Bad Dreems (stylised as Bad//Dreems) are an "outsider rock" band from Adelaide, South Australia. The band was founded by Ben Marwe (vocals/guitar), Alex Cameron (lead guitar/backing vocals), James Bartold (bass/backing vocals) and Miles Wilson (drums). Guitarist Ali Wells was an auxiliary touring member for two years, before becoming an official member of the band in 2018. The band released their debut EP titled Badlands in August 2013 and have since released two albums. The band's debut album, Dogs at Bay, was released on 21 August 2015, produced by Australian producer Mark Opitz (INXS, Cold Chisel, the Angels) and received critical acclaim after debuting at number 33 on the ARIA charts. Bad Dreems' sophomore album Gutful (released on 21 April 2017, with Opitz returning as producer) debuted at number 23, after the success of the album's singles, "Mob Rule" and "Feeling Remains."
Bad Dreems at The Enmore Theatre, Sydney, in 2016
|Origin||Adelaide, South Australia|
|Labels||Ivy League Records|
The founding members of the band originally met in high-school and later reconnected in late 2011. The now members crossed paths again at a local football club in 2012 after several other separate musical endeavours. The group practiced in an old whitegoods warehouse located near the West End Brewery, in Thebarton, Adelaide. The band's first show was at a friend's party, at an Adelaide nightspot on Hindley Street, after another band had pulled out with short notice
In September 2012 the band released their first single 'Chills', recorded with Jack Farely and Johnny Mackay of Children Collide. The band then went on to release second single 'Caroline', recorded by Woody Annison. Both 'Chills' and 'Caroline' were picked up by Australia's national youth radio broadcaster Triple J receiving regular airplay and comments from presenters such as Zan Rowe who said "you've managed to capture a classic Australian sound and make it your own". The band also recorded additional songs titled 'Home Life', 'Hoping For', 'Tomorrow Mountain' and 'Too Old' with Woody Annison, songs that would make up the remainder of their debut EP Badlands, which was released on 19 July 2013 with the help of independent Adelaide based label, Mirador Records.
Badlands was praised by Australian media, receiving comments from journalists such as Patrick Emery, who said "Bad Dreems isn't just another Adelaide band; but it does represent the melodic, the tough and the spirited of that much-maligned city" and from Adam Curley of Inpress who stated "There are still outsiders in Australia, still parts of the country that escape our attempts to tame it".
Triple J went on to add "Hoping For" to high rotation where the song was regularly featured in the stations most-played list throughout late 2013. Triple J then awarded their Next Crop artist award for 2013 to Bad Dreems, labelling the band as 'one of the bands to watch' in 2014.
"Dumb Ideas" / "My Only Friend" double A-side 7"Edit
On 7 April 2014, Bad Dreems announced the release of their single "Dumb Ideas" and subsequent signing to Ivy League Records. "Dumb Ideas" was recorded in Melbourne with Australian producer Mark Opitz who has worked with many seminal Australian bands including AC/DC, Cold Chisel and The Angels.
The release of "Dumb Ideas" was met with immediate praise from Australian media, including Triple J. Zan Rowe stated via Twitter that the song was "Aussie pub rock garage at its best." Rip It Up magazine described the track as "an electrified, ambivalent, passive-aggressive 'fuck you' that immediately inserts itself into the canon alongside Which Way To Go (Eddy Current Suppression Ring) and Really in Love (Royal Headache), this hype has been reified: these guys are the real deal."
Dogs at BayEdit
The album Dogs at Bay (2015) was produced by Mark Opitz and Colin Wynne in their Brunswick West studio. Opitz and Wynne’s hand in the creation of the album emulated the sounds of classic Australian, influential bands of the 70s and 80s - such as Cold Chisel, The Angels, Lobby Loyde and the Coloured Balls, INXS and Pauly Kelly. Bad Dreems took inspiration from the isolation that comes from living in the inner suburbs of Adelaide, which seemingly allowed them to evolve as an authentic, rugged, and real rock band, untouched by modern trends. Whilst Bad Dreems' sound may not be explicit to the influences mentioned, each of these bands existed outside any popular music scene current to their time or location, and it is that which Bad Dreems takes influence from. Although sometimes incorrectly compared to ‘dolewave’ bands like Twerps, Dick Diver or Eddy Current Suppression Ring, the band reportedly wished to be perceived as ambitious and wanted to reach a broader audience, prompting the introduction of Opitz on production duties.
In 2015, the band were listed as a band to watch on the NME radar website, after a short UK tour. Dogs at Bay was also met with acclaim from the likes of music media juggernauts Rolling Stone Magazine, Louder Than War, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Guardian. 'My Only Friend', from Dogs at Bay, was also described by Go Betweens frontman Robert Forster as 'a masterpiece of Australian rock' and has since become a crowd favourite amongst Bad Dreems' die-hard following.
Bad Dreems' sophomore album Gutful was preempted by the success of leading singles 'Mob Rule' and 'Feeling Remains', with the song eventually entering the Triple J Hottest 200 countdown of 2017 (The band's third appearance in the 200), underpinning the second album's progression in sound and intensity. Working with the same successful production team of Opitz, Wynne and mastered by William Bowden, the band's second effort saw a shift in musical style with a more angsty vocal delivery, 70s warm guitar tones and political lyrical content. Gutful debuted at number 23 on the ARIA charts and was met with positive reviews. The single 'Feeling Remains' saw the band enlist the talents of Dylan Lewis for a Recovery-inspired video clip, filmed in Thebarton, South Australia.
Music style and influencesEdit
The band have cited many underground Australian and US rock bands of the 1970s and 1980s as their influences including The Go-Betweens, The Saints, Paul Kelly and the Coloured Girls, Wipers and The Replacements. Whilst Bad Dreems' sound may not be explicit to their influences, each of these bands existed outside any popular music scene current to their time or location, and it is that which Bad Dreems takes influence from.
Bad Dreems' songwriting, in particular the songs featuring on the Badlands EP, draw on the apparent isolation that comes with living in their hometown of Adelaide and has been described as "a portrait of a fairly desperate and lonely city". Alex Cameron believes "Adelaide is quite unique in that it is not far from Melbourne but it is very insular and inward looking and feels a bit disconnected with the rest of the world." The band is also inspired by the bizarre and darker side of Adelaide history such as the Beaumont children disappearance, The Family Murders and the Adelaide Bikie Wars.
- Gordon, Alex. "Interview with Bad Dreems". Happy. Archived from the original on 16 March 2014. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
- Fraser, Alice. "Bad Dreems Interview". Rip It Up. Archived from the original on 16 March 2014. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
- "Triple J Playlisting". Jplay. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
- "Triple J Unearthed Review". Triple J Unearthed. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
- "The Music". The Music. Street Press Australia. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
- Emery, Patrick. "Bad Dreems: Badlands". Beat Magazine. Furst Media. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
- Curley, Adam. "Bad//Dreems: Exotic suburb". Street Press Australia. Archived from the original on 16 March 2014. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
- "Triple J Next Crop". Triple J. Triple J. Archived from the original on 28 March 2014. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
- Fitzsimons, Scott. "EXCLUSIVE: Bad//Dreems Sign With Ivy League, Release New Song". The Music. Street Press Australia. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
- Rowe, Zan (6 April 2014). "triplejmornings". Twitter. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
- "Dumb Ideas Single Review". Rip It Up. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
- "Bad//Dreems sign with Ivy League, announce new single and tour". Rip It Up. Rip It Up. Archived from the original on 27 June 2014. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
- "4ZZZ Radio Interview". 4ZZZ. Retrieved 16 March 2014.