The Scottish alternative duo have been very busy lately with various concerts and projects. However, they have agreed to answer a few questions about how they managed to get as far as they are now, as well as their achievements and plans for the future.
ST.MARTiiNS are one of a number of new interesting groups out there at the moment. They are inspired by Jack Steadman from The Bombay Bicycle Club and poet Mina Loy. They have even featured on Spotify’s “Hot New Bands” section and couldn’t be happier.
Singer Katie Lynch and guitarist Mark Johnston started writing together from the age of 13, but decided to form ST.MARTiiNS when they were 19 and 20. Although they’ve both been making music together for a few years, their style has changed a number of times. “We’ve essentially always written together through our teenage years,” says Katie, “the style following whatever stylistic and circumstantial phase we were in at that time.”
When talking about the choice of the name for their duo, the singer explains they were inspired by the London art school where the Sex Pistols performed for the first time in 1975 and the Caribbean island – namely Sint Maarten: “The institutionalisation of the art school and organised art experiences, along with the beautiful natural isolation of the island sort of encompassed that feeling and seemed a suitable name,” says Katie, who adds: “Mark and I always wanted to create our own world with our sound.”
The band have managed to find their own style and bring something different to the other artists out there. The “ST.MARTiiNS’ sound” is a mixture of “pop, electronic and house elements” as described by Katie. They are also very inspired by jazz singing and chord progressions. You may wonder what makes the duo so special, but when you listen to their track “othr grls”, for example, you can’t help but notice an interesting aspect to their music, which is what this band is all about: a new, original and creative sound. “We aim to create something atmospheric,” says Katie. The writing and composing of the songs however, is a joint effort. Even though it might be Mark that comes up with a starting point, Katie will then take one of her poems and change it around so it can become a song.
The alternative duo released their first EP, Bad w/ Her, in June. Featuring some of the band’s best tracks, Mark says his favourite is Bad Art as “it gets him pumped up” whereas Katie prefers 9teen: “I feel it was the beginning of the darker sound we’ve integrated into our newer material.” The band is planning on “getting a lot darker” in their up-coming tracks.
Indeed, ST.MARTiiNS have got a few projects on their agenda for the near future such as new releases, which means we will get to hear a different side to the band.
When looking back at how far they have come, the Scottish duo have picked out a few important events: “We’ve been lucky to support a number of great bands such as The Temper Trap, We Are Scientists and Clean Cut Kid. However, we played a very busy headline show in June this year at King Tuts Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow. For us, that was a huge and moving achievement; that so many came to see us.” No wonder the band remember playing the venue, where back in 1993, Oasis were signed by Alan McGee. A lot of other artists such as Florence and The Machine, Radiohead and even The Killers have performed there at the beginning of their careers. It has also been recognised by the NME and Radio 1 on several consecutive times.
ST.MARTiiNS have certainly achieved a lot since their beginnings at university. However,after being part of the “Hot New Bands” section on Spotify, they can’t help but wonder what the future has in store for them.
This Dundee-based duo is certainly one to keep an eye out for.
Words by Lil Bonhomme