Stornoway are a British indie folk band from the Cowley area of Oxford that released three albums from 2010 to 2015. As of 2023 the band is led by singer, lyricist and guitarist Brian Briggs, with multi-instrumentalists Jon Ouin & Oli Steadman. Their sound incorporates an ever-changing selection of stringed instruments and keyboards, supported by a typical pop backline of guitar, drums and bass guitar.
Briggs and Ouin met during Freshers' week at Oxford; Briggs thought Ouin looked like a member of Teenage Fanclub, a band both of them liked that became a topic of their first conversation. Soon after, the two began playing music together. They advertised for a bass player, and Oli Steadman was the only person to respond to their advert. Oli's younger brother Rob Steadman later auditioned for the role of drummer.
The band is named after the Scottish town of Stornoway on the Hebridean Isle of Lewis. The band had never been to Stornoway when they decided to name themselves after the town. They played their first gig there on 9 April 2010 and also signed their contract with label 4AD, a British independent record label part of Beggars Group, there as well. In a 2010 interview with British music blog There Goes the Fear, Brian Briggs described the band's hunt for a name: "We were looking for somewhere that sounded a bit distant and remote and coastal. And it was a very long process, and quite a fun process that I think every band goes through trying to get the right band name. And we had a massive list, pages and pages, and the only thing that they had in common was that they were all slightly coastal or maritime-themed. So we were looking in books about knots and, I dunno, guides to natural history of the seashore. And we tried quite a few out and they all failed, and this [Stornoway] was the only one that stuck, and it was reinforced by the fact that if you see at the BBC weather forecast, Stornoway is up there…so we get this wonderful free promotion every time there's a weather report."
In October 2016 the band announced that they would be splitting up after a farewell tour during spring 2017. They played their final show on 12 March 2017. They reformed for gigs in 2022, and have continued to perform since.
On 13 April 2023, the band announced on their Facebook page and on BBC Radio 6 that their 4th studio album Dig The Mountain! will be released 8 September 2023 followed by a tour of the UK & Ireland.
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