This week, we caught up with Johnny Took, the guitarist from Australian phenomenon the DMA’s. We chat all about their favourite Scottish bands, their latest album, The Glow which is due out next month and of course that viral video of their lead singer, Tommy performing with local musician, Adam Frame. Read all about it below…
Your third album The Glow is out in April; how would you compare this one to For Now and
Hills End? Enjoying the sonic differences between Hills End and For Now, we purposely wanted to make The Glow different again. The Glow was recorded globally on the central coast (an hour and a half north of Sydney), in London, and in Los Angeles. Working on the first single Silver and Round and Around with Scott Horscroft then completing the rest with Stuart Price was a real privilege. They’re both amazing producers who we learned a lot from. Since For Now was released, we’ve definitely been delving more into the world of pop and electronic production and wanted that aspect to shine through. This was also the first record where (except for one chords progression) we did not record any parts in our own studio.
Do you have a particular place you go to write your music?
I guess we collaborate our ideas together in Sydney but I swear most of our songs are voice memo done walking down the street.
You recently released the single, Life is a Game of Changing; what’s been the general reaction? Great!! It’s really refreshing to have something sonically different to our previous DMA’S stuff but still holds our energy and vibe. The response to it live has been awesome too. I feel we have a lot of upbeat guitar driven tunes and ballad sing-a-longs but our set has been missing a couple of high energy dance numbers, so I guess we tried to cover that side of things on a couple of tracks for this record.
How would you compare the Australian music scene to the UK music scene?It’s really quite hard for bands in Australia to tour nationally (and for it to be financially viable) unless you have national radio play (Triple J) because of the size of the country and our population. One thing I love about the UK is that as a punter or a band you can kinda jump in a van and there are so many great cities to play (or watch) music in, and to crowds that are unreservedly passionate from the first note. Australian crowds are great too but there is definitely an energy here that is hard explain or beat. It seems to get crazier the further north we go.
The last time you were in Glasgow, Tommy joined Glaswegian musician Adam Frame when he
was performing in a local pub and the video went viral! How was that experience for you? I’m pretty sure I only found out they were even at the pub because twitter was being a bit more hectic than usual. Mason and I use to do three hour sets like Adam with our drummer Liam and my brother Matty (from Planet) when we were younger. I guess we liked the video because Adam reminded me of ourselves not too long ago.
What advice would you give to musicians and bands who are just starting out? Just to keep working on your craft at all times and enjoy the present. Also, if / when things start going well and you start picking up support slots and hanging backstage at festivals and stuff, keep your cool. It’s easy to get carried away in the excitement of early success but remember the industry is small and you’re most likely going to have to work, perform or see these people for years to come so maybe don’t do anything you don’t wanna live with for a long time.
The last time I saw you guys live was in Aberdeen around this time last year; how would you
describe your relationship with the Scottish crowds? As good as it gets!! However, I lived in Edinburgh for a year with my partner Hayley Mary (whose Dad is Glaswegian) so I’m a bit biased. Honestly, it’s amazing how the Scots have taken DMA’S under their wing; it’s a connection we treat and hold very deep and dearly.
You’re supporting Gerry Cinnamon at a sold-out gig at Hampden Football Stadium, which will
be one of the biggest gigs in Scotland in 2020. What can fans expect from your set? A full-blown fucking screamer with tracks from the first EP through to The Glow.
Who are your current favourite bands and artists from the UK? Neon Waltz, Strange Bones, Baby Strange, Voodoo’s, Snash and Rascalton.
What are your aims and ambitions for this year as a band? To tour this record ballistically and write an even better fourth album.
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