What’s the best kinda booze for your vocal chords? Ben Marwe of Bad//Dreems knows, and it ain’t beer

Adelaide battlers Bad//Dreems are riding the high from their latest LP Gutful all the way to the tour bus this year, something a ton of fans have been grinding their teeth for. Given the act is pumping out some of the finest pub rock of recent years, it’s hardly a surprise.

With a string of headline Aussie shows on the horizon and Yours and Owls 2017 for a closing party, these fellas are about to get pretty busy. Right before they take the road, we took five with frontman Ben Marwe to talk shop.

bad//dreems ben merwe interview gutful australian tour yours & owls 2017

Behind the barrier of booze, brawn and Aussie bravado, the rock ‘n’ rollers of Bad//Dreems are a bunch of blokes who know how to lay down truth.

HAPPY: A couple of Aussie bands are getting themselves a beer brewed in their name, and you’ve got to be next in line. What would the ideal Bad//Dreems brew be?

BEN: A hearty winter ale, with a tinge of citrus. Call it, ‘A Whiter Shade of Ale’.

HAPPY: Speaking of, I have a friend who needs to know: how many tinnies were consumed to achieve the desired vocal sound on New Boys?

BEN: Hard to recall. There was a lot of peach grappa and coffee being consumed at that point in time. Beer isn’t necessarily an effective vocal lubricant. Give me an Italian man named Frank brewing up a fresh pot of smoky Arabica, blended with some home made fermented fruit pomace, the alcohol percentage is high, but it’s prison grade. Yeah, that melts my butter.

HAPPY: What does everyone from the band do outside of music? Is Alex still a surgeon?

BEN: We all work. Miles and James now live in Melbourne, and have jobs over there. Myself, Ali and Alex are in Adelaide. We’d love music to be our full time job but that is pretty difficult to achieve these days. Yes, Alex is still a surgeon. God bless his little cotton socks.

HAPPY: Moving onto the new stuff. You ran through a few things you’re unhappy with on Gutful (the song) especially. Were there any lines which didn’t make the cut?

BEN: Many. Miles has had a gutful with the plastic seal on Powerade bottles. Ali doesn’t particularly agree with loud motorcycles driving past while drinking a long black at a café. James doesn’t like fedoras. I’d like to put him in a room with Jason Mraz and let them sort it out while they ukulele each other to a slow and painful death.

HAPPY: Given some time has passed since you would have been penning the LP, is there anything you wish you could highlight now?

BEN: There will always be issues that spur on an idea or a lyric, sometimes there are certain things that affect you individually more than others. We’ll get back to you on that one if we’re able to finish album number three. This Trump guy doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon. Hopefully some good stuff happens that we can include in our lyrics.

HAPPY: There’s a fair bit of personal shit I feel coming through in the album too, which has been talked about less than the social commentary. Did hitting some success as a band effect any of you as people and did that feed into Gutful?

BEN: I guess everything that was happening at that time would have fed into the new album. People liking Dogs At Bay gave us a lot of confidence though, and it allowed us to explore our writing more intricately, while finding a stronger and more definite sound.

HAPPY: You called your first album dystopian when you spoke to us a while back, is this still a main thread or have you found a silver lining?

BEN: There’s some hope in these songs. I think you can find yourself walking the razor’s edge when writing lyrics and songs, because it’s easy to find yourself in a negative headspace sometimes. Music is a good platform for expressing anger and heated emotion. However, it also feels really good when music can pull the positive out of you. That isn’t to say we’re negative people, far from it, and the dystopian aspect as you mentioned was definitely a theme in Dogs At Bay. I think Gutful is a little more mature.

HAPPY: Can you talk about working with Mark Opitz and Colin Wynne on the album? They’ve got some serious pedigree between them, what did they bring to the record?

BEN: They’ve become family to us. Mark is Dad, and Colin is the cool uncle who lets you have a beer before your parents let you. It’s hard to imagine a release without them. Their knowledge of music far outweighs the band, and their understanding of the aesthetic and what our music means to us has always brought out the very best in the recordings.

HAPPY: You’ve just been announced on the Yours & Owls lineup. Who else are you looking forward to catching there?

BEN: At the Drive In… Cedric if you’re reading this, you owe me $32, and can I borrow your humidifier?

HAPPY: You’re hitting the road very soon, it will be the first time a lot of fans have seen you in a while. Do you have a message for the punters who have been hanging out for a Bad//Dreems gig?

BEN: We’ve missed playing shows to you all. There will be plenty more this year. Hopefully you like them.


Catch Bad//Dreems around town, starting tomorrow in Brisbane and finishing up with Yours & Owls. Find the dates below, and head here for tickets.

Thurs Jun  8 – The Wooly Mammoth, Brisbane – SOLD OUT
Fri Jun 9 – The Metro, Sydney
Sat June 10 – The Corner, Melbourne – SOLD OUT
Fri June 16 – Badlands, Perth
Sat June 17  – The Gov, Adelaide – SOLD OUT
Sat Sept 30 – Yours & Owls Festival, Wollongong  – Tickets