Interview: Dream Wife

Dream Wife, are a dream team trio made up of Rakel, Alice and Bella. But if you’ve been following your upcoming music, you probably don’t need me to tell you that, because these 3 made quite a stir in the back-end of 2016. With obvious potential to multiple this popularity throughout 2017 (and we’re expecting no different) this pop-punk outfit are all about creating a commotion and aren’t prepared to stop anytime soon. With an inspiringly fiery on-stage energy, Dream Wife are quite literally the dream if you love yourself some serious girl-power attitude and unapologetically killer riffs to go along with it.

We chat to the 3 about their muses, favourite influencers, and how Dream Wife progressed from an idea at uni to one of the most hotly tipped bands of 2017.

So Dream Wife all began as an art project at university? What was the brief and why did you decide to carry it on beyond uni?

Alice: Dream Wife as a uni ‘art project’ feels a million years ago to us. We wanted to make a band to give us a reason to go to Canada. That filtered into a uni performance art project. It had an end goal. But when returning back to Brighton in the fall we were reminesing of our summer adventures and decided it was too fun to quit – so it became a new chapter. Generally we see the original ‘art project’ as a very separate thing to us as a band now. The art school origins do however still apply in certain ways to the current manifestation of Dream Wife, we are all visual artists as well as musicians, broader creative considerations are just part of how we make things together, just as much as writing songs. The attitude that as a band you can make so much more than just music alone, that you can create this world around it and collaborate with exciting friends, peers and artists is something we have brought through from the original performance piece for sure.

“We still have a fairly open concept of what this band is and could be, we’re still snowballing. Dream Wife is always evolving or growing in some way.”

Did you ever picture that the project would become the band you are now?

Rakel & Alice: We still have a fairly open concept of what this band is and could be, we’re still snowballing. Dream Wife is always evolving or growing in some way as a project, I think ultimately none of us expected to still be playing our songs together after the performance project’s time was up and our tour of Canada was through. It was almost like a really intense and magical test run of ‘could these three friends work together as a band? Travel across a foreign country and experience ups and down of touring?’ The result was yes, we enjoyed it and it just worked really well naturally. We had to see where it would lead and what it could become. We are constantly surprised and excited by everything happening with this band. Dream Wife now feels like the band we have always been, we’ve had time to know what we want, how we want to do things, and more importantly how we don’t want to do things.

Where did you all grow up and what effect do you think that has had on your music?

Alice: Myself and Bella grew up in Somerset, we felt very isolated and moving away to find you people and your scene was all you had on your mind, that you always knew you had to leave that place to do what you wanted in your life. I was majorly introverted and spent most of my summer holidays as a young teen recording silly songs on an old multi track recorder that felt like my best friend at the time. I enjoyed that time and space to just play and explore sound on my own terms, but i was quite lonely and felt like a freak, but musically it definitely drives you, to feel like that. I remember meeting Bella and really thinking, ‘hey you’re like me’, and it felt very special to meet another girl who ‘got it’. Friendships feel very significant when you don’t relate to 99% of the people that live nearby. In this sense the music we make together now with Rakel feels special, that somehow we have all found each other, it feels like a precious thing to me, an introverted country girl at heart.

Rakel: I’m from Reykjavik, Iceland and I come from a big theatre & arts family with a lot of music. But I grew up in California the first decade of my life, and the trips back home to Iceland to see my family were always magical. I’d accompany them to the theatres – get to see them in action backstage, go to my uncles’ rock shows and gallery openings. My great-grandmother was a concert pianist who was one of the first women to be excepted to the Royal Academy of music in Copenhagen. And she had so much pride and joy for music and was very kind to me. And then i’d be back in sunny California with tales of these magical human beings called family that I put a on pedestal. But within that artistic community I wanted my own role – I wanted to sing. Moving back to Iceland as a teenager i’ve worked with almost every family member in different productions. And I realised that all these creative art forms is what you bring to your own.

Who would you say have been the big musical influences driving the punk-ed up, angsty elements of your sound?

Alice: Its really hard to succinctly answer this question, the classics, the 70’s, the 90’s, punk, grunge and Riot Grrrl. David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Debbie Harry, T. Rex, Marilyn Manson, Joan Jett, the fantasy of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Do you have a muse that you’ve used in your songs? Apart from Lolita…

Rakel & Alice: We are each others muses in a way – human beings and their stories. Most of the songs are written about moments of interaction. Usually how you experience them. We did however in a new song we will release later this year, use two of our friends names and little stories in the song, photographer Francesca Allen & editor of Polyester Zine Ione Gamble. They laughed a lot when we told them the good news.

“We have to remember to stretch or we get whiplash the day after a show. Drink more water than alcohol.”

I saw you live at the Moth Club on Halloween and was squashed to death in a pit of zombies, that was a great gig. And your gig last week at Old Blue Last was pretty hectic. What would say has been your best live show to date?

Rakel & Alice: The Halloween show at Moth club was really special for us. We played with our friends Emily Franklin, Garden Centre and Nova Twins, and Bella built this whole graveyard set in her bedroom that we bought down to Moth. People were holding crucifixes in the air and generally going wild, it felt like a real celebration with people who have been a part of crafting Dream Wife visually and in general support us. And go wild! Golden moments. We’ve just come from a tour around the UK and every show was just incredibly fun.

And your worst?

Rakel & Alice: We have of course played some really weird shows. Top one would be a Russian wedding hall in the middle of nowhere in Germany. Early days as a DIY band you rocked up at venues in cities you didn’t know and sometimes it doesn’t add up to your expectations. But the solidarity between us as a unit always gets us through.

How would you describe the dynamic between the 3 of you in the band?

POWER TRIO.

You’ve got an entertaining stage presence; there’s lots of crowd surfing, jumping around, hypnotising eye contact. What measures do you take to prep for your live shows?

Rakel: We have to remember to stretch or we get whiplash the day after a show. Drink more water than alcohol.

What are you listening to at the moment that is worth recommending to me?

Alice: We played with the duo Her’s at our recent Liverpool date for the DIY Hello 2017 tour, they were really great and did funny dances while the played, lovely tunes.

You had a great year in 2016. What can we expect from Dream Wife in 2017?

Rakel & Alice: We’re supporting Sleigh Bells during their UK dates in February. We will be heading to Texas to play at SXSW in March, followed by a few dates in California with The Kills, to celebrate their 15th anniversary. And then festival season hits! But mainly what to expect from us this year is our debut album that we will be releasing with Lucky Number and we are now nearly through recording!! We’re well excited to show people what’s in store.