Track-by-Track: Firewoodisland Enchant & Inspire on Achingly Intimate EP, ‘As Long As I Go’

Firewoodisland © Dave Newbould
Firewoodisland © Dave Newbould
Firewoodisland’s Stian Vedøy and Abi Eleri delve into the beautiful love-soaked depths of ‘As Long As I Go,’ an intimate set of smile-inducing indie folk songs that soar wild, wondrous, and free.
Stream: “Untamed” – Firewoodisland




We were born to make something greater than ourselves; we were born to last until the end.

It’s hard to resist the enveloping, irresistible warmth of Firewoodisland’s songs.

Why wouldn’t we want to lost ourselves in this music? Born out of pure love, liberation, and the sheer beauty of intimate connection, As Long As I Go is an enchanting indie folk record that burns bright with a sweet and tender glow. It’s a record that pulls inspiration from life’s little moments of magic, and from the overarching arcs of our lives. Firewoodisland’s hearts are open and their eyes are wide as they deliver a smile-inducing set of songs that soar wild, wondrous, and free.

As Long As I Go - Firewoodisland
As Long As I Go – Firewoodisland
We were young and untamed
And no one knew our names
We worked hard for nothing
Just enough to live
We were born to make
Something greater than ourselves
We were born to last until the end
We were born to make
A horizon for the next
We where born to last until the end
– “Untamed,” Firewoodisland

Released October 20, 2023, As Long As I Go is as breathtaking as it is truly beautiful. The A-side of Firewoodisland’s forthcoming third album inspires joy and cheer as the Bristol-based duo of Norwegian/Welsh multi-instrumentalists and songwriters Stian Vedøy and Abi Eleri continue to spread their musical wings and soar ever higher.

No stranger to Atwood Magazine‘s pages, Firewoodisland have been taking audiences’ breath away for the better part of the last ten years. “Inner and outer beauty flow throughout [their] spectacular brand of intimate indie folk music,” Atwood Magazine wrote in a 2020 feature on the duo’s self-titled sophomore record, going on to call it “an expansive, intimately beautiful surge of raw emotion and hauntingly delicate, breathtaking sound.”

Inside Firewoodisland's Hopeful & Hauntingly Beautiful Self-Titled Album

:: FEATURE ::



Vedøy and Eleri have kept plenty busy over the past three years; in addition to delivering a steady slew of strong singles, they released an Unplugged EP in 2021 and played a number of shows and festivals in 2022 and ’23. They’ve been teasing this EP – and their third album – since February of this year. It’s a record they proudly call their “most honest and raw album to date.”

“Some songs are reimagined old songs that didn’t fit the vibe and message of the previous album and some songs are brand new. ‘Looking For Love’, as an example, was first a guitar riff and a melody written in 2017,” the band explains. “It didn’t actually get these lyrics until 2021. You never know whether the guitar riff you wrote in 2017 in a song about the pitfalls of ‘selfie culture’ or the lyric you wrote in Lidl car park yesterday are the thing you will use, so it’s always fun to see how these things end up. The journey of a song is a wonderful and bizarre thing!’”

As for the forthcoming album itself, Firewoodisland can’t help but beam with pride. “It’s a real album, with real songs, about real people, and some really difficult topics, including being honest about our own limits and failures. Our aim has always been to be authentic, and with this album, we’re laying it all out. Life is hard, but it is also incredible. The difficult thing is finding the balance between failure and hope. I think we have captured that more in this album than we have in previous ones. Hope is an ongoing theme for Firewoodisland, there’s always hope.”

Firewoodisland © Dave Newbould
Firewoodisland © Dave Newbould



As Long As I Go is the most open and unapologetic Firewoodisland have ever sounded in their art.

“The vision going into this record was to continue on the sonic and lyrical journey as the music duo, ‘Firewoodisland’, but after playing many festivals during the summer of 2022, we realised how fun it is to play with a full band,” the duo share. “We just love AJ (Rousell) and Stu (Paton) too much, and music is supposed to be a shared experience. Plus there’s more people around to do all the heavy lifting! This resulted in us calling more friends in to record their parts on songs, act in music videos, and has created more ownership and camaraderie around this album.”

The EP is named after the last single the band released – a song that aches from the inside out with a tender, unabating weight and warmth. “‘As Long As I Go’ is the name of the last single on the EP. We felt that ‘Looking For Love,’ ‘Who Knew,’ ‘Hello Friend Again,’ and ‘Untamed’ did not fit as well together with the title of the album (yet to be revealed). Whereas ‘As Long As I Go’ has a similar ring to the album title, which is named after a song on the B-side. It’s a song about overcoming, and this is definitely a key message of the forthcoming album.”

As we have found in life, the most sure way to overcome anything is to keep going and not give up, especially during those moments where you most want to.

Firewoodisland © Dave Newbould
Firewoodisland © Dave Newbould



Highlights abound on this first half, starting with the glistening, golden-hued EP opener “Looking for Love,” an uplifting anthem of love, self-worth, and everyone’s inner beauty. “You’re looking for love now, the beauty starts the moment you love yourself,” the duo sing. “Don’t tantalise your own mind; redefine your boundary line, don’t falsify, know your worth, reunite, a time before mind.” Firewoodisland inspire us to look within ourselves, rather than to look externally, for that loving feeling. The simple yet stunning message is thus: Only once we have a strong base can we truly flourish through building bridges and beautiful connections with others.

You’re looking for love now
Your value isn’t based on your mistakes
You’re looking for love now
The beauty starts the moment you love yourself
Just know that I’ve got you now
Just know that I’ve got you
Just know that I’ve got you now
Just know that I’ve got you

“THE BEAUTY STARTS THE MOMENT YOU LOVE YOURSELF”: FIREWOODISLAND PREMIERE “LOOKING FOR LOVE,” THEIR INSPIRING SONG & MANTRA

:: PREMIERE ::

The EP’s second track, “Who Knew,” captures the wonder and magic of love in a song that stirs the soul. At its heart lies a person marveling at love’s ability to completely transform their life: “It tells a story about meeting a person that captivates your whole being and changes your world views for the better,” Firewoodisland’s Stian Vedøy explains. “‘Who Knew’ was written during a weekend retreat to the Isle of Wight. Abi turned to me (Stian) and said, ‘You’ve never written a love song about me,’ so I wrote this song. It’s basically the story of how we met in university halls in Cardiff.”

I saw you, an artist
On the floor, a guitarist
I was treading on thin ice
Thinking this person’s real nice
A calm in the chaos
A private little concert on the floor
I sat down on an impulse
Who’d have known a lifetime’s through this door.
Who knew
That life would be a journey spent with you
Who knew
That you would change my world view

“Who Knew” is a beautifully tender, achingly sweet outpouring of raw intimacy that captures everything there is to love about Firewoodisland’s ever-evolving music.

“‘Who Knew’ is for sure a favourite for both of us; how couldn’t it be?!” Firewoodisland exclaim. “It’s the honest song of how we met on the floor in the common room in university halls building, where Stian broke Abi’s guitar the first time we met, and now we’re married with a house, a cat and a tortoise! If you haven’t seen the music video for ‘Who Knew,’ it’s the sweetest thing, filmed with two of our best friends, and the twist at the end has actually made many of our friends angry with us!”




Firewoodisland’s personal highlights go beyond the songs themselves, and more speak to the human acts of writing and recording the music – and all the memories made over that process.A highlight from recording was definitely getting the full drumkit in the studio and letting AJ get involved with the recording process and the creativity,” they share. “Stian also bought himself a tape delay pedal… I think it will be an element of many songs going forward. Nothing quite like a bit of analogue gear!”

“Also, the artwork – Abi particularly loved painting ‘Looking for Love’ artwork and ‘Hello Friend Again’ artwork. If you haven’t seen those, go check them out. The space man theme was really fun! There’s a whole world that’s developed around the artwork that we are trying to work out how we get into the music videos and photoshoots going forward.”

Looking for Love - Firewoodisland
Looking for Love – Firewoodisland



Hello Friend Again - Firewoodisland
Hello Friend Again – Firewoodisland

But perhaps there’s no bigger fountain of joy for Firewoodisland than this record’s lyrics – this EP is home to some of the most intimate writing they’ve ever done, as they told their story on record for the very first time. “The first one that comes to mind is ‘Put the kettle on darling, that line is still charming, never will get old.’ It’s in a song about how Stian met Abi and the relationship that blossomed. So many people can relate to that lyric. It gets lots of “awws” from live shows. It’s powerful in the song because it’s honest and tangible, and people make it their own. We’ve had many people already say that Who Knew is their song… I mean technically it’s ours, haha, but we love that people feel so much ownership over it. It’s a great compliment.”

“The other lyric we are proud of is in ‘Hello Friend Again,’ the line, ‘I knew that you were breaking, but I never asked.’ Here we are being honest about our failings in a relationship that broke down. An important detail of being a good friend is checking in on the other person. Lack of honesty breaks down relationships and breeds hurt. It takes two to tango as the saying goes, but that’s not an excuse not to take full responsibility for your part. We want to own our mistakes honestly and fully so we can grow.”

“Then there’s most of the lyrics in ‘Longing To Belong,’ a real soul-searching song. ‘What is new beneath the sun, you build it up and tear it down, and all along, you’re longing to belong. You strip it to the bear of bones, then do it up and call it home, and all along you’re longing to belong.’ Some might notice the reference to Ecclesiastes in the first half of this chorus, a book of the Bible which tackles the soul searching subject of pointlessness. We’ve played on that with taking the song further, stripping it back, making it your own, and still the same question lingers… what’s the point of all of this? I think that second part is slightly inspired by how many rooms of our house we have now gutted and done up, and unresolved trauma around that mad time! Haha. But back to the serious note, which is that we all have this deep sense of searching and needing to belong. Like we said, honest lyrics in this one, and wait until you hear the other side of the album!”

Firewoodisland © Dave Newbould
Firewoodisland © Dave Newbould



It’s only a tease of all that’s to come, but there’s no denying this EP’s magic glow.

From the radiant, hushed folktronic reverie “Untamed” to the achingly heartfelt, confessional, vulnerable, and raw piano ballad “Hello Friend Again,” As Long As I Go is an uplifting, enchanting, and truly moving collection that’s sure to light a fire in our hearts and bring a smile to our faces for months and months to come.

“We hope people feel seen as they listen to the songs and lyrics. We hope they relate, that they overcome, and that fear melts away,” Firewoodisland share. “There is more power in honesty and being raw, than there is in hiding and ‘protecting’ yourself. We tackle this in both songs from the A-Side, As Long As I Go, and the B-side, which you’ll have to wait a few more months for. What you perceive as weakness, could be the exact thing that proves your strength. And there is total liberation of bringing that to the light, admitting it, and letting the chains it held over your life drop off.”

“We’ve made peace with our faults. We hope that others can do the same and experience the freedom that brings. And if anybody reading this needs to talk, Firewoodisland DMs are always open. There’s always hope.”

Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Firewoodisland’s As Long As I Go EP with Atwood Magazine as Stian Vedøy and Abi Eleri take us track-by-track through the music and lyrics of their latest release!

— —

:: stream/purchase As Long As I Go here ::
:: discover more Firewoodisland here ::
Stream: ‘As Long As I Go’ – Firewoodisland



:: Inside As Long As I Go ::

As Long As I Go - Firewoodisland

— —

LOOKING FOR LOVE

‘Looking For Love’ is an explosion of hope. It evokes that feeling you can only get when you drive into the sunset with your windows down, blasting your favourite music with your best friends! The song is about loving yourself and realising that you’re intrinsically valued just by being you.
The chorus of ‘Looking For Love’ has been around since 2017. It was first meant to be a response to social media and selfie addiction, but it never felt quite right. In 2019 we unintentionally lined up two Sofar Sounds shows with an artist called Mauvey, who had a beautiful mantra linked to his live set that “everyone is valuable and loved no matter who they are, and where they come from”. We absolutely loved the way he shared his message and the way we and the rest of the audience felt in that moment. We picked up ‘Looking For Love’ again and decided to become carriers of this important mantra.
When we came to producing the track we wanted it to be very dynamic – big, smacking choruses and intimate, close verses. The cinematic elements have sneakily been integrated into our music more and more, since Stian started composing bespoke music for TV and brands on a regular basis. Strings and brass just makes the music so much more hopeful and uplifting in the best kind of way.



WHO KNEW

One afternoon late summer 2022 we were visiting good friends on the Isle of Wight; they had a morning of work, and we had a lazy morning in their pretty living room overlooking the garden. Stian was strumming on a guitar, and Abi was reading a book. Abi turned to Stian and jokingly commented that he’d never written a song about her… This is the morning he wrote most of ‘Who Knew’, an honest little tune on a muted acoustic guitar about life and love.
The song tells the story of how we serendipitously met in Cardiff, in a student halls block, in the common room at the start of our Welsh university experience. I (Abi) had heard there was a party there, and being on the same floor as the common room, I grabbed my guitar and went and found a comfy spot on the floor and started twiddling away. It was a loud party, I was in my own little quiet world. Next thing I knew this voice asked if he could join me, and he sat down next to me on the floor. He then asked if he could have a go on my guitar, so I passed Monster, my beloved Tanglewood guitar with the pretty mother of pearl flecks, over to this stranger. He then began playing the guitar WAY better than I could. We then spent an evening chatting, Stian the stranger awkwardly fiddling with the battery flap on Monster, and suddenly snapping it off! If he wasn’t such a sweet person, I might have been a bit annoyed with him… besides, he did fix it… a year later!
Our story began with an unlikely friendship on a chance encounter. How many of our stories start like this? Who did we almost meet? And who did we almost not meet? If I hadn’t taken Monster with me to the common room in student halls that evening, would Stian ever have sat down next to me?
We felt it was only fitting to record this song about how this chance encounter changed both of our lives on old faithful Monster, who has followed me around since I was 15, to Kenya and back, and now to Norway a few times as well.



UNTAMED

‘Untamed’ is a hopeful, cinematic indie folk track about reaching full potential, and paving the way for others. It encourages others to hope, dream and dare to be all they can be. Everything we aspire to has a knock-on effect, and our hope is when we reach for our full potential, that it will have a positive and hopeful affect on the next. That each ripple we create will help in making the world a better place for others.
With calm falsetto vocals and cinematic strings layering on top of a classic indie folk instrumentation and arrangement, this song had the privilege of featuring in the 19th season of the TV series ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’



AS LONG AS I GO

As Long As I go, is a song of grief and encouragement. It speaks of a relationship that was meant to be unbreakable. It tells the story of a friend who lost his partner to cancer. It touches on loneliness and emptiness, and taking one step at the time. One might never get to the point where we move on from a tragedy like this, but as long as we go and not give up, there is hope for a bright future once more.
It’s one of the most emotionally charged and honest songs we’ve written, while not being about our own personal experience. It’s a completely different way of writing, when you have to put yourself into someone else’s shoes. Trying to express their feelings in first person, when you’ve only experienced those feelings from an outsider’s perspective. It was pretty overwhelming and all consuming writing this song. A music version of method acting, maybe?



LONGING TO BELONG

One Valentines Day a few years back, we didn’t have anything planned, so we decided to just write a song together from scratch. We didn’t have any sketches to start out from or any plans of what the song could be about. It turned into a philosophical mashup of all the big questions in life. What’s the meaning of everything? What’s the point of it all? We all build up our own little empires and communities, write our own life stories, which briefly overlaps with other peoples stories. In the end life just moves on, and our stories fade away and slowly become a pile of forgotten tales. It might sound a little melancholic and pessimistic, but it was a really great evening with beautiful pondering and grand discussions, putting life into perspective. It felt like walking up a mountain and feeling like a speck of dust in the grand scheme of things.
The composition is dynamic with soft parts, build ups, sudden stops and big hectic parts mirroring he dynamic nature of life. The production is a good blend of organic and electric, beautiful little musical riffs, bouncing piano, sonic nuances, loud drums and a fat saxophone solo played so eloquently by our New York friend, Jason Juliano.



HELLO FRIEND AGAIN

‘Hello Friend Again’ is a continuation of our song ‘Hello Friend’ from our previous album. It’s about a couple of friendships that either fell apart or moved in different directions. Where as ‘Hello Friend’ is looking outwards and almost blames the “friend”, ‘Hello Friend Again’ does the complete opposite. Looking at yourself and your own character in a critical way is incredibly difficult. Sometimes it’s important to look at ourself from the outside and be honest with yourself about your own mistakes, and looking at character traits that are not worth carrying with you any longer. Also, try to reconcile where ever possible and not let your emotions end up burning any bridges. It’s a humbling song.

— —

:: stream/purchase As Long As I Go here ::
:: discover more Firewoodisland here ::



— — — —

As Long As I Go - Firewoodisland

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? © Dave Newbould
artwork © Abi Eleri

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