Harboured Sounds

The Undercover Hippy

Click on the hs logo new colour no writing small symbol in the maps to see the session video or read more about the artist on this page!


His Say

My name’s Billy Rowan, known to most as The Undercover Hippy. I’m a singer songwriter and producer, but like to drag around a bunch of obscenely talented musicians wherever I go to make me look better. We’ve been crazy busy this summer, gigging almost continuously since March, travelling the length and breadth of the UK, as well as playing festivals in Italy and Switzerland. We just had an amazing launch for my track “Borders” at The Fleece to polish off our No Borders Tour which has been happening during October/November. The single is being released to raise funds for refugees arriving in Europe: www.justgiving.com/borderssingle. Now it’s time to take a step back from gigging and work on the next album, which is already looking very exciting indeed…


“I’d been wanting to record a video for my track Bristol Peeps for a while, so to do an acoustic session in Bristol with Harboured Sounds was perfect. Apart from the Police helicopter deciding to hover overhead during most of the shoot, obviously aware of how dangerous political music can be, everything went really well!” Billy


Billy Rowan, aka The Undercover Hippy, is definitely not your average singer songwriter. His music brings together acoustic guitar, soulful vocals, infectious reggae rhythms, and the lyrical delivery of a skilled mc. After 7 years spent DJ’ing and MC’ing on the Drum & Bass circuit, Billy swapped the decks for a guitar and started out as a solo act in 2007. Although he still occasionally does solo gigs, he now usually plays with a full band, mixing guitars, keys, drums, bass, percussion and backing vocals to create a high energy, interactive and highly entertaining live show. Combining intelligent, provocative lyrics with dangerously catchy hooks and a feel good groove, this is music for the thinking man to shake his arse to. Think Jason Mraz meets The Cat Empire…on a protest march…at the Edinburgh Fringe.


Billy and his band have performed at some of the UK’s best festivals, including Glastonbury, The Big Chill, Green Man, The Secret Garden Party, Sunrise Celebration, Ireland’s Electric Picnic, and many more. After starting out playing solo, Billy now has a Bristol based 5 piece band consisting of Theo Grimshaw on drums, Zak Ranyard on bass, Andreas Millns on keys, and Mathew Pharaoh on Percussion. 2014 was an epic year for the band, with a jam packed summer of festival appearances and shows across the UK and Europe culminating with the much anticipated release of the album Monkey Suit in September. Highlights included playing to a filled to capacity Chai Wallah’s at Shambala, playing the Mainstage before Ben Howard and Bombay Bicycle club at Jersey Live, creating the most frenzied dancefloor yet in The Bimble Inn at Glastonbury Festival, and touring across Europe playing festivals in Germany, Switzerland and Italy. 2015 saw them tour Scotland, headline Eden Festival alongside The Cat Empire and The Skints and play to thousands of new fans at Penabilli Festival in Italy.

This is about as real as music gets!” Andrew Marston – BBC Introducing

“..like a hip hop Gomez… Politically driven, clever and fun. 9/10” Bandman Review