WORDS : MALVIKA PADIN
“Our music is often a combination of triumphant soundscapes and introspective, dark lyrics so the message we’d like people to take away is to approach life in a balanced way to try and be positive while still being aware of negative around you,” says Tommy O’Dell, vocalist of Australian three-piece DMA’S – consisting of Tommy, Johnny Took and Matt Mason- speaking of the band’s organic sound and message, showcased in it all its glory on their forthcoming record, The Glow.
It’s definitely the most eclectic offering so far as it touches on all the types of music we like
Described by Tommy, “as the albumwe were ready to make, and the one that we needed to make,” The Glow– out in July – is quite diverse in terms of influences. Speaking of the soundscape of the album, Tommy says “ It’s got aspects of our first record with a rock n’ roll, garage vibe but also has synth-influenced, 80s touches as well. It covers a lot of genres of music which is something we haven’t really done before. It’s definitely the most eclectic offering so far as it touches on all the types of music we like.”
Elaborating on the genres that inspire him, and by extension the band, Tommy says, “ I often get inspired by different beats and rhythmic patterns I hear, and when we are at festivals you come across so many artists and genres. I remember hearing The Avalanches at a gig and, yeah, I was blown away. Hearing those kinds of electronic acts inspires a different approach to song writing.”
It’s perhaps the band’s exposure to a range of inspirations that’s helped in their development as song writers over the years ; the title track of this upcoming album being the most tangible example of the trio’s evolution. Talking about the track, he says, “ The Glow” was an old song which was demoed back when we started making music together. It didn’t suit where we were sonically on previous records. We knew there was something special about this song but we felt like it was missing something. As we producing for this record, the track came up again as old songs often do and we wrote a chorus for it and suddenly it came to life and transformed into what we always knew it could be.”
Questioned on what it was about the song better fit for this album than their first record, Tommy says,” There is a time and place for songs. In the first record we had a lot of songs that said the same thing and sounded similar to “The Glow”, so it didn’t feel like it suited that record. On this record, we needed some more rock n’ roll tunes, when we wrote that chorus it all fell into place and exceeded our expectations.”
It’s based on the idea of search for something but not knowing what you’re searching for
On the message of the track and accompanying music video, he adds, “ It’s hard to pinpoint the meaning behind the song because it was written over so many years but the original idea was about coming of age and not knowing exactly what you want from life but knowing you have freedom. It’s based on the idea of search for something but not knowing what you’re searching for. It was a privilege to work with Grammy-winning producer Stuart Price on the video.He brought out more expressive elements of what we wanted do. He was fantastic in the way he had a sixth sense of what we want while still infusing his own style into the production.”
DMA’S music is mostly rooted in vocals and melody, but Tommy reveals that his favourite track off the album is opener “Never Before”, which doesn’t rely much on the vocals, instead focusing more on the groove and vibe. He further adds that the band- who are fond of experimentation – would love to have rapper feature on one of the tracks at some point in the future. While on the topic of the future, he also speaks of Andrew Neufeld of Comeback Kid, saying “ Mason has been a massive fan from a young age so I’m sure he would love to do some stuff with him.”
When speaking of anything these days, it’s impossible to avoid the conversation around the coronavirus. This is particularly worth mentioning in the case of DMA’S who have postponed -rather than cancelled ,like most acts- their planned tour to October of this year. Speaking of excitement and anxiety surrounding tour, Tommy says “ Getting back on the road is exciting but we want safety. We don’t want to be nervous while performing, we want to be confident and want everyone to feel relaxed in the audience.”
While going back on tour and performing live seems a long way off, the trio have made the best of a bad situation by writing tunes through Zoom, doing isolation sessions and covers. Tommy says, “We did an online gig too, we are trying to find aspects of your art that you can get out to people even if you can’t see them in person. We also an did Everton FC isolation gig we did was great! All bands who supported the football team came together as a community to perform for fans. The Wombats, Circa Waves and a few others did it, and that was a great experience.”
The band aren’t planning too far ahead, happy to make music instinctually and reminding people to be positive yet aware of the world we live ; Tommy leaves us with the message to take things as they come and focus on the present.
The Glow is out on July 10th via Infectious / BMG