Dream Wife on their “unapologetic” new single ‘Leech’: “I’ve had it with being polite”

Dream Wife have returned with their “unapologetic” new single ‘Leech’. Check it out below, alongside our interview with the band.

‘Leech’ is the first piece of new music Dream Wife have shared since the release of 2020’s second album ‘So When You Gonna…’. Speaking to NME, vocalist Rakel Mjöll said it is “definitely kickstarting a new era” for the trio.

  • READ MORE: Dream Wife – ‘So When You Gonna…’ review: the swagger of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the sneer of riot grrrl

“It was really important that ‘Leech’ was the first song we shared because it’s such a heavy statement,” she explained. “The lyrics are incredibly truthful and personal. It’s a collective shared experience between the three of us, as we look backward as well as forwards.”


A press release explains how Dream Wife “wanted to write something that feels like letting an animal out of a cage” with ‘Leech’. “It’s an anthem for empathy,” the statement from the band continued. “For solidarity. Musically tense and withheld, erupting to angry, cathartic crescendos.” They added that the “push and pull” of the track “calls out the double standards of power”, noting that “nobody really wins in a patriarchal society – we all lose”.

“When we write, it’s very intuitive,” guitarist Alice Go told NME. “The anger that the lyrics encapsulate, we all felt that, and we channelled those feelings into the song. The contrast and tension in the song come from us simmering on things, then letting it out.”

Mjöll added: “The lyrics were all written in one go. It’s one of those songs where it’s been sitting inside of you for a while and everything then just comes pouring out. There’s a lot of anger in that song, but it also champions the idea of being empathetic towards each other and yourself.

“It’s about allowing yourself to feel anger, feel solidarity and feel giddiness. The song goes through such a range of emotions – it was never going to be bubblegum pop. It’s an honest and raw rock banger.”

‘Leech’ poured out during the first wave of post-pandemic festivals Dream Wife played last year, with the band inspired by “the excitement of the scene starting up again and being around the beautiful community atmosphere that is a music festival”.


“As a live band, there was a real euphoria that came from coming back to festivals again,” Go said. “It reminded us that this is what we do, and we were suddenly able to reconnect with people after such a long time away. It gave us context again. We’d been missing that for so long.”

With their “swaggering” second album – as NME described it – released at the start of the pandemic, Go said it “definitely felt important to re-establish” the band and to “come back with an unapologetic heavy-hitter”. “We’re going back to what this band is about, which is those primal elements,” the guitarist – who also produced the track – explained. “This track is about doing the live show proud but elevating it as well.

“There’s a confidence to how we’re manifesting our music now. It’s something that had to come from within rather than externally. It took being away from the live scene for us to realise that that’s what it’s all about for us. It’s a moment of return on a lot of levels for us, but it really does feel like a new era.”

“The song is about community,” Mjöll continued. “It’s about taking care of that community and looking inwards.”

Fuck those who call themselves a friend and don’t lift a finger,” she sings towards the end of the song. “If we’re not upholding our community, if we’re not showing up for community, then who are we?” the singer said of that line. “We’re not here to point fingers either. It’s shared healing. It’s empathy.”

Dream Wife Rakel Mjöll Bella Podpadec
Dream Wife’s Rakel Mjöll and Bella Podpadec at Wide Awake 2022 CREDIT: Lorne Thomson/Redferns

‘Leech’ takes influence from PJ Harvey’s 1993 album ‘Rid Of Me’ as well as the work of punk poet Patti Smith. “The lyrics had been written for ‘Leech’, but we didn’t know how to really emphasise their power,” Mjöll told NME. Then it turned out all three of us were separately listening to ‘Rid Of Me’ when the track was being formulated. That whole album is very raw. PJ Harvey’s music never takes over the words, but the words never take over the music either. It always has this beautiful balance, and that’s what we wanted for ‘Leech’.”

According to the band, ‘Leech’ feels “different” to other Dream Wife songs, and it certainly doesn’t pull its punches with lyrics like, “Do you use and abuse your power to the young women that listen to what you say?”. Still, the band have no nerves about sharing it. “I think it’s so exciting. It’s true, it’s raw, and it’s rock,” explained Mjöll. “I’ve had it with being polite.”

She continued: “You have to be excited about what you do and also a little bit timid. That’s when you know it’s a good song. I remember I was definitely timid when we released ‘Somebody’ just because of the lyrical content, but that song has given us so much in return.” ‘Leech’ is something of a spiritual follow-up to ‘Somebody’, as the band take their own personal experiences to create a “call for solidarity”.

The band can’t say anything yet about a possible third album, but they’re “really excited” about what happens next. “Vague, ambiguous, exciting things to come,” promised Go.

Earlier this year, Dream Wife supported The Rolling Stones at Hyde Park, which the guitarist described as being “quite surreal”. “I’m still in awe,” added Mjöll. “They played for two-and-a-half hours and were doing high-kicks for most of that. I was amazed by the energy. It was almost superhuman – we need to step up our game!”

When Dream Wife first came onto the scene, there was a real lack of female, queer and non-binary voices in rock and the industry surrounding it at the time. When their second album ‘So When You Gonna…’ charted, it was the only album in the UK Top 20 produced solely by a female-identifying person, producer Marta Salogni.

Now, acts like Witch Fever, Cassyette, Crawlers and Nova Twins are all breaking through. “There’s more of a platform for artists who aren’t necessarily part of a major label to have a voice and say what they want to say without that being filtered,” Mjöll said. “Nova Twins started around the same time as us, but they’re finally getting the attention they deserve. Their place on the Mercury shortlist was such a cool, impactful thing.”

“It is amazing to see other artists openly talking about what it is to be a woman or a non-binary person in music,” Go added. “It’s amazing that that conversation can be elevated and continued.”

“Community is everything,” continued Mjöll. “If you’re doing this alone, how incredibly boring would that be?”

Dream Wife’s ‘Leech’ is out now via Lucky Number. The band will play a one-off gig at London’s Peckham Audio on November 25 – find tickets here. 

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