Dream Wife are at the forefront of the future of punk/indie rock in the UK at the moment. While preparing for their anticipated tour that sees them stopping off in Norwich at the Epic Studios, I was able to chat on zoom with guitarist, Alice.
The band have caught the ear of some of the biggest publications in the music industry with Billboard claiming they are “one of the most exhilarating live rock bands to emerge within the last few years.” I asked Alice about how the band came to gain such a reputation for being an amazing live band: “It’s interesting because when we started out, we were in art school in Brighton and we didn’t have a drummer we had a loop station for the beats so it was Bella, Rakel and myself playing about. We went on tour in Canada with only about three songs so the performances became this playful space for all three of us as artists and musicians.
“A couple of years later we got our drummer, Alex, and it fell into place more as a live band. The performance side to our music has always been there for us and having Alex, as well as helping out the live side of things, has really helped our writing. Live music is our heart and soul!”
In many ways the band’s live performances are inseparable from their albums, as they often use shows to test out new material and develop their sound further: “On the first record that was primarily how the songs were kind of written. For a lot of these songs, we’d been playing them on the road for a year and a half on these DIY tours and the live shows really informed the arrangement of them. There’s something really exciting about that. We’re currently writing our third record and trying to reharness that again because we’ve missed live shows so much.
“I think with the second record obviously we worked with producer Marta Sologni [worked with Bjork, FKA Twigs] and we were in this safe and secure studio space. It was the first time for all of us as musicians that we could really explore sound in the studio in a way we never had before with Marta telling us to really go for it and experiment. It was also a bizarre moment in time where we were on the verge of touring the second record but it was actually released a few weeks before lockdown.”
Dream Wife are very focused on creating a safe space for women and trans/non binary people in the industry which they have consistently done throughout their career. The band have a Girls To The Front policy at their shows and have worked with organisations such as Girls Against and Girls Rock.
I asked Alice how important this was in such a male dominated industry: “When we toured the first record, we did the call out for tour support for trans and female acts and we’ve done it again for this tour and the responses have been overwhelming. There’s so much talent out there. It’s important to allow people to engage with you and share your platform with others that maybe felt that rock music wasn’t the space for them or even music wasn’t the space for them given whatever gender identity they have. In the way we choose to record and choose to perform, it’s important that we set the standard and do it on our terms in a way that’s supportive of the community.”
With the release of their sophomore album, Dream Wife created a podcast that explored the creative arts. I asked Alice about how this came about: “The podcast felt like an extension of the conversations we were having in the studio with Marta and other creatives at the time. I remember thinking, I wish I could have heard this when I was 16 and insecure so we decided to put these conversations out. If they could educate people and make them feel less alone, that’s a great thing! These conversations are always ticking away on the back burner, I’m sure we’ll do another podcast sometime in the future.”
At the time of the interview, the band were a week away from the start of their tour so I asked Alice how she was feeling ahead of returning to the tour life: “We’re starting off in Bristol! Bella and I are from Somerset so it’ll be a weird kind of homecoming show. It’s our first tour in quite a while although we’ve done the odd festival since lockdown so we’re feeling super excited. I don’t think we can believe it’s finally happening as it’s been rescheduled so many times! I think it will be quite euphoric playing songs from the second record live and some for the first time. We’re revisiting quite a few places so it will feel like meeting quite a few old friends.”
At this point, Alice turned the camera around to show me that she was sitting in the band’s practice room preparing for their first pre-production set ready for their tour. Given how Alice had mentioned the band were working on their third album, I asked if we could expect any teasers in the track list at any of their sets to which I received a playful laugh. “Maybe…it’s like what we were saying earlier, it’s super important to explore and understand what the tracks are like live so finally going on tour feels like the perfect place to maybe test a few of them out and see what the reactions are.”