by / February 11th, 2013 /

Incoming: Southern Tenant Folk Union

Who are you and where are you from?
My name is Pat McGarvey and I’m from Edinburgh (well, I live here now – originally I’m from Belfast, but that was a long time ago).

Who are your favourite artists from your hometown?
Blueflint (my lovely wife Debs’ band – they recently supported the Proclaimers on tour) and the folk band Lau.

What’s it really like touring?
Hard work but fun I think. You tend to forget between tours how tiring it can be but on the other hand there’s no point complaining when that’s the way it is and many people would love to be in the same position of going on the road with a band. So it’s a mixture of romanticism, alcoholism and pragmatism.

What’s your favourite city/town/venue to play?
I don’t have one favourite – and it can depend on the concert – you could have a great gig in Madrid one year then it could blow the next. I love coming to Dublin to play and have travelled to the city even when I’m not gigging – I went there for my 40th birthday a year and a bit ago – loads of great pubs to visit – I’d made a big list of the best sounding ones and dragged my wife around to each and every one – she didn’t resist too much.

What’s your ideal festival line-up?
Sonic Youth, Lalo Schifrin, Fabio Frizzi, Umberto, Pixies, NRBQ, John Carpenter, Motorhead, The Isley Brothers, The O’Jays, Bootsy Collins and Ralph Stanley.

Tell us a tour story…
Through a satnav error we got the tour van stuck in a narrow alleyway in Preston town centre last year. It was 1am and all the locals leaving the nightclubs stopped to point, laugh and take pictures on their camera phones. It took about two hours, a wobbly pile of bricks, a wooden ramp and an AA driver (who said “I really shouldn’t be doing this”) for us to be pulled free.

What has been your biggest achievement of the last year?
Just carrying on doing what we’re doing is achievement enough – though the recent TV spot on the Late Late Show was definitely noteworthy.

What do you do to relax?
Read novels, watch movies on the laptop with my wife (we just got that lovefilm thing – it’s ok) and drink nice bottled ales.

What are you reading?
A book recommended by my friend Joe Lepper. It’s called I Have Waited, And You Have Come by Martine McDonagh (a former manager of the band James). It’s kind of a post-apocalyptic thing about a woman surviving on her own in a world torn apart by climate change and disease. Joe knows I have a penchant for this kind of thing because of our 3rd album The New Farming Scene and it’s sci-fi folk concept leanings.

How about TV, anything good on the box?
Still enjoying Breaking Bad – I think we borrowed season 4 from someone or they’re about to give us it – please don’t spoil the end of that for me. Other than that it’s mostly movies though I want to catch the new series of The Killing and Borgen – I know everyone else watches these shows but they’re really well made and I loved the earlier series.

What’s the last thing you bought online?
Seven pricey flights from Edinburgh to Dublin so we could play on the Late Late Show.

Who would you most like to collaborate with if you got the chance?
The Italian cult horror soundtrack composer Fabio Frizzi. I have already asked him (and I met him briefly last year and he was very nice in person) and he has said maybe. He’s quite busy but I’m planning to ask him again in a few months and I’m hoping he goes for it this time.

What is the worst cover your band has ever performed?
It was a Dan Tyminski song we learned for a wedding a couple of years ago – the couple were lovely and the wedding was really great fun but that song was not my sort of thing at all – it’s called ‘The One You Lean On’ and is packed full of insincere lyrics, greasy chord sequences and low grade cheese.

Have you ever trashed your equipment? When and why?
No. My banjo is from the 1920’s and irreplaceable. I went along to see Later with Jools Holland being filmed in 1995 or 1996 and saw Edwyn Collins smash his guitar on the floor after playing ‘ ‘A Girl Like You’. Sadly for Edwyn the cameras had already panned away from him and didn’t even capture the moment of impact. I felt bad for him.

What website do you visit most?
It used to be Eat My Brains but those guys got busy with day jobs instead of entertaining me for free and stopped updating it as much. Probably I visit The Guardian the most as I’m keen on keeping up with news, politics and world affairs.

What is your favourite…

…album of the last year?

More Than Dancing by Federation Of The Disco Pimp


‘Goodbye My Darling’ by Sam Lee.

…Lost classic song?
‘The Thin Man’ by Eddie Kendricks – great groove and great synth part by the former Temptations man.

… Record label?
Clubhouse Records – they released a few interesting UK Americana albums last year and I like their style.

A new artist that you are most excited about?
Rory Butler – he’s just joined the Southern Tenant Folk Union as lead singer and guitarist (he guested on the most recent album) but also releases his own solo albums – am just excited at the prospect of working with him and his amazing voice on the next CD later in the year.

What was the last great gig you went to?
I don’t get out to gigs as much as I used to (kids/music work) but me and Debs made a point last year of going to see Edinburgh’s fabulous Mystery Juice – they’re like a folked up and even more funked up version of The Fall…they’re quite big in Russia apparently.

What should we expect from your Irish shows?
Great musicianship, lead vocals and songs – a good selection from all of our five albums with the emphasis on the new one – all delivered in an engaging way. We’re not afraid to talk to the audience and involve them in the show.

Southern Tenant Folk Union play:

Tue 12th February – THE RED ROOM, Cookstown, CO TYRONE
Wed 13th February – BALLYMONEY TOWN HALL, Ballymoney, CO ANTRIM
Thu 14th February – THE CRANE BAR, Galway
Sat 16th February – THE SOURCE ARTS CENTRE, Thurles