Saturday, June 25, 2022

Remi Wolf: “I was an adult gamer when I was in eighth grade”

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A Remi Wolf’s gig is a high octane event. The US singer whirls around on stage, throwing a whirl of bright colors and curly hair. The audience licks it off. “It’s usually just a big house party,” she tells me over a video call from her San Francisco hotel room. “I get people to dance and scream and really get on their feet and cheer.” The shows embody Wolf’s personality: confident and energetic, but always in control. “I want to be in complete control of my own career,” agrees the 26-year-old, adding that she’s glad she has the skills to support them. “If I didn’t, I don’t know where the hell I would be now. Probably in a ditch.”

Wolf’s music is rainbow-colored and trippy, with hyper-pop elements woven into it. Even the titles are fun: there were the dog EPs You’re a dog (2019) and I’m allergic to dogs (2020), followed by a remix record We love dogs in 2021. That same year, Wolf (no, it’s not a stage name) also released her debut studio album, Juno, and a deluxe version released this month. Her lyrics are a jumble of words peppered with expletives: “You got an ice cream cone on your leg motherf***er/ I got two fish kissing on my cl*t motherf***er,” she continues to rap. liquor store”.

Her love of video games and nostalgic children’s TV shows also comes into play on songs like “Quiet On Set.” “I was an adult gamer when I was in eighth grade,” she says. She is the eldest of four siblings, so the children’s shows continued her life at home well into her teens. She juxtaposes this with her exploration of more adult themes like heartbreak and addiction. On “Sexy Villain” she picks up the “crazy ex” trope and sings: “He’s a keeper, big believer/ Long as he’t check the Freezer.”

This chaotic sound has already caught the eye of the likes of Lorde and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, both of whom have invited Wolf to join them on tour this year. She has a song named after Chilis singer Anthony Kiedis; Unsurprisingly, he’s a fan. “I just can’t imagine how that even happened,” she says. “They’re one of my favorite bands of all time and they play in Florence… It’s just a beautiful bunch of pasta.”

Half-Italian herself, Wolf feels connected to the country despite growing up in Palo Alto, California. Her parents are retired athletes, and Wolf started skiing when she was seven, giving her an unconventional childhood that prepared her for touring life. She spent the next 10 years competing for the USA, but by the time she was 17 her love of music had begun to drown out her sporting ambitions. She hung up her skis and picked up the guitar instead. “[Now] I’m like, ‘Oh, OK, why don’t I try to integrate? [the two].’ And I’m figuring out how to do it,” she says. “But yeah, it’s so bizarre. I can’t believe it was me.”

Shortly after she left the slopes, Wolf’s teacher suggested she give it a try american idol. It was a mercifully brief stint in the gory world of reality television; Clips on YouTube show a young wolf singing Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” at her first audition. She considers it a blessing that she didn’t survive the first few rounds. “If I had done that, I wouldn’t have been here,” she says. “They just throw you straight into the industry, you have no ability to become yourself. I’m so, so happy I didn’t make it…I mean, I barely got aired once.”

It wasn’t until Wolf began studying music in college that she was able to develop her own unique sound. At the same time she tried – apparently a bit too much – for the first time with alcohol. 2021, she said The guard that she got sober during lockdown because she “would eventually die or not work”. She wants to talk less about it now and simply refers to this phase of her recovery as a “journey.”

It’s understandable that Wolf would want to keep some things to himself during this time of overexposure. She’s comfortable on social media, although just last week she told fans a hit TikTok video was bombed by trolls who called her “fat.” Pressure is also coming from industry. In the last month, artists like Charli XCX, Halsey, and FKA Twigs have complained that their labels are pushing them to create content for TikTok. Wolf — who went viral on the video-sharing platform thanks to their 2020 collaboration Photo ID euphoria Star Dominic Fike – Says that’s not her goal.

“I can’t imagine it like that,” she says. “Once you get into that spiral, your process is ruined and no longer authentic.” I ask Wolf if she sees social media as part of her job or as the real person. She pauses. “No one has ever asked me that question,” she says. “It’s definitely a bit of both. Even before I had this job, I was such a Tumblr kid.” She says she’s “all herself” online: “There’s no front, there’s no cops *** going around. All I can do is just be me. Like really, that’s honestly all I can do.

Juno (Deluxe) is available now

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