SIIGHTS: “We write about life, the good and the bad”

Following tour dates with the likes of Dylan and Griff, hotly-tipped Dublin-Glasgow duo SIIGHTS are eyeing up a new EP.  

Words: Neive McCarthy.

Life is too short to not say how you feel. Life is also too short to not listen to music that makes you feel and moves you. When it comes to SIIGHTS, the two go hand in hand. Mia Fitz and Toni Etherson have mastered the art of honesty at all costs, all while making music that manages to be upbeat and fun but still completely stirring. They evoke those feelings that come with wearing their hearts on their sleeves in every beat and riff, ensuring their listeners feel it with them just as deeply. 

“As songwriters, I think the only songs we feel would be right coming from us are ones where we are honest and don’t shy away from whatever we’re going through,” muses Mia. “We write about life, the good and the bad, as honestly as we can. That’s the main thing we want to come across to listeners. We’re being honest, and we’re not shying away from it. Obviously, it does require you to be quite vulnerable and strip away your own insecurities or fears…”

Toni jumps in: “You put yourself at the mercy of that for the greater purpose of what you’re doing. Music really is a purpose for us, and art and storytelling. We use our experiences as a catalyst to share and hopefully help people and soundtrack those moments for us. There’s a community feeling in there.” 

Their latest single, ‘Words’, is a perfect example of the ethos at the heart of SIIGHTS. An ode to overthinkers and those who find themselves spiralling with every new romance, ‘Words’ is a brutally honest take on dating in a modern age, both fearful and glimmering with hope. A driving bass line adds a levity to the track’s anxieties, the pair’s harmonies making everything feel that little bit more manageable – it’s alt-pop with a real, human core. 

“We wanted to write something that touched on some of those anxieties you can feel and some of the thoughts that can go through your head when you’re in that early stage of liking someone,” Mia explains. “It’s battling between being vulnerable and taking that step forward and putting yourself out there, but also being aware of what your history is and the things that have happened in the past that have made you wary.” 

“We put a lot of focus on playing around with the polarity of emotion and energy”

Toni Etherson

The guarded stance but willingness to plunge in anyway will be familiar to a lot of their listeners, as is part of SIIGHTS’ charms. Amongst their upbeat bangers, they weave tales that are very real and grounded in their own experiences, many of which are universal. 

“We’ve all been there, and we wanted to put it out there that it’s completely okay if you’re finding yourself in a talking stage or a failed talking stage,” continues Toni. “That’s actually a lot of people’s story at the moment. It’s an anthem for those people and for anyone who has an anxious attachment style or might notice themselves catching feelings for someone and wrestling with the reality of having to overcome some fears. It’s a little bit of encouragement in there that life is short, and either way, whatever happens you will feel more empowered for taking that step. Some of the messages we’ve had have been so validating from other people saying that this song is exactly what they’re going through right now – that just makes us feel so amazing that we can share something that can help people.”

Mia and Toni have built a real kinship with their listeners from this foundation. Their previous single, ‘Miss You’, builds a sonic world that is sprightly and compelling; sparkling guitars, synths that practically bound about this space. Yet, in this world, they give home to a tale of getting lost in grief and nostalgia that seems at odds with the bright instrumentation. For SIIGHTS, however, it creates a dreamy harmony that allows you to feel your feelings to their fullest while remembering that light at the end of the tunnel. Their familiar narratives may echo close to home for some listeners, but they always afford some kind of levity to pull them through. 

“It hopefully makes people feel less alone,” says Mia. “If we’re honest about something that we’re going through or struggling with, it feels a very personal thing to be writing about, and it can be very vulnerable. But sometimes, they are the things that resonate with somebody else.”

‘Words’ and ‘Miss You’ form part of a greater project – the ‘Through Thick and Thin’ EP. The successor to 2023’s ‘Somewhere Between Lost & Found’, the EP is something bigger and more ambitious for the duo. The making of their previous releases taught them a lot, but there was also a lot to be unearthed through playing live. Spending the last year playing a number of support slots, they discovered new scope and potential within their realm – crucially, on tour with Dylan last spring. 

“We had to leave the studio and go out on tour for two weeks,” recalls Toni. “Through that experience, we got to connect with people and perform live. I think then bringing that back into the studio certainly helped us have a clearer vision for how we can connect with people in our performance and our show and how that can form and shape the sonics in an exciting direction that we maybe haven’t tried before. We decided to put a lot of focus on playing around with the polarity of emotion and energy and making this whole process something that is very big.”

Operating on a largely DIY basis has afforded the duo the chance to find their feet and then get straight to running, bringing their vision to life with technicolour accuracy. “We’ve always been in the driving seat,” affirms Toni. “We always very much will be in the driving seat and have such a clear vision for how we want to say what we want to say.” 

That hands-on approach and commitment to telling things exactly as they experience them has meant their identity as a band has become a powerful part of their arsenal; the combination of natural, empathetic storytelling and equally striking production have become distinguishably SIIGHTS. Their new releases, however, look to sharpen that distinctive sound. 

“One thing that is probably a very natural progression from our first EP is the progression of us and our experiences,” Mia says. “As writers, we’re constantly looking to dig deeper and be even more honest, delve into some new subjects, and expand on some that we may have touched on in the first EP as well. It very much feels like a progression both lyrically and musically.” 

Musically, the goal became something far more immersive and akin to a live performance, with recent headline shows in their hometowns of Dublin and Glasgow no doubt making that desire even more incendiary than before. Being honest lyrically translated to being honest about the vision they had and staying true to their instincts and intentions, chasing authenticity across every element of their work. 

“We are so versatile in how we create, and I think there is so much that we want to say and do that we have always trusted ourselves with,” explains Toni. “This was actually a bit of a leap of faith for SIIGHTS in that we were going to go all in on one thing and present it in a show that would encompass that energy for anyone coming along. We created a marrying of what they’re going hear on the record versus when they came in the room and felt the energy. It was the first time that we took that leap of faith and created the world that SIIGHTS feels like right now. There’s an element of trust in that decision.”

Mia adds: “You have to trust yourself as a creative and as an artist. There are probably times when every artist might struggle creatively or with writing. Fundamentally, you have to love what you’re doing and what you’re making, and you have to believe in it. It has to feel honest and sincere coming from you. That’s the first point; it has to start there before it gets put out. I feel like if it starts there, and it feels really honest, and you feel it is something you can really stand over, then it feels like something you can give out. It can be nerve-wracking when you’ve poured yourself into something, and you’re finally putting it out there. But for us, there isn’t any other way of doing it other than making something we love, and we’ve been honest in. All we can hope is that other people see that and find something in it for them as well.” 

SIIGHTS have a truly captivating balance in their hands. Their ability to build connection through hardship and light whilst creating music that is innovative and magnetic is a rare but magical gift. In their pursuit of honesty and sincerity, SIIGHTS offer a refuge and solidarity to their listeners that is empowering and reassuring, and they seem set on extending that power far and wide. 

Taken from the April 2024 issue of Dork.


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