Steafan Hanvey was born
in Downpatrick, Co. Down. The eldest of three children, Steafan
remembers being surrounded by music from an early age. He is a product
of a musical family, his mother and father both musicians have two
albums in the traditional field. He was exposed to all kinds of
music, everything from Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Luke Kelly, Willie
Nelson, The Johnstons, Paul Brady, Simon & Garfunkel, to Johnny
Cash and of course, the Beatles.
As a child and travelling
around the country with his father, Steafan remembers being asked
to sing songs for people, which heīd learned at home. His mother
was always singing in the house. His primary school teachers used
to have him sing to his classmates. On his first day of music in
secondary school he remembers his music teacher asking, "who is
the singer then?". Steafan was among two of the names called out.
Darren Conliff and Stef were thereafter assigned to quite a few
When it came to forming
bands in his native Downpatrick, Steafan was usually asked to sing,
as his friends were guitarists or drummers, or simply mic-shy. After
a bit of experimenting with garage bands he teamed up with childhood
friend Kenny Papenfus (now Relish) to form 50/50, a heavy rock outfit.
He co-wrote the material together with Ken and recordings and gigs
followed (Amongst others, Olan Magowan/CBS came up from Dublin to
see them three times). After a couple of years of much frustration
with the northern music scene (or apparent lack of it in those days)
and lack of venues for original bands, Stef opted to continue his
studies at university.
His third year of university
took him to Seattle where he took the opportunity to study audio
engineering. The Seattle scene was about to peak with the untimely
death of Kurt Cobain. Stef says of those days, "the Seattle sound
or scene played heavily when deciding where to study. I wanted to
see what it was like for myself and I got a wonderful opportunity
to see how life was at the other side of the window-at the mixing
Although he found it an
enriching experience, he said that he grew tired of Pearl Jam wannabees.
It was part of his course to produce demos of local bands, and in
the end, after completing his course, he realised that he missed
what was going on at the otherside of the window, with the musicians.
In the summer of 1995
Steafan moved to Helsinki, Finland where he continued to study and
worked as an English teacher and a barman. Call it the blues or
whatever you will, but Finland (in particular a girl) got him writing
again. "Thanks to a girl and a subsequent broken heart I started
to write again, only this time alone - just me and the guitar. It
really helped me get through that tough patch in Helsinki, I just
found myself singing it out of me, and it worked!"
Having only himself to kick out of bed in the mornings, Stef started
to demo some songs with Finnish friends. This continued until he
decided in earnest to put a more comprehensive cd together. The
result is the cd entitled "Sole". A selection of 5 of Steafanīs
songs, which deal with everyday dilemmas-falling in love, falling
on your ass, picking yourself up, attributing blame and all the
rest.... So, be warned!
Steafan has been hosting
his own radio show in Helsinki now for about 2 years. He specialises
in bands and artists that people don't know much about, introducing
existing as well as up and coming acts to Finnish ears.