“Be True To Yourself!” Dea Matrona’s Advice On International Women’s Day

"If that’s not worth starting a band for then what is?"

Dea Matrona are a force to be reckoned with. Two kids infatuated with rock music, they formed at school, their ambitions fuelled by each successive show. Hitting the road with venom, the group have released a string of fiery singles, each more infectious than the last.

Tracks like ‘So Damn Dangerous’ and ‘Red Button’ have become fan anthems, while Dea Matrona opened 2023 with new booster ‘Get My Mind Off’. A slew of tour dates are open to them this Spring, with the Irish band set to play a venue near you.

It’s International Women’s Day today – March 8th – and in celebration of femme energy we invited Mollie McGinn from Dea Matrona to write a few words for Clash…

I’ve always tried not to focus on the fact that I am a ‘woman in music’ and sometimes when asked this question in interviews what I really want to say is ‘What is it like being a person in music?’ Though I am aware that the fact we are two women playing rock is interesting and has been a big part of what got people’s attention, I never looked atgender as a barrier to picking up an instrument and starting a band.

I started playing acoustic guitar when I was 10. My dad was a guitarist so once I got an urge to learn the guitar after watching Miley Cyrus in the Hannah Montana movie as a kid, my dad was more than happy to teach me a few songs on the acoustic guitar. I wasn’t an easy student, as he always likes to remind me, I was impatient and preferred playing outside with my friends and so after reluctantly learning my first few songs, the acoustic guitar sat in the corner of my room for a couple of years. It was only after coming across Led Zeppelin at the age of 16 that I decided to pick up the guitar again and began teaching myself on Youtube. At this stage it still never occurred to me that most renowned guitarists were men, or that it was a ‘male’ thing to do. I started playing because I loved music. 

I had no idea that being a female would present its own challenges and thought that if I got good enough on my instrument that would be the only thing that mattered. When I first started going busking and playing shows with my school friend Orláith Forsythe, who had also recently began learning the guitar, we’d be asked many times ‘Is it really you playing?” or the classic, ‘You play good…. for a girl.’ As teenagers we laughed at these remarks and often joked that we wished we were both burly men, especially as we figured it would definitely make hauling our gear back and forth into Belfast easier, and we wouldn’t be as worried about being followed back to the bus stop. But we didn’t let it stop us from forming our band, Dea Matrona. 

We went to an all girls school and there weren’t many girls in our school wanting to start a band or play guitar, so most of our early adverts for a drummer went ignored, though we were luckily able to recruit my sister Mamie on the drums who was 14 at the time, and who played with us for four years.

Though we’ve been very fortunate in the industry and work with an amazing team there are certain hurdles you have to overcome as a woman in the industry. For example, we’ve been told by people in the industry that we’d do better if we wore low cut tops and mini skirts. My advice to any female looking to get into the music industry would be to always be true to yourselves and to make decisions that you are comfortable with.

Luckily we have an incredibly supportive fan base and we love that we can use our platform to encourage other women to play an instrument. There is nothing that makes us happier than getting messages from younger girls saying that we have inspired them to pick up the guitar or start a band, if that’s not worth starting a band for then what is? 

Catch Dea Matrona at the following shows:

16 Glasgow The Hug & Pint
17 Manchester YES (Pink Room)
18 Leeds Key Club
20 Liverpool District
21 Nottingham The Bodega
23 London The Black Heart
24 Bristol Louisiana
26 Derby Bearded Theory

2 Dublin Whelan’s
3 Belfast Mandela

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