IN CONVERSATION WITH: DMA’s
DMA’s have come along way since their Manchester debut in 2015 – playing Night & Day Cafe in front of a crowd of 20 – a far cry from their sold-out show at Victoria Warehouse. We drop by before the highly-anticipated gig to speak to the bassist, Johnny Took, about their ‘unexpected’ success, Manchester influences and all things in-between.
“The reception from the UK is awesome, we’ve been here back and forth for five years and been to a lot of cities, we don’t get a tremendous amount of radio play so most of our fans come from touring and word of mouth – our fans are loyal, which is great.”
Despite the lack of radio play, it doesn’t stop the DMA’s from receiving an amazing amount of support – not only are they playing sold out shows in big venues – but tonight, Johnny tells us that Liam Fray, frontman of the Courteeners, is making his way down to watch the band. The lads supported the Courteeners on tour previously in 2014, along with Stockport’s finest, Blossoms.
Speaking of Manchester bands, DMA’s have been likened to many Mancunian bands – such as Oasis – with both fans and critics alike referring to their brit-pop sound. “We 100% get that, it’s weird because we’re Australian but we love that whole scene, when we were kids we listened to The Stone Roses, Oasis and The Verve…Blur, you know? That’s what we listened to growing up.”
Johnny mentions that a lot of that influence originates from frontman, Tommy O’Dell’s dad, who is a scouser and his brother who were constantly played brit-pop records, however, Johnny insists that all of them have been a fan before the band got together. Another artist that they all have in common who they love is, “The Boss”, Bruce Springsteen – both Johnny and guitarist, Matt Mason, played in a band before the DMA’s which was heavily influenced by Springsteen and folk.
Johnny and Tommy have known each other for the best part of ten years, even living together, writing music and alas, DMA’s were born. “The three of us were writing songs in my bedrooms for a couple of years, we all work together on the tracks, Mason wrote (the single) ‘Delete’ when he was nineteen and then we wrote the outro a lot later on. It’s stuff like that you know?”
Their debut album ‘Hill’s End’ was in fact recorded in their bedrooms, a raw and authentic sound to the tracks, whereas the latest album, ‘For Now’, was recorded in the studio. Which, Johnny states there is also a lot more thought into: “We had a great recording studio for the latest album but I am glad we recorded ‘Hill’s End’ the way we did for the first album, DIY.”
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Both these albums translated to the stage, opening with ‘Play It Out’ from the first album followed by crowd pleaser ‘Dawning’, the fans could not have been more ready for the set and the DMA’s were certainly ready to be welcomed back with open arms.
Jonny talks to us about how, although they will never change radically, the importance of constantly evolving and experimenting with new elements to create a constant revolutionized sound. Referring to the legend that is David Bowie, how his sound was constantly unique and the importance of reinventing yourself as a band. Although, if it’s not broken, why fix it?
Although consistently touring, the boys do not intend to stop recording and creating new tracks, this time, with the hope to record in the UK. Especially as Johnny has a keen eye and passion for production, even noting that he plans to set up his own one day – maybe even in Edinburgh as he has already swapped down under for the sights of Scotland. There was a lot of love in the air for the DMA’s that night and already, Manchester can’t wait to welcome them back when they support Courteeners at Heaton Park in June alongside Blossoms and James. See you there lads.