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Band who quit day jobs on eve of pandemic have become lockdown hit

James Ward, PA
·3-min read

A band who quit their day jobs on the eve of the pandemic and have yet to perform live are gathering rave reviews for producing music in their bedrooms.

Co Meath outfit Noah have been earning high praise from the likes of the BBC’s Laura Whitmore and 2FM’s Eoghan McDermott, despite their unorthodox route to fame.

They’ve drawn comparisons to U2 and count chart-toppers Kodaline among their fans.

For their latest single, Darkest Hour, pandemic restrictions meant they were unable to use the recording studio, instead rehearsing over Zoom and recording remotely from their individual bedrooms.

Noah bassist and keyboardist Adam Rooney (Noah)
Noah bassist and keyboardist Adam Rooney (Noah)

“The lockdown allowed us to be full-time musicians, not by choice, but you’re stuck in your house, you’ve got to do something,” bassist and keyboardist Adam Rooney said.

Manager Shea McNelis, who had the band lined up for almost every major festival in Ireland last year, says the trio haven’t been in a room together since November.

“This is a unique situation, recording all the individual parts from their houses. By the time they play their first live gig they will have four singles out.

“It’s a new way for musicians to work and get results.

“The guys are using this time to craft their writing skills but also upskilling recording techniques and online marketing tools.

“Technology used to be the enemy when Napster was introduced but now it could be the saviour.”

Despite never gigging together, Adam Rooney, Ronan Hynes and Ryan Hill landed a slot on Whitmore’s BBC Radio 5 Live show and have been booked for a string of post-Covid gigs.

In February they jacked in their jobs in retail, personal training and eBay to take on the music world full-time.

“If it’s a hobby, it’s going to sound like a hobby,” Rooney said.

They now have tens of thousands of downloads and followers – and like every other band in Ireland, are itching to get on stage once restrictions ease.

A recording studio was swapped for their individual bedrooms in Ashbourne to lay down their latest single, the follow-up to their debut, Shine.

“When it comes to October when we hope to play our first gig, we’ll have a base of five to seven songs and people will know them and will be able to sing them back,” Rooney said.

Noah’s musical journey began in primary school, where Rooney and drummer Hynes, 24, met.

They played together from the age of 13, later hooking up with lead singer and guitarist Ryan, 23, at Ratoath College to form Electric Shore.

The fledgling band got off to a flying start with a series of bookings, including Electric Picnic and playing back up to The Blizzards.

NME Awards 2020 – London
BBC presenter Laura Whitmore is among those championing Noah (David Parry/PA)

Early last year, the trio, now renamed Noah decided to devote themselves to music full-time.

Rooney said: “We wrote Shine in April and in July we went to the studio to record drums for it, a few bits of guitar and vocals.

“From July to September 2020 we were working with producer Phil Hayes to get the right mix for the track.”

The song was named single of the week on 2FM, got a ringing endorsement from Kodaline and was dubbed “beautiful” by Whitmore, who featured them live on her BBC radio show last December.

Darkest Hour was released on February 12 but their first gig in Dublin’s Lost Lane, originally scheduled for April, has been pushed back to October.

In the meantime, they are creating more music from their bedrooms for a digital army of fans on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and Deezer.