Interview: D.D Dumbo
Interviewed for CLIQUE Mag Winter Edition, June 22 2017
The Australian music scene has churned out some truly stellar artists over the last several years, but occasionally something so magnificently unique comes out of the woodwork that it stops you in your tracks. Oliver Hugh Perry, the brains behind D.D. Dumbo, is the creator of some of the most innovative tunes you’ve been hearing on your radio lately.
Perry first hit the airwaves back in 2014 with the release of his EP Tropical Oceans and has since brought his idiosyncratic fusion of poppy melodies and world music across the globe, having supported acts including Warpaint, Tune-Yards, St. Vincent, and Iron & Wine to name a few. Last year saw the release of his debut studio album, Utopia Defeated, from which single ‘Satan’ won the Australian APRA Awards’ 2017 Song of the Year.
He’s currently preparing for his upcoming national tour in support of the album, which will culminate in an appearance at Splendour in the Grass before he jets off to Europe for a string of dates. Due to the dense instrumentation of the record, Perry states that sorting out the logistics of live performance took quite some time. Rather than being a self-proclaimed “solo novelty loop pedal guy” as he previously was, the anticipated shows will see Perry take to the stage flanked by a three-piece band (punters will also get to witness some topnotch D.D. Dumbo x wind chimes action).
The tour will offer a fantastic opportunity to drink in the dizzying, unbridled musicality of the rising artist, who will be moonlighting on flute, clarinet and trumpet in conjunction with guitar. As a multi-instrumentalist, Perry wrote and recorded the entirety of Utopia Defeated himself, save for some drum and percussion parts which were played by record label 4AD’s resident engineer Fabian Prynn.
“I try and play lots of instruments. I used to play drums and other things too but I don’t necessarily consider myself a virtuoso on all instruments,” Perry tells Clique.
“I like different sounds. It’s just a way to add to the whole recording process.”
Perry cringes over labelling himself as a pop artist with elements of world music (“[it] sounds like something your dorky uncle might like!”), but it’s the closest one may get to pinpointing the nature of his sound. With influences ranging from African desert blues to Mongolian traditional folk music, Perry’s eccentric compositions challenge and redefine the nature of modern Western pop music.
As for what we can expect from the young artist in the future, there are definitely plans for another album in the works.
“At the moment I’m fortunate enough to be living in a place in the bush where I can basically play all the time without annoying anyone and the intention is to record [an album] all myself and not be so neurotic this time and get something finished by the end of this year,” he says.
“This time I guess I’m trying to mess around with other instruments. I’ve been getting into old Indian classical music and therefore been interested in acquiring some old Indian classical instruments like the sarod, which is sort of like a sitar but not. And a harmonium, which is sort of like a reed organ. And I’m trying to play the cello as well.”