Feature: Bad//Dreems let us in on how Gutful has seen them grow as a band

Adelaide’s own Bad//Dreems finished their Gutful national tour at home on the weekend, playing to a sold out venue at The Gov – their largest headlining show in Adelaide to date. We followed the guys around a bit after their soundcheck on Saturday night and found out how this tour has compared to their other adventures on the road, and how they have grown since 2014’s Badlands EP.

“I’m always saying the hardest thing of being a band is staying as a band,” Alex Cameron notes. “We’ve been lucky from the start; we’ve had four disparate but well sort of congruent personalities that have been able to work together. Different people in the band have different strengths. Three of us, apart from Ben, have had experience in bands before, so some of the things that can upset a band’s trajectory, we have sort of been able to ride it out, because we know.”

“[It is] satisfying as you do get to achieve some stuff and then everyone gets more confident and people are able to flourish in ways that they perhaps weren’t at the start. At the start, [song writing] was sort of my vessel and as we have gone on, it’s more and more a collaborative thing. There is all these other things on the periphery [too] that perhaps aren’t as interesting like running the band, doing the merchandise, doing the graphic design – which is kind of Miles’ thing – so everyone gets bits that they can really take on. People can feel like they are contributing as not everyone can write a song and not everyone can be the front man, not everyone can be the lead guitarist or whatever. Everyone has a good contribution and knows their value to it and we respect each other’s value.”

With the tour now behind them, the boys describe the dynamic of Bad//Dreems now and how it has changed their performance now the stages are getting progressively larger.

“Having Ali [Wells] play live,” Marwe says. “Ali pretty much plays every live show now and that helps me because that means I can focus on singing properly. I’m not a very good guitarist, I sort of just play the chords, so sort of half way through the set he will come on and just sort of help me concentrate on the vocals. I think that is an aspect of the live shows that developed.”

Set to play Splendour, Canberra’s Spilt Milk Festival and of course, a primo spot alongside Australian rock royalty in Midnight Oil later this year, Bad//Dreems are still looking to expand their territory.

“We have been talking about doing some all ages shows,” Ben Marwe notes. “To make that feasible we would have to do a combined thing with two other bands of our size from our states. I definitely feel like these first two albums in terms of song writing and recording are one chapter. We are really looking forward seeing where we will go from here with all that.”

“Our band has thrived on the live thing,” Cameron says. “Even our recordings are based around that idea but you know just in today’s world with the way things are, it’s hard to do. It would be a dream to play, there’s just so many places you can go and play. I mean, when we went and made that video at Andamooka – it is a place that doesn’t even get Triple J, so they didn’t even know who the band was at all. Even then, so many people came out just because they don’t get bands there.”

Photos by John Goodridge.

Gutful is out now.

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