The best fusing of all your fave sounds you’ll hear for 2012…
Meet The Hippy Mafia, made up of ex Happy Mondays epic drummer Gary Whelan, Johnny Castro, Mike Danger, Fitz & Ooblo all throwing into a big melting pot of , well everything, from fat slices of funked out Hip Hop to psychedelic tinged acoustics’; its about the best fusing of all your fave sounds you’ll hear for 2012 – simple…
Their anticipated debut album “Black Beatles” kicks off their trilogy of EP’s set for 2012 – I know your gonna love em!
Gary Whelan talks to Louder Than War about Canada, the band and where they got that name from…
LTW: The Hippy Mafia, is this the band born out of Buffalo 66, you Bez & Shaun, putting a few tracks together…
GW: Bez & Shaun were never involved”Â¦ but Hippymafia is a full on band, as apposed to Buffalo which was kind of a side project for us all.
LTW: You hooked up with Mike who was working in the studio next door didn’t you? The roots of the band sound quite loose, like it just happened…
GW: I moved to Canada for a change and we were recording there… our rapper from Manchester missed the flight over, and then subsequently decided to go to University instead; so we had to find a rapper as quick as possible, luckily Mike had been recording in the same studio the session before – And it just clicked straight away… thank fuck!
The sound changed slightly as ‘Brover Cornelius” (the MCR rapper) was English yet Mike is from North American… Toronto via Brooklyn, Fitz also.
GW: Yeah, I lived in Australia for 4 years as well, and I now have a family so I wanted a change again, you know… different opportunities etc. I think it’s my Irish gypsy blood (apparently?) but of course Manchester and England are in my blood and bones.
It’s quite funny really as you don’t realise just how British you are until you live abroad; especially in one of the commonwealth countries.
The Hippy Mafia ‘Thousand Pound Man’
LTW: The first guy you actually met up with was “Coatsey” wasn’t it, Liam’s school friend & buddy from MCR; you Manc’s sure do get about…
GW: Coatsey is a geezer…. we have a ‘little Mancunian’ society going on over there; although Coatsey and Liam are from South Manchester so they are practically ‘Cockneys’ to me.
LTW: Were a lot of the Hippy Mafia tunes written some time back before the group got together or is this all new material, between you all…?
GW: No, we all write together… very similar to the Mondays – playing around with idea’s in a room. We all bring something different to the table… Johnny – acoustic melodies/rock, Ooblo – electronica/funk, Fitz – reggae/soca, Mike – hip-hop, and me – well you know, the same thing I’ve been doing for fucking years… please excuse the profanities, its the drizzly weather getting to me…
LTW: From “Donovan to Hip-Hop” is how you’ve describe the bands sound; like the groups name – it’s about contrasts isn’t it – Is being in the Hippy Mafia fun? Is it the band you’ve always wanted to be in…?
GW: That’s exactly it… it’s the sum of all our record collections, everybody (or they should have) has an eclectic music collection, so why not incorporate that into a band – why not? I’m just amazed it’s not more common, plus we are all …’hypocrites’ and ”Ëschizo’…like my hero George Harrison… ‘Krishna with a Ferrari’…. were all the same.
It’s not a bad thing…..
LTW: Pretty much like The Happy Mondays in that respect, mixing it all up – we need a band like The Hippy Mafia don’t we, as it’s all a bit too safe at the moment, music wise, don’t you think…
GW: SAFE! “fuckinell”…its nothing short of embarrassing, all the ‘rebels’ are over 30, it’s like ‘punk’ never happened?
I’m not trying to get on my high horse but we isn’t in it for a fucking career… we’re doing it because we believe, its like we’re on a fuckin mission…. we may very well get ignored but were passionate about it, a kind of ‘Bono for bands’ if you like…… or am I talking bollocks???
LTW: The album; “Black Beatles” – going on the title alone its sounds fantastic and I notice there’s quite a few people out there looking forward to its release, when’s it out?
GW: We are gonna release 3-4 EP’s; starting early next year; ‘Black Beatles 1’, ‘Black Beatles 2″ etc etc…Available at all good stores, but mainly our website. https://www.thehippymafia.com/ see I’ve turned into Alan Partridge/George Costanza.
Hippy Mafia ‘King Of The Sky’
LTW: Sounds like there’s a good vibe in the band then, what other plans do you all have, tours etc?
GW: It’s a top vibe and a laugh like a ‘Harem of humour’ (Partridge again!), like it should be – I just hope it stays like that when the moneys starts rolling in? Though we are all older and hopefully a bit wiser, plus we are supposed to be fucking hippie’s right; in fact the Hippy Mafia was the nickname for the Grateful Dead.
Were touring North America in the New Year and then the UK at the end of March hopefully and some of those lovely festivals in the summer.
LTW: And finally, what’s a Hippy Mafia show like Gaz… from the clips I’ve seen I’m guessing a really great night out?
GW: It’s full on show….. that’s whats so good about having North Americans in the band, they can get away with jumping around and getting the crowd into it, Mike is a fucking “awesome” (as they say stateside) front man – us Mancunians are more interested in how our fucking shoes look, that’s what makes the contrast so good; yet with a twist… a ‘Yang and Ying’ if you like… Partridge again!