NEW PUNK SENSATION FROM FREDERICTON HIGH ARE ‘JUST A BUNCH OF DADS’
DMIA Causes Ruckus
By Alex M.
The basement area of Gallery Connexion at 440 York Street looks like a small bomb shelter that has been inhabited by a reclusive artist. The dimly lit room has a smooth cement floor and white walls decorated with various pieces of art created by talented local artists.
This venue plays host to many local all-ages punk shows, displaying local bands from all around the Maritimes.
The Gallery is a prime location for small-scale shows. Its dim lighting combined with its small space creates a very intimate atmosphere with the bands performing.
At Gallery Connexion shows bands do not have the luxury of a stage to separate themselves from the audience. The microphones, amps, and drums are set up in a corner of the room and the crowd forms a semi circle around them.
The band is so close to the audience members at times singers and guitarists find themselves being pushed into the mosh pit. You can touch almost every member of the band, you can see the sweat dripping off the edge of the singers nose, or see the veins popping in the neck as they try to scream at a higher pitch. This intimacy the bands have with the audience at Gallery Connexion creates a much different energy than a show in an auditorium like The Thom Morrison Theatre has.
On May 7th Gallery Connexion hosted one of the first local all-ages shows of the summer season. The show featured a slew of local bands including a few high school bands.
The first band to perform was a high school band doing their first ever live set. They played a high energy and fast paced punk set, singing songs with topics ranging from eating pizza to the hype over Joseph Kony. This band was DMIA also known as Dads Missing In Action.
DMIA is a punk trio of Fredericton High School students Seger Dow, Forrest MacKnight, and Evan Smal. The band started out as an English project for Mrs. Prescotts grade 11 English class, which they were all a part of.
“We could do anything for an English project, so we decided to record an album,” said DMIA drummer and back up vocalist Seger Dow. “We had a lot of fun doing it so we just kept playing.”
While recording their album Evan Smal, their guitarist, made a riff that later became their first song.
“We came up with the riff for ‘Night Bike’ while recording the project and we decided that we had to keep playing together.”
DMIA’s sound is not the type of music you would typically hear on the radio. Their songs are fast paced, very heavy, and screaming vocals that are very hard to understand the first time you hear the song. They played a ten to fifteen minute set at Gallery Connexion, which contained five songs and a decent amount of banter between songs. This is the norm for many hardcore bands. Any longer than that and people begin to say the song is “too much like Freebird.”
They attribute their sound to hardcore bands like Backtrack and Wurmrot, and hip-hop legends Wutang Clan. They also attribute to “Dadly figures and ice cream sandwiches” though that is more of a reflection on how silly the band likes to act all the time.
DMIA is a very satirical band. The subject matter of their songs is much less serious than most of their counterparts. Dow feels that some bands definitely take their music too seriously.
“I am all for making darker music, but you have to be real,” said Dow. “But you can’t try too hard. I’m a fan of darker music but if you take it too serious it gets stupid.”
DMIA’s writing process is a very collective effort. According to front man Forest MacKnight, someone has an idea and the rest of the band usually fills in their part around it.
“We just write about whatever we think is funny,” said MacKight. “We are a joke band more than anything.”
The show at Gallery Connexion was DMIA’s first ever show. Seger felt that the band’s debut went over well.
“I feel like people really liked it. I knew people would find us funny, but I also think they genuinely liked our music,” said Dow.
The crowd definitely was in to their music. Almost at once the crowd seemed to connect with the band. At one point, before they played their song “Free Korny” about Joseph Kony, they asked for donations to help save Kony and the audience threw their change at them. The mosh pit that broke out almost at once during their final song “Get Weird” was a mob of pumped up teenagers pushing each other and it encompassed almost the entire room. Seger thinks one factor to their almost immediate success with the crowd was the fact he already knew most of them.
“Most of the bands there were either bands I am in, or bands my friends were in.” Dow said.
There is a sense of community at these shows everyone seemed to know everyone and they all seemed to get along. Many of these kids played in bands together or go to Fredericton High School together.
That said, Forrest said he did not feel hat the small scene had much of an effect on their sound. He felt that a lot of his musical inspiration comes more from what he and his friends thought was funny.
DMIA stands for Dads Missing In Action. They use the word “dad” a lot in their music. Especially in their song “YFA” which stands for “Young Fathers Association.” When asked to describe the band Evan said “We’re just a bunch of dads.” Evan said the whole “dad” joke came about when he was gallivanting around town with his friends.
“We just would drive around town and yell ‘Hey! Are you my dad?’ and we thought it was funny” said Evan. “One time it actually was my friend’s dad and it was super funny.”
Even though the inside joke was mainly Evan’s joke, the band really latched on to it anyways.
“Evan kept on saying ‘Dad’ when we were trying to think of a name. So we kind of just went with it.” Said Forrest MacKnight.
DMIA continues to work on their music in Seger Dow’s basement and they are hoping to release their first album “Dank Mission In Affrica” soon.
Alex M. is a grade 12 student from Fredericton High School who dreams of becoming the ultimate Pokémon master.