Running on three days without sleep and on their second UK tour in six months, Aussie rockers DMA’S, rolled into Nottingham’s Rock City to perform their penultimate show before they jet back to Australia. Our writer Alicia Hannah chatted with lead singer and Everton Worshipper, Tommy O’Dell before the show, to discuss their MTV Unplugged album, Liam Gallagher shout outs and album number three. The follow up to 2018’s For Now might not be such a wait it seems…
Alicia: Go on, give us the news, how was the Everton game?
Tommy: They lost two nil…
Is it gonna affect your mood for the show?
Nah I’m used to it!
You treated fans to an acoustic performance earlier at Rough Trade for Record Store Day, did you squeeze it in before the match?
The music comes first before football, but it is nice to be able to get both in for sure! I went to a match last week against Arsenal and it worked out well with the schedule.
You’re on the penultimate night of the tour, how has the UK treated you this time around?
It’s been good, the crowds have been great, it’s been a quick tour, I mean we’re already at the second to last show, it feels like we only got here a few days ago. Once we got over the jet lag, it’s good! I mean, we love playing in the UK, the crowds are heaps more passionate than other crowds we’ve played to.
You haven’t been gone for long have you?
That’s our booking agent, he just sends us back here all the time. We’ve played in Northampton five times more than we’ve played at home you know. It was like we’ve played there more than we do in fuckin’ Melbourne and Sydney.
You always get a big reception in the UK, and it’s interesting how varied your crowds are in age, do you try to pull different ages in or does it happen naturally?
Its not intentional, but it’s really nice to see young people coming to our gigs now. It’s a good sign for growing and getting bigger as a band over here. When we first did our tour, our very first one, we played to 15 people in Manchester, and they were all like 45 and over.
It just gradually filtered down to the younger people, and I think it’s cool to have different age groups at gigs, it means more people are connecting to the music.
I want to know how it must feel for Liam Gallagher to call you biblical!
It was brilliant. For people in the music industry to give you a heads up, it’s always really cool, especially when it’s from people that have influenced me as a musician and influenced so many other bands. It was just brilliant.
Could you ever have imagined that happening when you first started out?
Not at all. It is surreal. When we first started the band there’s no way I’d have thought anyone other than me and Tooky (Johnny Took) would be listening to it. It wasn’t even a thought, DMA’S was just a side project, we weren’t even meant to be playing live. Then we put some stuff online and then, now we’re here.
Touching upon people like the LG, where do your main influences come from?
Me, personally, from bands where the singing is the main focal point. Bands like R.E.M, obviously Oasis, Stone Roses and Crowded House, Kasabian, and The Verve. Really melodic music, that’s where get my influence from. That started with growing up and my parents playing the Beatles at home. From there, I fell in love with the British band. Not that all the bands I like are British, but a lot of them are. Mason and Johnny, they come from a different kind of musical background. Johnny is into country and folk music, bands like Wilco. And then Mason, he’s into different stuff, more American guitar bands like Dinosaur Jr, stuff like that.
You’ve got a bit of a mixed bag there…
Yeah, the vocals are such an important part that people would think that it’s just a band influenced by Britpop. But its not, it’s got more to it than just my kind of scene.
Do you think you’re fine tuning these different genres through the records?
With our first record, it was garagey, as we recorded most of it at home. We were still finding out what kind of band we were, we still are now I guess, you’re constantly changing and growing, we hadn’t played or done much before we released that first EP. We were finding out who we were as we went along, which was exciting. But now we can start to fine tune things, and see what we like, and add some different elements in. The next record might be similar, but with some differing things going on.
Are you guys working on the new record now?
Next week – we’re starting to do some recording when we get back!
This week you announced that your Unplugged session is coming out in June, how was recording that?
When I found out we were doing it I got nervous as I knew it would require a lot, it’s not a normal gig, you’ve got to be on best form, there’s nothing to hide behind. We rehearsed hard for it, and we changed the set list. It was one of the toughest gigs I’ve done, but one of the most rewarding after we finished. To have a vinyl of it is great too, to have something to remember it by.
Can gigs become transient sometimes, considering how much you tour?
Yeah, sometimes they can all blend into each other, particularly when you’re playing the same setlist. It’ll be nice to have that MTV record. I probably won’t even listen to it, I may do in 20 years down the line somewhere…
Finally, if you could have a pint with any musician, dead or alive, who would it be?
Bob Dylan… when he was younger, he was pretty cool. Yeah, Dylan.
DMA’S now return home to play a few local shows (and to record album three by the sounds of it). They come back to the UK for festival season however with a slot at TRNSMT, Isle of Wight and Citadel. They’re never gone too long to be honest.