Hailing from the Highlands of Scotland the band formed in 2012. They are comprised of Euan Smillie (fiddle), Alasdair Taylor (mandolin), Mark Bruce (guitar), Seth Tinsley (bass, synth) and Greg Barry (drums, samples).
Creating a progressive blend of intricate tunes, engulfing guitars, with a bass and drum heavy backline, their music combines the very best of trad, funk and electronica resulting in a new and exciting sound. Gigging extensively around the UK, they swiftly built a fan base and went on to release their debut album The Elusive Highland Beauty in 2014 to critical acclaim. This album and it’s subsequent tours and festival appearances saw the band winning the Best Up and Coming Act category at the BBC Alba Trad Music awards in 2014. Already renowned for their breath-taking live shows the band began to gain success not just within the U.K but also found themselves beginning to perform at some of the most prestigious European Festivals. Since then, the band have made live appearances at some of the most notable venues and festivals across the U.K, Europe and Australia, including Glastonbury, Byron Bay Bluesfest, Colours of Ostrava and multiple headline sell-outs at Celtic Connections.
Mercury prize winning band Alt-J, along with BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 6, found themselves converted to the band’s unique brand of indie folk.
Reviews from Rolling Stone Magazine sat alongside folk magazine coverage. Radio features accompanied documentaries and highlights shows on television stations.
The band scooped the coveted BBC MG Alba Album of the Year for ‘All We Have is Now’ and were shortlisted for the Scottish Album of the Year Award shortly after.
In 2018, the band also picked up the Live Act of the Year award at the BBC Scots Trad Music Awards, received a nomination for 'Best Group' in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.
"These Scots are using the instruments like weapons to destroy clichés. WE LOVE THEM" Rolling Stone
Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra don’t care what genre you choose to put them in – Western Swing, Blues, Country, Rock & Roll or whatever else– as long as you understand that they’re 100% sincere and 100% immersed in this stuff. This is no lazy pastiche, no dressing up box. They live and breathe this music and want you to get immersed with them. The Tea Pad are eight years into a remarkable story that began with four friends studying at Newcastle University and now sees them playing venues and festivals across the UK and mainland Europe. Based in Newcastle Upon Tyne but with members hailing from Orkney to Warwickshire, the Tea Pad sound draws on myriad influences – from Hank Williams to Django Reinhardt, Tom Waits to The Beatles – yet ultimately sounds like nobody else, that North Eastern Swing style that’s utterly their own and changing all the time.
Across the four wonderful albums – 2012’s “Money Isn’t Everything”, 2014’s “Talk About The Weather”, 2016’s “Something Blue” and 2019’s “Soul Of My City” – the band have constantly added new flavours to their sound: Heron in particular is a vinyl obsessive, always fired up about some new passion – calypso or boogaloo or whatever this week brings – and that eclecticism feeds into their songs, with the newest releases adding twangy 60s guitar tones and modernist R&B styles.
The band tour the way bands should – widely and endlessly – winning friends and fans at each new show with notable performances at festivals like Glastonbury, Bestival, Wilderness and Cambridge Folk Festival. They’ve appeared three times on Radio 4’s Loose Ends, and had their music played by everyone from Marc Riley to Huey Morgan.
October 2019 sees the band release “Eta Carinae”, a four track EP, with a title track reminiscent of The Beatles and features a string quartet and lyrics inspired by Brian Cox documentaries. The new EP, which sees the Tea Pad sound evolving more than it ever has previously, is released on October 11th on 10″ vinyl and digital.