Made up of Dave Healy on lead guitar, Emmet Doherty on bass, Jack Kyle on synths and keys and James Healy on drums The Lavengros are led by front man Gareth Borrow on lead vocals and they are fast becoming one of the brightest young bands to have recently emerge onto Northern Ireland’s music scene.
Their debut record has been grabbing the attention of not only local music lovers and artists alike, but has received significant air play on BBC’s Across the Line.
We caught up with the guys to find out all about the record, how they formed and what’s instore this year for The Lavengros.
You guys formed the band in the summer of last year, how has the journey been so far?
Dave: The journey since last summer has been amazing because when we formed this band, the experience from the first practice was so good that we knew we were going to be together for a long time. What made it better was the fact that we were all mates anyways, so we all really gelled together.
Things started kicking off for us when we started branding our band, making short and long term goals, being more active on our Facebook page and upping our commitment in more band practices per week to work hard on our debut EP.
Where did the name 'The Lavengros' come from?
Gareth: We spent a lot of time throwing ideas together for names which was really difficult as we wanted something distinctive and had a meaning. We thought it would be cool to name the band after my great-great-uncles bestselling book. He was a famous Welsh author from the late 1800's called George Borrow and the book is titled ’Lavengro'.
How did you guys get together?
Emmett: We have all known each other for a good while now, we have all been studying music together for most of our lives. The first time Dave, Jack and James met Gareth was through the North West Regional College back in 2012 and even back then we all just gelled together as friends. However, Gareth went on to pursue his career in Louis Walsh’s new boyband, later to be known as 'Hometown'. In our favour, Hometown didn't work out for Gareth.
When he came back to Derry he thought he could start a new band, meaning he could express his own musical creativity and write songs along with his four friends. Having this much creative freedom is something that he would not have had with being in a boyband!
Gareth, you've previously performed on the West End in Oliver and as NAME mentioned, you’ve been in Louis Walsh's 'Hometown' boy band, you must have learnt a lot from those experiences and do you think that style of music has influenced The Lavengros?
Gareth: Yes, I have learnt a lot from those experiences, especially being in the West End has definitely given me the confidence and boosted my skills to perform in front of a crowd.
About the boy-band Hometown; have they influenced us as a band? Yes, because it given the circumstances, it makes us want to be bigger and better than them. Have they influenced our music? I would have to say no because I see our band as musicians whereas I see Hometown as being manufactured, and making music in the band I am now gives me a bigger portion of the creative control, whereas in Hometown I wasn't given any. However, we do want to be a commercial success as well as Hometown but nothing like them at the same time.
Who would you say the band as a whole take most inspiration and influence from?
James: I think the main bands that would influence us as a whole band would range from the likes of Ed Sheeran, Maroon 5 to the likes of Rudimental and Red Hot Chili Peppers. They have so much versatile, catchy & upbeat tunes that influence us because our music produces same vibe.
Your debut EP 'Take it or leave it' has just been released, how did you find the process of producing it?
Dave: The production process for the E.P has been an amazing experience because I never thought that I would be making music that I would be extremely happy with and I don’t think we could have got a better producer for the job than big Stevie McLaughlin. The work that he put into the E.P, mixing, mastering, and his creative input has really made this E.P complete.
I would recommend him to any musicians that want to record any tracks, as he is currently taking bookings, you can find more info on our Facebook page.
You guys offer something different for not only the local scene here in Derry, but also the NI scene, how have you found the reaction so far?
Jack: The reaction to the E.P has just been phenomenal as it has really made us feel welcomed into the music scene of Northern Ireland from receiving high praise from the likes of local artists such as Paddy Nash and receiving radio play from BBC Radio Ulster programme ‘Across the Line’ in a matter of weeks from us hosting the tracks on Reverbnation.
With less than a month since joining the website we have skyrocketed to Number 13 in the UK Pop charts for Reverbnation artists and Number 1 in the Northern Ireland All Genres Charts! This is all thanks to people engaging with our social media and checking out our tracks on the Reverbnation site. The reaction has been surprising to say the least, especially finding a good few people from the USA really digging our music and leaving nice comments on our Facebook page!
Is there a debut album on the cards?
Dave: Absolutely! We are back in the studio for recording in Summer time to get the album finished and we will have a full 10 track album, so expect big things!
What are your plans for 2016?
Gareth: We do feel like there is a lot in store for 2016, but we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves too much. We hope to be playing a lot more gigs as well as searching for opportunities to perform at live festivals. Playing in front of a big crowd would be an amazing experience that we would all look forward to. We would like to make a big presence here in Derry’s music scene and work towards getting on board the gigging circuit around the North and South, cities like Belfast, Dublin etc. We understand that it’s going to be a very tough and long journey ahead, but we are well prepared and determined as it’s going to be a very rewarding one!