Who are the members of your band and what instrument do they play?

The band members are Adam Cooke (double bass, vocals), Dwayne McGowan (drums, vocals), Jamie Johnston (guitar, vocals) and Jimmy Farry (vocals, mandolin.)

What’s the origin of your band’s name?

When we formed we were all in other bands or musical projects, so we were borrowed or passed on from them, hence ‘The Hand me Downs.’

How would you describe your sound?

We’re a stripped back funky folk garage band. Hopefully that’s what we sound like

What genre/genres do you consider your music to be?

We describe ourselves as folkabilly which isn’t really a genre but if it was we’d be in it

When did the band form?

The first incarnation formed about five years ago. This lineup has been together for almost two years.

How long have you all known each other?

We have all known each for a while, through music. Dwayne and Jimmy were in ‘I’m not Maggie’ together for years. We got to know Adam from ‘Midnight Graffiti’ and a mutual love for Aston Villa FC. Jamie supported us a few years ago and and when the opportunity arose we jumped at the chance to get him in the band.

What is the band’s favourite song to play and why?

We probably all have different favourites. One that’s sounding well at the minute in ‘Beggin’ by Madcon.

What has been your biggest gig to date?

Probably supporting ‘Scouting for Girls’ at Shoreline last year. To be the only local band on the bill was a real honour.

Any funny gig/rehearsal stories?

Jamie made us some ‘Hand me Downs’ T-shirts.’ Totally unplanned we all landed in the exact same T-shirt to a gig. It was like we were in uniform. It was just a tad embarrassing. Other than that nothing springs to mind.

Who are your major influences?

Old Crow Medicine Show, Mumford and Sons, Kanye, Sleaford Mods.

Do you write your own songs?

Not really. We’ve dabbled but we enjoy interpreting other people’s songs too much.

What would be your dream gig?

In 2012, OCMS, Mumford and Son and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros got together in a train and went across the states playing shows. Something like that would be cool to do. Check out the documentary ‘The Big Easy Express.’

Best moment as a band so far?

We’ve had loads and it’s difficult to narrow it down to one. When we work on a song that’s different, that probably shouldn’t sound good and then we play it live and the audience responds well that’s always a good moment.

What is the most unusual venue you have played?

We ran a competition on our Facebook page last year and the prize was to win us for the afternoon, so last summer we ended up playing at a BBQ in someone’s back garden. It was a great gig. We’ll soon be doing the second one of these, can’t wait!

What is your ‘go-to’ encore song?

‘Jackson’ by Johnny and June Carter Cash.

What’s the best thing about performing?

Having fun with three of your best mates. It’s great to see the crowd respond to us having fun. If they like what we’re doing it makes all the hard work worthwhile.

What three songs always make your setlist and why?

We like to change it up but the longest standing songs in the list are covers of ‘Monkey Man’ by Toots and the Maytals, ‘Ho, Hey’ by The Lumineers and ‘Dreaming of you’ by the Coral. We just love playing them and people almost expect to hear them now. There are so many songs we enjoy playing, that’s why they make it into the set in first place.

Which song gets the best audience feedback?

Probably ‘Ho, Hey’ by the Lumineers. Recently though we’ve added in some classics, ‘Cheap Thrills’ by Sia always gets a good response. I think they catch people a little off guard. No one expects a string band to play that stuff.

How has your music evolved since you first began playing together?

We’re very different. We know what works for us now. More often than not someone sends a song onto our WhatsApp group and we’ll be really enthusiastic about it from the start. We have so much fun making the songs our own.

What does autumn 2019 hold for the band?

More miles on the road spreading the good news. As much as it’s nice playing at home, we really enjoy spreading our wings.

What local gigs do you have coming up?

We’re in Pats and Blake’s later in the year. Keep an eye on our social media for exact details.

Where is the furthest you’ve travelled to play a gig?

Probably, Cliff at Lyons in Kildare.

What’s your ultimate direction for your band?

To keep having fun and working hard. The rest will look after itself.