The surfy grunge/pop band Dream Wife was formed by the Icelandic musician Rakel Mjöll and her school sisters Bella and Alice. ”It started out as an art project at our Art University in Brighton, with no intention of forming an actual band” said Rakel Mjöll. However, when they started booking gigs around England like a real girl band earlier this year, they decided to take it to the next level, and make the Dream Wife´s dream about touring in Canada come true.
Bast asked Dream Wife a few question about their crazy spontaneous Canada tour this summer…
Who are behind Dream Wife? How and why did you guys decide to come together and form a band? Dream Wife are two British girls Bella and Alice, and an Icelandic girl me, Rakel. I met the girls when we were all studying in an art university in Brighton, England. They just graduated from Fine Art sculpture and painting a few days ago but I have one year left studying Visual Art. The idea of the band was formed around an art project that we made early 2014 for a gallery exhibition in our University. DreamWife was a fake girl band that we’re stuck in the 90′s and dreamt of Canada. We made a few songs in one day, recorded them and made a documentary/mockumentary about the DreamWife inspired by ‘Spinal Tap’. We performed at the opening of the exhibition and it went well. Really well. After that performance we started getting booked for gigs around England and even a festival. So we were like ‘Alright, they think we’re a real band. Let’s make some more songs so we can actually play more than a 10min set!’ Somewhere in between this we went from being an art project into being a fully functional band. It just seemed perfectly natural to write songs and perform together. It’s special when that happens.
Why did you decide to call your band Dream Wife? Any specific meaning or story behind the name? Everyone we’ve met seem to really like that name. I think we got lucky. I was looking through old Hollywood films to find a name. DreamWife is an old black and white film starring Cary Grant. Saw the name, liked it, talked to the girls and we ended up having this huge discussion about the concept behind a dream wife. Does she exist ? Also about feminism, during the time of the film release (1940′s) and today. Does this idea still apply etc. It’s also a bit of a controversy calling your all girl band DreamWife. Sparks a conversation. Haven’t yet see the film though, not sure I will… It didn’t really get good ratings.
How would you best describe your sound and the inspiration behind it? We play surf pop with a grunge side. It’s partly inspired by bands of the 90′s and all this kind of stuff we listen to. Bella’s really into K-Pop after having lived in Korea. Maybe we’ll head into that direction. Maybe not. Probably not. We’ve only been a band since this spring. So our style is still evolving. It’s exciting, the more we play and write together the better it gets.
You toured in Canada this summer! How did you guys plan this tour and make it happen for yourself? We just finished a month long Canadian tour ending in Portland. The girls flew home to England and I’m kicking it in San Francisco at the moment. It started out as a joke to go and tour Canada, to finish the art piece we made. Then it became a reality. I’ve been in bands prior and frequently played Iceland Airwaves where I became friends with quite a lot of Canadian musicians. Patrick Watson even did a live set in my grandmothers house one year, that was fun. Last year my other band Halleluwah played at the M for Montrèal showcase at Airwaves, we were the only Icelandic band on that bill and met all these wonderful Canadian artists playing. So this spring I took up my contact list and made a few calls. With their help and others I ended up booking great venues, getting promoters and local bands to play with us…and then an unknown brand new girl band set off to tour Canada.
Where have you been so far? And how has the audience been? Most of the big cities in Canada. This trip succeed my expectations by far. We planned everything well, but the rest was up to faith. We ended up filling most of our venues, large and small. Working with amazing people and venues. Saw so many awesome Canadian girlbands too! Some of the promoters put girlbands on our bill, which was a nice surprise, we’re a rare breed. And… Hey they liked us! Canada liked us. Even sold all our t-shirts. We didn’t have any left when we arrived to Portland… But the show there was great too, just no T shirts.
Tell us about the best tour moment so far? We all fell head over heels in love with Montrèal. Our first show there was great. It was our first big venue on the tour, so I was stressed out about filling it. When the first band was playing their set, I peaked out and saw over a hundred people in the crowd and it kept filling up through out the night. It was magical and the best crowd! We even got offered to come back and play a festival in Montrèal next fall…
And the worst? Overall it was a pretty amazing experience. Thanks to our old and new friends. It’s all about karma. We talked about it though trying to find the worst. For me it was tasting Poutine the Canadian specialty. Trying to forget that memory. For Alice and Bella it was our friend’s cat called Charlie that would wake you up in the morning with scratches all over. Charlie was in heat… you never know what those cats are up to.
What would you say is the “musicians survival kit” while touring? We learned a lot because all the responsibility was in our hands, no manager or tour booker to blame. I put my faith in people and they came through. We became a part of each city we went to. Made so many friends and moments we won’t forget. And it was hard to leave each time. So I’d said, have silly dreams and do them. Be thankful and humble. And don’t be afraid to ask for help or advise. Be open to people, enjoy but be aware and remind yourself that everyday is an adventure. Thankful. And make more band t-shirts because they go fast…
The Dream Wives future plan? Record new songs! Play shows! Maybe change hair colors. Even get matching tattoos of a palm tree (I’m trying to convince the girls). Planning a european tour this fall. So let’s see what will happen.
Visit their Facebook page here
Photography: Katrin Braga
Styling: Deanna Palkowski