The real band Dream Wife — a name taken from a '50s film starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr — began as fake band in an art school project that was a This Is Spinal Tap-esque mockumentary. The project was created as a way for Rakel Mjoll to explore femininity and its tropes within pop music. Along with Isabella Podpadec and Alice Go, the trio put together the "fictional" Dream Wife, entered a film competition and won. The prize was performing at a Canadian Music Festival, after which they found themselves touring around that country. And so the art project Dream Wife became the real Dream Wife, creating songs dealing with femininity that look to subvert assumptions within the subject.
The trio wrote to tell me that they "wanted to make something direct and simple. The song 'Somebody' is a ballad about the experience of living with a female body ... we focused on capturing a truthful performance that was both elegant and stripped back.
"We drew inspiration from the male-dominated iconography of '70s glam rock, a time where men were able to explore their femininity. With the video, we are playing off this subversion with our own exploration of contemporary femininity."
The video was produced and shot by John Podpadec — you may remember that name from the first paragraph of this article. John recalls being asked to shoot the video by his daughter, Dream Wife's bassist.
"When my daughter Isabella asked if I'd be interested in shooting Dream Wife's new promo for 'Somebody' I didn't know how to respond," he said. "Surely they had someone in London who could do this — they're part of such a great creative collective. Although I'd worked as a photographer around the Bristol music scene in the mid-'80s, I'd never really involved myself with pop videos. I did shoot one promo for the Blue Aeroplanes – 'Jacket Hangs' — but I then went off to work for 30 years as a lighting cameraperson on broadcast documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4.
"They pointed me at David Bowie's 'Heroes' and some other videos. They wanted something clean and simple but with the ability to carry a strong message. What I really like about the film is that it's got attitude and makes its point, but also captures the energy of Dream Wife's stage performance."
I heard a number of people talking about this band and their stage presence at SXSW just recently. I saw a show of theirs there and, though I think in order to do their talents justice some further development may lie ahead, Dream Wife is a band worth watching — and their message deserves to be heard.