The rise of DMA'S: An interview with Sydney's beloved Indie rock trio
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Get ready to dive deep into the creative minds of DMA’S, the beloved indie rock trio hailing from Sydney, as we sit down with them for an exclusive interview about their fourth studio album and upcoming tour.

DMA’S are a rare breed of indie rock trio, hailing from the vibrant city of Sydney. Since bursting onto the scene, they have managed to captivate audiences with their signature sound, which seamlessly blends the raw, emotional energy of rock with an infectious pop sensibility. With their highly anticipated fourth studio album, How Many Dreams?, DMA’S prove once again that they are a force to be reckoned with.

The album is a journey through the highs and lows of life, and DMA’S take their listeners on this ride with them. The 70 early demos that were considered for the album showcase the band’s evolution, as they emerge from a darker place and bring in exhilarating future sounds. How Many Dreams? is a testament to the band’s unyielding creative vision, as they draw from a wider sonic palette than ever before, breaking down the barriers that once held them back.

But DMA’S are not just studio wizards; they are a band that thrives on stage, and their upcoming 18-date tour across their native Australia promises to be nothing short of monumental. 

Their most extensive Australian headline run to date, will see them perform in regional centres for the first time. Fans will have the chance to catch them in action in cities including Hobart, Melbourne, Adelaide, Thirroul, Sydney, and Brisbane, as they embark on a mission to showcase their electrifying live show.

This is a band that understands the power of a giant singalong and the euphoric memories that can be made at a live show. DMA’S are ready to ignite, and their fans are ready to be consumed by their electrifying energy.

DMA's

At a time when the world is in need of hope, DMA’S remind us of the power of music to heal and to bring people together. They are a shining example of what can happen when an unrelenting passion for music is paired with genuine talent and dedication. With How Many Dreams? and their upcoming tour, DMA’S have once again proven that they are a band that is here to stay. 

In an exclusive interview with Happy, Johnny from DMA’S reveals that the band has been experimenting with elements of sampling, synthesizers, and drum machines, incorporating electronic sounds into their music. 

But despite this newfound experimentation, DMA’S still stay true to their core, delivering a modern rock sound that will leave fans screaming for more.

So, whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer to the DMA’S phenomenon, How Many Dreams? promises to be a musical journey you won’t want to miss. 

Happy: What are you up to today?

Johnny: I’ve been doing a bunch of interviews, just dropped off my car to be serviced, and dropped my new wife Hayley Mary off to the studio to finish her amazing debut album.

Happy: What about your ultimate day?

Johnny: Waking up, going to the gym, feeling good, just chilling out in the morning. At about 2 o’clock, going to a really great szechuan restaurant – maybe Spicy Joint in Chinatown, or Colourful Yunnan in Melbourne – for a massive meal and a few beers with a big group of friends. Then going out to a pub, or to watch some music after.

Happy: Tell us about your creative community.

Johnny: I guess directly with the band, we’re a six-piece band, and within that direct group there’s a lot going on. Jonno our bass player, is always really inspiring and amazing. Our drummer Liam has been with us from the start, and I’ve also worked with him with the band I do with my brother called Big Time. Our guitarist Joel is in a band called Pop Strangers who are amazing, and he does a bit of mixing and producing for other people as well. I’ve also just opened up a new studio called Small Time Studios in Brunswick where I do a lot of writing and recording. Recently I did some sessions with Vera Blue, ILLY, Confidence Man, Willaris. K, Dan Sultan and Allday. 

Happy: What did you read or watch growing up that fuelled your passion for music?

Johnny:Spinal Tap. And now I get to see our own Spinal Tap moments happen as our career progresses.

Happy: What did you read or watch last that opened your eyes and mind to a new perspective?

Johnny:How To Write One Song, a book by Jeff Tweedy who’s the singer/songwriter from the band Wilco. It’s great hearing one of your favourite songwriters talking about a few tricks they do to stay inspired to keep writing great music.

Happy: Your music has been described as a mix of indie rock and Britpop. Can you tell us more about the artists that have influenced your sound?

Johnny: Between the three of us in DMA’S – Tommy, Mason and I – we all contribute equally to the sounds, and we also all bring different influences to the table.

For me, it’s the alternative country stuff I used to listen to like Wilco, and even people like Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell. 

Tommy and I share a love for Britpop music – obviously bands like Oasis and Stone Roses, but also some heavier stuff like The Jesus and Mary Chain, even the dance-influenced stuff by Primal Scream. 

For Mason, he’s always been more American-driven, so he’s always loved bands like Dinosaurs Junior, Sonic Youth and Pavement.

Happy: Your latest single, “Something We Are Overcoming,” sees DMA’S embracing electronic sounds. How did you approach incorporating these elements into your music, and how do you see your sound evolving in the future?

Johnny: During COVID, we had a lot of time to think about what kind of sound we wanted to put on this record. Even though I think it’s still, at its core, a modern rock record, we did have time to experiment with elements of sampling, synthesizers, drum machines and stuff like that. We’re looking forward to incorporating that into the live show, it’s really rounded it out. In terms of the future, we don’t really know where we’re gonna go. At the moment, I’ve been doing a lot of stuff with drums, more rockier drums and guitars, but still incorporating the dance elements. But there’s a part of me that also thinks you can make a really beautiful organic record when you stay away from those drum machines and synthesizers, and go back to using instruments like a Fender Rhodes and acoustic drums.

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Happy: Your upcoming tour is your most extensive Australian headline run to date. Can you tell us more about your live show and what fans can expect from your performances?

Johnny: It’s going to be our best tour to date. Like I said before, incorporating songs off How Many Dreams? has really made the set step up a notch and has filled in any gaps we thought were there were in our live show. It’s going to incorporate some of these new aspects of DMA’S, but then also the same kind of rock n roll energy we’ve always had and the singalongs we’re known for.

Happy: Your deluxe digital download of How Many Dreams? supports Saving Staffies. Can you tell us more about how you chose this organisation to support and why it’s important to you?

Johnny:That was something that was close to Tommy’s heart. He’s got a blue staffy called Truman, who’s a beautiful dog. They get a bad rep sometimes, staffies, but it’s because of the owners that bred them, not them as dogs. So it felt like a good cause and something that was close to Tommy’s heart.

Happy: Your music often tackles serious themes, such as mental health and addiction. Can you tell us more about how these issues have influenced your songwriting?

Johnny: I guess these more serious issues can be cast under the umbrella of change which is inevitable for all of us to endure and to face at some point in our lives. So I guess the overarching theme is change, I’m really interested how the people that we love and care about adapt to change, how they choose to face it and how they move forward particularly through difficult moments in their lives.

Happy: You’ve been making music together for several years now. How has your dynamic as a band evolved over time, and what have you learned from each other?

Johnny: To be honest, the dynamic feels pretty much exactly the same as when we first met. That’s one reason why we’re still together as a band. We were friends before we were songwriters, and we’ve kept it that way. One thing we learnt from each other is that we don’t force each other to do anything we don’t want to do. We’re really open to listening to what each other are thinking and feeling, in particular about things like touring. We want our mates to be happy – then we write songs on top of that. That’s kept the foundation of our relationship strong. 

Happy: As a band from Sydney, how has the city and its music scene influenced your music and career?

Johnny: Sydney is an amazing city. Particularly when we were coming through the ranks in our earlier bands, playing venues like Candys Apartment and Oxford Art Factory, we were really lucky to be able to play around so many amazing bands in that scene. It kept us on our toes a lot of the time. Also, before the band was successful, Mason and I used to play cover gigs and that’s how we made our bread and butter for a long time. Doing those cover gigs made us have to learn a lot of other people’s songs, which was kind of our introduction to songwriting.

Happy: Your band has achieved success both in Australia and internationally. How do you balance staying true to your roots while also appealing to a global audience?

Johnny: We didn’t really think about it. We just stay true to ourselves. And if the rest comes along for the ride, then that’s very much appreciated.

Happy: What’s next for DMA’S, and where do you see yourselves going in the future? 

I think the next step for DMA’S is still just focusing on our songwriting. The challenge of being a musician is that the challenge never ends. You’re always discovering new influences and new ways to look at making music and creating music. So we just want to keep writing the best songs we can, keep learning, keep listening and not be afraid to experiment and change. We never want to make the same album twice, which can be scary sometimes. At the end of the day, it’s important to be daring and to change things up.

Happy: What makes you happy?

Johnny: Sitting on the couch with Hayley Mary watching British crime while eating takeout x

Listen to How Many Dreams? Out now.

DMA’S HOW MANY DREAMS? AUSTRALIAN TOUR 


SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER 2023 

Presented by Frontier Touring, Secret Sounds, I OH YOU, FRNDS MGMT & triple j 

Fri 22 Sep | Hobart City Hall, Hobart TAS | 18+ | Oztix
Sat 23 Sep | The Pier, Frankston VIC | 18+ | Oztix
Mon 25 Sep | Theatre Royal, Castlemaine VIC | 18+ | Oztix | FINAL TICKETS
NEW DATE: 
Wed 27 Sep | The Forum, Melbourne VIC | 18+ | Ticketek
Thu 28 Sep | The Forum, Melbourne VIC | 18+ | SOLD-OUT
Fri 29 Sep | Torquay Hotel, Torquay VIC | 18+ | SOLD-OUT
Sun 1 Oct | Hindley Street Music Hall, Adelaide SA | 18+ | Moshtix
Tue 10 Oct | Wodonga, The Cube SA | Lic. All Ages | Ticketsearch
Wed 11 Oct | Kambri ANU, Canberra ACT | 18+ | Moshtix
Fri 13 Oct | Anita’s Theatre, Thirroul  NSW | Lic. All Ages | Ticketmaster
Sat 14 Oct | Enmore Theatre, Sydney NSW | Lic. All Ages | SOLD-OUT
NEW DATE: 
Sun 15 Oct | Enmore Theatre, Sydney NSW | Lic. All Ages | Ticketek
Fri 20 Oct | Bar on the Hill, Newcastle NSW | 18+ | Oztix
Sat 21 Oct | Hoey Moey, Coffs Harbour NSW | 18+ | Oztix
Sun 22 Oct | Kingscliff Beach Hotel, Kingscliff NSW | 18+ | Oztix
Wed 25 Oct | The Tivoli, Brisbane QLD | 18+ | Ticketmaster
Thu 26 Oct | Venue 114, Sunshine Coast, QLD | 18+ | Moshtix
Sat 28 Oct | Tank Arts Centre, Cairns, QLD | 18+ | Ticketlink | FINAL TICKETS