A couple of years ago, three friends started writing and recording music together above a hairdresser on a busy street in Newtown, Australia. They'd known each other casually for awhile and had all been in other bands previously, but hadn't found their own individual voices or the proper outlet for the songs percolating in their heads. At first, they'd fumble around with their recording equipment, pick up whatever guitars were lying around and record. But before too long, they realized they'd hit upon the magic that had eluded them up to that point.
Those three friends - Tommy O'Dell, Johnny Took and Matt Mason - eventually christened themselves DMA'S. Before playing a single show, off the back of a few demos, DMA'S were signed by Australian tastemaker label, I OH YOU and started playing their nascent collaborations live for Australian audiences. Beyond the music, their unique sense of fashion quickly inspired Antipodean youth culture. Harnessing international buzz on the strength of the single "Delete" and its debut U.S. and U.K. gigs in the fall of 2014, the band is now set to release its first self-titled EP on May 19th through Mom + Pop Music.
The product of three distinct musical personalities, DMA'S songs crackle with classic melodies and a sweet, youthful energy. Listeners will hear elements of '90s Britpop and shoegaze and American alternative guitar rock woven through arena-ready fist-pumpers like "Laced" and "Feels Like 37," while "Delete" and "So We Know" offer heartfelt, stripped-down storytelling with a deft touch rarely found in such young of a band. Elsewhere, "Your Low" is whimsical rock flecked with the DNA of Built To Spill and Pavement, and "The Plan" makes great use of an improbable combination of programmed beats, acoustic strumming and reverb-drenched electric guitar accents.
"Tommy's dad is very, very English. And my old man came over to Australia from London and moved to the outskirts of Adelaide when he was 11 years old," Took says of the band's influences. "That's why DMA'S is a weird blend, from Mason liking the guitar sounds and the songwriting of those American guitar bands, me being a bit more traditional and folky and focusing on honest lyrics and chords, and then Tommy's influence and his own voice. It's the most special relationship I've ever found."
Incredibly, DMA'S is actually the first band for which O'Dell has ever sung. After playing drums alongside Took on bass in a successful local psych band called Underlights, he opted to change course and put himself in front of the microphone. "I always had ideas that I wanted to sing in a band. When I was drumming, I enjoyed that, but I left the writing to the guitarists," he admits. Adds Took, "Sometimes at rehearsal he'd sing a part out loud while he was trying to get the beat down, and I remember freaking out hearing how great of a voice he had."
Mason adds: "He went from the back of the stage in the shadows to the very front, seamlessly. When he played his first show ever being a singer, it felt like he'd been doing it for years. If I was to do that, I'd fucking freak out!"
With a full-length album being eyed for release in 2016, DMA'S will tour extensively in support of the EP, including appearances at such major American festivals as Governor's Ball, Lollapalooza and Outside Lands. "It's been very rewarding to see the songs come together live. They grew a new identity and developed," says O'Dell. "And they're still developing."