Photography by Josh Groom @JoshGroom
DMA’S went full circle over the weekend.
At fear of sounding like a musical cliché, it’s been a tireless road for trio Matt Mason (guitar), Johnny Took (guitar) and Tommy O’Dell (vocals). A road that on more than a few occasions led to a dead end, and would’ve had them questioning whether it was all worth it.
Writing, recording and practicing to perfection can be a demoralising task if your scattered crowd are more interested in their phones than your performance.
Before they were DMA’S, this was the case for the threesome.
Eventually they retreated to Took’s Newtown apartment to record, and the plan was to leave it at that. O’Dell reflects, “We never really thought we were going to be much of a live band to be honest. It was more of a recording project, but we got signed with our Australian label [I Oh You] and they said we should play.”
Over the weekend they performed the songs that were never intended to be heard live to a sold out Enmore Theatre in Newtown – the suburb where it all began.
In fact, their whole Australian tour was sold out.
Emotions were overflowing from the all-age-local-crowd, as whispers of “I knew DMA’S when…” were surely kicking off, yet when opener ‘Play It Out’ began, it was a raucous reception that didn’t let up until the final chord of the night.
The set typified the small yet vast back catalogue DMA’S have.
Mason was shredding his guitar at the front of stage and letting it drain with distortion during ‘Too Soon’. Knowing now he sees Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore as a musical influence, it’s an obvious comparison.
Meanwhile ‘So We Know’ saw Took start-up the sombre acoustic riff that matched O’Dell’s silky-angelic vocals to a tee. The two worked together seamlessly, often sharing a microphone or patting each other on the back as if to say “How good’s this!”
‘Step Up The Morphine’ slotted itself in the middle of fast and slow while Madonna’s ‘Beautiful Stranger’, for that night at least, was a DMA’S track to say the least.
The sing-alongs only continued with ‘Feels like 37’ and ‘Your Low’ from their 2014 self-titled EP, were shouted back with the enthusiasm of a new release.
Despite ‘Delete’ doing the rounds for up to three years, it brought about a resounding ovation that delayed the following song. Mason wrote the song all the way back in high school, I doubt he ever knew it would be sung back to him in one of Australia’s most prestigious theatres all these years later.
An encore featuring single ‘Lay Down’ was the icing on a homecoming cake that must’ve tasted so good for the Newtown natives.
A sophomore record shouldn’t be too far off as they mentioned to us in our recent interview, yet the addition of a new pub being built on top of their studio may just cause some delays.
Watch our full stripped-back acoustic studio session with the trio here.