Skip to main content

Home Music Music News

Mantra Of The Cosmos arrive with psych-tinged debut track ‘Gorilla Guerilla’

Meet Mantra Of The Cosmos - the new group featuring Shaun Ryder, Zak Starkey, Bez and Andy Bell. Just don't call them a supergroup.

By Nick Reilly

Mantra of The Cosmos: from left - Zak Starkey, Shaun Ryder, Bez and Andy Bell (Picture: Press)

As Glastonbury nears ever closer, the stacked line-up has provided yet another surprise in the form of Mantra Of The Cosmos – the new group comprised of Shaun Ryder (Happy Mondays, Black Grape), Zak Starkey (The Who, Oasis), Andy Bell (Oasis, Ride) and Bez (Happy Mondays, Black Grape).

Starkey, the self-professed brains behind the project, was already friends with Andy Bell from their days in Oasis, but reached out to both Ryder and Bez to bring a touch of their trademark Happy Mondays madness to the group.

A Sunday night headline slot on The Glade Stage is now on the cards, but the group admits they’re not too keen on the supergroup label that is set to follow them to Worthy Farm.

“Zak [Starkey] doesn’t like that word,” Ryder told Rolling Stone UK before their debut performance at Soho’s The Box last night. “He says we’re not super. We’re a fantastic group!”

Last night’s show saw the group – led by Ryder on lead vocals – doing their best to live up to that promise. The first outing for lead single ‘Gorilla Guerrilla’ saw the group show off a ramshackle charm which Starkey describes as “a fantastic psychedelic groove from a band of misfits, outsiders and innovators.”

All of the group’s material has been recorded at Starkey’s own studio, while the project sees him on writing duties alongside wife Sharna ‘Ssshh’ Starkey, Bell and Ryder.

“I’ve always been a massive fan of The Who and The Happy Mondays, so to me it makes perfect sense that this is the kind of music we’re making together,” says Bell of their far-out sound.

“There’s bits of everything that we’ve done over our careers, there’s even a bit of Ride in there and it gets soundscape-y. It manages to be something quite different, while being quite familiar.”

Ryder, meanwhile, wasn’t close friends with Starkey before the project, but he recalls how the pair had previously met in bizarre circumstances.

“I met Zak at TFI Friday back in 2015 when all my fucking dental implants had to come out and I was wearing these fake gnashers that could’ve fallen out at any minute! But this is the first time we’ve actually come together and done something,” he admitted.

Ryder added: “Part of this band, too, is knowing that with everything going on, we really just need to chill out. Everybody is taking everything so fucking damn serious, so we’re here to say that we all just need to have a joke and chill out.”

Elsewhere, the group’s future music promises a starring role for Bez, who spent last night’s gig in his default position – bringing the vibes and intently stalking the crowd with a maraca in each hand.

“For the first time in my life I’ve got a maraca solo!”, Bez explained. “Me and Shaun have never done anything like this, so I just like that it’s something different.”

And unsurprisingly, the group’s psychedelic vibes and general aura of zen has also been given the green light by Starkey’s dad: one Ringo Starr.

“I’ve played him loads of the stuff that we’ve done and he’s loved it,” says Starkey. “He’s glad I’m getting out there and doing my own thing.”

Gorilla Guerrilla is out now.