Releasing an album during an ongoing pandemic isn’t ideal. You can’t tour, record shops are closed, and it’s hard to promote the album when you’re limited to the Internet and live streaming. But pop-punk trio Dream Wife has never been conventional, and they know music’s healing powers are exactly what anxious listeners need right now. Thankfully, their highly anticipated sophomore album, So When You Gonna… is still arriving on July 3 for your listening pleasure, and we got the scoop from the band’s bassist and vocalist, Bella Podpadec.
“I think music has always been such an important tool for connection during times of dislocation and isolation,” Podpadec shares. “I think it feels important to be able to give that as almost as an offering.”
Dream Wife might be a band formed of women — consisting of lead vocalist Rakel Mjöll and guitarist and vocalist Alice Go in addition to Podpadec — but they aren’t your typical ‘girl band.’ They’re here to smash the patriarchy, one punchy, empowering punk anthem at a time. Creating spunky and infectious tunes that uplift women and non-binaries, the London-based band has always been outspoken about the gender divide and political issues, and So When You Gonna… is no different.
“[It’s] important to shine lights in dark places because so many people experience these things”
“I want everyone to feel so empowered with their own unique spark,” Podpadec bashfully admits, realizing the cheesiness in the statement. On the upcoming record, there are plenty of vibrant and adrenaline-filled tunes like ‘Hasta La Vista’ and the self-titled track, but there are also softer, more emotive songs. Including sensitive subjects like abortion and miscarriage through tender tracks like ‘Temporary’ and ‘After The Rain’ was “definitely an emotional process,” but they felt it was necessary to include these complex and deeply personal narratives.
A foundation of trust and curating safe space was essential for the band to dive into their feelings. “It’s important to talk about these things and important to shine lights in dark places because so many people experience these things,” she shares. “This kind of culture of silence and shame over those experiences is really damaging.”
Intimate and societally-declared taboo topics are weaved throughout the zappy 80’s-esque album, taking inspiration from Robyn’s “sad dance music” and Prince. There’s plenty of disco influence and bubbly synths, but Dream Wife still stays rooted in their loud-and-proud politically-correct punk sound. “I think we’ve always had a very much kind of pop foundation, [but] really also love the kind of chaos and the wildness of rock, punk stuff.”
“Make [listeners] laugh before you can make them cry.”
The real beauty of Dream Wife’s music isn’t just their energetic and anthemic sound that sends a current through your veins, but their ability to dive fearlessly into difficult subjects whilst embedding humour and cheekiness in their lyrics. The trio doesn’t take themselves too seriously and follow the advice of Mjöll’s grandmother to “make [listeners] laugh before you can make them cry.” Taking this to heart, So When You Gonna… is filled with satire. ‘Sports!,’ a single off the upcoming album, is a playful and colourful track that jokes about “dropping balls” whilst encouraging people to let off steam and energy. As Podpadec explains, “You register an emotional connection with someone through humor and then after that you can really go deeper with someone.”
So When You Gonna… has become the band’s motto. It’s not only the name of the album, but also the newly released self-titled track and their podcast. “It’s very much an invitation,” Podpadec states. In the context of the song, it’s “kind of the moment when you’re figuring out whether you’re gonna get off with someone that you really fancy,” equating it to a dare or a challenge. More than anything, it’s “an active space to pursue your desires and pursue what feels right.”
For the band, that means trying new things and continually uplifting other women. The new record was produced by an entirely female recording team, which is a big win for women since less than 5 percent of records were produced by women last year. But they didn’t stop there. The trio ventured into podcasting, hosting intimate one-on-one conversations with women and non-binaries who inspire them, exploring a range of topics from songwriting to coding through the lens of intersectionality and creativity. “The hope is, by holding a conversation with someone that is doing something like photography, or witchcraft or music, that it will encourage people to do that thing that they’ve always been meaning to do.”
Dream Wife’s music lends itself to getting people off their feet, whether it’s to dance, get politically involved, or start a riot. Take a cue from the coolest girls in pop punk and “put your money where your mouth is” and ask yourself: so when you gonna?
Dream Wife’s So When You Gonna… Is released on Friday 3rd July via Lucky Number and is available to pre-order now.