It’s said that Australians are some of the most laid-back people around, always cool, calm and collected. For the most part, DMA’S fit that bill. The Sydney trio have gone from writing and recording in their bedrooms to living their dream of spending most of the last 12 months almost permanently on the other side of the world, playing packed out gigs to rabid fans, but their attitude is much the same as you imagine it would have been back when they formed in 2012 – taking whatever comes their way with a satisfied shrug.
That’s not to say joint songwriters Johnny Took, Matt Mason (guitarists) and Tommy O’Dell (singer) aren’t as exciting as hell. On record, O’Dell’s vocals surge with power and rousing, raw emotion, while the group’s live shows feel like one big, anthemic high. The latter is especially impressive given the trio didn’t really intend to play live. “We were just hanging out and writing songs,” Took explains matter-of-factly of their origins. O’Dell agrees: “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.”
DMA’S was far from the three’s first experience of playing in a band. They’d each grown up playing instruments from a young age and had played in various groups together before, including a bluegrass band that Mason and Took were once part of. But, for O’Dell, this was an opportunity to try something new – singing. Previously a drummer, he had never heard his own voice recorded before. In keeping with DMA’S easy-going approach, it all happened completely organically – the soon-to-be-frontman was hanging out in Took’s room, where a mic was set up ready to record a song. O’Dell decided to give it a try himself, stepped up and sang. The rest, as they say, is history