Dream Poppies: '90s Trailblazers Are Still Plotting To Influence The Next Wave Of Women Musicians

Dream Poppies were an indie band formed in Brisbane in 1990.
Hi, I'm Jenny! I'm from England, and have been travelling Australia for nearly a year. I studied Ancient History at university, and am pursuing a career in music journalism.

Dream Poppies are one of Brisbane's underground '90s heroes.

Formed in 1990, locally they kicked down doors for women in music playing a part pioneering the Brisbane indie scene.

From playing the legendary CBGBs in New York, supporting the likes of Nirvana, Violent Femmes and The Stone Roses, and setting up camp in the 4ZZZ's Hot 100 for nearly a decade, they've done everything – everything apart from releasing a best of compilation (more on that later).

Still performing often in Sydney and Gold Coast, Dream Poppies' guitarist Tracey Kick reflects on how the music scene has changed since the early '90s.

"Streaming has affected everything – people have less of an interest in being a part of something. In the '90s, alternative music in Brisbane had a real community."

Looking back now, Dream Poppies' heyday is a very nostalgic time for Tracey. "Being in the band took up such a long period of our lives, it was longer than any relationship that any of us had been in, and it was so much fun.

"One massive highlight for me was hitting the States in '97, that was real special." That tour saw Dream Poppies showcase at SXSW alongside another emerging Brisbane act, Regurgitator.

Being a female-led band in the '90s, Dream Poppies were fighting for respect in an industry very different from today. "As a woman in music, there are certain expectations about what you should look like and how you should perform," Tracey explains.

"Nowadays there's a lot more freedom to look and express yourself however you want, but it was a different time. You could be an amazing artist, but be restricted by your look.

"I played lots of festivals where I was the only female guitarist, and as an indie-rock band at that time we were seen as more of a novelty, and not taken very seriously."

Although two-plus decades removed from their original run, Dream Poppies are set to release a best of compilation album. Tracey confesses that she's been playing with the idea for 18 months, after interest in the band arose on Facebook group Sound As Ever (Australian Indie 90-99) sparked motivation to action the project.

"[Sound As Ever] asked us to provide a song for a compilation they were working on, and it became clear that there were a lot of people who were still interested in our music.

"Tonnes of '90s bands are being revived and reformed recently, and it inspired us; I really wanted to get a vinyl out." The result is 'Favourites', a best of record to be pressed as a limited edition vinyl run of 100 as well as released on streaming sites in November.

When it came to selecting songs for the record, Tracey reveals it was a tough process to settle on the final track listing. "It was a battle of our personal favourites and the songs that got lots of airplay back in the day," she says.

"Some were pretty obvious, but not all of them came so easy. There were a couple that we were debating which ended up being dropped – when working with vinyl you're restricted with what can physically fit on each side of the record, so we were forced to narrow things down.

"All in all, it was fairly unproblematic – I put out a list early on, and it ended up falling to me as I used to manage the band in the '90s, so for better or worse everybody trusted my judgement. We're so stoked for it to come out, we just picked up the record and it looks amazing."

The release of the vinyl is marked by Dream Poppies' return to the stage with a gig at Stranded Bar in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley next month.

The thought process behind the concert was pretty straightforward: good music and good mates. "When we were forming the line-up, we turned to our musical friends from throughout the years.

"We're so excited to play with The Double Happiness, Tim Steward (Screamfeeder) and Isis – they all mean a lot to us.

"We've also had multiple drummers over the years, and we had to figure out our internal logistics – we're going to have a couple of different members performing throughout the gig, and we think that's the best way for the punters and for us."

With just 100 vinyl records of 'Favourites' being pressed, Dream Poppies' reunion is an intimate affair for fans to rekindle their love for the band, reawakening the '90s indie spirit and undoubtedly pulling in some new listeners along the way.

Dream Poppies play Stranded Bar (Brisbane) 10 November. They'll be joined by The Double Happiness, Tim Steward of Screamfeeder (solo) and Isis (acoustic).

Let's Socialise

Facebook pink circle    Instagram pink circle    YouTube pink circle    YouTube pink circle

 OG    NAT

Twitter pink circle    Twitter pink circle