BRITAIN has always been a hard sell for Australian rock bands. While the Old Dart will happily consume our soapies like Neighbours and pop princess Kylie Minogue, anyone wielding a guitar faced major competition.
Even Silverchair and Powderfinger could never achieve sustained success when the UK had their own national treasures like Oasis, Radiohead and Blur.
Unsurprisingly, one Aussie act doing great business in the UK sounds like they’ve exploded out of a Manchester council estate, rather than hipster inner-west Sydney.
Earlier this month DMA’s completed a near sold-out tour of the UK - their biggest to date –which included stops at Glasgow’s iconic Barrowlands Ballroom and the Victoria Warehouse in Manchester.
“We’ve been coming over here for three or four years, but it really feels like we’re starting to connect over here,” DMA’s guitarist Johnny Took says. “There’s a lot of people in the UK and it takes a while to cut through.”
Given DMA’s obvious reverence for Oasis, The Verve and The Stone Roses, Took says gaining the respect of English audiences has been particularly important to himself and bandmates Tommy O’Dell (vocals) and Matt Mason (lead guitar).
“They could tell a bunch of Aussies doing Britpop to f--k off, you know what I mean? Instead, they’ve embraced it,” he says.
They’ve also been embraced by their heroes. Over the English summer DMA’s played alongside Liam Gallagher and Richard Ashcroft and next year they’ll support Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.
DMA’s are also gaining support back home. This week their sophomore album For Now was voted No.4 in Triple J’s albums of 2018 poll and the national youth broadcaster revealed they were their second-most played artist of the year after Middle Kids.
There’s no signs that the three-piece are resting on their laurels. In fact, Took moved to Edinburgh five months ago to extricate himself from the Sydney party scene to concentrate on songwriting and be inspired by the historic Scottish city.
“I grew up in Sydney and have a lot of friends there, which is great, but I felt like I had to reset a bit,” he says. “I’ve always loved Scotland and rent’s a bit cheaper. I have more time on my hands to focus on working and getting a bit healthier.”
The songs for album No.3 are written and Took has already cast his mind to the fourth record, which he says may explore more electronic elements.
“One of the best things we ever did was we wrote a lot of songs before we released anything,” he says. “It’s really helped us, given touring and all that stuff. We’re ahead of the curve and we don’t feel stressed because we have the songs in the bag.
“The biggest recommendation I’d give to a young band starting out, is bag a whole lot of tunes before you decide to release anything. Because if things do go well, things can get pretty hectic quickly.”
DMA’s play Grow Your Own at Harry Elliott Oval, Forster-Tuncurry on January 12.