September 11, 2017

On Location in Iceland With Dream Wife

Rakel Mjöll, Alice Go and Bella Podpadec are a dynamic trio that make up the band Dream Wife. They met while studying art at the University of Brighton, and originally founded the band as a performance piece for a gallery exhibition. That first “show” went so well they decided to keep writing music and playing together. Now, their garage-goes-pop sound and kooky aesthetic have taken them everywhere from gigs at SXSW and Iceland Airwaves to touring with bands like The Kills. The one thing that hasn’t changed? Their friendship, and sense of adventure: they recently spent an entire day traveling around a remote Icelandic peninsula and shooting instants. We caught up with them shortly thereafter.

You’re currently based in London but all come from different places. How did you get together as a band?

True. Two of us are from the West Country and already knew each other, and one of us is from Iceland. While studying art at university in Brighton, and following a strange series of events, we came together as a band. We formed Dream Wife for a gallery piece about the band, and toured around Canada before ever playing a proper show in England. It was almost like a test drive. The unity we formed together on the road was special, it felt organic to play together, write together, experience ridiculous things together. A few months later we were reminiscing about our magical summer and decided to make a few more songs, play a London show, and do more DIY tours around parts of Europe. Then we released our first EP last year. Since then, it’s been snowballing. We’ve played so many amazing places, met great people, assembled the best team and are now in the midst of finishing our debut album.

Tell us why you chose the name Dream Wife? Has it any connection to the 1953 Hollywood romantic comedy?

We actually haven’t seen that film. Got pretty bad reviews, apparently! We saw the name Dream Wife as word play. In many ways, it is a commentary on the objectification of women; the 1950s American Dream stereotype package. Having the dream house, the dream car and the dream wife. We want to flip the script on that. Women aren’t objects; we don’t just fit into one mold. At the start, we joked around calling each other our wives, but by supporting one another, celebrating achievements together and finding strength in female solidarity we’re reclaiming the concept of a ‘wife’. Being in a band is a marriage in itself.

How your different musical paths cross to influence the sound of Dream Wife?

All of us grew up listening to what was around us, what our parents were listening to when we were kids. And luckily they had good taste. Blondie, New Order, David Bowie, Prince, Madonna, Talking Heads, along with rock music from the ’70s. We had been in our own different bands since we were teens, so being in bands wasn’t anything new to us. But us three coming together seems to be some special formula; we’re genuinely so excited about this and the music that we have made so far. 

Tell us more about the location of this photoshoot? Do you have any special memories here?

Iceland! The exact location is the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in the west of the island. We’ve played at Iceland Airwaves before and been to the country a few times so it’s special to all of us. For the shoot we drove around the peninsula and filmed at these stunning spots. Not many people were around even though it was summer.

Have you ever used a Polaroid camera yourselves before?

Yes! We played SXSW in Texas a few month ago and took lots of Polaroid pictures. It made the memories really special. For our Iceland shoot our photographer used a Polaroid 600 Impulse camera.

How do you see today’s pop scene and culture? What inspires you most about it?

First off, POP MUSIC IS REALLY REALLY FUN. We definitely embrace and celebrate pop music as Dream Wife. It feels like right now there is a real influx of exciting and fresh pop in both a mainstream and more indie sense. From Beyoncé to the spaced-out pop of more DIY acts like Joey Four, pop is very much live, kicking and taking many forms right now; it’s all very inspiring. 

You’ve been touring a lot this year, can you share some of the best moments of your tour with us?

Playing in the US for the first time was a stepping stone, and Texas of all places. The crowds were wonderful and Austin people were just brilliant. We also joined The Kills on tour up the West Coast afterwards. Driving on all the highways, staying in motels and hearing the crowd react were the highlight. Having a tour manager that can read you and your limits is really powerful. We also maintain a positive vibe as a group. We’re thankful for the every night and all the work everyone puts into it, and are generally grateful and excited to get to play a rock show. Also we still shriek when we see a beautiful rider in our room, especially if the promoter has put a few Club Mates in the mix. That will be forever in our hearts. 

It seems that there is a really strong bond of friendship between the three of you. What does friendship mean to you in this digital age?

Friendship is a big deal, and in Dream Wife it is the core of our ethos. We collaborate largely with our friends, which always feels like an enriching and special thing. In the digital age, the concept of what friendship can be no longer needs to concern the physical; friendship can transcend the boundaries of space, online. Social media allows audiences to engage directly with a band. When we’re touring we can still connect to our friends and fans and let them know how our adventure is going. It feels empowering to create this accessible and engaging output and have a conversation with people. Dream Wife could only exist as it does now, in this age.

What can we expect next from you all in 2018?

We’re in the midst of finishing our debut album and really want want the world to hear it! So let’s see. New adventures in uncharted terrain and hopefully some new friends and special moments. 

Polaroid photographs shot by IG: @glashier