Try to emulate the future-oriented pivot of The glow, the band returned to London to recapture the magic with super producer Stuart Price (Dua Lipa, Kylie, New Order) and Rich Costey (Bloc Party, Foo Fighters, My Chemical Romance). But even in the midst of the pandemic, sessions were marred by time constraints, constant illness, and the Omicron surge.
“We were sitting back on the plane and I remember landing at home and thinking, ‘What the hell did we just do?'” Took recalls the rushed sessions. After three weeks in London, the band returned to Sydney realizing that the album they wanted to complete was seriously lacking.
“Yes, we had a few challenges in London,” says O’Dell dryly. “Deep down, we just knew – and I think that’s one of the things we learned from being in a band together for so long – that it wasn’t there.”
“It was rushed and we quickly realized it wasn’t at the level we wanted and wasn’t the album we wanted to make,” adds Took. “It kind of felt like the album was there, but it wasn’t wearing any clothes, you know? It didn’t have the character we wanted, nor the sense of style.”
Back in Sydney, the band sat at the record for a month and reviewed what they had done. In a Darlinghurst studio with Konstantin Kersting (The Jungle Giants, Tones and I), the album’s third producer, they finally began to crack the code. On the Verve-ish dear future, they turned a guitar riff into a soaring string part and turned lulling country drums into sampled electronic beats. On other tracks they removed layers to make things sound more complex and grandiose.
“It felt like we got our hands dirty in London as we struggled through the essentials, and when we sat down with Kon we finally had fun, hacking drum beats, adding synths and revising lyrics,” he says.
“We’ve had a lot of time to think about it, and it’s not an experiment you can do twice. It’s like, okay, we went to London, we worked with Stuart and Rich, it was a bit rushed, people got sick, blah blah blah. There were all these things, but it’s like, maybe that’s what’s being done [the album] unique, these challenges we faced.”
You have to admire the tenacity of the band. The resulting album sounds huge and fits perfectly with the euphoric celebration of post-pandemic pop. You can already imagine the drunken lads singing arm in arm to the shaky guitar riffs of Olympiaor the delicate New Order-esque bombast of get raveyor the bliss of Pet Shop Boys Something we overcome.
“Once you get a bigger following, you realize what kind of songs people respond to,” says O’Dell. “But I think it’s an unconscious thing to write songs that evoke that kind of euphoria in people.”
Took is more accommodating. “It’s only recently that I’ve started consciously writing songs that have the live show in mind,” he says, pointing to the album’s explosive title opener. “I wanted that song to open the album and I want it to open the live set as well. It felt kind of good to have a song that’s two minutes before the vocals come in and kind of builds into that vibe, and I don’t think we would have done that in the past.”
The glow brought DMA their strongest critical and commercial success yet, and considering it’s essentially the same but more, the signs point to it how many dreams Mimic, if not surpass, this trajectory. The glow came near; is the band ready for a number one, even some awards?
“I mean, by and large, you’re not going to be on your deathbed thinking about how many ARIAs you’ve won or how many number one records you’ve had,” laughs Took. “You’ll be prouder of that special song you wrote, which might not even have been a single but was the little B-side track.
“I know a lot of people who have had number one albums and won ARIAs and that doesn’t make them happy. The only thing that makes you happy as a musician is if you keep making great music. You can never tell what people will love, but as long as we’re comfortable with it, we’ll keep taking risks and trying new things.”
how many dreams will be released on March 31st. The DMAs will be touring nationwide in September and October.
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https://www.smh.com.au/culture/music/dma-s-glow-on-how-the-sydney-band-finished-their-most-difficult-album-yet-20230309-p5cqsy.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_culture How the Sydney band ended their most difficult album to date