Steafán Hanvey, originally hails from Downpatrick, Co. Down, in Northern Ireland. He is currently mixing his second LP with Swedish producer, TORE JOHANSSON [Martha Wainwright/Cardigans/Franz Ferdinand]. 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, 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 Steafán 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 Steafán began to explore realms of music other than ballads of immigration, love lost, and blooming heather. At the age of 16, Steafán 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, Steafán 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, he moved to Helsinki, Finland to continue his studies at the University of Helsinki, working as a barman, and English teacher. Not long into his stay in Helsinki, Steafán began to host his own radio show introducing fresh Irish acts to Finnish ears. Soon he had formed two bands. The first "Aloof" and later "Rig Ma Roll" merging elements of both Finnish and Irish folk music. Introducing his own compositions into these bands led to the recording of his first 5 track mini-album Sole in November 2000-March 2001, where Steafán worked with Janne Viksten, one of Finland's finest recording engineers, who at the time worked at The Sibelius Music Academy.
Sole, dealt with the usual stuff not in the usual manner. After much gigging in Helsinki and around Finland, Steafán relocated to Dublin. Sole and his first single Desperation got their Irish release in April 2002 to glowing reviews accompanied with radio interviews and sessions around the country. In August 2002, he got busy recording his forthcoming debut album "Steafán Hanvey and The HoneyMoon Junkies". This saw him team up with old Downpatrick bandmates the Papenfus brothers on lead guitar and drums, and Conor McCreanor on bass. The opportunity presented itself to work with members of The Van Morrison band: Gerome Rimson and Dick Farrelly. The album was recorded in studios in, Northern Ireland, London, Dublin and Helsinki. Again fortune knocked, when Steafán got the opportunity to work with Kieran Lynch. Kieran, who engineered much of U2's "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" and co-produced Elvis Costello's "When I Was Cruel" mixed Steafán debut album.
In 2004 Steafán visited NYC & Montreal to taste new audiences. He opened for The Hothouse Flowers in Barcelona in March, opened for Relish, John Spillane, Eleanor McEvoy (Woman's Heart), The Devlins, Damien Dempsey and Mary Coughlan amongst others. He was invited to the BBC in Belfast to record 2 sessions. He played to a packed Ruby Sessions / Dublin, in July and then again in September where he discovered quite a demand for advance copies of his then forthcoming album.
He started 2005 with a Finnish release of his debut album, where he took the opportunity to film his first music video clip. [Reviews: http://www.steafanhanvey.com/reviews.html] At home, Liam O’Maonlai, frontman of "The Hothouse Flowers" invited Steafán on 7 dates of his Irish tour. Later in the same year, Steafán made for Boston's NEMO music festival where he was 1 of 6 Irish acts invited to represent the cream of the Irish songwriter scene at that time.
2006 saw him release his debut album in Ireland, which met with widespread critical acclaim. Ireland's HOTPRESS magazine gave the record 7 out of 10, calling it "a rare delight", and of the record's lead single, 'Hundred Days of Snow', "an uplifting swirl of dissonance and sunshine. On radio, it sounds infectiously sweet."
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 followed.
Steafán started work on his second album in November 2007 at Finnish cult band's 22 pistepirkko's studio in Helsinki with France's Léo Fourastie co-producing. The sessions took in Paris, Helsinki, Brittany, Dublin, Downpatrick and Malmo-Sweden, where Tore Johansson set about mixing the 10 track album.
In July 2008, “The Hats off Tour” took Steafán to the north-east coast of the US, to showcase the new songs, taking in venues like the Rockwood Music Hall NY, The Radio Bean VT, The Lizard Lounge & The Burren in Boston, ending up in Chicago sharing the stage with "The Horse Operas" and "Grun tu molani".
Keep your eye on the tour page as Steafán plans a Autumnal tour of NY, VT and Boston later this year.