Words by Caleb Sweeting
Photograph by Wade Whitington
Alex Cameron sinks into the backstage couch at Fat Controller, in his hand he clutches an ice-cold beer that he just grabbed from his rider full of VBs and pale ales. He’s keeping hydrated before Bad//Dreems last headline show of the year dubbed a ‘VERY BAD X-MAS’. Wearing an Akubra hat, driza-bone style jacket and jeans - it would be easy to mistake the guitarist for a bush ranger.
“We’re very honoured to be playing with one of our musical heroes tonight,” Alex says of Special Patrol, who along with The Hard Aches, the recent winner of the triple j Unearthed Laneway Festival competition, are playing a sold out show at Fat Controller.
We talk about how the show fell only days before the fat man makes his way down the chimney. “Like a lot of families, everyone feels that you have to catch up with family at Christmas… Let’s be honest they don’t get along like a house on fire,” he laughs. “It’s just like some aunts and uncles and my parents and they just get drunk and argumentative and fall asleep on the couch.”
All arguments aside, the band has plenty to celebrate as the year comes to a close; taking out The AU Review awards 'S.A BAND OF THE YEAR' for the second year in a row, 'Best Live Act' at the South Australian Music Awards and releasing their debut album ‘Dogs at Bay’... But Alex isn’t one to let the success of the band go to his head. “We’ve always be ourselves and focus on writing good songs.”
“What’s cool is just being yourself and I think people like that they can see through people who are putting on a façade.” The Hard Aches just finished their set and Alex is a massive fan. “Like you just saw with the Hard Aches!” he says. “If you’re up there and people can tell you’re putting your heart and soul into your songs and performance then they’ll relate to that.”
Bad//Dreems are an authentic Adelaide band, with references to their hometown in their songs and film clips - just like The Hard Aches they are very relatable. And for this reason ‘Dogs at Bay’ is so easy to connect with especially as a local listener. For those who say you need to be in one of the creative capitals of the world to make art or good music, the guitarist has some valuable advice.
“Each place is what you make it… You know I hate when a lot of people move to Berlin or New York because they feel they wanna be an artist –like they need to be there… You don’t need to be anywhere to be creative or make good stuff.”
“Recording the album was a real highlight.” Every show of the album tour sold out, including places like Perth and the Gold Coast. “It was unexpected, and we’ve just become stronger as a band, we’re all even better mates than before and just looking forward to the next album.”
The biggest highlight of 2015 for Alex? “It would have to be Robert Forster from The Go-Betweens taking it upon himself to talk about how much he loves one of our songs ("My Only Friend")… that’s like a career-defining thing. You know one of your musical heroes is talking about how he thinks one of your songs is an “Australian-rock masterpiece” – it could all end now and I’d be happy about that.”
One things for sure Bad//Dreems aren’t ending anytime soon; let’s hope they continue to write classic songs, and not only represent themselves but the thriving Adelaide music industry.
You can vote for Bad//Dreems in the triple j Hottest 100 here.