In the lead up to Stonecutters this Saturday, I spoke to Miles Wilson; drummer for Adelaide’s own jangle-rock band Bad//Dreems. Miles told of some of the weirder things that have happened at their past gigs, such as educating Cedric Bixler-Zavala on Aussie Rules and wheelchair-bound punters sliding gracefully over the mosh. He also let me in on what to expect as he returns to his old university to throw a show.
Words by Annabel Bowles
Images supplied by Miles Wilson and Bad//Dreems
This Saturday the 8th of December. Fenn Place, UniSA City West Campus. Alongside young legends The Chats and a bunch of other Australian bands. We don’t need any further convincing, but is there something unexpected in the works for your last gig of the year?
If you’re taking the stage with those loose blokes in The Chats and Pist Idiots, spontaneous and unexpected things are a sure bet. Think we might hoe into an Australian Crawl cover actually, but I can’t confirm, you’ll have to front up and see what happens eh. But make sure you bring an umbrella and a banana.
Bad//Dreems played at the first Stonecutters in 2015, and now you’re leading this year’s line-up. How does it feel to headline the biggest rock and roll festival in the city that raised your band?
Yeah, we did, we were on before The Peep Tempel, who we’ve always been huge fans of. At one stage, a fully wheelchair-bound woman glided across the mosh pit, perfectly balanced, as if she was off to the shops to grab a litre of milk.
Also, what’re your thoughts on playing a gig and getting drunk at the university you once studied at?
Lol. I never really considered that, but, now that I think about it, I studied in the Kaurna Building which I think will overlook the stage? Very surreal. I’ll feel right at home. If only that cafe was open after hours so I could plough one of their chicken focaccias one more time.
In early 2015 you were Verse’s Graduate Interview subject, and at that point, Bad//Dreems were about to release their debut album ‘Dogs At Bay’ and tour the UK. What has been the biggest moments for Bad//Dreems since?
Yeah, that’s going back a bit. I can only speak for myself here. But, it was probably taking the stage before Midnight Oil, or maybe the shows we played with At the Drive-In. Or, playing on stage at Splendour with Robert Forster. It’s that weird, almost uncomfortable feeling of sitting right there, next to musicians you’ve heard and idolised your entire life. And the funny thing is, it just all culminates in such a pedestrian conversation – about the food or the weather in the city you’re in. I had a great convo with Cedric Bixler-Zavala, and he just rolled up to me and was like ‘do you play this Aussie Rules football?’. He was just so intrigued. I’ve played footy my whole life, so I was fortunate in that moment, and I just explained the sport to him for twenty minutes. Then, he just peels off and moments later, leaps from a Marshall stack in front of thousands of people as if he were some kind of god. Weird paradoxical sitch.
Much of Bad//Dreems’ music was written in Adelaide, and your lyrics often reflect the love/hate dichotomy many of us feel living in this small, strange city. With half the band now living in Melbourne, and the other half still here, has the essence of Bad//Dreems changed?
Not really. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. We’re a band that has always worked full time, so, James and I moved for work opportunities in sort of niche fields, but now we have such a different appreciation for Adelaide and its unique idiosyncrasies. I guess it gives an additional perspective when it comes to instrumentation and lyrics. Strangely enough, we’ve found it really workable. And lately, we’ve written songs faster and with more perspicacity than ever before.
What’s next for Bad//Dreems (besides outraging your old tutors next weekend)?
We’ve finished writing the third album, and we’re going into the more grandiose studio in the next month or two, so we’ll release early to mid next year, with some overseas touring in there too. So it’s a very exciting time and we’ve really missed not being on the road whilst we’ve written this one, but I think it’s hugely worth the time we put in, and worth the wait for the listeners, of course haha.
PS my tutors were always rad, so I think they’ll be in the mosh!
Want to see Bad//Dreems at Stonecutters? UniSA students get $10 off, simply enter the code UNISA when purchasing tickets here.