Tullamore folk quintet Rugged Wood's debut single Warmth made some waves in the Irish folk/roots circuit in 2014. We sat down with frontman Johnny Byrne to see what's on the horizon for the hotly tipped group.
How did Rugged Wood come into being?
"Rugged Wood first came to life when we were asked by our Music teacher to enter the Battle of the Bands school competition in 2012. We started as a duo one on guitar and another on banjo, by the time the competition came around we had adding violin, bass and percussion to the line-up. After the competition, we were approached by a local publican who offered us the opportunity to play in his venue. That in our eyes was the creation of Rugged Wood."
How would you describe your music?
"I guess it would be Folk/Pop. We have the makings of a traditional folk band if you just look at our instruments, but we feel we add a more popular manner to the music with our arrangements, styles, vocals and our original tracks. We want to be different in our sound and arrangements but at the same time, trying to keep it contemporary. We don't think we have found the right genre to put ourselves under at the minute."
Your recent single Warmth is full of emotion, tell us about the inspiration behind the song?
"Warmth is a very deep song, it hits the heart of anyone who listens to it and understands the lyrics. Throughout the writing process, we took inspiration from situations where one might have lost a family member, a friend or someone close to them and how that can affect your life. We changed around the lyrics a lot until we were happy that we were portraying the right message, so people could relate to it and find some comfort within the song."
What's next for Rugged Wood?
2015 is going to be a very exciting for us, we have many projects taking place in the background and we will be making plenty of exciting announcements in the year to come. At the minute, we are very busy writing and recording new tracks in The Nutshed Studios, Co. Offaly with producer Joe Egan. We plan to release 2 or 3 of these tracks early next year and then work towards releasing of our first EP.
If you like Rugged Wood you can buy their single Warmth on iTunes