Photography by Felix Bartlett

The Irish band hung out what us briefly at SXSW to chat about influences, being independent and much more

It was a scorching Wednesday afternoon under the intense Texan heat when we met up with Dea Matrona, the rising rock outfit from Ireland. We found some shade at a local bar next to the infamous Waterloo Records. We spoke to Mollie and Orlaith about their influences, being independent artists, and much more.

Kieran: How has your first day in US soil been? 

Orlaith: It’s been amazing, the weather is so beautiful here too. 

Mollie: Yeah, we played our first show near Barton Springs on a boat it was insane! 

Kieran: Have you noticed a difference between US audiences and UK/EU audiences? 

Orlaith: It’s hard to tell at the moment because that boat party was all Belfast people (laughs). We will know by the end of SXSW (laughs).

Kieran: What was you most excited about when planning your SXSW trip? 

Orlaith: Definitely the cowboy vibes. We purchased our first pair already, was one of the first things we did. I’m not wearing them right now though as we had to do a lot of walking today (laughs). 

Mollie: I can confirm they’re really cool though. 

Orlaith: We’re also so excited to play our tunes to an American audience.

Kieran: I think they’ll really respond to your sound, you have that 70’s infused rock sound. So what have you got line dup for SXSW? 

Mollie: Yeah I agree! We’re playing at the Low Down lounge, the BME, and Las Perlas on Paddy’s day, which is a tequila bar. 

Orlaith: That is going to be a mad one for St Paddy’s day or St Patties as they say it here (laughs). 

Mollie: Ironically we didn’t bring any green clothes with us, we completely forgot (laughs). 

Kieran: What would you like to show the US about St Paddy’s day? 

Orlaith: Just the craic and the bants really. 

Mollie: I am excited to see how crazy it is here to be honest but we’ve heard that it can get crazy here. 

Orlaith: It can’t be crazier than home though, the Belfast celebrations can get out of control. 

Mollie: There are two extremes with St Paddy’s at home, you have the people who are super traditional, who will go church and do mass. Then you have people who are just getting written off (laughs). 

Kieran: And which one are you two? 

Orlaith: The latter! 

Kieran: Are you going to show the Americans how it’s done? 

Mollie: Yeah we are!

Orlaith: The tequila bar should be interesting (laughs). We’re going to have to hold it together somehow. 

Kieran: I want to lean into your music a bit, so, how did you form the sound that you have?

Mollie: I think it came from the music we were learning the time we came friends. We both started getting into electric guitar and discovering artists like Led Zeppelin and Fleetwood Mac. We grew up liking that and it just came into our sound as we wrote our music. It was very organic. 

Kieran: So you’re heavily influenced by that era? 

Mollie: Yeah, but we also found modern bands that had that same sort of influence which was cool too. 

Orlaith: More recently there has been a lot more modern bands that have influenced us. However, when we were teenagers we were very much about that classic rock vibe. 

Watch/listen to the live session of ‘Get My Mind Off’ here:

Kieran: How did you discover those artists? 

Mollie: I think it was from YouTube and stuff. We were just learning guitar riffs and stuff and they started popping up in our recommendations. 

Kieran: That is fascinating because this is the first time I have heard that answer, it’s normally from your parents record collection you discover artists like that. You discovered that older sound online and that is crazy to me. 

Orlaigh: Yeah, there is a big movement at the moment of people discovering stuff online. 

Kieran: There is certianly a retrofetishment at the moment, I mean Fleetwood Mac had a huge resurgence thanks to the guy skateboarding and drinking the cranberry juice.

Mollie: Yeah, that cranberry guy on TikTok. 

Orlaith: It’s so weird! 

Kieran: Are you worried that you will be tarnished with the brush of being a throwback band? 

Orlaith: I don’t think we’re trying to bring that back we’re trying to make our own version of it. Those older artists are certianly an influence though but it’s very much our own thing. 

Kieran: I want to go back to what you mentioned earlier about bringing in more modern sounds. What modern artists were you referring to? 

Orlaith: Artists like Royal Blood, Arctic Monkeys, and  a lot of other ones as well. 

Kieran: Do you listen to music outside of the rock genre? 

Mollie: Yeah, we’re really inspired by a lot of genres, we listen to a lot of music. Especially pop, R&B, and country. Our latest single is very R&B actually. 

Kieran: Are you signed yet?

Orlaith: No we’re independent right now. 

Kieran: Are there any labels you would like to work with? 

Orlaith: It depends really, it would have to work with us as a band and support our growth. We want to organically build up our following and increase our fanbase.

“We like to be in control of our music and artistic creation

Mollie McGinn – Dea Matrona

Mollie: It would be really important that they support us as not just artists but producers, as we produce all our music. We like to be in control of our music and artistic creation. However, that’s not to say we’re precious about collaboration. 

Kieran: What’s the attraction of remaining independent for you? 

Orlaith: We get to have our own vision and it remains clear. Artists like Jimmy Page and Jack White produced their own music and we take a lot from that mindset. More modern artists like HAIM and Tame Impala too are big on that. 

Kieran: Lastly, you have toured a little bit now so I imagine you’ve got some funny stories, can you tell us one? 

Mollie: My mind has gone totally blank we’ve just come off tour as well. 

Orlaith: If I had a few drinks in me I am sure I could tell you a thousand (laughs). 

Kieran: We’ll loop back in the future but thank you for chatting with us!