Our American writer, Andrew, recently interviewed Dream Wife during their first headline tour in America. The band are back on home soil and have begun their UK tour which started in Cardiff at Swn Festival on Saturday.
You’ve been touring relentlessly since the release of your debut album, and with the exception of a few headline shows, playing Lollapalooza, and your time supporting the Kills; this is your first ever headline tour here in the US. How’s the tour been so far?
Rakel: Yeah this our third date on this tour and things have been great so far. New York is always special. I think it’s the third time this year we’ve been able to headline a show in New York.
Bella: We’ve also had a lot of technical issues before or really difficult soundchecks but just the energy of the people have really helped us out and we’ve ended up having really awesome shows.
It’s great to have you here in DC, from a personal view, you’ve been apart of the important soundtrack behind the Me Too movement. I feel like my generation can fully fathom what it must have felt like to be a part of the riot grrl movement thanks to bands like yourselves.
One band that would certainly be on that soundtrack would be Garbage. What was it like to support them for two nights at Brixton Academy?
Alice: It was an absolute honour to tour with them.
Rakel: Yeah we did like over a week with them and played a few shows in Europe as well. They brought it every night. Like you didn’t even notice that they played two hours shows. They’re so great live and so talented.
Alice: Just super supportive you know? They made us feel like they really wanted us there and yeah it was such an amazing feeling.
And of course with Shirley Manson being an absolute hero.
Rakel: Absolutely, I mean with everything she’s done in the 90s, she still doing it today. They’re so relevant. Focusing on mental health issues, talking about being forced into eating disorders in the 90s by her own label, being a woman in music, and being equals. It’s really beautiful how she speaks about the relationship between the band members, the music they’re making, and their fans.
Bella: Their sincerity as well. You know that they really mean it.
Have you had any other bands or artists you’ve admired contact you about liking your tunes?
Alice: Over the last year, we’ve been able to play with some of our heroes. We’ve played a few shows with Sleigh Bells, The Cribs, The Kills, Garbage, etc. I mean it’s so hard to say how that feels because I think we’ve all learned so much from them. Like how Sleigh Bells respect their bodies like athletes almost so that they can be able to perform and bring it at every show. That’s definitely the way we wanna tour. It’s still a learning curve having to tour so much. We wanna be healthy and do it right every night.
Rakel: It’s also so great to be able to tour with bands you’ve admired from when you are a teenager and get to know them as human beings. We’ve had a really funny and surreal moment with Ryan Jarman of the Cribs. Alice was saying to the crowd how she first learned how to play the guitar by playing Cribs tunes. Then he poked his head behind the curtain screaming, “She’s way better than me now! It’s true.”
Alice: Yeah like you can’t even process that. It’s already been an amazing journey to learn as much as possible from our heroes. Now it’s just using all of that knowledge for our own shows.
Are there any up and coming bands who inspire you?
Rakel: Loads! We are taking Queen Zee & the Sasstones us on our UK tour.
Alice: They have this queer art/genderfuck rawness. Kinda have Placebo ’96 vibes. They’re live shows blow you away. Nova Twins are another incredible band. Like unapologetic Afropunk. They just know how to stomp it live.
Rakel: It’s such a powerful way to look at Rock music as well. Just something so unique and they have amazing beats. There are loads of great bands coming out of London right now like Shame and Girli.
What other plans do you guys have for 2018? You guys tour nonstop. Do you have any free time to just chill?
Rakel: Yeah our last show is on December 1st and I think we would have finished about 160 shows for this year. After this US tour, we’ll be going back for a headline tour in the UK with some European dates.
Bringing it back to how you all started Dream Wife, what were your initial impressions of each other at University?
Rakel: Yeah we all met in art college in Brighton.
Alice: Well Bella and I first met when we were 16 in some battle of the bands in a small village in Somerset. Then we moved to Brighton to study art. How did you guys meet?
Rakel: Yeah Bella and I were living together randomly.
Bella: Yeah with people we didn’t know. We really didn’t speak much at first.
Rakel: Now we talk all the time.
Did you have any odd jobs or things you hated about university at the time?
Rakel: Alice, you had a very odd job didn’t you?
Alice: HAHA, yeah I had this job where I had to collect information about airports around the world. I was working for a man I’d never met and we only corresponded through phone calls. He’d just send money directly to my account every month. I had to just send him spreadsheets full of information and slowly over the course of my job which lasted 2 years, I had collected information about every airport from around the world…
(stunned and awkward pause)
Dream Wife: hahahahahah
Alice: Yeah from under my bed in Brighton. It was weird. It was so weird.
Bella: I was a chambermaid making beds at Holiday Inn.
Rakel: I’d go back to Iceland every summer break so I would work as a receptionist at a hotel for like 3 years.
Was there a kind of seminal moment where you all kind of looked at each other and acknowledged yourselves as a band?
Rakel: Well Uni was really chill. Such easy days. Uni closed for us at 8pm and you’d never really have homework. We basically became a band going out on Monday nights because there was nothing to do. Bella and I were really serious about wanting to tour Canada as a band. We called Alice the next day. This band was basically made as an excuse to go on a fun road trip around Canada. And we did that with 4 songs that were like 10 minutes each to fill the set.
Alice: Haha yeah we didn’t have a drummer. We used loops and it was kinda Le Tigre feels in a sense.
Bella: Yeah no one really believed we were gonna do it.
Did you have any episodes at Uni where you felt kinda unsure about your career path? Do you have any advice for kids at university who are still trying to find out themselves?
Bella: Oh yeah we did this as a reaction against art school to do something different.
Alice: Art school’s like that all the time.
Rakel: They kinda give you a narrow path in art school.
Alice: It’s pretty unrealistic in a sense to actually be an artist. I think it’s more of a discipline. It’s definitely a gift though because it makes you question things and do things on your own terms. Any advice? Definitely enjoy it.
Rakel: Just enjoy the gift of university because it’s a gift you give yourself. Don’t work so hard or make a monster out of it.
Bella: Yeah, the institution isn’t necessarily right about everything.
Many thanks to Dream Wife for the opportunity. Catch Dream Wife’s final UK dates for 2018. Tickets available at https://dreamwife.co/
SAT 20 OCTOBER
SWN Festival 2018 Cardiff, UK
MON 22 OCTOBER
SWG3 Glasgow, UK
WED 24 OCTOBER
Rescue Rooms Nottingham, UK
THU 25 OCTOBER
The Wardrobe Leeds, UK
FRI 26 OCTOBER
Manchester Gorilla Manchester, UK
SAT 27 OCTOBER
Central Library Coventry, UK
MON 29 OCTOBER
Wedgewood Rooms Southsea, UK
TUE 30 OCTOBER
Concorde 2 Brighton, UK
WED 31 OCTOBER
KOKO London, UK