From the backseat of an Uber – A conversation with Matt Mason (DMA’s)

I think we are all getting pretty fucking bored of lockdown now. It was cute at first you know? Not having to go to my dead end job and still getting payed for it, not having to see piss-head uncle Dave, putting in over 200 hours playing dark souls. You get the picture. It’s been alright, but on November 9th 2020 I had a chance to have a chat with Matt Mason (the guitarist from DMA’s) and he made me realize how much I miss music. 

To set the scene, it’s about 7am and unforgivingly cold (also the earliest I’ve been up in a year possibly). I stumble through to the garage, turn on my Mac and video call Matt. He answers. He’s in an uber and all around him all is just pure sunshine. It has just gone past 6/7pm for him and he is on his way to rehearsal.

I ask, “are you still in lockdown over there?” and he had the most poetic response, “Fuck no Man!”

NS: “Have you got any lockdown projects on the way?”

DMA’s: “Yea man. Nobody can tour and shit so everyone is stuck in the same city. Everyone is collaborating, there’s heaps of it going on. Lots of people are doing stuff with genres they usually wouldn’t do. I’ve been doing stuff with rappers and metal bands.”

Due to the pitiful excuse of a government that England has, a large majority of creative sectors has been more or less shat on. Even Fatima the ballet dancer was told to fuck off and rethink her life choices. I wanted to know what Matt thought about the potential closure of small businesses. 

DMA’s: “Well gigs are happening in Sydney. Ive been going to heaps of gigs. I’m actually going to rehearsal now and i’m playing (again) in a weeks time”

NS: “Who are you rehearsing with?”

DMA’s: “Its a singer Annie Hamilton. My girlfriend plays bass and i’m filling in for a bit. Gigs are happening here. Venues are doing better in Australia than uk cause there’s still gigs happening.

“That ace news.” I said hoping he couldn’t feel how jealous I was through my computer screen. “I haven’t been to a show in a long time! We are in full lockdown. No pubs, no mates and no gigs.”

DMA’s: “Bro! I’ve played about 20 gigs in the last two weeks.”

I had to change the conversation quickly before I started crying. “What is your musical process? How do you go about writing a tune?”

DMA’s: “Usually it’s different every time. It’s normally like a tune on a piano or a guitar and then we go from there.” 

NS: “No crazy writing rituals? For example getting 4 pints and a kebab?” Immediately after saying this Mason looks round the uber with a perplexed expression on his face.

DMA’s: ”IS THIS IT? Hang on bro. I’m rocking up to this rehearsal studio I need to check if its the right fucking place. It’s down by the docks it kinda reminds me of northern uk! 

After a back and forth with his equally as perplexed uber driver Matt jumps out, and just proceeds to pace up and down the docks and we continue with our conversation. 

DMA’s: “So anyway we will write a tune on the piano or acoustic guitar put it on soundcloud and then leave it for like 2 years and then return to it. We like to have songs sitting dormant and for a while so we can go back to it. We like to get opinions on it. There’s a song we wrote a few weeks before going into the studio called Criminals. It was a bit rushed and we wrote in and recorded within a few weeks and it didn’t turn out exactly how we wanted it. So we like to leave it for a few years.”

As our conversation moves on, I check in on his hometown’s blast of great music. I feel as if Australia music scene has been under appreciated everywhere over the past few years. With the likes of Sticky Fingers, The Chats, Tame Impala, king gizzard and DMA’s all doing well globally I wanted to know Matt’s thoughts on this.

NS: “What do you think about the state of Aussie based guitar music? you guys are doing something special over there.” 

DMA’s: “Maybe in the uk DMA’s are doing well but i’d have to disagree with you here. With the guitar scene here we wouldn’t even be in the top 20. Maybe in the UK, but so many sick fucking bands that I guess haven’t really made their way out of Aus. I appreciate you saying that but there is so many bands that would come first. 

NS: “Id like to give them a listen then could you rattle a few names off?”

DMA’s : “Check out Eddy Current Suppression Ring, He’s just put out a new record. Tropical Fuckstorm. Proper guitar music. Also a band called Rolling Costal Blackout Fever.”

NS: “I saw you play at The Courteeners and you did a cover of Cher – Believe. Where did that come from?” 

DMA’s: “Mate! It started as a joke. We sit about backstage and people will just pick up guitars and start playing. Some one will play a Red Hot Chili Peppers or Wonderwall or something. Just having a laugh I would play Believe and pretend to do the auto tune voice and everything. A few months later we got asked by a radio station in Australia (Triple J) ‘can you do a cover?’ so we were like fuck I don’t know let’s just do that. Tommy sang it and sounded fucking sick. It’s out most streamed song. But then we played with Courteeners and Liam Fray asked us if we could play it and its his gig we were like fuck yea we can. I think, I cant really remember but it was something like that. We have only ever played that live three times. We thought that would be a good opportunity to play it and it fucking went off.”

To round up my interviews I always like to ask question that for me explains more about a person then what literature you read, what music you listen to or create. Even more than what star sign you are.

NS: “Who would win in a fight between a cheese toastie and a burrito?

DMA’s: Fuck thats hard. Theres a lot a variables. The thing is I think a lot of people would go burrito because it’s bigger but that doesn’t necessarily mean that its harder or better in a fight. A cheese toastie. I think cause to be cooked it has to made in extreme heat like oil in a hot fucking pan. A burrito is like Luke warm and warmed up rice and shit.

DMA’s latest album ‘Live At Brixton’ is released today. Hear it below

Photography : Savage Thrills