Adelaide’s Bad//Dreems unveil their debut LP this Friday. With September/October shows scheduled, the remaining months of 2015 appear busy for the local boys. On the eve of the release, Killyourstereo.com caught up with guitarist Alex Cameron to discuss the album, the South Australian lifestyle and surviving as a band in a tough musical market like Adelaide.
Hi Alex, Kane from KYS. How are you?
Good thanks, yourself?
I’m going well too, thanks.
How has the year treated you guys so far?
2015 has treated us fairly well so far. Year of the goat sheep – what can I say?
The new album deals with, what I gather as, your love/hate relationship with Adelaide. From a lifestyle perspective, music aside, what’s been your experiences growing up in South Australia?
I would say I had a fairly idyllic but sheltered [life] growing up in Adelaide. The first part of my life was spent in Minlaton, a town on the Yorke Peninsula, two and a half hours drive from Adelaide. It’s a beautiful place with rolling crops interspersed with scrub between great coastline on either side. Although I lived there for only a short time it’s my spiritual home.
During school I was pretty heavily into playing football but I also played the violin in the school orchestra. Those two things kind of cancelled each other out such that I wasn’t one of the coolest kids but no one picked on me either. My teenage years were pretty shit for new music unless you were into nu- metal but I got pretty obsessively into Bob Dylan and Neil Young from when I was 16. I didn’t get into contemporary music or songwriting properly until I moved to Melbourne after school.
When I think of growing up I think of: the drives back and forth from Adelaide to Minlaton with Dire Straits Brother’s in Arms or Roxy Music on my Dad’s car stereo, Tony Modra, backyard cricket, Mrs Follaholla, my violin teacher, and the smell of fresh cut grass in spring.
…and from being a working musician, what’s it like being a band in Adelaide? Do you feel you have to work twice as hard as local peers from say, Melbourne and/or Sydney?
There are some good bands here, but no formal “music industry” to speak of. That is probably both a good and a bad thing. I think it would have been harder to get started for us had I not known people in the Eastern States from the previous band I’d been in while in Melbourne.
A lot of international tours seem to skip Adelaide, as it’s seen as not financially viable. How much of an impact does this have on local bands and the local scene?
When I first moved back here from Melbourne it was quite demoralising. I didn’t know anyone in bands here and it was hard to watch good music. I think it is detrimental to the local scene because the culture of attending live music events has dissipated here.
What’s been the biggest learning curve from being in a band so far?
Personally, it has been to become better at working democratically in a team and not being (as much of) a control freak.
How is it balancing work and band commitments, at the moment?
It is difficult for everyone. When the band became a more serious proposition we decided to make an effort to keep our day jobs. Three of us have been in sorta serious bands before and know that making money from music is a pipe dream. But the stress and hassle of getting after work flights, red eyes and wrangling time off for tours/recording can sap your enjoyment. But it keeps us out of trouble, I guess.
Has there been a Spinal Tap moment you’ve encountered so far?’
James got caught in a giant plastic egg in Warnambool once.
What’s the next 12 months looking like? Once the album is out and you play these October shows, what’s next on the agenda?
I think we would like to spend a fair bit of time overseas if possible and start recording a new album as soon as possible. Probably quit our jobs and get tattoos, and beards too.
Favourite album(s) of 2015 so far?
Father John Misty – I loved you, honeybear
Dick Diver – Melbourne, Florida
Royal Headache – High
Thanks for the interview, Alex. Appreciate your time.
‘Dogs At Bay’ is out August 21 via Ivy League.