned. Most companies have apps, but they have terrible design and might set an unchangeable pick up location 5-10 minutes away from you. It’s much better to order by phone, they have English-speaking operators. If you must use an app, choose Taxify. Scams Cabbies are the only ones eclipsing the ticket inspectors in notoriety. I cannot emphasize enough: DO NOT USE THE ONES WITH ‘FREELANCER’ ON THE FRONT DOORS!!! These drivers are nicknamed 'hyenas', work independently, they always have rigged meters and are known to sometimes assault customers who don’t comply with their ridiculous demands. If you hail on the street, be absolutely certain you’re getting into a company cab (logo on the front doors). A known scam by the hyenas, fraudsters and illegal street exchangers is giving you worthless currencies with similarly high denominations as the Forint – namely the Indonesian Rupiah or the old Belarusian Ruble. Bag handlers at the airport steal from unsecured luggage. Never put any valuables in your checked luggage! Overly friendly, attractive women approaching you in broad daylight 'to practice their English' and taking you to scammy cafés where you'll be charged €300 for a bottle of bottom-shelf champagne are also to be avoided. Recently a Redditor reported the same happening to him through Tinder, so be very suspicious of anyone insistent on going to a particular establishment. The scam café was Hajós Café on Hajós utca. Another known scam location is Café Fidelité on Révay utca. Otherwise general safety cautions should be exercised: watch your valuables in crowded spaces for pickpockets, be wary of overly friendly strangers approaching you and introducing the idea of going to a club or bar by their 5th sentence or of people pretending to be authority. Policemen typically wear dark blue uniforms and white shirts , sometimes with a visibility vest and can be identified by the numbered metal badges on their chest and their separate police ID card which you can ask to inspect before complying with their orders. Scammers use fake police IDs to part you with your cash under the guise of inspecting the notes for counterfeits. Always ask to see it first: this is real, this is fake – notice where the real one has a serial number, the fake says POLICE. If the issue is anything halfway serious, ask to be escorted to the nearest police station – it will scare away scammers playing dress up. The emergency number is 112 for police, ambulance or firefighters, there are English-speaking operators (works throughout the EU). If you get pickpocketed, notify both the police and in case of losing your travel documents, your embassy. Thieves are usually courteous enough to leave papers near trash bins, so walk around in the neighbourhood to see if you can recover them. If you find someone else’s, hand in to the nearest police station. Getting around the city is easy, Budapest has one of the best public transport systems of the continent. Use Google Maps for orientation and getting around! Tickets and passes with rates are listed here. All EU/EEA citizens aged 65+ travel for free on all Hungarian public transport, including trains, distance buses. Picture ID and administrative 0 Ft ticket required. Age 65 is not included. Student discounts are available to full-time students in EU/EEA countries with a valid student ID. If it doesn’t have it, also carry a picture ID. EU citizenship not required, you only need to study there full-time (not applicable for exchange students unless they get ID issued). The monthly student pass (3450) is cheaper than the 72h travel card (4150) for identical benefits. The 4 subway lines are coded by numbers and, unofficially, colour (1-yellow, 2-red, 3-blue, 4-green). The busiest, M3, is under renovation until 2021, but remains in partial operation, see details here. The entire line shuts down after 8pm and all day on weekends (replacement buses operate), and one section of the line is always out of service. For 2019 it’s the southern segment, between Kőbánya-Kispest and Nagyvárad tér. During this time the 200E airport bus will take you to the more central Nagyvárad tér stop (from where the subway runs) instead of its regular terminus of Kőbánya. In Budapest driving is not recommended for the perpetual lack of parking spaces, congestion and because there's really no need to. If you must arrive by car, pick a hotel with parking, use the free parking lot at Kelenföld subway station, street-parking by StarPark at Podmaniczky utca at ~€8/24h, or opt for a more central location (such as one of CarE Park’s garages ) at ~20€/24h, €100/week and do not use it for getting around in the city. Public areas are metered in the entire centre, typically charging 1.5€/h with a cap of 3 hours on a ticket. The Bubi city bike system is available for anyone’s use. The rates are very favourable (500Ft for 1-day, 1000 for 3 for the pass), but a deposit of €80 will be docked when you register and might take a few weeks to release. First 30 minutes are free, after it's 500Ft/30min on top of the daily pass' price. Two e-car sharing systems compete in Budapest. I suggest using MOL Limo, as you can complete your licence verification remotely (do it before arrival, they might take a day or three if they are backlogged). Despite the name, the cars are tiny, automatic VW up!s, the majority electric and all automatic. Age limit 18, min. 1-year old national licence, foreign ones accepted, €20 registration fee and €0.25/min rate. Coverage includes basically every area of note to tourists in the centre, except the Castle and underground garages (as well as the airport). Expansion is planned for the future. You cannot park (leave the car) outside the coverage area, but you can drive through. Sightseeing The best rated tour bus company is Big Bus, Giraffe (aka. the red Hop On Hop Off ones) tends to get mixed-to-negative reviews. Segway tours also available. Free thematic walking tours of the city depart in front of the lion fountain on Vörösmarty tér daily. A tip of 2000-2500Ft/person suggested, but they're are chill about it, you can give less if you're on a budget. River cruises run during the day and the evening, including dinner (usually not great, save for one) or party in the latter case. The most popular is Legenda, partiers choose Boat Party. One standout cruise is Pannónia Gastro Boat that goes above and beyond the standard quality of service of other operations and often host guest chefs from innovative countryside restaurants. Public transport alternative is the D11 or D12 boat lines between Boráros tér going up to Népfürdő utca (or getting off at Jászai Mari tér or Margaret island 1 or 2 stops prior). Tram 2 between Jászai Mari tér and Boráros tér hugs the Danube on the Pest side and loops around the Parliament for a similarly nice experience. Seasonal operations, normally from March through October. Money The currency of Hungary is the Hungarian Forint (1EUR=330HUF, 1USD=300HUF in November 2019), but I’ve listed prices in Euros (€). Check for current rates here. Don't exchange Forints at home, bring USD/EUGBP in cash or a chipped card with you – the withdrawal fee is far smaller than what you’d lose by the atrocious rates available to you at home (exception: neighbouring countries). With cards, Visa, Mastercard are best, Maestro acceptable. Avoid Amex, Diners Club and other uncommon non-European issues. CAD/AUD/JPY/CNY will be exchanged at slightly worse rates, but still much better than if you’d exchange Forints at home. I don't recommend bringing currencies other than the ones I've mentioned and those from neighboring countries, but if you do, Tichi Change exchanges almost every valid currency in the world at as good of a rate as you could realistically hope for. When the ATM asks you if you want to be charged in your home currency, say no and opt for Forints or you'll lose up to 30% due to the poor conversion rate! Learn more about the rip-off of dynamic currency conversion here and steer clear of the ATMs operated by Euronet. Besides the dynamic currency conversion ripoff, they will also prompt you to withdraw ridiculously high amounts of money (equivalent of $500 or more) that you will not be able to spend in 3-4 days. Don't exchange any money with bright orange Interchange they use ripoff rates (>30% spread). They hava e monopoly at the airport and are also present throughout the city in premium locations, such as Váci utca. Street exchange is illegal and a good way to get scammed. Tons of fine currency exchanges around the city, the best USD and EUR rates are at Gold Change but use your eyes: the buy/sell spread shouldn’t be more than 1-3% apart for these, or 2.5-5% at banks. Exchange offices and banks do not take cards! You may only use them for ATM withdrawals. Phones Make sure to bring an unlocked phone, ideally a dual-SIM one. The 3 main carriers are Vodafone, Telekom (T-Mobile) and Telenor. The best prepaid package is Telekom's Domino Fix with the 1/3/30-day unlimited 4G add-on, costing 990+9900Fts (€32) for the 30-day option. SIM cards need to be activated after purchase, so buy them at brand stores where help is available instead of supermarkets or gas stations. Roaming fees within the EU have been abolished in 2017, you will be able to use your SIM in any EU member country, but not as if it would be local. I.e. a Vodafone Hungary-issued SIM will be roaming on Vodafone Austria’s network. Some 'reasonable' data caps remain in place, which are determined by the cost of your service. Outside the EU there are punitive data rates. I once managed to rack up a $90 bill for 5MB by accident. Sleep Rates are for high season (late April through September, Christmas, NYE), might be 50+% lower on other dates
For 0 hours (party hostels, from €10): Grandio, Retox, Carpe Noctem Vitae
On a budget (well-reviewed hostels, dorm, private rooms €10-35, apartments €40-60): Lavender Circus, Maverick City Lodge, Pal’s, The Groove, Loft, standard Airbnbs
In style (€150-250): Palazzo Zichy, Bródy Studios, Moments, Prestige, Corinthia, this palatial Airbnb
Lavishly (€250+): Aria, Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons (the gold standard), Kempinski
Location: if you plan on sleeping, the party district (VII., inside the ring road) should be avoided, as well as VIII. outside of it and around Keleti train station for safety reasons/because you can get nicer digs elsewhere. An under the radar gem of an area is VII. between Múzeum körút and the ring road. Buda is nowhere as dead as tourists collectively imagine it to be (especially around Széll Kálmán tér), don’t shun it if you find someplace nice there. Eat at
Rosenstein (best traditional Hungarian restaurant in the country)
Két Szerecsen (cozy Hungarian)
Olimpia (casual fine dining)
Borkonyha (business casual fine dining, Michelin-star)
Stand25 (Bib Gourmand bistro - don't miss the goulash and the layered potatoes!)
Kispiac (modern Hungarian)
Vén Hajó (restaurant ship with amazing panorama and well-done Hungarian food - touristy, but still memorable!)
Petrus (French-Hungarian, Bib Gourmand)
Tüköry (traditional Hungarian on a budget)
Ruben (traditional Hungarian on a budget)
Bors (soups & sandwiches with a cult following)
Manu+ (authentic Neapolitan pizza).
For more detailed restaurant recommendations, see this comment. August visitors, check the restaurants' websites and Facebook to see if they aren't on holiday! The quality of service is a common source of complaints, don't take it too hard if it happens to you. Tip is 10% most of the time, unless you’re really dissatisfied or find yourself absolutely elated. Many top end restaurants add a ~12% service charge to the bill, tipping on top of that is not expected, though naturally it will be appreciated. Neither regular, nor ost fast food restaurants do refills. The only exceptions are all KFCs and a few Burger Kings. Smoking is banned at all restaurants, bars and basically every facility open to the public. Designated smoking areas can be found outside on the street. Try pálinka (~40% ABV fruit brandy), Unicum (herbal bitteaperitif, like Jäger), bikavér from Eger and Szekszárd (lit. ‘bull’s blood’, a full-bodied red), Tokaji aszú (similar to white Port, made of hand-picked berries with noble rot, named the "wine of kings, king of wines" from the 18th century) or fröccs (spritzer, white or red wine mixed with seltzer – a lifesaver in the summer)! More details in the shopping section. Or get really local and ask for ’fény’, carbonated vodka foam over raspberry syrup. You’ll see the fény (=light) at the end of the tunnel in no time! Eat a freshly fried lángos at market halls (acceptable toppings: sour cream, garlic, cheese, perhaps ham and cabbage - certainly none of that tourist stuff with nutella, Hungarian sausage or kebab...) and fried sausage from a butcher shop such as 1951 establishment Balla Hús in Városház utca or the more contemporary Belvárosi Disznótoros eatery. The gallery of the Hold utca market hall hosts quality street food vendors, Karaván food truck yard right next to Szimpla. Nightlife For more detailed recommendations, including strip clubs, casinos and more, see this comment. A casual evening
A38 (a converted Ukrainian barge – a unique experience)
Barba Negra Track
Get out See train schedules on Elvira, check for buses on menetrendek.hu (this site combines bus and train schedules, but has no English version, check for the orange or blue icon on the left side to see which is which). Daytrip options include
Szentendre: a bit different from its Scottish peer (lit. 'St. Andrews') quaint, cobblestoned artist town, chock full of galleries, art museums, restaurants – and tourists. The biggest attraction requires a short cab ride out of town, the open-air ethnography museum, Skanzen, with authentic recreations of functioning village clusters (open March through October). Best restaurant, oddly enough, cooks up a Caribbean fare at the hand of the Curaçaoan owner and his Hungarian wife: Mjam. Reachable by the H5 suburban railway from Batthyány tér (requires extension ticket for segment outside city limits - that's after Békásmegyer station, you need a 15km extension)
Eger: the location of a key Hungarian victory over invading Ottoman forces, this popular excursion destination is famous for its medieval castle, Baroque center, random museums (Beatles, firefighting and marzipan to name a few), its reputable wineries producing full-bodied, cabernet-like reds (bull’s blood, bikavér) and the limestone terraced natural spa of neighboring Egerszalók. Suggested wineries: St. Andrea, Tibor Gál, Demeter, Bolyki. Eat at Macok restaurant (by the castle entrance), they are excellent!
Etyek: the nearest wine region to Budapest, they focus on whites. Although not as spectacular as the previous examples, it's a worthwhile visit for wine aficionados in the summer and autumn. Typical varieties include Irsai Olivér, királyleányka and Muscat Lunel (sárgamuskotály).
For multi-day excursions, including to lake Balaton and detailed information on car rental, countryside and international tourism opportunities, click here
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