Band members: Rakel Mjöll (lead vocals), Alice Go (guitar, vocals), and Bella Podpadec (bass, vocals)
Some bands thrive in the studio, while others come alive on stage. Every now and then, though, you come across a band who dominate in both environments—and London-based trio Dream Wife is one of them. It’s almost as if some kind of chemical reaction takes place when Rakel Mjöll, Bella Podpadec and Alice Go play live together, emitting energy so palpable you can even feel it through the screen. Which, at least for now, is how we’ll have to experience Dream Wife’s music until borders open up again and tours kick off once more. A few weeks ago, they fittingly announced their 2021 UK + EU tour on their socials with the message, ‘2021: Return of the LIVE rock show,’ followed by a procession of fire and tooth emojis. In response, they were met with an army of exclamation marks and red hearts in the comments but, sadly, few teeth.
Anyway, to hold us over until then, the band are dropping their highly anticipated second album, So When You Gonna… on July 3, giving everyone plenty of time to learn the words and perfect crowd surfing techniques. In the leadup to the record release, we caught up with the band—who all met in art school—to talk about everything from their new podcast series, to childhood nostalgia and Myspace bios.
First things first, your new album So When You Gonna… drops early July. I’m sure you didn’t envision releasing it under these circumstances, but how are you all feeling about letting it out into this strange world?
It feels really exciting to be releasing our baby into the world and, yes, defo could not have predicted this situation but you gotta roll with the punches. If people can access these songs and feel some sense of solidarity through the album, we are happy.
Given you can’t throw a raucous launch party just yet, what’s the new plan for release day?
We might throw a virtual garden party to celebrate!
Your second single from the album, ‘Hasta La Vista’, was inspired by the change in friends and relationships you encountered after returning home from an extended stint on the road. Was that a positive-slash-transformative realisation?
It was positive and painful and honest and maybe more than anything, grounding. When we were touring so much, it was hard to keep up with and be present for a lot of our personal relationships. It was a big, wholehearted owning up to the way things are in reality, good and bad—it looked different for all of us. The only constant is change, and ‘Hasta’ is moving into those changes with gratitude.
The accompanying video is made up of old home video footage of your childhoods. Was that fun to relive?
It was a sweet moment for us all to look back at that footage. There was a kind of serendipity to us all coming across our old family movies, which all turned out to be from the mid-nineties, so the same time in the world but each of us as separate entities.
While in lockdown, you’ve launched a really cool podcast series interviewing a bunch of creatives in different industries and areas. What was the impetus for that?
We were just having these really interesting conversations with friends and collaborators about their craft and were like, ‘I wish I could have heard this conversation when I was younger.’ It feels important for us to use our platform to normalise roles in the creative industries for female-identifying and non-binary people. We hope it can be educational and encourage people to try something new.
In one episode, you talk a bit about Myspace. If Myspace were still around now, what would be your profile song and what would your ‘About Me’ say?
Our profile song would be Robyn, ‘Dancing On My Own.’ We became obsessed with it while recording album two. And who else is there to dance with right now? About me: Rock and Roll is an extreme sport!
Dream Wife’s live show remains unrivalled, and you’ve built such an incredible reputation for how exciting it is. How do you recreate that energy or translate that feeling in the studio when you record?
Being in the studio is very different from being on stage. Getting the energy flowing for a take was a combination of trust in each other, pumping each other up, and lots of Club-Mate and biscuits from the cookie badger.
Because performing live is such a huge part of your band—and you’ve mentioned it helped build your sound and identity—how have you been channelling that energy since restrictions were imposed on gigs?
It’s hard to find the catharsis of a live show anywhere else; it’s a very specific feeling. Energy has been channelled through lots of dancing, running, yoga, singing, and also sinking into slowness and accessing a different pace of living. And lots of watching plants grow.
Watching clips of your tour footage makes me think you’d be the most fun band ever to tour with. Are my assumptions correct?
We are fun! But we are also responsible and very dedicating to being able to give to the show fully. If you’re anticipating getting trashed every night and partying until 4 am, then you might be disappointed. But if you’re up for aiming for eight hours sleep, drinking lots of water, playing cards, badminton, laughing, partying selectively, and dancing as much as possible, then you will have a good time with us.
You’ve collaborated with fashion designer Paolina Russo regularly throughout the last few years, and you all have such unique style. What role does fashion play in how you express and represent yourselves and your art?
Poalina is amazing! One of our fave people. We met her while she was doing her BA and it’s been amazing to watch her work and career bloom. Fashion is an amazing way of expressing yourself and exploring body autonomy.
Speaking of art—you all met in art school. Is it true your final project was a mockumentary style piece about a fake band? If so, how do we see that video?
I mean, sort of, but mostly not. You will not see the vid. Sorry not sorry.