REBEL Meets DMA's

Leah Hamer || July 16th

 

From the outside, DMA’s look like three scallies from Greater Manchester that fancy themselves as urban revivers of Britpop. Baseball caps and chains, Burberry and Umbro. You might reckon that they spend their days hauled up listening to Oasis and their nights causing a bit of a riot on the street corner.

Well dissect that image away from your mind for DMA’s are in fact a bunch of chilled out, Australians who have never even listened to Oasis. ‘No one ever believes that. I remember it was the headline of an article once, and all the comments we’re like he’s fucking lying. But it’s true.’ Matt Mason tells me whilst restringing his guitar. ‘People sing Oasis songs before our shows sometimes.’

Inspiration for Matt, Tommy O’Dell and Johnny Took instead comes from the southern hemisphere despite their British sound. Matt spent his weekends enjoying the bustling Sydney music scene after he bagged himself a fake ID at fifteen so he could watch Dinosaur Jr. ‘They’re my inspiration, they write songs the way I write them- simple, poppy, songs. But when you put Tommy’s voice over the top it changes it. Everyone thinks when I’m writing songs that I’m trying to sound English, but that’s not it at all. Once they go through Tommy, the whole Americana thing goes away. I don’t really listen to English music.’

It’s easy to understand why so many confuse the trio for being Englishmen, especially as the cultural connections between Australia and England are closely intertwined. ‘We have the same nightlife and the same kind of people coming to our shows, just the weather is different.’ That, and the fashion, as over here DMA’s face constant comments about their chav gear, ‘We just dress like Australian people, no-one says anything about it in Australia like they do here.’

As a band now facing international recognition, travelling across the world and experiencing different crowds has led to a mixed fan-base. ‘We have a really different demographic coming to our shows, like you have those that have only heard our ballads, and they’ll stand at the front row of the show and then the first song comes on and it’s a rocky one and a mosh pit forms around them and they’re like get me out of here.’

:Chris Hollingworth

:Chris Hollingworth

Although their new-found fame has led to new fans sprouting up every week for the band, it has also forced them to confront some pretty dark situations. ‘There was a guy when we were playing in Munich who said on our Facebook page that he was going to kill us. This is just a couple of weeks after the attacks in Paris. So we told the promotors and they just freaked out, there were metal detectors and four security guards on stage with us and everyone had to get searched.’ Fortunately everything was okay on the night and rather than allowing it to scare the band, it united their friendship and relationship with their fans more than ever.

From Glastonbury to Coachella to sell-out tours across the world within just a couple of years, Matt, Tommy and Johnny have jumped straight into the fame pool, without undergoing the dreaded toilet tours and unheard debut albums. ‘We did a video for Play It Out and a record label saw it and wanted to sign us, but we’d never played live so we had to get a backing band together and play him a private show…Initially we were just synthesisers and vocals but we really liked playing with the backing guitars and drums. So we got singed and then it completely changed our sound…Then our first real gig was at a motorcycle factory in Glebe, and there was this huge line outside because we’d never played a show before.’

This is a factor that DMA’s have received backlash for, too many have complained that they have not undergone the usual graft that so many other bands are forced to experience in order to work their way up. ‘I’ve been in bands for like fourteen years. I’ve played to rooms of two people, a hundred times, I’ve done all that, with this band we didn’t want to do that again.’

‘What bands should do now, in my opinion, is record a song the best they can, if it means doing it at home and learning how to do it on programmes and the internet, then do that, that’s what we did. If you try hard and get some attention, then you can skip the toilet tour.’

Although receiving a great deal of fortune with DMA’s early signing, Matt has been in and out of bands all his life. ‘My first band was called something like Hypertonic, it was really dumb, we hadn’t even hit puberty yet.’ Then he dabbled with punk bands and folk music, which lead him to Johnny. ‘I was at a festival playing this traditional Czech instrument called a dobra [it involves metal hooks and a metal bar and a lying down guitar thing], and Johnny came up to me like I have to play with you.

All three are incredibly gifted, as Johnny was previously a bassist and Tommy a drummer for their old band, Underlight. Matt, however, struggled to find the love in music whilst growing up, his dad attempted to teach him how to play the guitar when he was six but he refused. He turned to the saxophone and his teacher made him cry ‘He was an animal. I was like eight and he was like you fucking suck.’ Then he turned to the cello at nine, which he finally enjoyed, before his dad asked him again at thirteen if he wanted a guitar. ‘I said no again but he got me one anyway, and turns out I actually like it.’

I’m grateful for Matt’s father, for without him, I wouldn’t have had the pleasure to watch DMA’s that evening on The Sugarmill stage. An anthemic, atmospheric, and goose bump producing performance, they made the room feel like a stadium. Although they weren’t manic party-starters, encouraging violent mosh-pits like I expected they would, they produced a chilled out, easy-going set that you could actually stand and listen to and enjoy without getting elbowed or piss thrown over you.

Hearing Delete live is something that I would recommend every does before they die, regardless of whether or not you are a fan of theirs. It was one of those special moments that left the crowd leaving the venue a little speechless. And that is a rarity for me. 

:Chris Hollingworth

:Chris Hollingworth

Inspiration for Matt, Tommy O’Dell and Johnny Took instead comes from the southern hemisphere despite their British sound. Matt spent his weekends enjoying the bustling Sydney music scene after he bagged himself a fake ID at fifteen so he could watch Dinosaur Jr. ‘They’re my inspiration, they write songs the way I write them- simple, poppy, songs. But when you put Tommy’s voice over the top it changes it. Everyone thinks when I’m writing songs that I’m trying to sound English, but that’s not it at all. Once they go through Tommy, the whole Americana thing goes away. I don’t really listen to English music.’

It’s easy to understand why so many confuse the trio for being Englishmen, especially as the cultural connections between Australia and England are closely intertwined. ‘We have the same nightlife and the same kind of people coming to our shows, just the weather is different.’ That, and the fashion, as over here DMA’s face constant comments about their chav gear, ‘We just dress like Australian people, no-one says anything about it in Australia like they do here.’

As a band now facing international recognition, travelling across the world and experiencing different crowds has led to a mixed fan-base. ‘We have a really different demographic coming to our shows, like you have those that have only heard our ballads, and they’ll stand at the front row of the show and then the first song comes on and it’s a rocky one and a mosh pit forms around them and they’re like get me out of here.’

Although their new-found fame has led to new fans sprouting up every week for the band, it has also forced them to confront some pretty dark situations. ‘There was a guy when we were playing in Munich who said on our Facebook page that he was going to kill us. This is just a couple of weeks after the attacks in Paris. So we told the promotors and they just freaked out, there were metal detectors and four security guards on stage with us and everyone had to get searched.’ Fortunately everything was okay on the night and rather than allowing it to scare the band, it united their friendship and relationship with their fans more than ever.

From Glastonbury to Coachella to sell-out tours across the world within just a couple of years, Matt, Tommy and Johnny have jumped straight into the fame pool, without undergoing the dreaded toilet tours and unheard debut albums. ‘We did a video for Play It Out and a record label saw it and wanted to sign us, but we’d never played live so we had to get a backing band together and play him a private show… Initially we were just synthesisers and vocals but we really liked playing with the backing guitars and drums. So we got singed and then it completely changed our sound…Then our first real gig was at a motorcycle factory in Glebe, and there was this huge line outside because we’d never played a show before.’

This is a factor that DMA’s have received backlash for, too many have complained that they have not undergone the usual graft that so many other bands are forced to experience in order to work their way up. ‘I’ve been in bands for like fourteen years. I’ve played to rooms of two people, a hundred times, I’ve done all that, with this band we didn’t want to do that again.’

‘What bands should do now, in my opinion, is record a song the best they can, if it means doing it at home and learning how to do it on programmes and the internet, then do that, that’s what we did. If you try hard and get some attention, then you can skip the toilet tour.’

Although receiving a great deal of fortune with DMA’s early signing, Matt has been in and out of bands all his life. ‘My first band was called something like Hypertonic, it was really dumb, we hadn’t even hit puberty yet.’ Then he dabbled with punk bands and folk music, which lead him to Johnny. ‘I was at a festival playing this traditional Czech instrument called a dobra [it involves metal hooks and a metal bar and a lying down guitar thing], and Johnny came up to me like I have to play with you.

All three are incredibly gifted, as Johnny was previously a bassist and Tommy a drummer for their old band, Underlight. Matt, however, struggled to find the love in music whilst growing up, his dad attempted to teach him how to play the guitar when he was six but he refused. He turned to the saxophone and his teacher made him cry ‘He was an animal. I was like eight and he was like you fucking suck.’ Then he turned to the cello at nine, which he finally enjoyed, before his dad asked him again at thirteen if he wanted a guitar. ‘I said no again but he got me one anyway, and turns out I actually like it.’

I’m grateful for Matt’s father, for without him, I wouldn’t have had the pleasure to watch DMA’s that evening on The Sugarmill stage. An anthemic, atmospheric, and goose bump producing performance, they made the room feel like a stadium. Although they weren’t manic party-starters, encouraging violent mosh-pits like I expected they would, they produced a chilled out, easy-going set that you could actually stand and listen to and enjoy without getting elbowed or piss thrown over you.

Hearing Delete live is something that I would recommend every does before they die, regardless of whether or not you are a fan of theirs. It was one of those special moments that left the crowd leaving the venue a little speechless. And that is a rarity for me.