Magic City Hippies is an indie funk band based out of Miami, Florida, and the boys have been picking up some major speed the past few years. The trio, whose main members include frontman Robby Hunter, John Coughlin and drummer Pat Howard, have fielded wild success over the past few years.
Originally a one-man band based on the sidewalks of Miami, the trio formed together to produce truly inspired sound. They released their wildly acclaimed debut LP in 2013 entitled Magic City Hippies, followed by their Hippie Castle EP in 2015. Their track “Fanfare” hit No. 1 on Spotify’s Global Viral Top 50, with over 2 million streams to date.
We had a chance to sit down with Magic City Hippies prior to their set at Electric Forest Weekend 1. Keep reading for some serious insight on tour life, cat dad-life, and new releases.
Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us! First off, welcome to Electric Forest! How are you liking the festival so far?
It’s great, not what we were expecting!
Right, so we’ve got to ask. How are you gentlemen braving the forested festival experience in flip-flops?
Well, we’ll put on some real shoes before we hit the stage. But we’re from Miami, it’s a hard habit to break.
So, it’s the zombie apocalypse, what do you bring?
Robby: Everlasting weed plant, a distillery, and my ukulele.
John: Acoustic guitar, Pale Fire (Book), and a lifetime supply of guitar strings
Pat: Wait, am I the only one bringing a weapon? This is a zombie apocalypse, not a deserted island right?
Robby & John: Ohhh, we’ll keep the same answer.
Pat: Okay, guess I’m bringing a sword and a car battery. These two can keep the zombies calm with their guitar and ukulele while I handle the situation.
At least you have one person in the band that will keep everyone alive! So, how did you three all meet?
Pat: We met at Barracuda Bar in Miami … Robbie was doing a one-man band thing for about a year on the streets, and the police were going to arrest him if he didn’t get a real gig.
Robby: We met about 15 minutes before a set, and a mutual friend introduced us.
Pat: I was just excited to drink beer and play drums,
John: Pat and I were living together, and it all snowballed. Pat recorded the sound of me being pushed into a wall and books dropping and that kind of turned into a sound effect on the first song we released. I wasn’t sure if I was going to stay in Miami until Robbie took us out on his boat. It kind of solidified that this was the life I should live, playing with these guys and living in Miami.
So this year has been full of touring and excitement for the band. Will there be any exciting releases coming up?
We just dropped our newest single, “Franny,” two days ago, and we are working on a ton of new music. We have a ton of stuff in the process of coming out.
How has your music transitioned over the years?
The way we make music in the studio is kind of like, Pat is the producer who kind of controls the environment. And the rest of us just play. After going our first big tour last year, we came back into the studio with confidence. It was a lot more guitar solos and stuff like that.
How do you feel about playing festivals vs. bars? Was there a pivotal moment in your career?
Festivals and bars …i t’s all fun. We took a chance and went to see a booking agent one day after we had been doing a lot of things independently. It was a change for us. We went on a five-day drive to see this booking agent in Boulder, and on the way there we got stuck in this blizzard, walked a mile in the snow … it was pretty wild. In the end, though, we made it. In our flip-flops. A few months after that we confirmed our first big festival opening slot and it’s been wild since then.
What has been the biggest adjustment for you since you first started touring?
Well, we all have cats … which we might bring on the next tour. Hard to find someone who likes your cat enough to take them for a month and a half … But in all honesty, if you don’t want to do this we can see how you would be miserable. But we all like life on the road. It doesn’t take a lot of adjustment. We love waking up on the road. Everything you do that day is like “What’s our end goal?” and everything is towards that goal: play a killer set.
What is your advice to your fans that are trying to pursue what you’re doing now?
Look, sometimes things don’t seem feasible financially, or whatever. But if it feels organic and right, it will all come together. We’re all basically nocturnal, playing four nights a week, and if we’re not doing that we’re rehearsing, and if we’re not doing that we’re playing a show.
Rumor has it that the Magic City Hippies may be releasing a new single after this tour, and there has been some furious gossip of another full album in the next few months. But in the meantime, don’t miss the boys on tour!
Magic City Hippies just performed Weekend 2 at Electric Forest. They performed the first weekend, playing their newest single, “Franny.” Their set is not one to miss!