“As soon as Q and I met, it was on like Donkey Kong,” Ben Fagan says of his long-time partner in crime, Quentin Ravenel. Conceived in October of 2010, the Holy City Hooligans are all about sunshine, good vibes, and positive feelings. “We’re built around the concept of creating unique music that’s actually good for the soul, not just entertainment,” says Fagan. “We want it to actually say something. The lyrical content is very important to us, along with the energizing or chill vibe that it kicks off. As musicians, it’s our privilege to create feelings and energy, so we try to create positive ones, or at least, if not positive, then introspective and helpful. It’s not enough to just go out and play music and say, ‘Hey everybody, look at us!’ We want to create something that can help.”
The Holy City Hooligans’ surf-style soul has garnered a following in their major haunts around Fagan’s homes in Charleston and Costa Rica, but they aren’t just aiming for their own success. After several trips between L.A., N.Y.C., and Nashville, Fagan has noticed how connected musicians are in the major music cities as opposed to our own. “When I went out to L.A., I was really surprised how much co-writing and collaboration went on out there,” says Fagan. “I think here in this smaller pond, people are a little more in the mind-set of protecting their own content and trying to be better than the people around them as opposed to a mind-set of strength in numbers. But I think the more people you involve, the higher your chances are of success.”
Meanwhile, Ravenel has his own side projects, including a drumstick line. After losing and breaking so many drumsticks in his shows, Ravenel’s Canadian drumstick makers, Los Cabos, started making him his own line. And next year, he’ll move forward with his own band. “I’m a firm believer in evolving,” says Ravenel. “I’m starting a new band called Quentin Ravenel & Friends, where I’ll take up as the lead singer.” Ravenel will continue to be a part of the Hooligans, and his relationship with Fagan remains strong. “Ben’s like my big brother and my best friend,” he says.
Another one of Fagan and Ravenel’s projects has generated a solid buzz this year — a song they co-wrote with singer-songwriter celeb Meghan Trainor. “That was a pretty cool experience,” says Ravenel. “We went to Nashville a couple of years ago, and it came about kind of randomly. We were just hanging out and decided to write a song together. Two years later it wound up on her album.”
Fagan also hopes to use the band’s influence to establish better connections locally and has even started up a business to help fellow musicians pay the bills. “This year I built a company called Young Souls,” he explains. “It’s an events management company that I want to use to create an infrastructure of higher-paying gigs to keep musicians fed. Instead of having to play four $100 gigs, you can play one $400 gig and use that extra time to work on original stuff.”
The fact that the Hooligans also generously offer their songs free of charge on their website fits into the same goal. “We’re not trying to nickel-and-dime people. We just want to make a movement of people built around the principle of a better world.”