Johnny Moore and Podge McNamee were childhood friends, and first announced the formation of the band on Good Friday, 2003. ‘Martin’ the original lead guitarist in the band departed after just 6 months citing musical differences in the band, he was replaced by ‘Darcy’. Moore and Darcy met at St. Patrick’s Classical School, Navan; other notable pupils include Tommy Tiernan, Dylan Moran, Hector Ó hEochagáin. Niamh Farrell joined the band in Dublin after a solo stint in Glasgow, Scotland. Bassist and songwriter Moore suggested the name at an early rehearsals session when the group could not decide on a name, and it has both helped and hindered the band. U2 frontman Bono encouraged the group to change the peculiar name upon meeting drummer Ollie Murphy in 2006, but conceded that U2 faced similar criticism about their name before their success. Niamh has commented, “it’s a bit of a blessing I guess, no-one ever forgets the name and it makes us work harder.”
On 17 March 2007, the band participated in the annual Kells Festival of Colour. In Summer 2007, the band was featured on FM104’s Open Mic with Ruairi Carroll. On 4 August 2007, Ham Sandwich played at the Guinness Indie-pendence festival of independent Irish bands in Mitchelstown, County Cork. The band appeared on RTE’s The Late Late Show in February, the Dustin Once A Week Show in September as well as The Podge and Rodge Show’s halloween special on 30 October 2007 during the Rock ‘n Roulette feature.
Carry the meek
The initial songs on Carry The Meek were written by Moore while he was working nights at St. Patrick’s Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin which was founded from the legacy of Jonathan Swift. As a matter of coincidence some of Carry the Meek was recorded at a house where Swift wrote Gulliver’s Travels.
Following the release of their third single, the band, with the assistance of producer Karl Odlum of The Frames, began recording in the neo classical estate of Headfort House, near the band’s home town of Kells.
The band was awarded the Meteors Hope for 2008 Award in February 2008. The award was voted on by listeners of RTÉ 2fm, who chose Ham Sandwich over five other acts.
The band performed at the 2008 Glastonbury Festival and Electric Picnic festival.
In April 2010, bassist Moore left the group citing ‘a typographical error’.
On 15 July 2010, the band’s manager Derek Nally suffered a heart attack and died.
On the Day of Derek Nally’s funeral the band began recording their second album from scratch. The band completed the now critically acclaimed album in just under 2 months from start to finish heralding a new creative era for the band. Karl Odlum taking up producing and recording duties once more.
On the 4 February 2011 the band released their most successful single to date – Ants. Although not charting in the single charts the song became a YouTube viral hit. The video was directed by artist Marc Corrigan and tells the story of an ant preparing dinner for a date. Ants finally pushed the band onto mainstream day time radio stations across Ireland – such as 2 FMand Today FM. Ray Darcy declared Ants to be his favourite single during February 2011.
The band performed at the first Forbidden Fruit festival sponsored by Bulmers on 4 June 2011 in the Kilmainham Hospital grounds in Dublin, with bands such as The Flaming Lips, Battlesand Aphex Twin headlining.
The band performed at the twin festivals of Leeds and Reading during the weekend of the 26 to 28 August 2011. They took part in the BBC’s “Introducing” stage that is known for breaking acts such as Florence and the Machine in recent years.
In November 2011 singer Niamh Farrell became a temporary radio co-host on Dublin’s Phanton 105.2 alongside Pure Morning’s Richie McCormack.
RTÉ programme Other Voices celebrating its 10 year anniversary in December 2011 invited the band to Dingle, County Kerry to perform on the prestigious television programme.
The band completed 2011 with a New Year’s performance at The Village, Dublin on the 31st of December.
Following on from the success of 2011 Ham Sandwich announced their first headline show at Dublin’s Academy presented by MCD in February 2012. The event sold out in advance by 2 weeks.
Producer/Engineer – Robin Ball
Assistant Engineer/Guitar Tech – Stephen Caffery
Director/Camera – Bob Gallagher
Additional Camera – Ellius Grace / John Barker