Guy Garvey Biography
Guy Garvey born Guy Edward John Garvey, is an English musician, singer, songwriter and BBC 6 Music presenter. He was born on 6 March 1974 in Bury, Lancashire, England.
While at college in the early 1990s, Garvey formed Elbow with Mark and Craig Potter, Pete Turner, and Richard Jupp. Elbow won two Ivor Novello awards for best song writing for the 2008 single “Grounds for Divorce” as well as best contemporary song for “One Day Like This”. He was awarded a lifetime achievement honour by the Radio Academy in 2014.
Guy Garvey has been a presenter on BBC 6 Music for over five years and previously presented a show on Sunday evenings on XFM. He had a monthly column in the now-defunct listings magazine City Life and is a patron of the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), the Manchester-based charity responsible for clearing war zones of mines and munitions worldwide.
Guy Garvey’s first solo studio album, Courting the Squall, was released on 30 October 2015.
Guy Garvey Age
He was born on 6 March 1974 in Bury, Lancashire, England. His father spent most of his working life as a newspaper proofreader, later joining ICI as a chemist; his mother was a police officer before becoming a psychologist. One of seven siblings, Garvey has five older sisters: Gina, Louise, Sam, Karen, and Becky. His younger brother is actor Marcus Garvey.
Guy Garvey Married – Guy Garvey Wife
He began dating actress Rachael Stirling in 2015 and the two were married in June 2016 at Manchester Town Hall.
Guy Garvey Baby
Guy Garvey and Rachael Stirling had their first child, a son named Jack, in April 2017.
Guy Garvey Albums With Elbow
- Asleep in the Back (2001)
- Cast of Thousands (2003)
- Leaders of the Free World (2005)
- The Seldom Seen Kid (2008)
- Build a Rocket Boys! (2011)
- The Take Off and Landing of Everything (2014)
- Little Fictions (2017)
Guy Garvey Albums – Solo
- Courting the Squall (2015)
Guy Garvey Songs
- Angela’s Eyes
- Belly of the Whale
- Three Bells
- Harder Edges
- Open the Door
- Broken Bottles and Chandeliers
- Courting the Squall
- Let’s Dance
- Lawn Mower
- In The Forest
- Morrissey Letter
- City’s End Coda
- The Gig
- Gina Awakens
- Return To Hospital
- Mary’s Boy Child / Oh My Lord
- Record Store
- Tea Party
- Gina’s Theme
- On The Bridge
- City’s End
Guy Garvey Interview
First off, congrats on the new guy. The last time we spoke you were a free man but now you have a tiny dictator running your life.
Guy Garvey: [Laughs]. Yes, the chairman as we call him. He’s currently asleep with a bit of a cold. He’s a delightfully benign dictator but he must be obeyed!
You guys are getting ready to hit the states. How much do you change the show for the American audiences? Do you alter the set list at all or is it the same show the rest of the world gets?
Guy Garvey: To be honest when we tour the UK we do it in a matter of weeks because we do a few big festivals. Doing shows compared to festivals is different in terms of having the audience the whole evening.
You consider the journey of the evening.
Guy Garvey: We consider what do we as a band want to play but obviously you want people to have the best time and hear their favorite song. That’s the sort of communal payoff, playing live together is a celebration of the hard work we’ve done because it isn’t hard work at all.
You’re on the road together, you eat together, you have a laugh together, you drink together you play together and you sleep and do it all over again.
Guy Garvey: It’s fun. I mean you could say we need to play the hits but we’ve not really had a big hit over in the states [laughs].
It’s funny you say that because I always feel like I introduce you to friends and I get feedback a week later “How did I sleep on these guys? What else should I get?”
Guy Garvey: Thanks mate!
But your shows are always packed. Your fans are here. You’re not an unknown band here but you’re not a household name. It’s a weird spot you’re in.
Guy Garvey: We really feel it when we don’t tour. It hasn’t happened very often but we’ve released an album and not toured the states for whatever reason. But we feel it quite keenly if we haven’t toured. If someone asks us “Why are you going over there?” It’s not to make a profit that’s for sure. The answer would be because that’s what we do. We make a record and then we go and see everyone. It’s what we do. The payoff couldn’t be less financially viable. We’ve never made a penny over there from touring. We avoid going into the red but it’s not a payoff. We come because we really enjoy it is my point. It’s the love of it. I enjoy seeing your amazing cities. Getting the updates on how things have changed from our friends that we visit. Dipping into their lives and such. It’s like a beautiful time capsule. I’ve been visiting the states for 17 years now.
You lived in NYC as well right?
Guy Garvey: I have. I consider it my second city. Not sure what NYC would say about me but…[laughs].
That leads to my next question. You guys are Manchester through and through. The city is in your blood. Now that you live in London more and like we said in NYC, how much do you see your writing changing with your vantage point?
As you travel it changes perspective on the world. You grow up in Manchester and then you grow up and see the world.
It doesn’t water down the Manchester in your music but what kind of effect does it have?
Guy Garvey: It all filters in. The key is to make sure it filters in in a recognizable way, a non-alienating way in terms of there’s nothing worse than someone banging on about their holiday in India and how they now consider themselves spiritually enabled. Those are the people to avoid at the party, but at the same time there are great travel writers, the songwriters who have traveled. Some where they’re persistent and you think that’s enough of that you know? It all filters in but you rarely mention the place by name. If you hear me say the name its normally Manchester but it could be any city really. The particularly inspiring cities I’ve been to like NYC, I mean NYC is THE city right? But also cities like Istanbul and Lisbon, they’ve filtered in. The ones I namecheck are the ones where I was manufactured, where I’ve been built. I’ve been writing about London romantically for a long time just in part here and there. It’s a strange one I don’t know it’s like I love the idea of commune, the idea of people being together, therefore I like cities.
Manchester has had a pretty intense year. When we last spoke about Little Fictions you said you didn’t want politics to bog down the record and instead turned towards a more inspiring feel to fight back against the doom and gloom. Do you feel the current situation of the world and recent events will filter into the next record?
Guy Garvey: Do you mean specifically the bombing?
No, not just that but the state of the world and maybe some of the more inspiring results of what happened after the bomb, the city coming together etc.
Guy Garvey: It depends if it makes good music. There is always reaction in our music but I try not to make it the focus of songs because in the same way you don’t want it to be the focus of a conversation. We all know what’s going on and we all know what’s wrong with it or certainly anyone whose opinion I care about does anyway, so it doesn’t need to be repeated. At the same time, I’m not afraid of it. If the music brings it out of me lyrically then it’s there as with Little Fictions. It’s scary, the whole concept of fake media is all Orwell, it’s literally what he predicted but it all felt so farfetched until now this idea that everyone would know what’s going on. It’s pretty scandalous and I mean fuck me what’s going on with the president is a tinderbox. It’s just scary.
Yeah, things are very surreal as of late. It was really inspiring though to see Manchester come together in such a difficult tragedy.
Guy Garvey: And to come together in love as well. Manchester is a tough town. The city center is vibrant and modern but there’s not a lot of money and many people live in poverty. For everyone to uniformly adopt the slogan “Choose Love” and to adopt that attitude, I have never been prouder IN MY LIFE.
That is wonderful thing. Word is that you might have an EP or a prequel to Little Fictions.
Guy Garvey: That’s a possibility. We started along those lines. I’m not sure. We’re going to just keep making material and if we have enough material it will become an EP.
I loved the last EP. It was nice surprise to see that drop as an appetizer in between meals
Guy Garvey: Thanks, but this material just feels it too good. I think you have to sit and write an EP. What we did was sit and start writing songs. What we did last time is sit and wrote an EP. Those songs in that order was always the plan. It was about a particular moment in time. I think the mistake we made here was to not have a focus on what we wanted to do thematically and so much has been happening in all of our lives particularly in mine. We want this work to be more a staple of our work, more canon. They saw the stuff I wrote about the birth of my son.
Can you give us a tease about the direction? Sound wise maybe?
Guy Garvey: They’re sort of an Ennio Morricone vibe to the songs. Sort of experimental scenescape but very, very wordy which had already started to happen on Little Fictions but yeah, very wordy.
Is the band keeping up with you? Or is this just you churning it out and they’re waiting for you?
Guy Garvey: This is me reacting to their music. Reacting to their music and whatever else the world is going to throw at me.
How is it with your new band member?
Guy Garvey: He’s a wonderful man. I’d already worked with him on my solo record. It was lovely for me to watch him and the band’s friendship unfold in a way I kind of knew they would. Watching your best friends present their best selves to the new guy. And watching it in return. I knew him well enough to watch him fit in without stepping on toes. He knows we are peculiar bunch and have a way of working that is 27 years old. He’s doing a great job navigating that. He gives his opinion, he’s in the room and he’s funny as fuck.
The John Grant, single took me by surprise. That was out of nowhere. Where did it come from? This isn’t like teaming up with Taylor Swift to get a hit single. It seemed more organic. How did it happen?
Guy Garvey: We love John and last time we were on tour, he was on the opposite side of the states. I knew there was space in kindling for a duet but I didn’t know what kind of duet. We saw it as an opportunity to draw people to the album, new people maybe. We asked the label if they’d give us another crack at radio if we have a good reason and they liked the idea. It helped me with this niggling idea that I hadn’t finished the song. It was fun to write for someone else’s voice. So we made a list of possible artists and they were all women. Our only duet up until that time was with Richard Hawley.
I said “How about a guy?” and Craig said “John Grant” and we all said “Yes!” at the same time. So I wrote John a sort of blackmail letter where I said I’d love to do this but if you can’t don’t worry, if you have reservations about it that’s fine, don’t worry about it, but I’ll never forgive you sort of thing [laughs]. Luckily he loved it. He found some stuff in it that has been going on with him and we really enjoyed playing together, so he is coming out on tour with us now. It was just a lovely thing.
He’s great live. Can’t wait to see that. Do you use the stage to revise songs for a live setting? Did you change Little Fictions at all for the tour?
Guy Garvey: No, I don’t particularly like when a band does a completely new version of a song I’m familiar with. I think we can play with volume and dynamics to help people feel the songs more. Songs naturally take on another dimension live just because it’s bigger and louder and volume is a tool we can play with live because no one really uses dynamics in the studio any more. The big bits are bigger and the subtle bits are softer. I’d hate to disappoint anyone. We’ve got the best sound engineer with us. We are always well rehearsed and no matter how small the venue we put on a big show.
You’re a great headphones band but also a pretty rocking live band. Usually you’re one or the other.
Guy Garvey: It’s hard for bands nowadays. Sometimes you have to throw a record together in your bedroom and then you can expand it live. Other times you throw everything on it in the studio and can’t afford to reproduce the big details live. We were lucky we made some records the old fashioned way before people stopped buying them.
You guys always surprise in the live setting because you go from these beautiful string ballads with the audience singing along and then grind out a raucous guitar song. Again, not many bands have both in their catalog.
Guy Garvey: Thanks man!
Well we all look forward to seeing you here in the states soon.
Guy Garvey: Cheers mate!