The Bads

The Bads have just released their latest studio album 'Travel Light' (check out our review HERE).  Consisting of Dianne Swann and Brett Adams, The Bads have forged a solid reputation as one of the most musically talented couples in New Zealand.  

We caught up with Dianne to find out the history of the band and their new album.  

How long have you and Brett been performing and writing together for? 

Together?  For a very long time.  We started performing and writing together in London in 1992. 

Did you meet each other over there? 

No, we knew each other as friends before he went to the UK.  Brett went there first with The Mockers and I went there a little bit later.  We caught up and started a band there. 

And you've gone under a few different names? 

Yeah, The Julie Dolphin mainly, but unfortunately we had to change our name due to litigation with the record company.  So we changed our name to Boom Boom Mancini and signed with Almo Sounds... which was a pretty cool label at the time.  The UK branch was started by Jerry Moss who started A&M Records - when they sold A&M they wanted their own little boutique label so that's how it came about.  It was cool, we were on the same label as artists like Gillian Welch and Garbage. 

How long have you been under the name The Bads for? 

Since we've been back in New Zealand, about 9 years now. 

And it's basically just yourself and Brett, but you have a backing band also? 

We're the core, the song writing crew.  But we have a pretty constant band - Wayne Bell on drums, Mike Hall on bass and Dave Kahn who plays a lot of different instruments.  So we've done a lot of shows with Dave as a trio, but for this album we want to promote it as a 5-piece... for the first initial gigs.  

You've just released your latest album 'Travel Light'.  How long had you been working on the album for? 

We did it in two bursts.  All up I would say about three or four weeks, but two weeks at a time.  We finished it maybe last July, it's just taken everybody this long to get in the same place so we can get it out. 

Where did you record it?

At the Lab, with Olly Harmer? I love working there.  It's just a really great community of people around there.  We're comfortable there and Olly is really a great engineer. 

Did you produce the album yourself? 

Yeah, we did.  We shared production between Brett, myself and Wayne Bell.  The three of us somehow managed to get something at the end. It seemed pretty happy and easy. 

This is the third album from The Bads.  How does it differ from your previous releases? 

The previous albums we released we recorded some tracks at home and then added to it in the studio.  With Travel Light we recorded it completely in the studio.  And it has more of a band feel I think. 

What were your main influences when developing Travel Light?

Song writing wise, this was an album that developed without a lot of thought as to where we were going and how it was going to sound.  I like it because it's coming form the heart and it just wasn't too pre-meditated.  We decided who we'd like to play with us, so we had a core group of people that we really wanted to get in and play some tracks.

So influence I guess would be everything we've ever done.

How does the song writing process work with yourself and Brett? 

We write together and separately.  Sometimes a song will be nearly formed by one of us, with just a few little lyrics missing and a few ideas would come from the other person.  So it's quite cool because I think it makes for a good variation on the album. 

Is it challenging writing with your partner?  Are you both good at accepting constructive criticism? 

That's a good question.  We've been asked that before and my answer has always been we haven't known anything different.  And our relationship developed from music, it's pretty hard not to fall in love with someone that you admire in an artistic way; I mean that on many levels.  Sometimes it can be challenging but you know that you both have the same goal and that's to have the best thing for the song.  So it usually sorts itself out. 

And you're both settled in New Zealand? 

Yeah, we both want to take this record out and play overseas... we've definitely got itchy feet for that.  But as a base, New Zealand definitely.  We're living out west in Auckland by Bethels in Waitakere Township.  It's lovely, and has the best of both worlds. 

Are either of you working on any other projects at the moment? 

Brett's still working with Tim Finn.  He's also works with Gin Wigmore when she does her live stuff in New Zealand and Australia.  But at the moment, we've got two months put aside for this.  It's been a long time coming (laughs).

Do you think they'll be more albums from The Bads in the future?

I don't know.  It's difficult to stop writing, it's something I've always done.  It would be hard to imagine not writing in some way.  Hopefully we feel inspired and enthused to keep doing Bads albums.