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Dead Ghosts Flip Back Into Action 

The garage rock stalwarts return with a fresh perspective on new album Hippie Flippin.

by Stephan Boissonneault 

Dead Ghosts, Vancouver’s psychedelic garage rock fiends, were feeling the funk while writing and recording their latest album, Hippie Flippin. That funk influence has always been alive on previous Dead Ghosts releases, but the band admits it was consciously – and subconsciously – limited. From the opening moments of “The Man” on Hippie Flippin, though, the listener is transported into a hazy and groovy soundtrack that feels like it’s from the Super Fly universe. 

“All of us are getting near 40 and we’re kind of into dad rock these days, and a lot of that comes from ‘60s and ‘70s funk music,” says vocalist/guitarist, Bryan Nicol. “We thought way more about the production on this one and kind of retreated from that lo-fi garage rock approach we were known for and got a bit more curious about those funk sounds, like adding a horn section and some flutes.”

Nicol also has guitarist Dave McMartin and keyboardist Craig Pettman now acting as core songwriters for Dead Ghosts, so the collective “writing power” has tripled.

“We ripped off a lot of stuff and then it would mutate into something that sounds nothing like it, so it was kind of cool to see it develop,” says McMartin. “We’ve got a good writing unit and I think we’re all feeling more of that exploratory rock influence, so it’s super exciting and we’re definitely going to be able to produce and get more stuff out.”



This time around, Dead Ghosts are doing everything independently, meaning they have full creative control over their sound, marketing, and anything to do with the name Dead Ghosts. For previous releases, Dead Ghosts have been on labels, including the now defunct Burger Records, but Nicol says it is becoming a stranger and stranger time for that conversation, day after day. 

“Many of our friends and people in the music industry are still urging us to work with a label and really get it out there, but I think we’re just not down with quitting our day jobs and leaving our families,” Nicol says.

“We want people to hear it, but we don’t really care to go on an eight-month tour to promote it, you know?”

As far as streaming royalties go, Dead Ghosts have been “getting by” with a few older songs on Spotify, but Nicol says that all goes back into the band and the next batch of songs. “We’re really fortunate for those streams, but with a label, it would be like a 5K deal with PR and printing vinyl, but then they take all the digital and completely milk you dry. So the value in it for us is completely gone. But being independent is kind of like our first rodeo and we’re not that smart, so we’re just having fun and not taking it too seriously.”

But playing live will always have value for Dead Ghosts, and the local Hippie Flippin record release show is going to be unlike anything the band has ever produced. “We’re actually a six-piece band now, but for this album release, we will be more of a nine or ten-piece with a full horn section and flutes. So we will feel like a big family funk band on stage.”

Catch Dead Ghosts in Vancouver, BC on May 24 at the Rickshaw Theatre | TICKETS & INFO