Isthmus – DMA’s Feature


Beyond borders: Young Aussie band DMA’s has global inspirations

by Joshua M. Miller
May 27, 2015


DMA’s has a diverse sound that draws from American and British rock.

When it comes to music, Americans have long had a love affair with the “Land Down Under.” From the Bee Gees to AC/DC, Australians have made an impact in the United States. Likewise, musicians in Australia often look beyond their borders for inspiration.

Case in point: Sydney-based DMA’s, a tight-knit trio including vocalists Tommy O’Dell and guitarists Johnny Took and Matt Mason. Hoping to continue the cross-continental fertilization, DMA’s are in the middle of a U.S. tour that includes a stop at the High Noon Saloon on May 29.

DMA’s is an amalgamation of a few earlier band names, says Took. They call themselves a “noisy guitar band with pop melodies,” and they have a diverse sound that draws from American and British rock.

“Tommy’s dad grew up in Liverpool during the ’60s. His love of British music was passed on to Tommy,” says Took. “Mason loves [American] guitar bands like Sonic Youth and Pavement, while I grew up on country and bluegrass.”

Took and O’Dell previously played together in a Sydney psych group called Underlights. They began writing songs on the side, and the project officially became a new band after Mason came on board. Things progressed quickly: The trio was signed by taste-making Australian record label I OH YOU off the strength of a few demos and before they had played a single show.

Their self-titled EP has elements of ’90s Britpop, shoegaze and alternative rock, with stripped-down and heartfelt lyrics. It was recorded in Took’s bedroom (above a barbershop in the Sydney suburb of Newtown) with simple intentions.

“We just [took] a few of our favorite songs and made sure they flowed together,” he says.

The band found success with catchy songs like “Delete,” and was soon booking shows around the world, including the U.S. and United Kingdom. Their current tour includes summer festivals like Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza. The band plans to release a full-length album sometime next year.

“It’s all very exciting. We want to be able to gain as many fans as we can,” Took says. “We feel like our music can connect with people from all around the world. We’ve felt like that from day one.”

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