Sydney three-piece DMA’S have been overseas since mid-February conquering the globe with tour dates throughout the UK, Europe, USA and Canada including SXSW and Coachella. We sat down with Johnny Took ahead of their set at Live at Leeds 2016.
The group are confirmed for loads of UK festivals this summer including Reading and Leeds. Hugely anticipated debut album ‘Hills End’ made the UK Top 40. The album includes singles ‘Lay Down’, ‘Too Soon’ and ‘In The Moment’ as well as massive fan favourite ‘Delete’.
How does it feel to be back in Leeds?
Feels good! Last time we were here we played Belgrave Music Hall, and ate some really dodgy pizza.
You need to get on the Yorkshire Puddings.
We love the pies here!
What can we expect from your set at Live At Leeds?
We’re gonna play quite a bit off the album, but we’re still a young band here, so it’s important for us to play songs from our earlier EP. When people are discovering us for the first time, it’s good for them to get the full story.
You’ve just landed from Coachella. How was that??
Coachella was a pretty wacky, we had a laugh. Weekend One was a lot of press, it was a long day, after our gig I watched Alvvays – they were really great! Weekend Two, we did a side-show in LA at the Echo and that was amazing! It sold out. Some places in America have been quite slow for us, but New York, LA and Chicago have been good.
You also played SXSW in Austin this year, right?
Yeah! SXSW was hectic, we played 11 shows in 4 days! Totally different experience to Coachella.
If you were organising your own festival, who would you choose to headline & why?
Jesus and the Mary Chain. I haven’t seen them live before, and they’re one of my favourite bands.
What’s the craziest experience you’ve ever had with a fan?
I wouldn’t call it a fan experience, but there’s a band called Royal Headache from Australia, a great punk band who I really love. We played a festival recently, and Shogun (Royal Headache lead singer), told us he got goosebumps when he heard Lay Down. That was really cool to hear from someone you look up to.
Has it always been the goal to break the UK?
Me and Tommy grew up listening to music from the britpop scene. We wrote for about 3 or 4 years before we even played a gig. We were played on radio before we played a gig! We knew there was no point gigging around for the sake of it, our goal was to get overseas.
Have you started writing for the second album?
Yeah, we were in Shoreditch the other day and it was really inspiring. We wrote about 3 songs, not for the album – but it was a great release, I was personally in my element. Writing is when I’m most inspired, and when I feel the most happy. Songs are so important – writing is so important.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Focus on song writing. If you’re a young band and you’re trying to make some moves, don’t rush into gigs. Don’t get 8 or 9 songs and think you can do a 40 minute set – most of those songs will probably suck. If you’re lucky you’ll have about 3 good ones. You need 30 or 40 songs, then you know you’ve got 8 good ones. And when you play those live, every other facet of the music industry will start to revolve around you. Radio – songs. Punters – songs. Everyone wants good songs! You gotta focus on the songs.