Truth and fake news Undercover Hippy style in Leeds

The Undercover Hippy at Leeds HiFi Club on May 14.
The Undercover Hippy at Leeds HiFi Club on May 14.
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Embarking on a new mission for 2017, The Undercover Hippy will bring his latest album ‘Truth & Fiction’ to Leeds HiFi Club on Sunday, May 14.

The former drum’n’bass DJ turned slick singer-songwriter - aka Billy Rowan - is hitting the road this month armed with a timely new record loaded with thought provoking protest pieces, wry humour and of trademark storytelling.

Largely inspired-by and rallying-against much that has come to grip politics and society over the last 12 months, ‘Truth & Fiction’ lands on May 20.

Covering topics from the serious to the ludicrous, The Undercover Hippy’s latest effort sees him offer his unique take on fake news, internet privacy and the US election, nappy wearing barristers and best friends trying to snog your mum.

Those familiar with Billy’s music, will already know he is definitely not your average singer songwriter. After seven years spent DJ’ing and MC’ing on the drum’n’bass circuit, Billy switched up identities, swapping the decks for a guitar as he began a new life with a new moniker in 2007 - The Undercover Hippy was born.

Touring relentlessly ever since, he brings together soulful vocals, infectious reggae rhythms and the lyrical delivery of a skilled mc, with a charismatic style and playful sound that has had audiences rapt from day one.

But making a decision to step back from the live stage, The Undercover Hippy began to focus on recording new album ‘Truth & Fiction’ in November 2016.

Working with producer and engineer Dean Forrest (Backbeat Soundsystem, Easy Star Records) at Cube Studios in Cornwall, they laid down the groundwork for the follow up to 2014’s ‘Monkey Suit’ album with eyes on making their most accomplished piece of work to date.

Locking himself away in his studio, Billy set about writing and developing the recordings into finished songs, before finally working with grammy nominated mix engineer Dean Barratt (Natty, Shy FX, Anoushkar Shankar) to mix, finesse and truly bring the resultant tracks that now make up ‘Truth & Fiction’.

Speaking about the writing and recording of the new album and what to expect, Billy said: “For a while I was a bit worried that the last album Monkey Suit might have been the best I had to offer, especially when three weeks before going into the studio we still only had five songs written for a 10 track album!

“But actually, the songs that have been written and developed during and after the recording process are probably my favourite tracks on the album. It’s also meant that those songs are still really topical, as I’ve literally been writing lyrics and recording vocals right up to the final week of mixing. So yeah, I’m really happy with how it’s turned out, so you can expect big things!”

With ‘Truth & Fiction’ ready to drop, The Undercover Hippy is going back out on tour and will be backed by his full band, mixing guitars, keys, drums, bass, horns and backing vocals. Check out the Leeds date to see how Billy delivers his own style high energy, interactive and highly entertaining live show.