DMA’S are one of the biggest upcoming bands at the moment, originally from Sydney, they promise a unique concoction of Brit-pop and indie with an Australian twang. We caught up with acoustic guitarist and songwriter Johnny Took and Joiners, Southampton, to talk about the future and inspirations.
This is your first UK stop on your tour, any venues in particular you’re looking forward to playing in Britain?
It’s all pretty new for us, we haven’t toured really extensively in the UK so it’s all pretty new, I’ve heard of the one in Brighton, the Green Door, they’ve got cobblestone floors or some shit, and then I’ve heard good things about The Deaf Institute as well, in Manchester.
We heard that your first gig was when you hadn’t actually released anything yet and it was extremely crowded. How did that come about and how was that for you?
It was a little bit daunting because we weren’t sure what the response was going to be like. We had one song released that was getting played on the radio and we did our first gig and it was crazy. There’s an old motorcycle store near where I live, we built a stage in there and hired a PA off our mates – probably around a 400 capacity venue. We had to turn 150 people away. It was like, “Wow, all these people are here to see us!” and we were so new. Even though we have been playing as a band for years it wasn’t like stage fright, it was just nice to see them all get involved.
You played alongside The Black Keys and Tame Impala at the Governors Ball, how did you manage to get that and was it a challenge?
We’ve got a badass booking agent! That’s about it. It was our first time really going around America properly. You get to a point where a stage is a stage and you get up there and do it. We would like to go back in a few years and step it up.
What’s the response been like for your latest album DMA’S, have you had much attention on social media sites?
It’s been great, it’s gone as well as it could have. We’re not one of those bands that’s going to scream to the Top 40, but at the same time it’s like, we released the mini album kind of thing, and all this touring has pretty much been building up for when we release our debut LP, which is coming out in late February.
Where do you guys take your main inspiration?
It’s all pretty diverse. I’m a big [Bob] Dylan and [Bruce] Springsteen fan, also bands like The La’s and Oasis, The Stone Roses, Primal Scream, lots of big American bands, The Jesus and Mary Chain… We’re from Sydney, in our generation you can get into anything you fucking want. Most of my friends, they’re not that narrow minded, they listen to absolutely fucking everything, ‘cause it’s all cool for its own reasons.
So is there anyone you’re currently listening to? Any new bands you guys think we should check out?
You should check out these guys actually [Crown Of Thieves and V2], our bass guitarist is in a band called Au.Ra. And check out Popstrangers.
I got really into Tobias Jesso Jr.’s album, he had an album called Goon which I was listening to a lot. The last tour I was listening to the latest Tame Impala album which was sick. Recently I’ve just been going back to my roots, listening to Joni Mitchell ‘cause I love her lyrics, she’s amazing.
Heaps of Van Morrison – I really like acoustic-driven stuff which is probably why all DMA’S tunes are written in acoustic. One thing people notice about us is that acoustic is a pretty prominent thing. In Sydney when we first started there weren’t really any Australian rock ‘n’ roll bands doing that and it probably stems from a lot of that.”
What is your ultimate goal, a certain festival? A sell out gig?
Not really, man. I try not to get too excited. If you just focus on the songs, the rest of it will come, so I try not to think too much into it. Go with the flow.
Ruby Munslow @rubyymunslow