DMA’S are: Tommy O’Dell (vocals), Johnny Took (guitars), Matt Mason (guitarist and backing vocalist)
It’s said that Australians are some of the most laid-back people around. For the most part, DMA’S fit that bill. The Sydney trio have gone from writing and recording in their bedrooms to living their dream of spending most of the last 12 months almost permanently on the other side of the world, playing packed out gigs to rabid fans, but their attitude is much the same as you imagine it would have been back when they formed in 2012 – taking whatever comes their way with a satisfied shrug.
DMA’S was far from the three’s first experience of playing in a band. They’d each grown up playing instruments from a young age and had played in various groups together before, including a bluegrass band that Mason and Took were once part of. But, for O’Dell, this was an opportunity to try something new – singing. Previously a drummer, he had never heard his own voice recorded before. The rest, as they say, is history.
Soon, a record arrived in the bedroom recording of ‘Delete’, the stripped-back acoustic-led ballad that first made people even in the UK, from NME to BBC Radio 1, sit up and pay attention. Then came record deals across the world including a UK contract with Infectious, the label behind alt-J, Drenge, The Temper Trap and more. May 2015 saw a self-titled EP that fizzed with searing, noisy guitars and softer, more tender moments. It was a thrilling taste of what a full-length record could hold bolstered by incendiary sets at festivals like The Great Escape, Latitude, Splendour in the Grass and Reading & Leeds with packed crowds in sweaty tents! Their first UK headline show was a sold out 100 Club in London and two UK tours have followed since.
Hills End is that dream come to fruition, a collection of the three friends’ endeavours over the past three years and, sometimes, beyond. It’s a record that takes each individual’s own influences – folk artists like Dylan for Took, “American guitar bands from the ’90s,” for Mason and English bands passed down to O’Dell by his older brother and Liverpudlian dad like The Beatles, The Stone Roses and The La’s – and throws them all in one big mixing pot.
DMA’S DIY ethics have been with them since the very start of the group, when they produced their own merchandise and set up their very first gig themselves in a quite unconventional venue. “There was a motorcycle store down the road,” Took recalls, “so we just brought in a stage and a PA and did our first gig like that.”
Wasting time isn’t what DMA’S are about. They’re a band that are constantly writing, constantly experimenting, splicing bits of old songs together to make something new like an audio Frankenstein’s monster. With gigs and festivals across the globe, from Australia’s Laneway Festival to California’s Coachella, DMA’S have been unstoppable in 2016.