Oliver Perry is a thinker. Under the moniker D.D. Dumbo, he's crafted a distinct strain of ornate pop, showcased on his long-gestated debut album Utopia Defeated. It followed a breakthrough EP, Tropical Oceans, released in 2013. While the world, and perhaps his label 4AD, awaited the release of Utopia Defeated, Ollie took his time.
He also took his time taking Utopia Defeated to the stage. After the album's release last year, the full band iteration of D.D Dumbo made its debut at this year's Laneway Festival. Now Utopia Defeated will enjoy its belated launch tour, across Australia before embarking internationally.
On the phone from his home in Newstead, just outside of Castlemaine, Ollie details what has happened since the album release. Thoughtfully.
Noisey: How's your mind-set now, compared to just before the release of Utopia Defeated?
Ollie: It's somewhat a little different, slightly less neurotic. Probably due to the sun. The difference in the sun exposure. This is cliché, but after you have the experience of putting out on an album; it's like the first time I feel like I might have learned something that could be useful for doing another one, you know.
This upcoming tour is in effect an album launch, nine or so months after the album's release. Is that a strategy you planned?
Definitely not a strategy. Originally, before I put out the album, I was trying to record it in ways in which I could play live and then I sort of gave up on that idea and somehow slowly figured out a way how to do it. And I guess it just took a while to figure out how to actually perform it live and find the right people and all that sort of stuff. I wasn't in a particular rush, although it would've maybe been frustrating for the label. But I wasn't particularly ready to just get out there and perform it straight away.
You jumped on the 2017 Laneway lineup late in the game. Was that a solid deadline for the live show?
Yeah, totally. It was a kick in the arse, which was good.
The set at Melbourne Laneway came together great. Was it a relief getting it to that point?
It's still got a long way to go, but I guess at the start I was thinking this wouldn't really be possible given all the different instrumentation. It sort of just became not as complicated as I sort of envisioned. It has been somewhat of a relief, like, that we can, you know, pull it off at least some of the time.
With the months in between the album's release and the live shows, the album spoke for itself and managed to garner acclaim. How did you process the strong positive response?
I guess it's quite odd. I didn't quite articulate what I had in my mind, which is obviously a normal thing to do, so I was a bit bummed after I recorded it. Even then I wasn't expecting awards or anything like that. It's nice to get awards and stuff, right?
This kind of not very kind, but you know, people like terrible music so just because I've got these few awards it doesn't mean my music isn't terrible.
Has your view of the album changed since it's been released and you've been able to explore the songs live?
Not too much, I think I've just changed my attitude towards it, like not sort of taking it so seriously. I can enjoy it for what it is, because I'm not in the process of, like, trying to get it to a certain place as much. Not that we're not trying to make the live show fun.
What were the lessons you think you've learned from doing the album that you can take into the next album?
Basically, that I just should try to avoid any sort of hyper-focus and neuroticism. Not that it was an unpleasant experience working with other people – the guy that I made the album with, Fabian Prynn, he was great. But I actually feel like I want even more control, like complete control with the recording. I don't think unless you've predetermined that it's the kind of project where you want to collaborate and you want other people's ideas, I think it's going to be more unique and more meaningful if you just completely don't listen to anyone. It's subjective self expression.
Do you think you can sort of facilitate that with the next release?
Yeah. Fortunately, living in the country, I'm renting a reasonably cheap place for what it is, and would have the ability to make noise every night and record here. So that's the plan.
Have you done any preliminary writing for what's next?
Kind of. I've got about half an album's worth of very elementary songs and I'm just working them up at the moment. Yeah, so that's the plan. Hopefully if I can structure life in a productive way … You know, I sort of vaguely intend to have something finished by the end of the year. Whether it would released yet this year is unlikely.
Catch D.D Dumbo at these shows:
Jun 10 - The Triffid, Brisbane
Jun 11 - The Triffid, Brisbane
Jun 15 - Metro Theatre, Sydney
Jun 16 - Metro Theatre, Sydney
Jun 17 - Anita's Theatre, Thirroul
Jun 21 - Karova Lounge, Ballarat
Jun 23 - The Croxton, Melbourne
Jun 24 - Corner Hotel, Richmond
Jun 25 - Corner Hotel, Richmond
Jun 29 - Astor Theatre,Perth
Jun 30 - Fat Controller, Adelaide
Jul 21 - North Byron Parklands, Byron Bay
Aug 15 - Green Park, St Pölten
Aug 16 - Pukkelpop, Hasselt
Aug 17 - Brecon Beacons National Park, Brecon Beacons
Aug 18- Evenemententerrein Walibi World, Biddinghuizen
Aug 23 - Omeara, London
Sep 08 - Teragram Ballroom, Los Angeles
Sep 09 - The Casbah, San Diego
Sep 11 - The Catalyst Atrium, Santa Cruz
Sep 12 - The Independent, San Francisco
Sep 14 - Doug Fir Lounge, Portland
Sep 15 - Barboza, Seattle
Sep 16 - Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver
Sep 19 - Turf Club, St. Paul
Sep 20 - Schubas Tavern, Chicago
Sep 22 - Johnny Brenda's, Philadelphia
Sep 23 - The Bowery Ballroom, New York