North America is producing some of the best rock bands at the moment: Cloud Nothing, Parquet Courts and Canada’s Japandroids. This new breed of rock bands have something in common and it’s phasing into Australia. It’s slacker rock and the genre can range from garage rock to lo-fi or just some well tuned surf rock. Bad//Dreems are one of these bands representing Australia in this new musical genre. Hailing from Adelaide, the band take a hefty liking to America’s Superchunk with a healthy dose of Australian goodness from the Go-Betweens, Dick Diver and Crowded House. Alex Cameron took some time out of his afternoon to chat with Jake Wilton about their upcoming Bleach* Festival appearance, the coveted Triple j Unearthed Laneway spot and working with star-studded producers.
You’re playing Bleach* Festival in March, are you excited for the show with Violent Soho?
Yeah, I haven’t been to Bleach* Festival before but from what I’ve heard it sounds pretty cool. We’re retty excited to play with Violent Soho for the first time – we’ve all been enjoying their album, like thousands of other people. We’ve met the guys a few times and they’re really good blokes. We’ve only played a show on the Gold Coast once with Step-Panther at Neverland.
Bad//Dreems have been playing a few shows recently including the huge Laneway Festival show. How did that one go?
Yeah, that was really good! I’ve been to Laneway for a fair for years, on and off, so it was very exciting to play there. It was also very exciting to play at the new location (n South Australia): they’ve shifted it to Port Adelaide. That’s where we made our first video clip and we love hanging out down there – it’s a decaying port so there’s lots of big empty warehouses. It was a really cool lineup this year and it was bloody hot. A good crowd came out to watch us, bright and early – we had a few beers afterwards and enjoyed the bands.
I’ve heard that Bad//Dreems have new material to be released very shortly.
We’re about to put out a new single in the next month or so, that’s a bit nerve wracking when you’re unveiling your creation to the world. We put our EP out in July last year then we went back into the studio in December. We were in there for a few days and recorded two new songs – it’s going to be released as a double A 7”. At this stage it’s not a part of an album or EP, it’s just a stand alone release while we get ready to record our album.
For your past releases, you’ve worked with Johnny McKay [Children Collide]. How did this relationship begin?
I’ve known Johnny for a few years from when I was living in Melbourne. I met him through my old band and I’ve enjoyed watching the success that he’s had with Children Collide. That was his first official job as a producer, assisted by Jack Farley [Twerps, Scott and Charlene’s Wedding] who’s also recorded heaps of other good stuff. Lots of bands get to a position where they’d like to record their own material, like self-produce, but I think, for the foreseeable future, we really enjoy the challenge to work with different producers. Woody Annison [Black Cab, Rocket Science] helped us with the EP and then we’ve just done this single with Mark Optiz [INXS, Cold Chisel]. It’s always good to get that objective, outside point of view – you have to make sure you’re working with the right person so you can trust what their input is going to be.
You obviously like working with different producers, if you were to find a producer that you really liked and trusted would you stick with them?
When we recorded this single it was the first time working with Mark Optiz and we really enjoyed working with him. We plan on continuing to work with him all the way through the album. Mark is a really famous Australian producer, he started off working with AC/DC and he’s also done a lot of big Australian albums in the 80s like the Angels, Cold Chisel, the Models. Name an iconic Australian single from the 80s and he produced it. He hasn’t really worked with any new bands for a while so when we spoke to him we didn’t even know if he was still doing production but thankfully he was. A lot of the stuff he does is tied up with the older bands he’s worked with, like recently he’s been working on that INXS telemovie and a lot of remastering of albums he’s produced 20 years ago so I think he liked doing something fresh. I mean, the stuff that he’s produced has sold millions in album sales like INXS’ Welcome to Wherever You Are and Full Moon, Dirty Hearts. When they were at their peak he went along on tour as a producer and his job was to watch the shows and give them feedback.
So what made you go with Mark?
When you read about the work he’s done, he’s a very song-based producer – he helps with arrangements and doesn’t mess around with lots of instrumentation and overdubs, we just want to recreate what we do when we play live but under that write really good songs that speak for themselves. That’s why we wanted to work with him because he shares that idea that the song is the thing that comes first and then capturing the energy within the band.
Bad//Dreems are playing Bleach* Festival on Friday 14 March along with Violent Soho and the Sinking Teeth at the Soundlounge. More at bleachfestival.com.au.