FUTURE NOISE: DREAM WIFEAugust 23, 2017
Starting out as a performance art project at university in Brighton, Dream Wife is the pop punk trio that make sounds that wouldn’t be out of place in a Sofia Coppola movie. Made up of Alice, Bella and Rakel, the trio’s rollercoaster sound is a wild and rocky ride inspired by powerful female musicians such as Madonna and Dolly Parton. With the release of their newest single “Fire” (they’re all fire signs FYI), we talk to the gang about how they went from uni project to pop punk’s next big thing…
Where did the name Dream Wife come from?
It was pretty easy. We actually chose the band name before we even wrote a song together. Once the name was then everything else fell to place. Dream Wife is a fun word play. It is in itself a commentary on the objectification of women; the 1950’s american dream stereotype package; having the dream house, the dream car and the dream wife, we want to flip the script on that expectation of the woman. Women aren’t objects; we don’t just fit to one mould.
It’s about reclaiming the concept of the wife for women somehow, Dream Wife to us is so about female solidarity, supporting one another, believing in what you can achieve together, and last but not least it’s about rockin’ out.
How would you describe your sound?
It’s a wild rocky pop rollercoaster with the occasional soft spot.
You formed while at art school in Brighton – can you tell us a bit about how you went from a performance art piece to an actual band?
We all moved to Brighton to study art and Dream Wife was formed within the uni walls as an excuse to go to Canada. That’s the genuine real story. Bella and Rakel were housemates and on a night out they got excited about the idea of going to Canada to visit friends but didn’t wanna travel without a purpose. So why not make a band and go on a tour around Canada and book shows in the cities where friends are?. We needed a guitarist so we asked Alice, because she was a best friend and by far the best guitarist in town. That’s how we came together as a band. Rakel was studying performance art at the time and our idea became part of her gallery show, making a band with the sole purpose of travelling to Canada. We made a few songs, took some press shots and then were off on a month long tour around Canada!
None of our friends thought we would go. We didn’t have much knowledge of how to tour or book shows in a foreign country despite it turning out to be a very magical trip thanks to the kindness and help of good people. The unity we formed together on the road was something special and felt organic to write and play together. And above all it was fun. Months later when university started again we were reminiscing about our trip and the amazing times we had and thought ‘hey should we maybe actually do this? Write a few more songs? Play some more shows maybe?’ We played some diy shows around the UK and parts of Europe and then we released our first EP last year off the back of those tours. Since then it’s been snowballing. Played so many amazing places, met great people, assembled the best team and are now in the midst of finishing our debut album. Funny how these things evolve.
What’s your live show like?
Sweaty, gritty and so much fun. The crowds involvement is essential. It’s just a big party.
You have a headline tour coming up in October! Where are you going and what are you most looking forward to?
So many cities!! All of them really. We are super excited to play some new material and take this show out on the road! Especially excited to play in some new cities! We’ve never been to Bournemouth, Oxford or Leicester before so that’s gonna be super fun.
Can you tell us about your track “Somebody”? What was the inspiration behind it and why did you want to release it on International Women’s Day?
Believe it or not we never planned for it to be released on International Women’s day but when we realised it felt like a perfect serendipitous moment and made a lot of sense for the track. The inspiration for this song came from the brave women that participated in last years Slut Walk in Reykjavik. It’s an annual walk and it’s incredibly important that we raise awareness of daily sexism and sexual violence that are often hushed or not spoken about in communities or media. Right before the march, brave women took to social media to share their own personal stories of sexual violence and how often the justice system and social stigma surrounding rape – had failed them. It created a chain reaction and went like wildfire through the media and socials. Women at every age we’re posting about their experiences and once it was out there was a strong understanding community that was formed. Inspired by this movement; we wrote our song Somebody.
Victim blaming is so damaging and present, the lyric – ‘ what you wore and how you bore it so well what did you expect would happen’ – is such a voice; putting blame onto the victim and removing it from the abuser. This is what we are fighting against and that is what the Slut walk emphasises. You should wear what you want, behave how you want, do what you want and not live in fear that someone will break you or try to shame you for your body. For us it’s also, take us seriously, don’t judge what you see, listen to the music and what’s behind it. We didn’t choose to be female, it just happened that way, we’re just doing what we can with what we got.
What female musicians inspire you and why?
Dolly Parton. She’s written over 400 songs and has such an incredible outlook on life mixing that into her songwriting. She’s also know as the queen of copyright. From an early age she knew that she should never give up her rights to her written material. An inspiration for everyone to stand your ground and not be overthrown by people in this entertainment business that think they know better.
Artist like Peaches or MIA are also really inspiring to us, powerful and rebellious characters, they are two women doing their thing their way and completely owning it.
How would you describe the dynamic between the three of you?
We are three fire symbols. We are a power trio. Nuff sed.
What’s your creative process like?
With Dream Wife the idea of creating a world that other people can tap into and feel part of is so important to us. With social media, your image and the way in which you connect to your fans can be so much more on your terms and in your control as a band. We want people to feel like they can engage and tap into your world, that is so exciting, and definitely something we utilise within our creative process.
This project is equally considered from aesthetic and visual angles as much as the music istelf. We were all visual artists at Brighton university when the band formed, so we have always approached this project with open minds about what forms it could take as creative output. This way of working feels liberating and exciting. We have been lucky to collaborate with amazing peers, friends and creatives who have helped us build and realise the Dream Wife aesthetic.
Sonically, our process is quite natural, someone brings an idea to the table, and we will jam with it and see what falls into place.
Playing music together, it always feels like we summon something. Songs come out how they come out, but when we are all in the zone there is definitely a kind of chemistry to it all, something magical happens. You suspend disbelief together. You rock it through with your Wives.
You have a very distinct dreamy aesthetic – did this evolve organically or did you work hard to curate it?
We’re defiantly not living exclusively in the pastel world anymore, heh. At the start it used to be a lot to do with the reclamation of feminine colours and aesthetics, it was kinda more conceptual back then, but our personal style is always evolving. We don’t really discuss what we’re going to wear for shows, It’s pretty instinctual now, we have an strong understanding of each other’s styles and feels natural. Doing this band we’ve met so many new friends/exciting artists and through collaboration for shoots and videos everyone ends up inspiring us; you wear something that you didn’t think would suit you because a stylist wants you to – and you love it and that shapes your wardrobe. We’ve been lucky to be a part of an incredible creative scene in London; some amazing photographers like Meg Lavender, Eleanore Hardwick, Maisie Cousins and Francesca Allen, wonder couple Aidan Zamiri and Alexandra Russo and of course queen Ione Gamble among others. It’s beautiful to be a part of a community of people honing their craft and making stuff together.
What would you say is your biggest achievement to date?
Through doing this band we have grown and changed so much as a unit and as people. We’re changing our own minds about ourselves and what we’re capable of and hoping that you might be able to change the minds of others about themselves. When a girl comes to you after a show and says she not only wants to but feels like she can learn an instrument after seeing you play – that’s an achievement.
What other up and coming artists are you excited about?
We love Nova Twins. Amazing duo from London that are just one of the best live bands around. Really unique style and yeah just go check ‘em out.
Fever Dream is an Icelandic rapper we’ve collaborated with and she’s about to release her first EP. Pretty amazing flow and lyrics that girl has, she’s such a bad ass and one of kind human being.
Have you got any more releases planned for this year or next?
We’re on the final stages of finishing our debut album!!! It’s so exciting to finally show people : hey here we are world! Nice to meet you, like us if you do, if not, don’t care.
What’s next for Dream Wife?
We’ve been playing a lot of festivals this summer, it’s been incredibly fun to travel to new places. Excited to release our debut album when we finish it and travel to more new places!
Photography: Hollie Fernando