In conversation with Dream Wife
Only a few hours before Rakel (vocals), Alice (guitar) and Bella (bass)- otherwise known as Dream Wife- took to the stage for their sold out Nottingham show at Rescue Rooms, I joined them upstairs in the Red Room along with a few other fans, their brilliant support Queen Zee, and Alice’s grandma for what was officially called their ‘pre show panel discussion’. What followed was less of a conference and more like a sleepover with your mates; sitting cross legged on rugs on the floor, local support Anatomy’s rather loud sound check didn’t stop us chatting about ourselves, music, and the problems with the patriarchy. Well, maybe not exactly like your typical childhood sleepovers.
The Wives kicked off the proceedings by asking us all to introduce ourselves and say a bit about our connection to music to give them, in Alice’s words, “a sense of the community of music in Nottingham and what we can learn from that”. One person there who knows the emerging music scene in Notts probably better than most was Maddy- she’s in charge of booking gigs just down the road at The Bodega, and pointed out that although there’s no discrimination regarding who gets booked, there currently seems to be an unfortunate lack of local female or non-binary bands (with the notable exception of Babe Punch, who come highly recommended). As something which is not necessarily exclusive to Notts, Dream Wife are doing their best to uncover new talent throughout the country; prior to this UK tour, they held an open call via their social media asking for local female or non-binary fronted bands to support them on that leg of the tour. Given the overwhelming response (433 submissions in 1 week) it’s like Alice says: “It’s not as if these bands don’t exist. There’s just a disconnect between the people booking the shows and the people making music.”. Both Dream Wife and Queen Zee agreed that one of the things they didn’t realise starting out was the importance of gig promoters, which was especially a bit of a culture shock for Rakel since there’s not really the concept of a middle man between the band and the venue in her native Reykjavik, Iceland. The best advice they could give to new artists trying to negotiate the music business is simply having the confidence to put themselves out there- essentially, emulate that ‘fake it till you make it’ attitude.
As the discussion continued we turned to Alice’s grandma (aka Mamar) for an insight into how music has changed over generations, both in terms of how it’s produced and how we consume it. For her growing up, the concept of artists travelling round the country touring would have seemed far-fetched, as would that of regularly going to gigs. Only a couple of generations ago, live music was generally reserved for huge venues such as theatres, entirely lacking in intimacy, whereas now it’s the very opposite- thanks to technology and the wonders of Instagram, we can “utilise the world’s over-connection to make real moments [such as this meeting] still happen.”.
All too soon we had to wrap the conversation up as Anatomy were ready to kick things off downstairs, but I was able to chat a little longer with Rakel before heading down to watch. Life on tour seems to be treating them well- they’ve just come back from the US leg and are off to Europe next, and the trio are on a mission to ensure their gigs are safe spaces wherever they go; when I mentioned the work done to prevent groping at gigs by Girls Against, Rakel’s eyes lit up as she enthusiastically responded that they’re already working together. The genuine interest the girls show in chatting to and bringing together like-minded people in music made this experience far more than your standard meet-and-greet; Dream Wife have started the conversation through their own empowering message, and it’s clear that by hosting these talks and building these communities, that conversation will only get louder.
Photo credit: @slb_photo