The age of creepy pop punk guys harassing underage girls is over. Let the era of strong pop punk women commence.
U.K. pop punk trio Dream Wife is taking over the music scene on their own terms. They dress how they want, in outfits ranging from girly crop tops and fuzzy sweaters to ripped up fishnets and chained miniskirts. They don’t let society tell them how they should act as “proper women.”
“[The band name is] playing with expectations of the concept of a ‘dream wife,’ as a comment on the objectification of women—that a wife is seen as a prize or a fantasy,” Bella Podpadec tells BTRtoday. “But also, if you go further back and look at the etymology of the word ‘wife’ it used to just mean ‘woman’ and somehow has evolved to have implications of ownership.”
Their music is fast and catchy with lots of distortion and fuzz pedals. The vocals are gentle but it’s clear who’s in charge. Many of the lyrics are empowering, standing up for womankind. Lyrics like, “I am not my body; I’m somebody,” as a female makes your blood boil and gets you thinking, “yes, exactly,” while you scream along.
Any girl who has felt belittled, patronized, abused or brought down by the demands of this unfair society should listen to Dream Wife—they’ve created the perfect songs to get even the most defeated woman back on her feet.
Their debut album, which comes out January 26, includes themes of relationships, sexuality, youth and feminism. “It’s our first, our baby,” Podpadec says. “We’ve been working on it over the last year and are super excited for it to be unleashed into the world.”
Read the entire interview with Dream Wife’s Bella Podpadec below.
BTRtoday (BTR): Why the name Dream Wife?
Bella Podpadec (BP): We settled on the name Dream Wife pretty quickly. It can be read in a number of ways; partly it’s to do with playing with expectations of the concept of a “dream wife,” as a comment on the objectification of women—that a wife is seen as a prize or a fantasy. But also, if you go further back and look at the etymology of the word “wife” it used to just mean “woman” and somehow has evolved to have implications of ownership. On another level, being in a band is in many ways comparable to a marriage; we’re each other’s wives and we’re chasing our dreams.
BTR: How did you all meet and come to form Dream Wife?
Bella Podpadec (BP): The band was formed when we were all studying art at The University of Brighton. Alice and I are from the West Country and met at mid Somerset Battle of the Bands. Rakel is from Iceland. We met whilst in Brighton and due to a strange series of events we came to form this band. The band began as an art project, meditating on dreaming big and being a woman. We made a gallery piece about the band and did a D.I.Y. tour around Canada. The band was supposed to finish then, but we just couldn’t stop… It was almost like a test drive, to see if we like the car (the car is Dream Wife) and we’re still going pedal to the metal.
BTR: Who are some of your inspirations lyrically, musically, and aesthetically?
Bella Podpadec (BP): We all have different tastes and backgrounds (along with plenty of crossovers). Inspiration comes from the music we grew up with; David Bowie, Blondie, The Strokes, The Pixies, Madonna etc.
But just as much as the icons, we’re inspired by the people we get to collaborate with and what our friends and peers are making; be that the sharp, aestheticism of Polyester Zine, or Aidan Zamiri’s film and set design, or photographers like Meg Lavender (who joined us on tour to document The Bad Bitch Club), Joanna Kiely, or Francesca Allen, to stylists like Paolina Alexandra Russo, or activists like Lu Williams (Gurrl) or Charlie Craggs (Nail Transphobia). It’s a really exciting time to be making stuff.
BTR: How did you get into writing music?
Bella Podpadec (BP): Although we started this band at art school we’ve all been in bands and making music for a long time. Alice is self-taught and used to rip it up big time in angsty punk bands. Rakel started dreaming up compositions for singing competitions from a young age and has been involved in lots of different projects. I’d never played bass before Dream Wife, but dabbled with other instruments in a teen band.
BTR: Tell me about this debut album coming out in January–what are some themes found in it?
Bella Podpadec (BP): It’s our first, our baby. We’ve been working on it over the last year and are super excited for it to be unleashed into the world. Some themes would be expectations and what happens when the rules of those expectations are bent; relationships with people, both sexual ones and friendship; youth and how transient it is; being a woman and taking autonomy over your mind and body.
BTR: Did you guys experiment with anything new for this album?
Bella Podpadec (BP): Some of it was recorded on tape. We recorded in an amazing old studio called Eastcot in London, which sadly has since closed down. It was really cool to see and use all of that old machinery it felt very special. A reel had 20 minutes of recording time so you’d only have 3 or 4 chances at each track, which was a new experience.
BTR: Do you have a favorite track?
Bella Podpadec (BP): That’s a tough one. Like asking a mother to choose their favorite child. We have a different relationship with each one of the songs and they’re all packed with different histories. We’ll give you an example though, let’s talk about “Somebody.” “Somebody” is a song about sexual assault/harassment and the challenges of women having ownership of their own bodies. It’s proven to be a very powerful part of our live shows, sharing experiences and pain and healing with so many other incredible women.
BTR: What should we keep an eye out for in the future of Dream Wife?
Bella Podpadec (BP): Just come see us live. Nothing beats a rock show.