We’re fans of Dream Wife’s killer riffs, pop punk sass and DIY riot grrrl attitude. Initially formed as an art school project in Brighton, they’re now an IRL band having just released an eponymous EP (on cassette and pastel coloured vinyl – yes please), and are now busy working on their debut album. We hung out with Rakel, Alice and Bella at home in Peckham, to talk ‘space beach’ stage invasions, collaborative communities and how to find empowerment and strength in pastels.
Dream Wife are… frontwoman Rakel Mjoll, guitarist Alice Go and bassist Bella Podpadec.
Photographer Ellie Smith shoots the girls in our Autumn 16 collection, as styled by Paolina Alexandra Russo.
So - Dream Wife met in Brighton and are now based London, but Rakel you’re from Reykjavik and Alice and Bella grew up in Somerset - do you think each place has influenced your music and creative approach in any way?
Bella: I guess growing up somewhere like Somerset, we were so isolated from any kind of cultural stuff that was going on so Alice and I started making and creating things for ourselves.
Alice: Yeah completely, in terms of coming to London now, it makes you search out creative likeminded people, who are all the more precious when you do find them. It definitely makes you fight for it more.
Rakel: Reykjavik is very different because it has a huge music culture – everyone seems to be in like 5 bands! But I really liked when I came to London, there’s a whole business mindset that I was introduced to, which is great at sculpting and pin-pointing what we’re doing, what image we want to portray, who we want to work with and how we can do more.
How is London treating you? What are your favourite spots to hang out here?
B: The old graveyard down the road? (laughs)
R: I guess the Bussey Building in Peckham - there are nice bars and I always bump into really good people there too.
A: Yeah it’s like a hub of activity – it’s been exciting to hang out there whilst we’ve been writing actually.
We love Dream Wife’s DIY creative spirit and heard Alice recorded all the instruments on the EP at her house…
A: Yeah and my dad was playing drums on it! We were recording whilst we were in the middle of touring so we were playing the songs every night, which is a different relationship as to when you’re practicing – so we were trying to capture that energy on the record.
R: It was actually recorded in Alice’s old nursery…
A: They soundproofed it so you couldn’t hear the children screaming from upstairs! It used to be where I practiced with my teenage bands…so it was really nice to go back and actually record there with Dream Wife.
What songs or artists are always on repeat in your house?
D: Bowie, Talking Heads…
R: In my house - Beyonce.
B: Oh and definitely Madonna, American life. We listen to that a lot.
You guys have a reputation for badass live shows (we’ve heard talk of a head banging human pyramid) … what’s the best show you’ve ever played and what’s the secret to a great live show?
B: That was years ago! People are still talking about that? For our EP launch party, our friend Aidan Zamiri (who also directed the video for ‘Kids’) designed the set to be like a space beach - we had this giant silver palm tree, pink glitter curtains and beach balls and stuff. That was really fun, the whole set got ripped apart and the palm tree crowd surfed around the room…
R: We got our friends ‘The Daughters of Reykjavik’ aka ‘Reykjavíkurdætur’… (a 16 strong all female rap collective) to come and support us at our show at Birthdays this Spring. We ended the show by singing ‘F*** The Pain Away’ by Peaches, with them all and tearing the set apart. That was very memorable. I’m always happy when we’re on stage playing a show and experiencing the crowd. Its always different every time – there’s no one great show, every show is great.
You’ve previously teamed up with visual artists Maisie Cousins and Eleanor Hardwick to direct your music videos. You all have backgrounds in the arts - what other artists are on your radar to collaborate with in the future?
Dream Wife: We’ve worked with a lot of amazing artists, like our friends Meg Lavender and Joanna Kiely. And Rachel Hodgson who did the EP cover.
R: And we worked with the photographer Frenchie Jane the other day, she’s so funny. Alot of these artists are associated with Polyester Zine - representing really interesting modern day, mostly female artists. We’ve been so fortunate to work with people I really admire, and they’re all friends or have become our friends through this. It’s become a really wonderful community of artists around us, and I hope we get to work with them more – that’s what I want for the future.
B: I’d love to shoot with our friend Misha Margot - he’s incredible.
What are your favourite pieces from todays’ shoot?
B: I really like the pink Heart Cord Skirt and Rainbow Striped Shirt.
R: The frilly socks are great…the ’Waste Of Time’ slogan is just perfect. This links to the Dream Wife visuals actually – we’re playing around with femininity by using pastel colours.
We love Dream Wife’s purposefully pastel aesthetic - what’s the thinking behind it?
B: We’re showing that we can find strength in the feminine – because the stereotypical association is that feminine traits are seen as weak.
R: We’re turning it into empowerment…wearing frilly socks with ‘Waste Of Time’ for me is so full of teenage angst. Taking feminine styles and using them in a rebellious and fun way - I love that juxtaposition. That’s why we like what Lazy Oaf is doing too!
B: You can be angry and powerful as a woman without having to adopt any masculine stylistic choices. There are definitely parallels between this aesthetic decision and our music and the way we perform.
R: It’s fun to play with people’s minds, with what they’re expecting to see. There are so many different layers to femininity and being a woman.
Here at Lazy Oaf, we’re suckers for a good slogan. What would Dream Wife’s slogan or life motto be?
B: Well our motto in this house is ‘No Drama’ (it says that on the bathroom door). But I think for Dream Wife it would be about going for something, because what’s stopping you? We tried this and it really worked and has become something none of us thought it was going to be…
R: At the start of summer we got signed to a label called Lucky Number and they said we could start writing our debut. We were like ‘well let’s do it then!’ and came back 2 ½ months later and had 12 songs already.
B: I guess we’re just doing it.