Former breakfast show hosts Matt & Alex have spilled the tea on the indie-rock stalwarts’ original plan.
Over the weekend, DMA’S were crowned with the #1 song in triple j’s Hottest 100 countdown of Like A Version covers, taking out the top spot with their spin on Cher’s 1998 classic Believe. But what if that was never the case?
In a new episode of their eponymous Listnr podcast, former triple j Breakfast hosts Matt Okine and Alex Dyson revealed that DMA’S had initially planned to cover Aqua’s 1997 hit Turn Back Time, but had the idea pushed back on by higher-ups at triple j – something Dyson in particular wasn’t too keen about.
Responding to the news that Believe took out #1 in the recent countdown, Okine noted: “That actual cover almost didn’t happen thanks to the man sitting across from me right now.”
Dyson went on to explain the situation, pointing out that he’d originally challenged triple j on their move to make DMA’S cover a different song. “[Believe] is a ripper,” he said, “and I’m very glad it came [in at] #1, but it is so funny how, at the time, they said, ‘Oh, there were other cover options on the table’ – one of which, and this is the one we got told at the time—because we said, ‘Oh, who’s next week for Like A Version?’ They were like, ‘Oh, DMA’S,’ and we were like, ‘Sick! Love those guys! What are they covering?’ And it was like, ‘Well, they want to cover Turn Back Time by Aqua,’ and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I love that song!’
“And we were like, ‘Oh cool, so they’re going to do the Aqua song?’ And they were like, ‘Nah, we’re going to push back.’ I’m like, ‘What the hell? Why are we pushing back!? DMA’S are—they’ll kill it!’ So I was fully in the camp of, ‘This is the incorrect decision.’”
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Okine added to the story, reflecting on the Friday morning when DMA’S performed their Believe cover: “We were sitting there, in the office of our boss at the time, going like, ‘Just let them do Turn Back Time!’”
“The funniest thing is,” Dyson said, “they come in and do Believe, and it slaps. Like… Oh, they nail it. And it’s like, ‘Oh, see? Y’know, it was all worth it!’ And it’s like, ‘Well, hang on a second! One, you don’t know how good Turn Back Time would’ve gone – they could’ve absolutely nailed it with that one as well, so we don’t know!”
Okine agreed, adding, “I still want to hear DMA’S do Turn Back Time because I reckon they would slay that too!”
In the end, DMA’S Believe cover – which they first performed for triple j on October 28, 2016 – was a smash hit with fans, and has become one of their most popular songs altogether. Upon winning the countdown last weekend, they told the station, “It’s daunting doing Like A Version – what it has become has been so amazing. Listening to it today, there are so many great covers in there. I’m speechless.” You can head here to check out the rest of the tracks that made it into the countdown.
DMA’S have indeed covered Turn Back Time once before, too – they did it for a BBC Radio 1 session in March of 2020, as guitarist Johnny Took pointed out in a comment on Dyson and Okine’s Instagram post. Although the audio doesn’t seem to be available on YouTube, as he said, it can be played on the BBC website with the use of a VPN.
Meanwhile, DMA’S are gearing up to head out on an enormous national headline tour, supporting their recent fourth album How Many Dreams? (which arrived back in March and debuted at #2 on the ARIA Charts). In an interview with The Music, Took said the band had been “really lucky” with their trajectory “because the truth is, Tommy, me, and Matt are friends; we're mates before we're band members. I think it's what's given DMA’S the longevity that we’ve had.”
Back in May, as well, Took teamed up with Steve and Liz Hibberd to launch a new creative space in Naarm/Melbourne, Small Time Studios.