Music interview – DMA’s: ‘We like to give a high energy rock ’n’ roll set with a few acoustic tunes throughout’

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DMA’s are heading to Wakefield’s Unity Hall on August 5. Known for their riotous live shows and knack for a hook-laden tune on debut Hills End, Tom Newton grilled singer Tommy O’Dell on all things from drinking ability and covering that Cher song.

DMA’s are heading to Wakefield’s Unity Hall on August 5. Known for their riotous live shows and knack for a hook-laden tune on debut Hills End, Tom Newton grilled singer Tommy O’Dell on all things from drinking ability and covering that Cher song.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way. You’re Australian, you look and sound like you’re from a council estate in Manchester. Discuss.

Haha. I dunno, I guess it’s just the sound we have. We never really thought about what we wanted to sound like. I guess when Mason, Johnny and I started writing and jamming that’s what came out. We all have different influences and it takes time for bands to craft their own sound and we are constantly developing it. We were signed and playing gigs only after a few jamming sessions, so we were thrown right into it. As for the fashion … sports wear is cool all over the world. May as well wear comfortable clothes now before we get too old and look sloppy in track pants.

I have been pre-warned that your live shows can get pretty messy; what can the audience expect when you play Unity Hall in Wakefield?

We’ll play most of our first album with some new songs. We like to give a high energy rock ’n’ roll set with a few acoustic tunes throughout. It should be a good night. We love playing places that we’ve never been to before so I’m looking forward to it. We had never heard of Wakefield, to be honest.

What we all have in common is that we share a huge love for Australian music and much of that comes through in our song writing.

Tommy O’Dell

Hills End, your debut album, could sit quite happily alongside the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Jake Bugg. What influences DMA’s, and who is currently making a name for themselves in Australia?

We have heaps of influences. We’ve all come from different musical backgrounds and I think that shows in our music. Mason loves American Guitar bands like Dinosaur Jr and Sonic Youth; Johnny has been brought up on folk and country music like Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Neil Young; and I love British bands like Stone Roses, Primal Scream and Oasis. What we all have in common, though, is that we share a huge love for Australian music and much of that comes through in our song writing; Midnight Oil, The Go Betweens, Crowded House, Paul Kelly, The Church, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Tame Impala, Royal Headache, The Avalanches – to name just a few – have probably had the most influence on us as a whole.

There is great music being made now in Australia too. Bands like Bad//Dreems, Green Buzzards, au.ra, Remi, Methyl Ethyl, gl … these are all acts that are making a name for themselves at home and abroad.

Nick Cave is one of your country’s best exports and now lives over here in Brighton; do you have plans to relocate to the UK?

I don’t know yet; maybe in the future. That’s always a hard question. It’s definitely something we have thought about and we all have British passports so, yeah, it’s probably on the cards at some point.

Where have you enjoyed playing most on your tours of the UK? You’ve done most of the Leeds venues so far, so is that up there?

Yeah, we love Leeds and all of the North; Manchester and Liverpool are great as well. We get a great reception up there. Our best gigs I have to say, though, are in Glasgow.

If you could curate your own festival, who would play, living or dead?

Nirvana, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Biggie Smalls, The Bee Gees, The Chemical Brothers, Neil Young, Kendrick Lamar, Bruce Springsteen, Sonic Youth, Oasis, My Bloody Valentine, Tupac Shakur. Where do you stop?

Where are you with the second album; will you be debuting any new tracks on the tour?

Yeah, we’ll be playing a few new songs. We’ve just started recording the second album and all the songs are written, so that helps. Going on tour has put a stop to the recoding process for a bit, though, but when we get back we’ll dive straight back into it.

Do you, or will you, perform your cover of Cher’s Believe on tour?

It was a one-off performance we did. We’ve never played that song live before and we don’t really plan to play it again, to be honest. It’s nice just having one version of it.

Who would you most like to collaborate with in the future?

The Knife.

And what do you do in a city after you perform? Can you drink a Yorkshireman under the table?

Haha, depends if we’ve got to leave straight after on the bus. But if we stay, yeah, we like to have a few. And it depends how much beer the Yorkshireman throws on stage during the gig.

DMA’s play at Unity Works, Wakefield on Saturday August 5. They also support The Kooks at First Direct Arena, Leeds on November 23. dmasmusic.com

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