One of the often overlooked or less spoken about aspects of being in a band is being part of a community. Whether you are touring constantly or playing shows in clubs or DIY spots in your own city, the community that surrounds you, from the fans and other acts that you are able to perform with can become almost like a family. There’s a camaraderie present that is something unlike anything else. What people choose to do with that camaraderie is another thing. Rakel Mjöll, Alice Go, and Bella Podpadec of the pop punk outfit Dream Wife have chosen to help foster this camaraderie into a global community. The London, UK based band toured extensively on the strength of their wonderful self titled debut album and used their time on the road to help create a platform for female identifying and non binary people in the music industry. Now, with their upcoming sophomore release So When You Gonna…, which drops everywhere July 3rd, the band is continuing to use their platform to spread a message of inclusivity for these artists who may feel less optimistic about sharing their craft within their communities and beyond.ork in the morning and then not have to spend every single waking hour in the studio trying to get things finished. There was an ease to create trust. Trust in the group. You leave your ego at the doorstep and fortunately with our team, that was very easy to do that.”
This trust comes through on the album. So When You Gonna… is a masterclass in pop songwriting and performance. Dream Wife are able to take what they learned on the road and transfer the immediacy of their live show to tape. As Mjöll says much of the ability to do this was also just being able to be present, something she considers to be very important for the band. “It was important to stop,” she explains. “When you are always playing shows there are so many experiences being had all the time. Constantly meeting new people and seeing old friends for even these short amounts of time, it’s like fifteen minutes and you say you love them and oh, hug your baby for me,” she laughs. “We learned a lot and one of the best lessons of touring is how to learn to be present. There is so much involved, so much transportation of everything, the flying and driving and gear, all for this half an hour on stage and that is the whole point of it all. You learn how to really enjoy that time and the lesson in being present and mindful while you are there.”
Dream Wife were also very aware of many female identifying and non binary people don’t get the same opportunity as they have and with their touring, and now the new album, have made this a central thesis to how the band will use what they do to foster community elsewhere. Hearing Mjöll discuss what it was like to take the platform she was given and use it to raise others up is super inspiring. “Three percent of albums that were released last year were made with female identifying or non binary producers and as a band we had so many interesting conversations about this.” The band decided to take these conversations out of the van and into the venues and now online. They’ve started a podcast series also called So When You Gonna… that invites female identifying and non binary guests that they’ve worked with or been inspired by and discuss how they’ve made their way in the music industry in hopes to inspire others. “We really wanted to share those conversations we had been having,” she explains, “and it was super important to have Marta on that first episode and to share the conversations we had in the studio and what we’ve all learnt through our experiences.” Another big project the band undertook was allowing female identifying and non binary acts to submit to be the bands support for their UK, European, Canadian and US gigs. “On that last headline tour we did kind of an open call for our run of like 80 shows. We wanted to support bands that were made up of non binary and female identifying artists. It was quite a big project but so great. We did it with Girls Rock Camp and put it on our socials and in a week we got over 500 submissions,” she says with excitement. “We were even saying like make a band today. Call your best friends and apply. You don’t have to have a manager or a big following and we want to get to know you.” One of the more interesting aspects of this project for Mjöll though was one question on the application.
“What is the music scene like in your town?” she says was the interesting one. “With all the answers people were talking about how difficult it was, especially for women starting out to just play shows and how all the promoters in their city would just use the same guys that played music on bills and to open up for different bands. People want to play and in cases it was really hard for them to get their foot in the door.” Dream Wife decided because of this information that an important aspect of the project would be to invite these bands and other female identifying and non binary people who do or want to work in the industry to come down and talk before every show. “We did this meet up where we wanted female identifying people in the music industry and female audiences come down and chat. It was so inspiring,” she explains. “You only have a few hours in a city. You load in to the venue and then eat and meet people after the show and then you are out. To have this hour to have these conversations and see in real time friendships form was incredible. Giving a platform for people to speak about their experiences, these URL conversations turning into IRL conversations. We want to do it again, it was the best part about that tour. We just thought it was a good thing to do. For us to practice what we preach. This was a time to not just talk about it but to do something about it. Help bring people together and hopefully make local connections. Support your own scene.”
Dream Wife were supposed to start touring again to support this new record in the coming months but with everything on hold for shows and touring bands at the moment this has all clearly changed but Mjöll and the band are optimistic about everything coming back together for them to continue this process. “I think people aren’t going to take going to gigs for granted as much,” she says with a laugh, “Hopefully those loud people having fun blown conversations will think twice about doing that and instead just feel like ‘isn’t this amazing’. For us, the live show is the best. Nothing comes close to it. It is such a privilege to be able to do this and connect but also it’s great to have this time to be able to reflect and to write and to see your life in a different kind of routine. I’m going to have plants to water,” she chuckles,”but seriously just to live a life for awhile.” The road and their fans will still be there for this amazing trio of musicians when we get the green light to start again and in the meantime, the intensity, fun and messages within Dream Wife’s amazing So When You Gonna… should keep us all satiated.
interview by Adam Fink