Bad Dreems (stylised as Bad//Dreems) is an outsider rock band from Adelaide, South Australia. The band released their debut EP titled Badlands in August 2013.
In September 2012 the band released their first single titled "Chills" that was recorded with Jack Farely and Johnny Mackay from Children Collide. The band then went on to release a second single titled "Caroline", which was recorded with Woody Annison. Both "Chills" and "Caroline" were picked up by Australia's national youth radio broadcaster Triple J where they were 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 and would make up the remainder of their debut EP Badlands, which was released on 19 July 2013 with the help of independent label Mirador Records.
Badlands was praised by Australian media receiving comments from journalists such as Patrick Emerery 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 then from Adam Curely from 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 as one of the bands to watch in 2014.
Dumb Ideas / My Only Friend Double A Side 7"
On 7 April 2014 Bad Dreems announced the release of their new single "Dumb Ideas" and the signing to Ivy League Records. "Dumb Ideas" was recorded in Melbourne with Australian producer Mark Opitz who has worked with many legendary Australian bands including AC/DC, The Angels and Cold Chisel.
The release of "Dumb Ideas" was met with immediate praise from Australian media including Triple J, where Zan Rowe stated via Twitter "The new Bad//Dreems song "Dumb Ideas" is 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."
Bad Dreems is the first band from Adelaide to sign to Ivy League Records whose roster includes Cloud Control, The Vines and Alpine amongst others.
Music style and influences
The band have sited 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 song writing, in particular the songs featuring on the Badlands EP draws on the apparent isolation that comes with living in the their hometown of Adelaide and has been described as "a portrait of a fairly desperate and lonely city". Alex Cameron believes "Adelaide is quiet 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.
Videos and Criticism
To date the band has released four videos for singles "Chills", "Caroline", "Hoping For" and "Dumb Ideas".
The video for "Hoping For" depicts the band heading out to an Australian outback property and drinking beer, chasing cattle, playing Cricket, shooting, starting fires, and fighting. Whilst it was mostly met with positive feedback the video did receive some criticism as Beat Magazine stated "resting on unchallenged dickhead machismo and barely-ironic retro-Australiana fetishism". However as Alex Cameron from the band explained in an interview with Rip It Up magazine, "It was interesting when it (Hoping For video) came out. Some people have liked it, but some people have said, 'Oh they're just taking the piss out of bogan culture trying to be people that they're not.' This certainly was not the intention at all. In all of our clips we've tried to portray the clips exactly as we are. I guess it shows us how much cultural cringe there actually is. People see something that is classic Australian and they think, 'That band is making some big statement by taking the piss.' But shit, we're just doing what we normally do."
The video for "Caroline" was shot on the northern edge of Adelaide near a town called Elizabeth and was mostly filmed at an abandoned go-kart track. The band chose the location because that was where most of Snowtown was filmed and where the serial killer John Bunting mostly lived. About the video location Alex Cameron stated, "I guess this sums up the dichotomy in Adelaide that we try to explore – a lot of it is conservative, insular and backward; but there is another side that is dangerous, mysterious and sinister".
The video for "Dumb Ideas" was the band's first performance clip. It was shot on top of an old water tank over looking the Adelaide suburbs. Again the band choose the location due to its significance to their hometown. When explaining the choice of location Alex Cameron stated "there's something about the geography of Adelaide that sums up the psyche of the city for me. It's buffered against the coast by the Adelaide Hills, a metaphorical wall separating it from the eastern states. From the tank on the hill, you can see nearly all of Adelaide spread out before you, from the sprawling northern suburbs, to Port Adelaide, to the green belt around the city and then more sprawl to the south."
Bad//Dreems won 'Best Live Act' at the 2015 SAM Awards and won 'Best Release' at the 2016 SAM Awards for their album Dogs At Bay.
- Ben Marwe - Vocals, Guitar
- Alex Cameron - Guitar
- James Bartold - Bass
- Miles Wilson - Drums