DMA's at the Waterfront - Review
Last Tuesday, DMA’s brought their new album to Norwich for the first time. We headed to the Waterfront early for a chat with guitarist Johnny Took.
The Australian three-piece open with ‘Feels Like 37’, a contagious, energetic track that has the room jumping around in no time, warming it up for ‘For Now,’ the band’s newest single. Despite it having been released only a few weeks ago, it’s received with almost as much enthusiasm as some of the bands’ classics, the startingly multigenerational crowd already mouthing the lyrics.
DMA’s second studio album ‘For Now’ was released last April 27th and is already top 15 in the UK Charts, which the band is really pleased about. ‘We’ve all been in bands before but never reached a second record, so that’s pretty cool, and it’s nice to be able to show a different shade of DMA’s. When you’ve only got one album out it’s pretty easy for people to pigeonhole you.’ What is different in this second album, then? Took ponders for a moment, ‘There’s a higher level of production. Sonically, it’s more than just a guitar record now […] I guess it’s also a little bit moodier than our first record, in some ways. It’s a slower burn, but I think in the end it’s gonna have longer legs.’
I ask whether all this attention has changed the way they write songs. ‘I’m pretty conscious not to do that. We’ve never really written for anyone, and we’re not gonna start writing pop music now to try and get the right deal. The songs that really worked for us at the start were songs that we’d written even before DMA’s was even a concept, let alone a band. I always try and get back into that mindframe when I’m writing.’
From this new album, Took recommends his favourite track ‘Emily Whyte’, the album closer. A slower but just as powerful ballad, it immediately gets a reaction from the crowd; it seems to be a fan favourite, too.
This is not the first time the band have played here at the Waterfront – in fact, DMA’s have toured the UK more than some British bands of the same calibre have. ‘The response we get [in the UK] is brilliant,’ says Took. ‘I feel like we’ve got quite a loyal fanbase here.’ This becomes evident when the band plays some of its older tracks; ‘Delete’ and ‘Lay Down’ have the room swaying back and forth and chanting the lyrics, beer flying around.
‘In The Air’ and ‘Step Up The Morphine’ show off the band’s most introspective side with their deeper lyricism, as well as Tommy O’Dell’s enviable vocals. Testament to the connection between band and crowd, the energy in the room remains high, just like the hands that stay up in the air throughout the night.
Being such a hard-working band, touring pretty much non-stop must be exhausting. ‘Some months you’re feeling more confident, some months you feel a bit more s**t,’ Took shrugs, ‘I think anyone doing anything creative feels the same way.’
When asked what the next big thing for DMA’s is, Took admits he’s most excited about returning to England for the festivals this summer – you can catch them playing Reading and Leeds and the Neighbourhood Weekender, as well as supporting Liam Gallagher in Finsbury Park. ‘I’m kind of excited to see how the rest of the year plays out. DMA’s are still such a young band and people are still discovering it, so it’s kind of like watching a baby grow. It’s kind of nice.’
Check out DMA’s opening band Planet.