“Like the love child of Steel Pulse, Kate Tempest, and The Sleaford Mods …” TOM ROBINSON | 6 MUSIC
Drum n Bass MC turned singer songwriter Billy Rowan aka THE UNDERCOVER HIPPY is on a mission to make people think, laugh and dance simultaneously. Described by Tom Robinson as “beautifully produced agitprop reggae flavoured rap”, his music brings together powerful messages and infectious rhythms. Combining intelligent, provocative lyrics with dangerously catchy hooks, masterful delivery, and feel-good grooves, this is music for the thinking person to go wild to. Think Natty meets Eminem … on a protest march … at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Renowned for the electric atmosphere at their shows, Billy and his band have performed at some of the UK’s best festivals, including Glastonbury, Boomtown Fair, Green Man and The Secret Garden Party, as well as many European festivals. As the music clocks up over 11 million Spotify streams, the band have been clocking up motorway miles, touring relentlessly across the UK and Europe each year. Of course, Covid has been tough for the band, with their Spring 2020 tour for the release of the FOOL BRITANNIA single – one of their most highly charged, political songs – rescheduled three times before finally going ahead in Autumn 2021. But the comeback was worth the wait, with sold out shows across the country.
To follow that tour, THE UNDERCOVER HIPPY will now embark on his Spring 2022 tour as follows:
Wed 30 PLYMOUTH Junction
Thu 01 TOTNES The Barrel House
Fri 01 FALMOUTH The Chintz
Sat 02 BIDEFORD The Palladium
Tue 05 NEWCASTLE Cluny 2
Wed 06 GLASGOW Room 2
Thu 07 EDINBURGH Voodoo Rooms
Fri 08 SETTLE Victoria Hall
Sat 09 SHEFFIELD Greystones
Sun 10 BIRMINGHAM Actress & Bishop
Wed 13 NEWPORT Le Pub
Thu 14 SWANSEA The Bunkhouse
Fri 15 LLANDRINDOD WELLS Pavilion
Wed 20 LONDON Hootananny
Thu 21 GUILDFORD Boiler Room
Fri 22 NEWPORT Strings Bar & Venue
Sat 23 BRISTOL The Fleece
Fri 29 SHOREHAM-BY-SEA Ropetackle Arts Centre
Sat 30 CAMBRIDGE Junction
Sun 01 DORSET Teddy Rocks 2022
“It wasn’t until my ability to tour was suddenly snatched away from me in 2020 that I realised how much I needed it,” explains Billy. “There is something about that sweaty, visceral, completely ‘in the moment’ experience of playing to a crowd that simply can’t be replicated through a screen. Over lockdown, it became apparent to me that it’s these interactions, these moments of sharing and connecting with audiences, that fuel all the other aspects of what I do. Without them, I found that my drive to create began to dry up; that my belief in the value of what I do became diminished. Then in October last year, we managed to finally set off on our rescheduled UK tour, and suddenly everything made sense again. The new material that I’d been agonising over in my bedroom for more than a year, was at last performed with the weight of my band behind It; and bounced off the ears and smiling faces of crowds across the country. This is the pay-off. Not the number of Spotify plays I can rack up, nor the number of likes on a carefully curated Instagram post, but the chance to connect, face to face, and see my music lift both us and the audience into a heightened state of aliveness.”
Since the release of their second album, TRUTH & FICTION, the band have been hard at work on the follow up. The first single, Fool Britannia, a polemic on the divisiveness of Brexit and populist politics, was released to coincide with the original UK tour in 2020 although Covid clearly had other plans.
The new album, scheduled originally for October 2020, is now set for release in October 2022, with the second single THESE DAYS to be released in June. Originally written as a call to arms to those who have given up partying due to getting older, the song found an unexpected new meaning when lockdowns confined us all to our homes, with the chorus – “You all know what I mean when I say, I don’t get out a lot, I don’t get out a lot these days” – being true of pretty much everyone around the world.
“Politically charged reggae that sticks two fingers up to the powers that be …” FRESH ON THE NET
“A powerful masterpiece that weaves together humour and shrewd political commentary to create a catchy, fun, and renegade protest album that could not be more relevant …” ON THE BEAT MAGAZINE
“The combination of catchy tunes, rhythmic vocal style and socially aware, often amusing lyrics is a recipe that is difficult to nail without seeming preachy or dull, but this succeeds where many fail …” E GIGS