We get to know an Irish duo that have the talent and tunes needed to a make a big impression
Name: Morgan MacIntyre and Gemma Doherty
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Style: Folktronica with a Celtic heart
Look out for: New single Tin Man is out now
The combination of Celtic influences, haunting vocal harmonies and spacious arrangements makes Irish duo Saint Sister a group who demand immediate attention. Their latest single, Tin Man manages to be delicate, commanding and utterly captivating. The band started when songwriter Morgan MacIntyre decided that she needed a creative partner and, aware of Gemma Doherty’s harp playing, she decided to discuss a potential collaboration over a coffee. A musical marriage with immense promise was born there and then.
Saint Sister are a classic case of two talented individuals complementing one another. “I was really focussed on lyrical stuff and my big heroes are Joni Mitchell, Johnny Cash, Joan Baez and all the really great old storytellers whereas Gemma did a lot of traditional music and was classically trained,” says Morgan. There’s also some crossover in the electronic folk genre that they themselves occupy. “We discovered that we loved a lot of the same artists, like James Blake and Bon Iver,” she continues. “The more we talked about music, even though we had different beginnings, the more we realised that we have a lot of similar interests.”
The resulting carefully constructed sound is clear evidence of the whole being more than the sum of its parts. “We come at it from different perspectives,” says Morgan. “I come with a lyrical hook or a melody and I bring it to Gemma and she then goes away and works on the arrangement side and comes back.” Gemma adds “There’s always a bit of back and forth but we both do the things that the other maybe doesn’t do and we really trust each other. There haven’t been any major disagreements or artistic differences just yet.”
Their style can be best heard on the mesmerising Tin Man. Morgan explains the story behind the song, “It’s about the really incredible feeling that you can get after you wake up from a good dream about someone and it feels like you’ve really had a meaningful connection with some in the dream and that feeling stays with you all day and you almost get closer to the person as a result of having that dream.” Out this month, it’s a tantalizing glimpse of what’s to come.
After a hectic 2016, what can we expect from the pair next year? “We’ve been really fortunate to tour quite a lot this year but now we’re just trying to get our writing heads back on for the next couple of months,” says Gemma. “We’re working on the album and getting ourselves together again, that’s our immediate plan and we’re really excited to try and piece it all together and see what works.” Based on what we’ve heard so far, we can’t wait to hear what they come up with.
Interview: Duncan Haskell
Check out the band’s website for more information saintsisterband.com