Just last week, Bad//Dreems (along with DMA’s, The Preatures, and many others) teamed up with Levi’s and Support Act for a limited edition, charity band tee. What wasn’t splashed around the internet was that the band had actually designed the shirt themselves.
To find out more about how they put the tee together, what drew them to Support Act, and what supporting mental health in the music industry means to them, we caught up with drummer Miles Wilson.
To celebrate their brand new tee with Support Act and Levi’s for Ausmusic T-Shirt Day, we grabbed the latest from Miles of Bad//Dreems.
HAPPY: Hey fellas, how’s it going? What have you been up to lately?
MILES: Big Tommo, the Tomcat. It’s been crunch time for our album #3 demos over the past few months. We’ve amassed over 30 tracks, so we’ll jump into the studio soon and get it did.
HAPPY: This October, you’ll be teaming with Levi’s to release a limited run tee with all proceeds going towards Support Act… what was it about this organisation that made you want to work with them?
MILES: I’ve always admired the way Support Act delve into very real, personal stories – from musicians through to stage techs. I even noticed that soon they have a stage tech luncheon! They really make their assistance known at a very extensive level, helping everyone to feel heard, which is really important. The creative world can be very menacing and stressful at times so, it’s nice to feel as if the hardships are acknowledged by like-minded people. They’re ever-present in the Aussie music scene and they offer a distant sense of calm. So, when this opportunity came up, we jumped on it.
HAPPY: Your music has always had a sense of vulnerability and openness to it… do you think this style of songwriting is helping to open up discussions about mental health in the music industry?
MILES: Being honest and authentic is very important to us, not only in the music we make, but in the way we deal with each other within the band and without. If our music led to more discussion or better understanding of mental illness it would be a great honour.
HAPPY: You were one of the bands who personally designed your own shirt. Have any of you had any experience doing this kind of thing before?
MILES: Yeah we have. We try to keep our merch designs in-house a lot of the time, we’re precious about the merch and ensuring they’re an extension of our personalities. I’m a designer by trade, I enjoy illustrating and designing things, so I’ll often lend my services to the band haha. But yeah, we liked the idea of putting our heads together to design a tee.
HAPPY: It’s a bold design, could you tell us a little bit about it?
MILES: So, we bandied around some ideas in our band group chat and landed on this one idea. A kind of anxiety stricken person with a swarm of words closing in above their head, to represent the pressures of life and the heavy burden that life’s tribulations can force one to shoulder, I suppose. Every member of our band has experienced some form of mental illness or difficulty with their emotions in the past, so the topic is close to home and afforded a design that was very literal. The person is anguished, gazing at a plethora of words brandished above their head, representing a frantic stream of modern day consciousness.
HAPPY: There’s a number of other really great Aussie artists getting involved with the initiative (Ecca Vandal, The Preatures, DMA’s)… are there any particular artists whose shirts you’re keen to get your hands on?
MILES: Good on ’em! We’re not exactly sure which bands are doing it, but we’d love to see a Pisties one! We’re also good pals with DMA’s, The Preatures and Ecca Vandal who all flaunt a pretty steezy style, so any of those bands’ tees we’d get right behind.
HAPPY: Earlier this year, we saw Support Act launch a hotline for music industry workers… from your experience touring and working in the industry, how valuable is something like this?
MILES: From what I’ve read – statistically, the music industry is a bit of a magnet for mental health issues. From our experience, a gruelling touring schedule really begins to take its hold on your psyche.
HAPPY: I find it interesting how pub rock music has always in some way been intertwined with social and political issues. What do you think it is about the musicians who play this sub-genre that makes them want to keep involved with these discussions?
MILES: “Pub rock” is a bit of a vexed term and I’m not sure exactly what defines it. That being said, one thing that bands lumped in this category have is common is a lack of pretence or a lack of some of the trappings of classic rock and roll. It’s probably more about connecting with your audience and their struggles and stories as much as the band’s own. Maybe this is why it touches on social and political topics. It’s a fine line with these things. There’s not many bands who are qualified to delve into outright politics and in many ways, music should be an alternative to the bullshit that goes on there. On the other hand, we don’t make music in a vacuum, so there’s things you can’t ignore.
HAPPY: Thanks for the chat!
MILES: Tomahawk, an absolute pleasure.