Tommy O’Dell of DMA’S – COVID-19 Quarantine Artist Check In | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, September 16th, 2021  

Tommy O’Dell of DMA’S – COVID-19 Quarantine Artist Check In

“We’ve all got to help each other out to ensure we can thrive on the other side of this.”

Jul 15, 2020 Web Exclusive
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We are checking in with musicians during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic to see how they are dealing with everything. What has their home quarantine experience been like so far and how is the crisis impacting both their career and art? Here we check in with Tommy O’Dell of Australian trio DMA’S.

We’re living in future history right now, unprecedented times that will define our era. At some point we will be living in a forever-changed post-COVID-19 timeline, but right now we’re deep in it. Many have had their livelihood interrupted by the pandemic and included are most musicians, who make a lot of their money by touring and performing, two things they can’t do right now. Most record stores are closed and vinyl factories are shut down, so album sales are depressed too. Our intention with this series is to highlight the challenges musicians are going through right now to hopefully encourage our readers and their fans to rally around and support each musician (financially if you can, but we know it’s tough out there for many people).

We’re all in this together, a whole planet united in this fight, and we hope these interviews will help illustrate that. We put together the same set of questions about the current crisis and emailed them to several musicians and will be posting their responses as they come in.

DMA’S are an indie rock group made up of Tommy O’Dell, Matt Mason, and Johnny Took, forming in Sydney in 2012. The band found instant success with their 2014 debut self-titled EP, ranking at #88 on the ARIA Charts with their first single “Delete.” Since then, they have gained further recognition for the release of their three full-length records, including THE GLOW, which just dropped on July 10. This latest album was recorded and mixed by Stuart Price (The Killers, New Order) at Westlake in LA, and single “Silver” is their fastest streaming song yet. DMA’S have cited legendary noise rock bands such as Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. as influences and have earned spots to play at renowned music festivals worldwide, from Coachella to Reading.

Read on as O’Dell reflects on his COVID-19 experience so far.

Where are you spending the quarantine and who are you spending it with? If you’re spending it with other people, have you found that the quarantine has brought you closer together or caused tension?

I’m at home with my partner. Things are cool because I usually travel a lot for work, so it’s actually been quite nice spending time at home. Making the best of a bad situation.

Is everyone in your family safe and healthy so far?

Yeah, everyone is healthy, thank-you. Sydney has been really good through lockdown; most people are staying safe.

What’s your daily routine been like? Have you spent much time outdoors? And since musicians spend so much time on the road, have you found it hard adjusting to so much time at home?

I’ve been trying to continue writing music and staying connected with fans. Intentions of exercise and not drinking too much are hard to maintain, but good for the mind. We were meant to be touring the record at the moment so initially that was kind of hard to get my head around, but things are starting to become more normal nowhopefully we can start playing gigs at the end of the year.

What financial impact has COVID-19 had on you and your band? Have you had to cancel or postpone any tours or festival appearances or postpone an album release because of COVID-19 and how will that affect you in the long term?

Yeah, we’ve had to cancel our whole album tour and the festivals around it so we’re are not making money at the moment. We are managing though for the time being. As far as long term effects, who knows? I’d like to think we will do our album tour and festival as soon as the floodgates open, it’s just a case of stuff putting everything on hold.

Do you trust the government and our leaders (such as President Trump) to effectively deal with the pandemic? What most concerns you about the response of elected leaders at home and abroad?

I don’t trust governmentshowever the Australian government seems to have done a pretty good job so far, touch wood, compared to the UK, USA, and other places…

How do you think the crisis will affect this November’s U.S. presidential election? Will it make it easier or harder to defeat Trump?

It’s hard to say. It will be interesting.

Which sources of news have you been turning to most during COVID-19 and which social media platform have you found most useful?

Instagram for sure is a great platform to use in certain wayswe’ve put out loads of isolation performances and streamed gigs, etc. so it’s been a great platform for artists to stay connected with fans. Getting too much of your news from social media sites is risky though. I listen to ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) or SBS.

What do you think will be the lasting effects on society of all this isolated time at home?

We’ll realize we spend too much money on shitand you don’t need to leave your house, or the state, or the country to have a business meeting. I think we know more now about who our friends are, who’s been staying in touch, etc.

Are your parents, grandparents, and others in your life who are at risk taking social distancing seriously? If not, what lengths have you gone to in order to convince them to stay inside?

They’re good and have stayed inside.

What other steps should record labels, music streaming platforms, and other music industry entities be taking to help struggling musicians through this time?

Australia has provided grants to artists affected by the pandemiclabels could do the same thing or advance money to artists to help them get through this rough point. We’ve all got to help each other out to ensure we can thrive on the other side of this.

What is the best way fans can support you financially right now? Buying vinyl and CDs, downloading and streaming your music, buying merch, supporting your Patreon page or other crowd sourcing platform (if you use one), or some other means? Is there a particularly cool piece of merch you’d like to highlight?

Check out our online merch, that’s ultimately our last remaining income stream. Grab yourself a copy of the new album out on July 10 too, that would be sweet.

Which albums, songs, films, TV shows, books, podcasts, live streams, video games, board games, etc, have been helping you get through the quarantine?

I’ve been listening a lot to The Weeknd’s albumjust love it.

Have you been doing any live-streamed concerts during COVID-19 or do you plan to? A lot of artists have been doing them, do you think it’s a challenge to make them original and interesting?

We’ve done quite a few and have some more planned on July 19. It’s been a good opportunity to show people the other side to the band.

Is there something you’ve been putting off for a long time, but are now doing with this time at home?

Eating healthy…

www.dmasdmas.com

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