DMA'S guitarist Matt Mason unveils electronic plans for Britpop band's fourth album

By Josh Leeson
July 1 2022 - 9:30am
UNLIKELY LADS: Matt Mason, Tommy O'Dell and Johnny Took, of DMA'S, will release their fourth album later this year.

DESPITE the DMA'S reputation as a hard-working globe-trotting band, guitarist Matt Mason is an incredibly chilled dude.

When we catch up with the Sydneysider he's enjoying a brief spell at home before the indie-rockers return to the UK next week for a series of seaside shows at Margate and Scarborough.

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DMA'S only returned from the Old Dart a fortnight ago after performing at Newcastle upon Tyne on June 11.

"It's a long flight to do, which we do like 10 times a year," Mason says matter-of-factly.

After years of graft around Sydney's inner-west pub scene, making constant trips to grow their British audience and earning praise from the likes of Oasis singer Liam Gallagher, COVID threatened to derail their momentum.

But once the borders reopened Mason and his bandmates Tommy O'Dell (vocals) and Johnny Took (guitar) returned to the stage to cement their growing popularity.

The release of their third album, The Glow, in 2020 expanded their sound beyond '90s Britpop influences to incorporate synths and electronic beats.

It was an album full of anthemic choruses - like Silver and Never Before - custom-made for arenas, and not surprisingly, DMA'S have been playing the biggest rooms of their career over the past nine months.

That's included shows at Melbourne's Margaret Court Arena and Sydney's Hordern Pavilion.

BRIT POPULAR: DMA'S are Australia's biggest band in the UK.

"We used to just bring our own amps and plug in," Mason says. "Now there's so much happening behind the scenes, lots of techie stuff.

"Sonically, there's so much more happening. We've always wanted to do it. That was always the plan. We just couldn't pull it off."

The shift towards the dance-rock sound of The Glow, which was more Stone Roses and Primal Scream than Oasis, did upset some of the DMA'S rusted-on fans from their 2016 debut Hills End, which featured the beloved ballad Delete.

So last year DMA'S offered an olive branch in the four-track EP I Love You Unconditionally, Sure Am Going To Miss You, harking back their original sound.

"Nothing was really happening, so we thought we're sitting here on our arses, let's call up the guy who did our first album [Dylan Adams] and see if he's free and if he wants to do a couple of tracks," Mason says.

"Everything we've released has elements of where we started off. But we wanted to give something to our fans that like that sound.

"We have to do it every now and then because we owe it to them because they've been fans of ours from the beginning. Also we're changing and we don't want to upset anyone."

With the brief turn back completed, DMA'S are progressing forward with vigour. Album No.4 is being mixed and is expected to be released later this year. Mason is promising a greater push toward electronic territory.

"This new record, there's less and less guitars as we keep moving forward," he says. "I play guitar so I'll probably be out of a job if it keeps going that way, but it's fun."

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Mason jokes he might have to resort to rock'n'roll antics to keep busy without a six-string.

"When we first started off we had a guitar tech and I used to hand him my guitar and I would take my shirt off and run around skolling beers and I wouldn't even play.

"I'd be throwing things into the crowd and just smoking ciggies. So I might just do that."

DMA'S started album No.4 in the UK, but with pandemic worsening they returned home and finished the record with producer Kon Kersting (Tones and I, Spacey Jane).

"We got back home and we thought it wasn't right," Mason says. "We had the guts of it and still used that stuff, but we then went to Kon.

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"Johnny [Took] is pretty synth savvy, so it was Johnny and Kon who added all this stuff on top."

While some fans might be disappointed in the further push towards a electronic sound, Mason says DMA'S are actually moving toward their initial plan.

"It's funny when people go, 'you're changing'," he says. "Because we started off as a electronic band, but then we just didn't own any electronic gear.

"We owned guitars and drums. So when we needed to play gigs, that's all we had.

"You can do it on the computer with electronic sounds, but when you play it live you need the actual gear, which is hard to get. We're actually going back to how we first started."

DMA'S play Splendour In The Grass, Byron Bay (July 22); Wanderer Festival, Merimbula (September 23), This That, Newcastle (November 5), Falls Festival, Murroon (December 29) and Falls Festival, Byron Bay (December 31).

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