“A kind of romantic apocalypse vibe”: Dea Matrona take us inside their debut album, For Your Sins

Mollie McGinn and Orlaith Forsythe break down Dea Matrona’s debut album For Your Sins, one song at a time…

“A kind of romantic apocalypse vibe”: Dea Matrona take us inside their debut album, For Your Sins
Mollie McGinn and Orlaith Forsythe

Fresh from the release of their debut album For Your Sins last Friday (May 3), Mollie McGinn and Orlaith Forsythe – otherwise known as Dea Matrona – lift the lid on every single song, from wearing lots of leather to “R&B sass energy” to a good old bit of cowbell…

1Stamp On It

Mollie: “Stamp On It started off as a jam. It was the first time we’d had a jam together in a couple of months and I remember it being really class! We’d started experimenting with distorted basslines and wanted to start leaving more space in our songs in a sort of White Stripes vibe. Honestly the lyrics were improvised on this one, but I think they are fun even though the automated lyrics on Spotify generates a really weird version of them. People always tell us this at gigs. One of the weirdest interpretations of the lyrics says, ‘I am feeling Russian underneath a mask,’ which is definitely not what I said…”

2Stuck On You

Orlaith: “We were wondering for ages what this one would sound like live and then we played it the other day in a practice room and it sounded so cool! I can’t really pinpoint what we were going for with this one – it kind of just came out. We liked the idea of a simple chorus lyric hook and thought it made the darker message of the song more of a vibe. Some people have said since we released this one that our music has an apocalyptic theme which we never really thought of but I guess that was the vibe somehow. A kind of romantic apocalypse vibe.”

3Red Button

Orlaith: “Red Button turns into a real sing-along one on tour, which is really strange to us because the lyrics are so dark and it’s kinda funny that people enjoy singing it so much. We produce all our music ourselves, and producing this one felt like a real turning point when we actually started feeling more confident in our production skills. Red Button started as kind of a singer-songwriter style acoustic song but somewhere along the way we decided to rock it up and I think it works.”

4Every Night I Want You

Orlaith: “This is one of the more feel-good ones on the album and one that people always act surprised when we show it to them ’cause it’s not as rock as some of our other stuff. We have a lot of sides to our music taste and it’s fun to surprise people. We don’t like to be pigeonholed to a genre because the bands we grew up loving like Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles and Led Zeppelin never settle for one genre. I think when we find our ‘sound’ we’ll get bored and want to create something different. The cowbell in this is my personal guilty pleasure, I must say.”

5So Damn Dangerous

Mollie: “So Damn Dangerous is the moody and edgy track – or that was at least the vibe whenever we were writing it. It was written during a summer when we had been going out a lot and having more experiences to write about, whereas other songs on the album are inspired from being stuck inside for long periods of time. I think we were both wearing a lot of leather regularly when we wrote this one too and the opening lyric pretty much sums up that summer’s fashion situation. We took a bit more time writing the lyrics compared to some songs previously where we used to just go with the first thing that came to our heads. This is always a drummer’s favourite song for some reason.”

6Glory, Glory (I Am Free)

Orlaith: “This song is one of the most personal songs on the album. People interpret it in a lot of different ways that is meaningful to them, which is always interesting for us to hear. It was originally called Angel which would have been a more boring title. I like how Glory, Glory sounds like it will be a hymn or a worship song because in some ways it is. It is the only song of ours that I’ve ever cried onstage to when I first heard people singing the lyrics back. Emotional stuff!”


Orlaith: “This song honours our younger selves on our debut album, as it was one of the first handful of songs we wrote it when we were in school. We have dabbled with different versions of it and had a lot of fun working on the arrangement of it. The song begins with ‘A haon, dó, trí, ceathair,’ which is, ‘One, two, three, four,’ in the Irish language. I wanted to have the Irish language present in some way on the album as I love it so much and I’m currently learning it again after having studied Irish in school.”

8Did Nobody Ever Love You?

Mollie: “Our songwriting process is very situational. The first ‘unofficial’ song we ever wrote together was called Stress when we were in school – we were supposed to be studying before an exam but instead we spent the whole time writing a song about it.

“Did Nobody Ever Love You? was kinda like this, too. I was so pissed-off at the time and was having a massive rant session to Orlaith. I was like, ‘Let’s please make a song about this.’ It’s trying to say to someone basically, ‘Why are you such a dick, did nobody ever love you?’ We were going for that En Vogue female empowerment energy of You’re Never Gonna Get It, or Destiny’s Child or something. In our minds it was like girl power. This one and Get My Mind Off, even though they are rocky I feel like they have a little bit of that R&B sass energy.”

9Won’t Feel Like This Forever

Mollie: “Lyrically I wanted this song to capture that feeling of moving on from someone and how it’ll get better… it was definitely an optimistic one. Kind of in the mindset of, ‘If it doesn’t matter in five years, it doesn’t matter!’ I was listening to a lot of Joni Mitchell and in general was starting to feel more optimistic about the shitty situation I had been in. And yeah, it did get better!”

10Dead Man’s Heart

Mollie: “We get comments all the time saying, ‘You girls should go country.’ Sometimes we roll our eyes, but this time we decided to just fucking go country and for the 15 minutes this song took to write we were actually laughing the whole time and just taking the piss. When we were listening back to some tracks for the album I said to Orlaith, ‘This has to be on it.’ She thought I was joking but I think it’s like one of the weird songs on a Beatles album that kinda doesn’t make sense with the rest of the songs, but it does!”

Orlaith: “We wanted to own our frustration with the double standards we grew up listening to in country music: Johnny Cash singing about shooting a man in Reno while Dolly Parton sang about love being like a butterfly! I vibe with the lyrics in this one – in a strange way it makes me picture me and Mollie on a mission, Thelma & Louise style. We killed the man and now we’re on the run (laughs).”

11Get My Mind Off

Orlaith: “This song was written in about 10 minutes one day in a room with this huge ceiling, so the line, ‘I like the feeling, up on the ceiling’ is what started this track for me. I had been listening to a lot of Sheryl Crow – as per usual – and I love how the drums in her song Maybe Angels really ring out, so I made a logic drum beat and just vibed to the rhythm.”

12Black Rain

Mollie: “The lyrics in this one are quite dark and it was originally about six minutes long. It was almost inspired by grunge, in a weird way. I was joking that we were entering our prog era. We decided to shorten it so it wasn’t too experimental. We wanted something that sounded creepy and atmospheric. It was fun to take an acoustic song and try to make it heavy too, and maybe unexpected at parts. I originally didn’t like it and didn’t want it on the album but Orlaith convinced me. It sort of reminded me of a bad time – that’s why we put it last, so people wouldn’t hear it. But since we’ve released it, a lot of people have said it’s their favourite so far which is interesting to me! I guess it is growing on me. I just try to disassociate from what it was written about (laughs).”

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