Behind the unsuspecting guise of long flowing locks and a Michael Crighton novel, Brad Dadson preserves a thoughtful and explorative musical mind. Conjuring a global-infused dream psych paradise for The Dadsons latest self-titled LP, the multi-instrumentalist, sound engineer and guitar-maker enlightened us on the technical and philosophical intentions behind the new record.
Hailing from the Yarra Valley, ‘The Dadsons’ represents a solo recording project stemming from the cessation of prior bands. “I woke up one morning, listened to the Sex Pistols, a bit of Ty Segall, and said, ‘I wanna write some punk songs’”. A circumstantial drummer as he “happened to be the only person with a drumkit” and devoid of any song writing experience, ‘I Am No Animal’ was “an experiment to see if I could write a punk song”. Achieving this authentic garage-punk sound propelled Dadson even further on his first full-length release.
Driven by the emotions surrounding a break-up, Dadson endeavoured to encapsulate his array of musical interests on his debut LP; “I asked myself, ‘How can I try and make every kind of music?’. That’s when it felt more natural for me to make”. The result blends dream-psych jams with Brazilian, Flamenco and Indian influences. This clear departure from punk debut embodied an intentional personal challenge. “I actually welcome the idea of juxtaposing albums from one another. I wanna show that I can do all different kinds of music”.
Incorporating more global styles underscores Dadson’s overarching investment and interest in sound. “I’ve almost been mesmerised by sound and by how much sound is in our life. How much sound can be manipulated”. An eclectic record collection housing Latin, Bollywood and African music spurred a desire to uncover their musical mysteries. “I’ve always had an infatuation with how (all these styles) can make people dance. There’s a tweak to it. There’s something that Western ears aren’t tuned to”.
As a sound engineer, Dadson thrived in experimenting with various production and recording techniques on the LP. ‘All in All’ represents one such example sure to intrigue audiophiles. “That was a fuckload of synths, quite simply. That one was how do I make something sound like it’s all the way to the right there, like its right in the centre, in the chest… how do I immerse the person?”. The allure of technical precision is something he appreciates as a cognitive dissonance inhibiting the creative process; “You can tweak until you die. There’s a point where you gotta go, ‘This is it. I’m not making any discernible difference’. Recognising this allowed ‘The Dadsons’ to be an album that instead utilises production to deepen the personal themes permeating it. “The whole album is meant to be listened to in headphones. The idea is in my head, I’m making all these songs by myself; Listen to it in your head too”.
The record is Dadson’s most personal work yet. ‘Movin’ On’ epitomises this vulnerability with vocals devoid of distortion for the first time. “That song is about the lyrics at the end of the day. I just wanted people to hear them because there’s a part of that song that I feel is like a decoded message that I couldn’t say face-to-face to someone. I could only do it by song”. Whilst challenging, the frank form of storytelling was alleviated by limiting the project to recordings alone. “I think the benefit of my situation is that I don’t really intend to play it live, so I’m not really showing anyone the music. It’s kind of just my family and friends”.
A modest musician, Dadson’s driven by empathetic experiences with others rather than any isolating spotlight. “I got the test press via Nathan from Small Run a month ago and I was in my room when I put it on kinda quietly. My housemates all heard it and just quietly came in and sat on my couch and told me to play it louder. That was such a nice feeling”. This subverting of grandstanding for subtle surprise has been ubiquitous throughout Dadson’s career, deepened by the tale surround The Bears final show. “We had a Tuesday night gig here at Howler and for some reason we thought it was a great night to finish. We played first. We invited all our parents out and said, ‘By the way, this is our last show’ and then everyone was like, ‘Oh, that’s a bit sad’. Nobody really wanted to watch the next band and we really brought the mood down. But it fit us perfectly”. It wound up being an interesting tact to usurp the main band, jokes Dadson; “Hey we’re quttin’. Beat that!... Shoutout to the Beagles who headlined though (laughs)”.
‘The Dadsons’ and ‘I Am No Animal’ are available on all streaming services and the LP can purchased from Bandcamp.