I never thought one of my new favourite band’s would be introduced to me via Triple J’s ‘Like A Version’ where I witness them doing a cover of Cher’s Believe. Well, this was the case with DMA’S as I then found myself trawling through YouTube checking out what they’d done. When I discovered they had released their debut album, Hills End; I downloaded it on iTunes straight away and loved every song. From here, I invited everyone to join me on the fast-filling bandwagon.
Managing not to fangirl too much, I recently spoke with lead-singer of the band, Tommy O’Dell…
Mojo20: DMA’S…What does DMA stand for and how did the band come about?
Tommy: It’s an abbreviation or kind of nickname for the first name of the band. Dirty Ma’s
Mojo20: Since your recent cover of ‘Believe’ by Cher, your fan base has increased somewhat. Does this bother you? That it wasn’t your album that caught more of the attention despite critical success?
Tommy: Haha, I haven’t thought about it like that but now that you mention it…
Mojo20: How did the band come about and how do you write? Is it just the one of you or a group thing?
Tommy: I was playing drums in a band with Johnny who was on bass. We started getting the shits with the band so we decided to write songs together and record them at home with me singing.. Then after a year or so Mason joined and that’s when we started taking it more serious. Some songs we collaborate, all bringing in different parts, and others are written just by one person.. Depends on the songs really. We don’t have any rules or guidelines we follow we just do whatever suits the tunes. I think that bands that have regimented songwriting process’ get stale and boring.
Mojo20: You’ve recently completed a sold out UK tour. How did that go? Good crowds?
Tommy: Yeah, it was sick.. We love playing in the UK. This has been the best UK tour so far so it’s good to finish the year on a good note. Now we are heading back to Sydney to write and demo the second album.
Mojo20: I’m gutted I didn’t get the chance to see you guys live. Will you be coming back to the UK in the near future?
Tommy: Yeah for sure.
Mojo20: Earlier this year you release debut album, Hills End. It was met with positive reviews. Did this success surprise you and has work started on the follow-up?
Tommy: I knew the record had some good tunes on it so I wasn’t completely surprised .. I was happy though to see people connecting with the songs and the lyrics, probably a little more than I thought they would …Yeah we have more than half the second Record written. We are looking forward to easing up on the touring and getting back to our home studio to write more.
Mojo20: What bands are you currently listening to?
Tommy: Royal Headache
Been smashing heaps of Queens of the Stone Age too.. I dunno, I go through stages where I find old records and Listen to them on repeat, blood on the tracks has recently been hammered in the van.
Mojo20: You come across as quite a shy, modest bunch of guys. Is this the case and how does that work when it comes to performing to a large crowd at sold-out shows?
Tommy: I think we are all good blokes, we have our moments sometimes as you do… I also think we have come out of our shell on stage a lot more this tour. I have never sung live before so it’s taken time to get comfortable performing… We love playing big shows, it’s way less awkward than playing to half empty rooms.
Mojo20: You’ve been mentioned in the same breath as Britpop icons such as Blur and Oasis, do you agree with the comparison and what influences do you believe you have?
Tommy: Yeah, I love British bands. The Beatles, Oasis, The La’s, Blur, Stone Roses, The Verve etc.. They have influenced me a great deal. The way they focus on melody and lyrics and how they concentrate on honest songwriting is something that I try to focus on too.
Mason is more influenced by American guitar bands like Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jnr. Johnny loves his folk and bluegrass music…I guess when you put all that together you get where our sound comes from…
Mojo20: Where do you see DMA’S in five years time?
Tommy: Umm I dunno, hopefully headlining big festivals!
Mojo20: What’s on a DMA’S rider?
Shit fruit and even worse ham and cheese…We did go through a stage where we were making Bloody Mary’s cause Johnny fancied himself as a cocktail waiter, but he was useless at it so he got the sack along with the tomato juice and tabasco.