Steafan Hanvey and The HoneyMoon Junkies was released in 2006 in Ireland to critical acclaim.
Steafan Hanvey, originally hails from Downpatrick, Co. Down, in Northern Ireland. A child progeny of traditional musicians (his parents having recorded two albums during the seventies) his exposure to all kinds of music began in utero. Citing influences today from his formative years as being everything from Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Soundgarden, Simon & Garfunkel to Luke Kelly, Willie Nelson, The Johnstons, Paul Brady and Johnny Cash, perhaps the most important of all was the household itself, renowned at the time for its legendary sessions and where it wasn't long before the young Steafan was called upon for a tune or two himself.
In primary school too, his teachers would have him sing to his classmates. It was as a teenager though that Steafan began to explore realms of music other than ballads of immigration, love lost, and blooming heather.
At the age of 16, Steafan formed 50/50, a heavy rock outfit with childhood friends Kenny & Carl Papenfus of Relish. After three years of fronting the band and co-writing the material, sniffs of interest from CBS in Dublin and much frustration with the northern music scene, or apparent lack of, in those days, and indeed lack of venues for original rock bands, Steafan opted to take time out to continue his studies at university.
His third year took him to Seattle where he took the opportunity to study sound engineering. Immersed in the music of the time, producing demos for local bands as part of his course, he was able to witness at close quarters the rise and demise of grunge, culminating in the untimely death of Kurt Cobain. Although an enriching experience at the mixing desk, a certain amount of fatigue set in with the amount of Pearl Jam wannabees on the scene, and the realization hit that he missed what was going on at the other side of the window with the musicians. In the summer of 1995, love and univeristy brought him to Helsinki. Not long into his stay in Helsinki, Steafan began to host his own radio show introducing fresh Irish acts to Finnish ears. (Irkku-aika/Lahi radio)
The mini-album 'Sole' was recorded in November 2000-March 2001, where Steafan finally got to work with Janne Viksten, one of Finland's finest recording engineers, who at the time worked at The Sibelius Music Academy.
Sole, dealt with everyday dilemmas, falling in love, falling on your ass, picking yourself back up, fears, apportioning blame- the usual stuff not in the usual manner. After much gigging in Helsinki and around Finland, Steafan relocated to Dublin.
He got busy recording his forthcoming debut album "Steafan Hanvey and The HoneyMoon Junkies". This saw him team up with old Downpatrick bandmates the Papenfus brothers from Relish. The album was started in Dublin and was finished with sessions in between at studios in Newry, London and Helsinki.
Steafan teamed up with Kieran Lynch to mix the record. Kieran has worked on U2's "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" has also co-produced Elvis Costello's "When I Was Cruel", in other words, he's really very good!
In 2004 Steafan visited NYC and Montreal to get a feel for different audiences. Back in Europe he opened for The Hothouse Flowers in Barcelona in March 2004, played the BelfEst music festival in 2004, 2005 and 2006 and opened for John Spillane, Eleanor McEvoy (Woman's Heart) and The Devlins amongst others at different shows throughout Ireland.
He was 1 of 6 Irish acts invited to play at Boston's NEMO music festival in 2005.
He has recorded 3 in-studio sessions at the BBC
and has spent the last 6 years playing all over Ireland, Scandinavia and the USA, laying the groundwork for his debut album release which met with critical acclaim in 2006.
National television and radio appearances followed. The singles 'A Hundred Days of Snow' and 'My Woman' received strong airplay in Finland and in Ireland, making many national radio playlists. A national tour of Ireland followed.
Steafan is gearing up to release his sophomore album entitled "Nuclear Family"- mixed by Swedish producer Tore Johansson, who has also worked with the likes of Martha Wainwright/The Cardigans/New Order and Franz Ferdinand. The record was mastered by Mandy Parnell and features guest appearances by Liam Ó Maonolaí [Hothouse Flowers], Bertrand Belin & Papenfus brothers, Carl & Ken of Relish.
Fuse On Demand, a free Video on Demand service in the USA, that is part of Fuse Music Network and Madison Square Garden Media have recently committed to airing the first single from ‘Nuclear Family’ entitled: ‘Secrets & Lies’ (See below). The song will air later in the year.
Vocals & acoustic guitar
Line-up varies depending on the type of performance be it a headliner, a festival spot, opener for headline act etc..
SOLE (2001) :
5 track mini-album produced in Helsinki
STEAFÁN HANVEY AND THE HONEYMOON JUNKIES (2006):
Full LP released in:
NUCLEAR FAMILY was released through Honeyworks Records/eOne Distribution, Feb 26, 2013.
Mixed by Tore Johansson and mastered by Mandy Parnell
Radio single releases are available for streaming and downloading on www.steafanhanvey.com and here on the Sonicbids EPK.
Glide Magazine Interview
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I wanted to congratulate you on the release of Steafan Hanvey & The Honeymoon Junkies here in the st...I wanted to congratulate you on the release of Steafan Hanvey & The Honeymoon Junkies here in the states.
Thank you. It means a lot to have it out over there.
Why did it take a few years for the U.S to see a release?
The record (and video) were both self-financed and self-released in Ireland and Finland. After promoting it in both countries, I took a break to travel and write more songs, the pick of which, ended up on my forthcoming album ‘Nuclear Family’, due for release in 2012. During that time and in between album sessions, I took the opportunity to tour NY, VT, MA and IL, trying new songs out on new ears wherever possible. The US release of ‘Honeymoon Junkies’ was a happy accident. A guy from Fuse On Demand, (a free Video on Demand service in the USA, that is part of Fuse Music Network and Madison Square Garden) was at one of my gigs at Arlene’s Grocery and liked my stuff and offered to premiere one of my videos. I thought it’d be a good idea to release the debut in conjunction with the Fuse airing as a warmer-upper for my sophomore album mentioned above.
What has the general reaction been to it so far?
Very positive and encouraging.
Your sound is very easy on the ears and calming – I couldn’t imagine anybody turning your music off right away in search of something more pleasant. What do you credit this easy/calming sound to? Its not like your music is easy listening but it has a bit of an edge mixed with lots of 70’s singer-songwriter nods.
I’m glad you made the ‘easy listening’ part clear! I wrote a lot of ‘Honeymoon Junkies’ up in Helsinki where the winter nights were dead still and peaceful. It was a place where you had to actively seek out company and life. People leave you alone otherwise. Perhaps the record reflects some of that plus some of the melancholy that was present at various points over my seven-year stint. It’s a great place to reflect and take stock. I’m a child of the 70s and I’m delighted that my music reflects that.
Since this is your debut album- are these songs a culmination of years of writing or did they come about over a certain period of time?
A short period of time, I recorded a mini album entitled Sole in 2001. Honeymoon Junkies was my first Long Play. For the most part, the songs came together at the end of my time in Helsinki, a three-week stint in the south of Spain where my girlfriend at the time spent her days sunbathing and me with my fair Irish skin, up in the air-conditioned apartment, writing songs, drinking cheap Spanish wine and reading. The rest of the record was written upon moving back to Ireland after the Helsinki chapter.
Are there certain songs are you most proud of and which ones do you feel best define your sound? In your own words how would you define your sound?
I'm most proud of ‘Desperation’, the video of which was recently aired on Fuse On Demand. It continues to resonate with audiences and marked a turning point in my songwriting. Other favorites from Honeymoon Junkies are “Rooms,” “Hundred Days of Snow” and “Fair Weather Friend.” It’s alternative vocal driven melodic rock. I enjoy looking for colorful and new ways of expressing how events in life make us feel.
I think my forthcoming album ‘Nuclear Family’ is a much harder and leaner affair and is as you’d expect more a document of where I’m at right now as a songwriter. I wish I could share this record with you right now. But since it’s Honeymoon Junkies where talking about, I think it’s fair to say that record is more a songwriter being accompanied by musicians than a cohesive band sounding record, which ‘Nuclear Family’ on the other hand is. Where I’m very much a fan of songwriters like Simon & Garfunkel, Dylan, Mitchell, Morrison etc, I’m also very influenced by rock bands like Soundgarden, King’s X, Pearl Jam, Radiohead and the Black Crowes. I’m also a fan of Willie Nelson and Miles Davis. I would like to think my music reflects some of these influences.
You’ve been involved in music for some quite time, your debut album was released years after your started. What took so long and do you feel like it took awhile to gain the confidence needed to emerge as a lead voice? Was there a particular event in your life that encouraged you to go ahead and record?
My primary school teacher would often have me sing Irish folk ballads that I’d learned at home, to my classmates. A band I fronted in my teens, ‘50/50’ made a bit of noise and showcased for CBS 3 times. I did a lot of demos in my teens with various rock bands. I tended to end up as front man in friends’ bands in the early days where I was drafted in to sing lead vocals. I took a break and went to university and eventually got back into writing and performing, only this time in a solo capacity. I did a degree in American Studies and an Msc. in International politics. An exchange year took me to Seattle where I did a couple of sound recording classes and ended up demoing Pearl Jam wannabees, which made me eager to get back at the other side of the glass where the musicians were playing. I come from a musical-academic background. I started to sing the ballads again up in Helsinki and that along with a broken heart got me writing again, under my own name this time.
What are you biggest challenges as a singer-songwriter in terms of communicating your music to vast audience that may not have the same connection with your words as you do?
You can please some of the people some of the time… Thankfully melody is dear to me and hopefully when the lyrics aren’t doing it for the listener in question, the melodies and choice of instrumentation will help get the message through. I think the biggest challenge as a songwriter today is finding the platform to showcase your songs from. The internet has leveled the playing field, true, but the flip side means that everyone has access to the same platforms which means over-saturation and barely any quality control. It’s more about who can shout the loudest, be the most gimmicky etc. Music seems to have taken a back seat as the majors fight over the TV pop idols. But that’s for another time. I’m rambling.. I would be content in the knowledge that as many people as possible would have the opportunity to hear my music. Asking too much? Their opinions after that? Well, that’d be their call.
Do you ever write with the purpose of your audience in mind or do you write primarily based upon your experiences and thoughts?
No, I only write about what inspires me. But I think it’s in and around the big themes that occupy many of our lives.
Can you share with us some of your adventure or triumphs in the states? Do you have any good live music stories or are there any venues or gigs that stand out in your mind?
I had a showcase at Arlene’s Grocery in NY on April’s Fool, the day before Good Friday in 2010 and 2/3 of my Brooklyn based band ‘decided’ to get stuck in a traffic jam on the way to the gig which meant I had to delay, then start the show solo and sound check with the guys as they arrived towards the end of the show, during my set. We turned it around and had fun with it but they had me worried for a while as it was billed ‘full band show’. The audience and reviewer didn’t seem to mind though.
I opened for The Hothouse Flowers at Showcase Live in MA last year and the train from Boston to Providence (I love that) broke down and I got delayed by a couple of hours. Thought I wasn’t going to make the gig. I got off at my stop, went into a pizzeria and asked the guy if he’d call me a cab. He said, ‘you sing me a song & I’ll call you a cab and give you a slice”. I made it to the gig with a full belly and a story to tell and had a great time playing to a room of 500 people.
My best gigs in the states to date have been in Vermont, Chicago at Uncommon Grounds, Arlene’s Grocery & Rockwood Music Hall in NY, Boston’s NEMO festival when I played the Burren in Somerville and in a little bar in the lower east side called ‘The Scratcher’ where they host showcases every Sunday night.
As an artist based out of Northern Ireland – do you feel your music translates easier to other parts of the globe vs say the U.S.? Where have you found your music resonates best?
Thankfully, people react well to my music all over: Helsinki, Cork, France and America. The only difficult gigs are the ones where you’re trying to compete with a noisy audience on a holiday weekend or where venues don’t have other areas cordoned off well enough. U..S audiences are great though, there are so many places to play and a healthy interest in new music. I have had great shows in Burlington Vermont, NY and more recently at Uncommon Ground in Chicago.
Who are some artists these days who are really inspiring you? Are there any you’d specifically like to collaborate with?
It’s still very much a case of relying on the old faithfuls: Elvis Costello, Joni Mitchell, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Soundgarden, Kings X. I’m a fan of Irish band, The Frames’ album ‘For The Birds’: some exquisite songwriting on that record. Would be great to sit down with Glen sometime and see what would happen.
I would like to collaborate with Rufus Wainwright as there are very few if any songwriters coming close to what he’s doing right now. Also, French songwriter Bertrand Belin who played electric guitar on my new record, I love his style and mood. I would also like to try and do something with Irish songwriter Paul Brady.
What do you have planned for 2012 and beyond in terms of touring, festivals, writing and possible new albums?
I’m currently putting the jigsaw together for 2012 release/tour of my new album, ‘Nuclear Family’. If everything goes according to plan, it should be released in September 2012. I’m going to embark on a US coast to coast album tour to promote it, that will take in colleges, festivals, clubs, cafes, and peoples’ homes. So if you want me to come play in your home, get in touch! Before and after I’ll be demoing some new songs for the next record and round and round it goes.
What drink do you think best mixes with your music and why?
Dark ‘n’ Stormy! (dark rum and ginger) My surname, ‘Hanvey’ is Irish for ‘Son of the Stormy one’. My da is also a red head. There’s a lot in a name.
JAM OF THE DAY
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Steafán Hanvey sings like he's got some fight in him, or perhaps a demon or two that he's been unabl...Steafán Hanvey sings like he's got some fight in him, or perhaps a demon or two that he's been unable to shake off. Some demons, as you know, stick around -- they sit at your table, make coffee in the morning, they crowd your narrow halls while you try to breathe.
The song I'm interested in is titled "Desperation," and that's fitting for Hanvey's delivery: he's definitely hanging on to something that's falling from his grasp. Something he may have never had in the first place.
That all might sound like a familiar scenario for a song, but Hanvey's "Desperation" stands apart by having just enough mystery surrounding its sound and lyrics. It's taken from Hanvey's latest album, Steafán Hanvey and the Honeymoon Junkies, which you can purchase here.
And just for kicks, I would highly recommend giving "Fair Weather Friend" a spin after you're done with the JOTD below.
HIPPO PRESS ALBUM REVIEW
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This record has been around for a few years and was just recently released by Hanvey in the States, ...This record has been around for a few years and was just recently released by Hanvey in the States, where he’s been holed up, mainly in New England, patiently collecting positive reviews, in which this will number, and not just because the guy sings the way he looks: geeky and gaunt in his Chullo hat, but still adamantly masculine. He’s an Irishman who’s retained a goofily reverent, old-school sense of chivalry, as “My Woman” points to; you want to dope-slap him but have him get the girl by the same measure. This isn’t to say he’s a total dweeb, just someone whose Marshall stack hurts his ears when its volume’s set to 2 (he actually solos ? quite nicely ? for a bit and pans it around the mix as if he were engineering a Procol Harum B-side, which is another reason you can’t hate the guy), eventually emerging song- and sound-wise as a hybrid of Augie Marsh, Jeff Buckley and Nick Cave. This won’t set the world on fire through its very agreeable subtlety, but at this point, what could? A - Eric W. Saeger
'Hundred Days of Snow' gets Song of the week
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As the colder weather kicks in and holiday tunes are everywhere, it’s refreshing to hear a new song ...As the colder weather kicks in and holiday tunes are everywhere, it’s refreshing to hear a new song this season. Dublin-based Steafan Hanvey’s track, “Hundred Days of Snow” is just that: a welcomed addition to our seasonal repertoire.
Compared to Ray Lamontagne and Jeff Buckley, Hanvey’s soothing yet raspy vocals captivate the listener. With delicate guitar and percussion accompaniment, it’s the perfect track to add to your holidays.
To listen and download “Hundred Days of Snow” click below. For more on Steafan Hanvey, visit his Website. Stay tuned for the release of his sophomore album Nuclear Family, due out 2012.
HUFFINGTON POST video feature
Scroll down till after the Chris Isaak and Phil Manzenara interviews.
BABY SUE review
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Nice smooth melodic guitar-driven pop from Steafan Hanvey. After being warmly received in Ireland, H...Nice smooth melodic guitar-driven pop from Steafan Hanvey. After being warmly received in Ireland, Hanvey's debut album is finally being made available in the United States. He has even relocated here in hopes of transferring some of his success to our country. There's little doubt in our minds that this album will be instantly welcomed by pop fanatics with open arms. Steafan writes smooth hummable songs that are genuine, friendly, and real. And he has a cool voice that really drives the tunes home. These songs are classic in nature and were recorded using traditional instruments. Don't expect throwaway modern techno pop because you won't find any of that garbage here. Thirteen cool tracks delivered with finesse and style including "Rooms," "Dublin Sky," "Winding Down," and "Show Me." This guy is off and running on what will surely be a long and rewarding career.
POPMATTERS ALBUM REVIEW
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This fine slab of sound has been floating around the globe since 2006. It’s now seeing official rele...This fine slab of sound has been floating around the globe since 2006. It’s now seeing official release in the United States, just months ahead of Hanvey’s upcoming album Nuclear Family. We can only hope that the Irish-born artist’s next effort is half as good as Steafán Hanvey and The Honeymoon Junkies. Its 13 songs are evidence of a master craftsman at work, whether on the opening track “Rooms”, or other songs like “My Woman (Ode to You)” and “Fair Weather Friend”. Each of those seems likely to find purchase on American AAA radio, as well as in the repertoire of younger singer-songwriters who will soon be uttering Hanvey’s name in oh-so-reverent tones. Hanvey has recently relocated to the U.S., a sure sign that we’re likely to see him on the touring circuit a great deal in the future.
In Focus: Steafan Hanvey, Irish musician currently touring in the U.S
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Steafan is an Irish musician currently touring in the U.S. He resides in Dublin but has lived in Fin...Steafan is an Irish musician currently touring in the U.S. He resides in Dublin but has lived in Finland and studied in Seattle while he was at university.
What is your Irish background?
“As did the well known Irish rock bands Ash and Relish, I grew up in the patron saint's burial ground, Downpatrick, in the good old Co. Down. I'm now based in Dublin but spend an increasing amount of time in and around the north eastern part of the U.S.”
What is your favorite thing about touring in the U.S.?
“There are so many places to play and people to play to. Once Americans like you they get behind you and support you. I enjoy that 'anything's possible' vibe.
“For example, recently I heard that Fuse On Demand are going to air my first music video clip 'Secrets and Lies,’ from my forthcoming album Nuclear Family in June. I'm delighted to have Liam Ó Maonlai and Relish feature on the album. It's a free video on demand service that is part of Fuse Music Network and Madison Square Garden Media and will reach an audience of up to six million people. The American dream man!”
Is there a difference between your American and Irish fans?
“The former have whiter teeth! It might be harder at times to endear yourself to certain folk at home, but once you do they are very loyal. I think everyone loves playing at home in Ireland.”
Who are your musical influences?
“My mother and father were both traditional musicians, so my love for music started with the tunes they played at home and with Tommy Sands and the Sands family up the Ryan Road in Down. I grew up singing Makem and Clancy songs and I still love them.
“I remember singing songs with Dominic Behan, brother of Brendan in our home in the early eighties. I also remember singing with Maggy Barry, the Queen of the Gypsies, whom my mother and father were friendly with. I'm also influenced by Paul Brady, Van the Man, Zeppelin, the Beatles, Wings, Joni Mitchell, Prince, Simon and Garfunkel and The Blue Nile.”
How does the music scene here compare to Ireland?
“There are many music scenes in the U.S., more people to play to, and places to play. I'm currently on tour in the U.S. I have Vermont, Boston and New York behind me. For more on the dates, you can check my website at www.steafanhanvey.com.”
What is your ultimate goal as a musician?
“World domination of course! But I'll settle for reaching as wide an audience as possible. When I write a song I would like to think at least some of it will resonate with the listener. There's nothing like touching people with your music.”
Debut album Review (US)
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Let’s cut right to the chase; if you say you are a fan of music, you are a fan of Steafàn Hanvey and...Let’s cut right to the chase; if you say you are a fan of music, you are a fan of Steafàn Hanvey and The Honeymoon Junkies.
When someone proclaims himself a singer-songwriter, I tend to roll my eyes a little. Most often, his singing is mediocre, which is far better than his songwriting. For those who call themselves a singer-songwriter, I now say, “Listen to Steafàn Hanvey… then go practice some more.”
Hanvey has a knack of bringing together elements of blues, folk, and strings in a way that is completely organic and song-serving, combining acoustic guitar, electric guitar, cellos, stand up basses and more under his smooth crooning voice. If you close your eyes and drift a little, you can hear the ghost of Elliott Smith creeping into the mix.
Hailing from Downpatrick, Nothern Ireland, Hanvey’s vocal delivery is also how I like my coffee, very smooth and a wee bit Irish. In fact, it’s his voice that seals the deal on this wonderful album. Vocalists like fancy their voices as an instrument. I suppose that in the most rudimentary sense, it is. After all, if you are talking about using it to hit certain pitches, it certainly fits the bill—but so do plastic recorders, cell phone buttons and even armpit farts. What genuinely makes Hanvey’s voice an instrument, though, is the timbre; it’s smooth like velvet, with a hint of smoke. Instead of being layered over the music, it fits nicely within the context of the music, creating a wonderfully cohesive sound, letting you not only hear it, but drink in its intoxicating splendor.
This sort of thing doesn’t happen by chance, mind you. Songs such as “Rooms” and “Love’s a Decision” start with Hanvey’s voice, then build around it, adding the right instruments to complement it, working in the keys that allow him to hit all the sweet spots. And it works.
Damn, does it ever work.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this album is that it was released in Ireland FIVE YEARS AGO! How does a talent this remarkable take that long to make it across the Atlantic? If America’s musical landscape had fewer teen pop queens and a few more Steafàn Hanveys, I think we’d all be a little better off for it.
Seriously, you have waited long enough. Go get your copy of Steafàn Hanvey and The Honeymoon Junkies now.
BLOG CRITICS review
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As a child of the 70s with parents who listened to folk songs, I often fall back on that musical orb...As a child of the 70s with parents who listened to folk songs, I often fall back on that musical orbit. Lately I've been encouraged by the new artists who bridge the gap between traditional folk (even down to some of its bluegrass and blues roots) and rock and roll. With artists like Wes Kirkpatrick, the Indigo Girls and Matt Duke, I'm able to enjoy folk music while not giving in completely to my folkie roots (Yes, it's a minor rebellion, but I'll accept that).
But let me introduce you to Steaƒán Hanvey. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he brings a gift for rich arrangements, storytelling, and a voice you want to believe has lived those stories. As I listened to Steaƒán Hanvey and the Honeymoon Junkies, I was reminded of other artists such as James Taylor and Donovan as well as more modern folks like David Gray and Matthew Mayfield. His easy style with lyrics and guitar make him seem very genuine. I suspect that if I get a chance to listen to Hanvey live, I'm not going to want the concert to end.
Steaƒán Hanvey and the Honeymoon Junkies was released in Europe a while ago, but is just now coming to the U.S. Hanvey has even moved here to focus on building an audience while traveling back and forth to Ireland occasionally. Over the last three years, he's also been working on his sophomore album called Nuclear Family, due out in 2012. But don't let that stop you from checking out Honeymoon Junkies.
What caught my attention while listening to Honeymoon Junkies is the effortless way Hanvey tells his stories and finds just the right musical style to go with it. It starts with a simple rhythmic guitar intro in "Rooms," transitions to the upbeat ballad "My Woman (Ode To You)," moves to the anthem-ish "Love's A Decision," flows through the hard-edged "Desperation," and eventually ends with the James Taylor-ish "Show Me."
As I listened, there were more than a few that I'd have to tag as favorites, the first of which being "Love's a Decision." This one should be required listening at any couple's therapy session. "Love's a decision between you and me/ Not some half-baked scene from a movie screen. . .If you want it to last/ You'd better let go of the past." And I don't know who's singing in the background, but she has an amazing voice that completely complements Hanvey's, along with the anthem guitar riffs and solid bass/drum beat.
"Fair Weather Friend," on the other hand, feels like something from Colin Hay. I love the guitar riffs. This one tells the story about a guy who loses his way, finds his way back again, only to wonder how others see him. I interpret the story as someone coming back from alcohol or drug use and finding that some folks don't like who they see when someone is sober. But I'm thankful, whatever Hanvey's story is for this song, that he came back with a "head full of songs" as he says. And I hope when something happens to me or someone else I'm not a fool or a fair weather friend, instead sticking through thick and thin.
In "Desperation," he breaks the song mold a bit, and it works. It starts with a vaguely Australian/digeridoo-ish funky beat that leads to a story about a relationship gone wrong. This is a darker tune telling the story of a man who knows it's over, but she's the one pulling away. "You will blame me and you've tried to shame me/ What more could I do." It's interesting to me that it feels vaguely uncomfortable to listen to this one, like we're voyeurs in some lovers' quarrel.
Then he turns it completely around with a tune you can't help but smile while listening to. "Everything's Happy" shifts to everything bright and cheery, but it has a hidden message. The rhythm of the guitar along with the acoustic bass in the background keeps it light and moving along quickly where you hardly have time to think anything but happy thoughts. "The sun changed its mind/ Decided to shine on my day/ The girl on the street never misses a beat and she smiles as I catch her eye." And a bit later there's the dark side: "Everyone's happy/ Everyone's OK/ Everyone's looking for someone to blame."
Steaƒán Hanvey has a way of making the music fit the lyrics that isn't forced or created by some crowded room of movie producers. Every song on Steaƒán Hanvey and the Honeymoon Junkies tells a story, and I for one enjoyed the ride. I'm already looking forward to his next album, Nuclear Family, sometime next year. For tour news and everything else Hanvey-related, be sure to check out his website.
BLOG TALK RADIO INTERVIEW
Interview with John Darlington in Ohio
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Ireland’s own Steafan Hanvey teamed up on October 24th with FUSE TV in the release of his latest sin...Ireland’s own Steafan Hanvey teamed up on October 24th with FUSE TV in the release of his latest single ‘Desperation.’ His US album Steafan Hanvey and The HoneyMoon Junkies also released last week with the push of the single.
Check out Steafan Hanvey‘s video below and hit up http://www.steafanhanvey.com for the latest & greatest!
Artist/Video of the week feature
Arlene's Grocery, NYC, Live Review
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I didn’t know much at all about Steaƒán Hanvey before I saw him live. Ok, I admit it, I knew nothing...I didn’t know much at all about Steaƒán Hanvey before I saw him live. Ok, I admit it, I knew nothing at all. Our fearless leader Melanie had been telling me of his greatness for awhile, and told me to go check him out when he was in town, so I duly obliged on a rainy Wednesday night when I was glad of something to do. Arlene’s Grocery is a cool little venue, and a ton of excellent musicians have played there. I expected Steaƒán to be a solo gig, a one-man-and-his-guitar type of affair. Apparently, my imagination led me a merry dance - Steaƒán came out on stage with a full band. I didn’t know it 'til later, but this was his first stateside show with a band accompanying him.
He opens with the beautiful “Into Your Sun” from his new album. The crowd are quickly taken with Steaƒán, the charm in his between-songs banter soon had people on his side, and in an odd way made me listen to his songs even more intently. Before I know it, I’m completely sucked into his performance. He isn’t someone who assaults the microphone, he doesn’t roar, but the effect is strangely similar, and everyone is still captivated. His voice is melodic and charged with feeling, his songs are sometimes dark, yet always uplifting in their own way. Eventually I realize he doesn’t have to assault the mic to get your attention, he doesn’t need to, his songs have such a quiet power that they creep up on you and gently weave their way around your heart until before you realize what’s happened you’ve sunken into it, knitted into the thread of the song and its meaning. It’s quite disarming, I feel like I’ve been lulled into loving his music without my permission.
His songs are tender affairs, tonight enriched by his backing band, who play with a warmth and sense of celebration about them. I haven’t met many men who can pierce armor with words quite like Steaƒán, but when I have met them I’ve never forgotten their power to permeate my head and remain with me long after other memories have been forgotten. (I’ve had “When You Go” on repeat play on YouTube for the past week) I’m a sucker for two things in music; big female voices like Annie Lennox, Sia and Florence Welch, and lyrics that defy formula, that are strong enough to exist on their own without music, and Steaƒán's songs fall into that category.
The audience in this small venue can certainly make some noise. I love New York for embracing songwriters like Steaƒán; the crowd here really seem to have opened their arms to him and after hearing songs like “Dublin Sky” and “100 Days Of Snow” (as gorgeous as they sound), it’s not hard to understand why. Great show, great talent on display, small setting, what’s not to like?
Steaƒán’s coming back to the US in October (I’ll be certainly seeing him again). His new album is available for pre-order over at his site, www.steafanhanvey.com.
The Ruckus: The Interview: 2010
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We first introduced you to Ruckus favorite Steaƒán Hanvey a few months ago. Since then, his plans fo...We first introduced you to Ruckus favorite Steaƒán Hanvey a few months ago. Since then, his plans for US domination have started to come to fruition, and he is currrently playing a few gigs around New England and NYC. We were lucky enough to catch up with the Irish talent just as he landed on our fair shores, and we had a lovely chat about what he's listening to now, his music, and his current tour. Along with an incredible talent for singing and songwriting, Steaƒán has impeccable taste in music and a way with words, so if you're smart, you'll listen to what he's listening to, and you'll listen to him.
Hi Steaƒán, it’s been awhile since we last spoke to you. What have you been up to since then?
I was in Paris in January recording the last song of the album. Liam O'Maonlai came joined me on piano and backing vocals as did Bertrand Belin on lead guitar, one of my favourite French songwriters right now. It was a magical session. Will share soon.
We asked this of you last time, and it’s time for an update. What have you been listening to lately?
Bertrand Belin, Vermontian songstress Myra Flynn (who's half Irish you know!) who I'll be doing some shows with in Vermont very soon. Dublin based, English songwriter Duncan Maitland's (soon to be released debut album) Lullabies of The Twenty First Century, Irish songwriter Padraig Digan, Feist, Henry Mccullough's Poor Man's Moon, and Mike Brunnock. Also been listening to a bit of Martha Wainwright, Serge Gainsbourg and a Russian Jazz singer, Sophie Milman. Speaking of jazz, you should check out a jazz composer by the name of Dave Lyttle. He drums and writes all the band parts. He's something else. Check out "September Time". Been listening to Abbie Barrett too. Simon & Garfunkel, Finnish songstress Sansa, Time out of Mind by Dylan, a bit of Buckley here and there and a song by Liam O'Maonlai called "Worry Not". It works.
You’ve toured pretty extensively throughout Ireland, and last year you played some New York dates as well. How do the two experiences differ? How do you compare the music scene in, say, Dublin or Belfast to other cities you've played in?
Belfast can be tricky. You really have to wear them down, but when you do, you know you're doing something right. They don't make it easy for you. Although in saying that, my first standing ovation came from a Derry audience at The Playhouse, when I opened for Liam O'Maonlai back in 2005. A "home" gig, I expected them to be really scrutinizing and tough, but as I left the stage they stood up and demanded an encore. Belfast and Dublin have seen it all before, but again, it depends on the venue, the gig, the night etc.
I love gigging down in Cork. Magical reaction. That said, given the opportunity to do what I do, I'd have to say there's little difference in anywhere I've played. A good song is a good song in any venue. Once you connect with your audience, it doesn't matter where you are.
Is there a show that you are most looking forward to playing on this tour?
The opening show with The Hothouse Flowers in Foxboro, MA and my shows with Myra Flynn. Also looking forward to Pete's Candy Store, Arlene's Grocery (as it's a full band show) and The Scratcher Sessions. Maybe next time around I'll get to play The Precinct in Boston and The Higher Ground in Burlington.
Can you tell us about your favorite show from your past?
Tough one. I have a few. My album launch in Helsinki in Feb 2005. A few days before the gig, I kept getting calls from folk as the reviews were coming in telling me that such and such loved the album. There was a snow storm launch night and the traffic was ground to a halt. I spoke to people after the show and they told me they had to get off the bus and walk to the gig. I really felt like something was happening. People made an effort despite the elements. I was genuinely moved. The Finns are tough. Sisu! I admire them. I'll never forget the standing ovation experience in Derry (see above). This gig confirmed my already strong convictions that I was on the right path. I opened for John Spillane in Roisin Dubh in Galway one night and after I finished, people started queuing up at the stage for albums. I sold 19 albums, signed most of them and it wasn't even my gig. What a night that was. I slept 3 hours and got the train back to Dublin to get to work to teach Italians English. I went in tired but lifted and with a right bit of cash in my pocket too. I don't remember much about that lesson though. I opened for Relish one night in Whelans, Dublin. If you've ever been to a Relish gig, you'll know that it's a special experience. I'll never forget that night. My sister joined me on stage too.
When you do live shows, how do you go about doing your set list?
I always promise after every gig, that I'll be better prepared for the next outing. Never works like that. I like to see how I'm feeling, how the room feels, and how the audience (where possible) feels to me. I usually write the songs out before the gig. The order often changes during the gig, depending on which wave we're on. It's good to be flexible.
Do you prefer the studio, or playing out?
Right audience, venue-nothing can beat that. It's hard to explain. Addictive. But with this album I had the opportunity to record in Helsinki, Brittany, and Paris, France. Brittany, beside the sea in my friend's chalet - for 8 days. Enough said.
Tell us about your audience. What are your fans like? Any interesting fan experiences?
Many are fans of Liam's or Relish's- Loyal, adorable and have a splendid taste in music! Mine are the best! Bless them!
What is your favorite song to perform live?
It's a toss up between "Fair Weather Friend" which I wrote back in Helsinki in 1998, "Rooms", "Into Your Sun", "Deep Blue Sea", "Hundred Days of Snow" or "Secrets and Lies".
What do you hope that people will get out of your music when they come to a live show?
Songs of a personal but hopefully universal nature. Something they can relate to with a bit of luck. My tales of fortune and woe put to music. Honesty.
What’s next for Steafán Hanvey?
I'll come home, finish the artwork and album-decide who's putting it out and when. The pre-order page has just gone live on www.steafanhanvey.com. If you pick up a copy, you'll be helping me finishing the record. You'll also get the first album for free and a teaser mp3 file of the new material. I'll finish the making of the album documentary too. I was asked earlier today to go Paris in June and play on the same bill as Bertrand Belin. I'm over the moon. Music video scheduled for July. Maybe a release in September/October?
Awesome, we're looking forward to that! Thank you for talking to The Ruckus!
Thank you Ruckus!
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Steafán Hanvey describes himself as "an independent Irish songwriter, hell bent on US domination". I...Steafán Hanvey describes himself as "an independent Irish songwriter, hell bent on US domination". I, of course, was taken by that, and Steafán's music proved worthy of it. His music is as charming as he is, full of passion and great stories. I am very happy to have found one of my new favorite artists in Steafán.
Since we are doing this interview apart (unfortunately), tell me about where you are right now.
Just got back after curry at a friend's house here in Dublin. Whatever we were doing, I've ended up pretty hungry and decided to cook some beans, quinoa, garlic and wonderful pumpkin seed oil from Austria. Listening to good music in my flat.
How do you intend to accomplish your goal of US domination?
Will start by getting a new hair cut.
Selling records can no longer be taken as a given for a recording artist. I've been building a US following over the last two years by going over and playing NEMO and working venues like Rockwood Music Hall, Pete's Candy Store, The Red Lion, The Radio Bean in Burlington, Lizard Lounge & Club and Passim in Boston, and have just returned after my most recent nine date tour of NY, NJ, and VT. I plan to release my new record next year in the US. Setting oneself on fire seems a little dramatic at this point not to mention a tad unsettling.
Tell me about where you grew up.
I grew up in Downpatrick, Co. Down in northern Ireland- 40 km from Belfast, where I did my Bachelor's degree in American Studies which took me to Seattle, Helsinki, and then Dublin. Now everywhere else.
Tell me about some of your favorite Irish musicians.
Some of them are dead, some of those the ones still kicking around have yet to receive the attention and recognition they deserve. They include Relish, Paul Brady, The Frames' For The Birds album is pretty impressive as is Divine Comedy's Regeneration. I have always loved The Undertones, Stiff Little Fingers, Liam Clancy, and Tommy Makem, Luke Kelly, and Van the Man. I probably left someone out.
What have you been listening to lately?
Peoples' good intentions, friends' stories, Joni, Dylan, Paul Simon, John Gribbin, Relish, Joe Echo, Divine Comedy, Nina Simone, Kings X, The Guggenheim Grotto, Serge Gainsbourg, The Marble Heroes, Feist, The Beatles, and Elvis Costello.
You come from a musical family. How did that influence you?
Immensely, because it's everything really. You see your mum and dad going out and making a few sheckles from bangin' out the numbers and enjoying it, surrounds you at sessions, mainly from The Legendary Sands Family household on the Ryan Road, Co. Down. My mum and dad were always playing music themselves or playing other peoples'. My father runs a radio show where he's recorded many characters over the last 30 years, music players, story tellers, scoundrels-it's all played its part in making me do what I do.
How would you describe your music?
Heart felt, honest. Mine.
You're finishing up work on your second album. What can we expect from this release?
A few surprises. I have honed my craft into a leaner, more developed, dare I say mature second record. I've grown up- damn it! I'm very proud of this record. Can you tell?
What is your favorite part of a live performance?
When the audience suddenly endorses you when you most expect it- it means you both got it right, you've connected. And the shout for encores doesn't hurt either.
Do you have any hobbies other than music?
Yes, many things, except for music that is.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
It's only music. There are other things.
FUSE TV ON DEMAND
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My debut album, "Steafán Hanvey and The Honeymoon Junkies" gets its US release October 24 in conjunc...My debut album, "Steafán Hanvey and The Honeymoon Junkies" gets its US release October 24 in conjunction with the US premiere of 'Desperation' on FUSE TV ON DEMAND:
Video Music Clip placement (US)
This is the gorgeous HD version of Steaƒán Hanvey's tune "Desperation (Failed in Loving You)"
BackStage Gourmet Radio Show Interview
Interview with PJ Grimes. We talk about my 3 favourite vegetarian recipes. 1 hour
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Steafán Hanvey's debut is a rare delight, a singer-songwriter record which eschews introspection and...Steafán Hanvey's debut is a rare delight, a singer-songwriter record which eschews introspection and deals in sparkling, dare I say it, feel-good, melodies.
The scion of a County Down folk family, Hanvey was studying sound engineering in Seattle when grunge broke, and these disparate influences give the album a restless, brittle enthusiasm.
He deploys electric and acoustic guitar with delicate menace, sheathing his songs in weird, almost industrial treatments. Chamber-rock is also a clear influence-often the singer seems to deploy everything but the kitchen sink, as he strains towards a classic pop mélange. Lyrically, Hanvey travels to some dark places-the psychedelic dirge 'Everyone's Happy' suggests precisely the opposite-yet his song craft is shot through a wide-eyed optimism.
You may have already encountered the record's lead single, 'Hundred Days of Snow', an uplifting swirl of dissonance and sunshine. On radio, it sounds infectiously sweet. Here it is less distinguished-a back-handed commendation that says something for the impressive quality of the rest of the LP.
Great Start for the Finnish/Live at Derry Playhouse Theatre
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Strictly speaking singer-songwriter Steafán Hanvey is not Finnish at all; he is actually from Downpa...Strictly speaking singer-songwriter Steafán Hanvey is not Finnish at all; he is actually from Downpatrick, in County Down in Northern Ireland, though he did spend many years in Finland, crying over beautiful women, by all accounts. This intense cloud of emotional angst had a silver lining however, in that during his time in Helsinki, he penned many of the beautiful songs that feature in his remarkable soon to be released debut album Steafán Hanvey and The Honeymoon Junkies.
Since moving back to Ireland, Steafán has opened up for the likes of John Spillane, Damien Dempsey, The Walls, Relish, The Devlins, and The HotHouse Flowers and has been invited to go on a whistle-stop tour of Ireland with Liam O'Maonlai on 7 dates of his Irish tour in May.
And it was as support for the hugely talented Liam O' Maonlai that we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of this star being born.
Bravely attired in a strangely attractive get up that made him resemble some kind of Bavarian surfer, Steafán quickly developed a rapport with the crowd. Perhaps he got the freezing cool shirt in Helsinki. He treated us to Fairweather Friend, a powerful opening number that left the hungry Derry audience begging for more.
The beautiful clarity of his voice was bewitching as he sang My Woman, according to him, the only love song ever written in Downpatrick. "There's nothing wrong with Downpatrick," he laughed. " I moved to Dublin though, when I came back after six and a half years of living in Helsinki, because that was where all the action was." Then he said he got himself a bike to get around, and joked that he had nearly got himself killed a couple of times going around Dublin, getting soaked in the rain. This partly inspired him to write Dublin Sky, a feelgood number which he wrote when his girlfriend dumped him. Apparently when she broke it off, she said something like, "Now, why don't you go and write a song about it?" So he did.
And he sang, "She said, sing it all night long
And when it comes to three, think of me."
So the poor love-struck guy goes off and ends up singing about his ex girlfriend up and down the country at three in the morning.
"Maybe girlfriends should take out pre-relationship contracts with singers before they agree to go out with them," he laughed "And say that they'll only agree to a date if they're guaranteed 50% royalties for any songs written about them."
Steafán Hanvey's melting melodies, sung so tenderly, touched the audience and if the number of fans jumping all around him after the show, armed with CD's of his latest single My Woman (Ode to You) are anything to go by, he is sure to be a blazing star. Watch this space.
New album is tangled up in Dylan
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New album is tangled up in Dylan Singer echoes his rich influence Ireland's funky balladeer Stea...New album is tangled up in Dylan
Singer echoes his rich influence
Ireland's funky balladeer Steafán Hanvey has just released his long-awaited album Steafán Hanvey and The Honeymoon Junkies, and if the recent Meteor awards are anything to go by, don't be surprised to see the man himself up there on stage next year receiving a big reward.
A gruelling year of touring the country, alongside Liam O Maonlai, of HotHouse Flowers fame, looks like it's paying off, with songs from his new album drifting out from stations across Ireland and beyond.
Apparently the DJs love it. I met up with the far-travelled songster in Derry where he will be appearing shortly at Sandino's in early March as part of his Irish tour.
He has a strong musical background, as he told me: "My mother and father are both trad musicians. Actually, my da is a DJ on Downtown Radio. When I was younger, I used to up to his record collection and just pick out lots of LPs. If I liked the cover I'd play it. I spent hours going through his shelves," he laughed. "There was plenty of Dylan and Joni Mitchell, Luke Kelly, Phil Coulter, Planxty and Johnny Cash, Paul Simon. Right across the board and I just loved it all.
"My da's a banjo player and a singer. There was always a session going on in somebody's house.
"My mum and dad are very friendly with the Sands Family, and they play on each other's albums and stuff. I spent a lot of time with them when I was a child," he continued.
Steafán is a red-haired groovy-looking musician. Kind of a cross between Jamiroquai and Bob Dylan.
His da, he said, in younger years bore a strong resemblance to the 60s icon. The Dylan influence comes through a bit in his music.
Steafán has spent a lot of time travelling, or rather living abroad. He spent a good stretch in the states, in Seattle, and also a lot of time in Finland. A lot of his time spent there was devoted to penning the angst-ridden love songs that feature on his album. So what brought him to Finland? A woman perchance?
"What makes you say that?" he asked surprised. "Because you never stop talking about it when you're on stage," I replied. So what does he think he'd be doing if he wasn't a musician? "I'd probably still be travelling. I did a bit of radio when I was over in Helsinki for four years. I've a Masters in Politics, so I might be doing something with a university."
After hearing the Downpatrick singer for the first time, I gleefully ripped open the squirrel invaded CD cover of Steafán Hanvey and The HoneyMoon Junkies in the safety of my own home.
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The debut from this Downpatrick songwriter, with its frugal framework, belies the long journey that ...The debut from this Downpatrick songwriter, with its frugal framework, belies the long journey that precedes it.
Hanvey, a nomadic minstrel of sorts, earned his stripes while jobbing his way around Seattle and Helsinki. On returning to Dublin in 2002, he began work on this album, roping in Relish's Papenfus brothers and some of Van Morrison's band to swell his sound. Pooling his Irish roots and chilly Nordic vistas, Hanvey favours unadorned stories with the occasional flourish of strings and keys. Anchored somewhere on the folk trajectory, the songs borrow unashamedly from Bob Dylan, but Hanvey's lack of wow factor is outweighed by his confidence.
One of the album's strong points is his voice, which oozes warmth and a confessional charm. A lean, longing collection.
Sinead Gleeson/ Feb 24.2006
2. My woman (Ode to you)
3. Love's a decision
4. Dublin sky
5. Fair weather friend
6. Desperation Radio Single
7. Everyone's happy
8. Look at you
9. Hundred days of snow
10. When you go
12. Winding down
13. Show me
14.Only My Frown
15.Into your Sun
16.Secrets and Lies
17.Deep Blue sea
20.Marta's Always Going Home
21.Out of view
22.Show Me the Woman
Material from 'Sole' + New material currently being recorded.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.