Revisited: Interview with DMA’s at SXSW 2016

At this year’s SXSW, I met up with members of Aussie rock band DMA’s to for an outlet that no longer exists. The story doesn’t exist online anymore either because the website doesn’t exist. For archiving purposes, I’m reposting it on this blog just because I found their comments regarding Oasis and Noel Gallagher in particular of interest. I’m not the only one — Aussie music outlet ToneDeaf found their comments interesting as well, which is why they quoted it in their piece from last March.


DMA’s might be from Sydney, but a few songs into their debut full-length album Hills End would have you believe they were from Manchester due to their distinct Britpop sound. Lead man Tommy O’Dell’s voice has an uncanny resemblance to former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher, it’s impossible to shake.

The trio played Bonnaroo last year and are on the bill at Coachella. We caught up with them at the tail-end of a wild SXSW, just hours removed from playing four sets in a day. O’Dell was still recovering, but we got to speak with founding members Matt Mason and Johnny Took.

Q: You guys just wrapped up your first SXSW. I caught you the other night at 1 AM and really enjoyed it, how has the experience been?

Johnny Took: America’s kind of strange for us. We haven’t been here a lot. So it’s kind of nice to play so many shows in front of people who haven’t gotten a chance to see you. It’s pretty hectic though. Loading out the gear four times a day, but it’s part of it. I feel like now that the record’s out, it takes time for people to listen to a new record but people are into it. We are looking forward to the rest of the tour.

Q: The album has only been out a month but a lot of people were singing along to the songs that weren’t singles. What’s that been like?

Took: Joel, our guitarist, he was mentioning how it was kind of nice seeing people sing to songs that haven’t been singles or haven’t been released yet. I think we got pretty sick of touring the EP, we toured that for two years and you could always see people wanting to get into the new tunes but now that the record’s out it makes a huge difference.

Q: In most write-ups about you guys, “Britpop” comes up. Often when you see comparisons of a new band to more prominent acts, it’s in a negative tone – but that hasn’t been the case at all. Do you feel this shows maybe people have just really missed that sound?

Took: I think some people do but in a big sense I think it’s pretty split actually. I think lots of people like it and embrace it for that and then there’s people that sit and resent it.

Q: But even people in the UK have taken a liking to it.

Took: That’s one thing that’s been nice. We just toured the UK and pretty much sold out most the shows. We weren’t sure at first if we came over what the response was going to be.

Matt Mason: You’d get like 50-year-old guys and they would tell us how they’re happy there’s a band playing that kind of music.

Q: Was Oasis a band you listened to a lot?

Took: I definitely listened to Oasis growing up. Mason didn’t. Tommy is a big Oasis fan. Definitely it’s Tommy’s voice that gets those comparisons. Actually, on the album, Paddy Harrowsmith recorded a bunch of the guitar solos.

Mason: That’s a good point. A lot of the lead parts were written by Paddy, who used to play with us. And he’s got a big Oasis tattoo.

Q: I did see that Noel Gallagher did an interview where your band came up and it was very cheeky and funny. What did you think about it?

Took: To be honest, I thought it was pretty ridiculous. It was an Australian journalist interviewing him and he asked if he’d heard of our band. So they provoked it. If I was interviewing him I wouldn’t be asking him about some little band from Sydney, they should’ve asked him about his album. But yeah he was just kind of a smartass about it. ‘Oh, they sound like Oasis, do they? I’ll have to boo them.’

Q: You guys are playing Coachella, the biggest festival in America. Is that a major benchmark?

Mason: Yeah we’re really excited. Also the time off, that’s the biggest gap that we have from touring. We get a week off between the two festivals. We’ve got a couple of friends who live in the states that are coming, so we’re looking forward to it.