Australian britpop lovers, DMA’S, have become a word of mouth hit with their incessantly infectious hooks and larger than life riffs. From small sell out tours in 2014 to supporting The Kooks on their huge arena tour just gone, DMA’S move with leaps and bounds with every footstep on our small island. With their highly anticipated second album making it’s way into the world on April 27th we sat down with Johnny Took, one third of the band, to talk about the record and their upcoming UK tour; here’s what ensued…
You’ve seemingly only just gotten back home after recently being in the UK supporting The Kooks on their arena tour. Do you live visiting England, have you picked up and favourite places along the way?
I love visiting England. I’ve had enough time off now that I think we’re all looking forward to getting back over again. I kind of like it better up north man, I like Leeds and I’m a big fan of Manchester. We’ve been to Scotland and stuff; I definitely feel like the crowds get crazier the further north you go. My old man’s from London originally so I love it.
Previously saying you’d originally had one hundred songs to choose from when picking ones for Hills End. How’d you find choosing the tracks for this record? How many albums are you actually sitting on?
Well the whole point of that kind of stuff was that if things went well with Hills End that we’d have to back it up quickly. So we have a lot of songs left over that maybe didn’t feel right being included on Hills End and it made it easier to back it up for the second record, but we’ve also added some new ones in too you know. We did end up using quite a few of them. The title track For Now was the first or second song Tommy and I wrote and then the other song that was also the first or second song Do I Need You Now, which was originally called Hills End but we changed the name of it is also on the record. Which is exciting – but when we released Delete that was already 7 years old, Mason wrote it when he was 19.
The latest single, In The Air, that you’ve teased from the upcoming album For Now seems somewhat of a love-struck ballad, what was the inspiration for this track.
Misery. Pure misery. I’m going to leave it at that as I don’t want to talk too much as to what it’s about, but it happened really quickly. I wrote it in about twenty minute and then it was really nice how it grew, tommy wrote the outro and then Mason wrote the riff. The way the song grew was very organic and it was just a real step up production wise for us.
We’ve also heard Kim Moyes of The Presets has been giving you a hand producing your second album. This must be quite a shift in control from the DIY feel of Hills End. What’s Kim brought to the table?
I think that the biggest thing any producer brings to the table is that they take the buffer off. If the three of us are having an argument about something or really can’t decide on something then Kim is the kind of personality where he doesn’t particularly care about your feelings in that regard, he’ll just be like “No, I like this. I don’t like that.”. And when you’re arguing over anything he’s not attached to it and just isn’t biased at all, to get that fourth opinion on a situation is really great. Also, he’s been in the pop world for a while and The Presets are obviously an electronic band so he helps with a lot of programming. Working with him felt like a natural progression for us, he’s more experienced with a lot of synths and in to programming beats so he really brought a little more of that to the record.
Being booked to play a couple of intercity festivals during your time over here, how do festivals in the UK and Australia compare, who goes harder?
It’s different, they go pretty damn hard in the UK man, probably harder, you know like flares and shit. It’s pretty raucous. We’ve played a fair few festivals in the UK where it’s pissing down with rain and you guys just stay out there and cop it, it’s pretty incredible and brilliant to watch as well. In Australia it’s a bit different, people are just dying in the heat but we still get raucous too. It’s been really nice seeing the crowds grow in the UK quite organically with playing similar festivals and it feeling like a natural progression instead of having just one song that did really well on radio one or something like that. We’ve spent a lot of time touring so I feel like we’ve grown quite a loyal fan base in the UK for a band from Australia
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Can we expect the themes of the last two singles to flow through this record? Are there any stand out events that are reflected on within your songwriting?
There are some songs that Mason and Tommy have written most of it you know, or Mason’s written a full song or I’ve written a full song. The thing with DMA’s is that when we get these songs and all get our input it really becomes our sound and I think you can hear that in the record. There’s some really special tracks on the record like The End and Mason’s got a song called Tape Deck Sick that’s a real old one we’re really excited to get out and for people to hear.
Previously being compared to an Australian oasis do you feel although you have a high standard to keep up with. Particularly since Liam seems to like you and noel not being so fond, saying he would boo you if he saw you live in an interview with The Music.
*Laughs* I don’t really care about that stuff. Liam’s a nice guy, we met him and he’s into the tunes. We just want to write honest, good pop tunes with some noisy guitars – so we don’t really think about it that much. I’ve never met Noel before but I do remember that article where they were like “There’s this band that sound like Oasis.” And his response was “Oh, they sound like Oasis, I’m going to boo them then.” Kind of taking the mickey like he does. I still don’t even know today if he’s heard the tunes or not though. To be honest though I don’t think music’s about that, there’s space for all types of music in the world and if everyone was playing the same type of music everything would be boring. You’ve just got to be honest with yourself and keep writing good tunes, that’s what the people like.
You mentioned on twiter that you’ve recently started your own record label. Can you give us any details about it or is still early days?
Yeah I did. I can’t give much away at the moment man, I’ve got a really great name for it that I’m still not going to announce. For legal reasons I want to get all the stuff down for it first. Me and Nathan have spoken about starting it together and we can record pretty much most of the stuff ourselves nowadays. Basically we’re just keeping an eye out for young bands that we like and that we think would be cool to bring over to Australia and make a record. We feel fortunate enough to be a band that’ve done things themselves, Hills End was recorded in my bedroom, we’re getting better at production and feel like it’s something we can do. It wouldn’t be too stressful if there’s music that we like and if we want to release our own little records we can do that, it’s a work in progress. It is something that you need a little more time to do, touring with DMA’s now possibly isn’t the best time to be kicking it off but I’ve started the wheels in motion.
And finally, are there any British bands you’ve been listening to recently?
That band called Shame, they’re cool man. That record they’ve just got out is really good, i’d love to play shows with them one day. Our label does some promotion stuff and has worked with them, something like that. Do you know the band Bad Breeding? We played a few shows with those guys and we all got on really well, same goes with the boys in RatBoy as well we played a few festivals with them. It’s funny when you have the same album cycle as some bands and end up being on the same bill.
DMA’s sophomore album For Now, is available for your listening pleasure on April 27th. Pre-order the album now.
‘Time & Money’
‘In The Air’
‘Do I Need You Now?’
‘Tape Deck Sick’
You can catch DMA’s whilst they’re in the UK for the following dates:
27th – Rock City, Nottingham 28th – Academy, Manchester 29th – Northumbria Institute, Newcastle
1st – 02 Forum, Kentish Town London 4th – The Tramshed, Cardiff 5th – Liverpool Sound City 7th – The Junction, Cambridge 8th – The Waterfront, Norwich 9th – Leeds Beckett University, Leeds 10th – 02 Academy, Oxford 21st – 02 Academy, Bristol, 22nd – Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow 23rd – Alhambra Theatre, Dunfermline 25th – The 02 Institute, Birmingham 26th – The Plug, Sheffield 27th – Neighbourhood Weekender
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