Citing influences today from his formative years as being everything from Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Soundgarden, Simon & Garfunkel to Liam Clancy, Willie Nelson, Nina Simone and Leonard Cohen, perhaps the most important of all was the household itself, renowned at the time for its 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, he formed his first band, ‘50/50’, a heavy rock outfit with childhood friends Kenny & Carl Papenfus of ‘Relish’. After three years of fronting the band, Steafán opted to take time out to continue his studies at university. As an exchange student, 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 wannabes 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 university brought him to Helsinki, Finland where he set about recording his mini-album entitled, 'Sole'. On this record, Steafán got to work with Janne Viksten, one of Finland's most celebrated engineers. ‘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, Steafán relocated to Dublin where he got busy recording his debut album "Steafan Hanvey and The HoneyMoon Junkies". Steafán teamed up with Kieran Lynch to mix the record. Kieran had worked on U2's "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" and Elvis Costello's "When I Was Cruel". The album was then mastered in London by Jon Astley, who had worked with the likes of The Who, George Harrison, & Norah Jones.
In 2004 Steafán played NYC and Montreal to get a feel for different audiences. Back in Europe he opened for ‘The Hothouse Flowers”, amongst others. He was 1 of 6 Irish acts invited to play at Boston's NEMO music festival in 2005 and has to date recorded no fewer than 3 in-studio sessions at the BBC, where Gerry Anderson said: “Steafán is making noises in the right places, he has earned his place at the table.” National television and radio appearances followed. The singles 'A Hundred Days of Snow' and ‘My Woman’ received strong airplay in Finland and Ireland, making many radio playlists. HOTPRESS music magazine, Ireland’s leading music publication, called it: “a rare delight” and that it was of an “Impressive quality”; that “his song craft is shot through a wide-eyed optimism”, and of ‘Hundred Days of Snow”, the lead single from the album: “an uplifting swirl of dissonance and sunshine”. The Irish Times: “Steafán’s voice oozes warmth and a confessional charm”, and that the album was “a lean longing collection”. Daily Ireland called it “remarkable” and “The beautiful clarity of his voice was bewitching”.
In recent years Steafán has focused more intently on audience building in North America, in particular NY, VT, MA and IL, having toured the region four times in the last 2 years, taking in venues like Rockwood Music Hall, Pete’s Candy Store & Arlene’s Grocery in NY, the Lizard Lounge & Showcase live in MA, where he opened for Irish rock legends ‘The Hothouse Flowers’ in 2010; recently headlining at Chicago’s Uncommon Ground and Elbo Room, Radio Bean & Langdon Street Café in Vermont.
In between sojourns from Ireland to the USA in search of a new audience, Steafán has spent the last 3 years recording his sophomore album entitled "Nuclear Family", recorded in Paris, Helsinki, Dublin and mixed by Franz Ferdinand & The Cardigans producer, Tore Johansson, who has also worked with Martha Wainwright & New Order. The record was mastered in London by Mandy ‘The exchange’ Parnell [Feist/Nick Cave/Bonnie Prince Billy], and features guest appearances by Liam Ó Maonolaí [Hothouse Flowers], Bertrand Belin & again the Papenfus brothers.
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 two of Steafán’s music video clips. The first, entitled ‘Desperation’, from his debut album ‘Steafán Hanvey and The Honeymoon Junkies’ was aired in the autumn of 2011. The second music video clip from Steafán’s sophomore album, 'Nuclear Family' scheduled for US national TV airing in early 2013, was recently selected from 1700 videos for the kinolounge special program of the 22nd Sao Paulo International Short Film Festival that took place from August 25th to September 2nd, 2011.
Steafán’s debut “Steafán Hanvey and the Honeymoon Junkies”, can be downloaded for free when you pre-order his new album, ‘Nuclear Family’ from his website: www.steafanhanvey.com Nuclear Family will be mailed to those who pre-order, when released in 2012.
Tour dates for the US and Canada are currently being booked and finalised. Check back in around December for full list.
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