We get all the gossip about ‘Michael’ and embrace the moment with the OG funk provocateur, Remi Wolf, at the All Points East 2022.
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Remi Wolf is a gem easy to spot from any distance. Any galaxy, to be honest. She’s always dripping in the rainbow, face painted for the gods, garms thrifted in other realms and quirky melodies following her like loyal pets everywhere she steps. Today was no exception. We met Remi backstage at the All Points East 2022 Festival, both of us pre-coffee but enthusiastic to embark on a fast-track trip through the golden cracks of her artistic persona and occasional, big bucks worthy, brain dumps.
Trust us, she’s a definition of a multitalented polymath. Before the music obsession took a strong grasp on her, as a kid growing up in Palo Alto, Remi has been alpine skiing and even represented the US at the Youth Olympic Games for two years in a row. Closing that chapter, she smoothly slid into the business of songwriting, starting out in a teenage band to then switching to more of a solo mission and appearing on American Idol in 2014. All followed by a mysterious disappearance from the show after getting served the real showbiz tea. Though, it doesn’t surprise us. Remi Wolf is too preciously quirky, simply fun and unhinged in the best possible way, to be tamed for the stiff restrictions of the industry.
A year ago, Remi Wolf introduced to us her first-born, a debut album Juno, named after her dog that multiplied silhouette features on the cover as a background. Everyone in the States and outside went absolutely bonkers for the record. They ate it all up, from sweet-sour harmonies of ‘Liquor Store’ to frenetic ‘Quiet on Set’ where she tries to decipher the awkwardness of adulthood. Getting to know the grown-up world too well, with a wit and vision, she has written her own pop rulebook. The only rule is to be unapologetically yourself. Doesn’t matter if when embodying a sexy villain, wild party animal or obsessed over a crush girl, it’s painfully relatable every single time. This year, Remi’s wicked hallucinogenic fantasy tries its best to charm us once again on a deluxe edition of Juno. The spell works wonders. Swaying to the alt-pop banging beats, we run to scream at the edge of the world that sometimes life’s a wonderful joke and there’s nothing wrong with that. Seriously.
To get a grasp of it all, we invite you to travel back in time to All Points East 2022 and our chat with Remi Wolf where the artist tells us all about supporting Red Hot Chilli Peppers and spontaneous hotel tattoos. Remi straight up proves why she’s the face of the future…
You’re about to go on stage in a few hours. Your performances are always high-energy and amazing, like a house party. Does a stage feel like home for you?
I’ve always felt that way but definitely recently. I mean, I’ve played probably like fucking almost 90 shows this year. I feel the most comfortable on stage than anywhere else right now.
You’ve been in a public eye for most of your life. Were you always confident to perform?
I’ve really been performing since I was in sixth grade when I started. I just built up my confidence really quickly. By the time I was 18, it was pretty locked in. But I’ve gotten a lot better at it over the past year. I think. I’ve never seen my own show. I can’t really say. I’ve just learned what works and what doesn’t work, and what gets the audience going and what gets me going, what makes me excited, which is normally what makes the audience excited. As long as I’m having fun on stage, everybody else will have fun. I just want it to be a group experience. I want it really to just take people out of their everyday stress and life. That’s my goal.
It’s also about embracing who you are in the moment.
Yeah, exactly. It’s so about the present. Today, I’m really, really tired. I got like three hours of sleep, so I don’t know. Maybe the show will have a little interesting flair today. We’ll see what happens.
Yeah, it’s always different. No day is the same and I love that. I literally love that about life.
That’s the best because even if you see one artist a couple of times, it’s different each time.
It’s gonna be different even if the setlist is the same. It’s gonna be different because we’re different people every day.
Sound-wise, your last single ‘Michael’ feels more sentimental than your previous work. Do you want to tell me a little bit about it and its backstory?
I wrote that song with my friend Jack DeMeo and this artist Aaron Maine, he goes by Porches. It was a very random little session. My friend Jack started playing the chords and pretty immediately it was just ‘Michael’, just saying that. I didn’t even have a friend named Michael at the time. It came really quickly. I didn’t even really know what I was talking about. As time has gone by, I’ve internalized the song and what it means to me. It represents this obsessive quality that I and a lot of other people have. Sometimes you get kind of obsessed with a person or a thing and it can take over. There’s this co-dependent, freaky element to it. I think the song has that dark tinge to it. People relate to it. There are a lot of girls in my life who have come up to me and been like, ‘damn, I feel that way when I’m crushing on some guy’. I mean, it’s definitely a stylized version of a crush. It’s like an obsessed girl.
It’s a kind of strange magic when that happens. It’s nice to see that someone else relates as well because you feel like a crazy person when you’re in that.
Exactly. You feel really crazy so I’m glad other people feel my pain.
"It's very emotional stuff but I love to use humour, weird metaphors and weird imagery...Luckily, a lot of that comes naturally to me. It's kind of a brain dump. All my songs are little brain dumps."
You’ve just released a deluxe version of Juno. What new can we expect there?
Two of the songs of the new ones ‘Fired’ and ‘Sugar’ I had written before I started actually going into the general writing process. Then the other two, ‘Michael’ and ‘Cake’ I wrote right after the album was released. I thought that it created this cool little book-endy vibe to the Juno album. I think that just gave people context for where I was creatively at both those times. Obviously, after the album was released, I was a bit moodier at that time. Then before I wrote the album, I had just gotten sober. I was feeling all sorts of ways, but I think a little bit chipper. When the album was released, I was really tired. I’ve never actually done a full release cycle like that. It takes a lot out of you. I was recovering and it was cool to give people that span of time via music.
When you’re making art for other people, it feels like you’ve given them bits of yourself so maybe you need to fill those missing parts with something else.
You do have it. It really felt like a recovery period. I’ve definitely recovered from it now. It took about maybe two or three months for me to come back down and feel like myself again and like I want to make new stuff in a way that felt inspiring.
Do you have any special ways to recover?
I honestly had to get out of Los Angeles because it can just be a very crazy city. Luckily, I was able to pretty much go on tour immediately. I actually came to London for a month. That was crucial in the recovery because getting out of there and just gaining new perspective and new experiences because I was in LA for almost all the pandemic because that was all in the pandemic.
Yeah, it was heavy. Getting out of that and meeting new people and not being so infiltrated by the industry and stuff like that really helped.
You said that you found new inspiration. Are you working on anything new?
Whenever I’m home from a tour, I’m pretty much working on stuff. I have a lot of stuff that I’ve written this year. I’m really excited about a lot of it. I don’t want to give too many details. I’m working on a new album. Definitely a new album. We’ll see what it is.
Is there anything you can reveal?
I’m going mystery on it. Mainly because I’m still figuring it out.
It is good to stick to mystery sometimes. To decipher some of that, your lyrics are always so exciting in terms of themes and contrasts. What inspires your process of songwriting?
It’s very free-flowing and very truth-oriented. It’s very emotional stuff but I love to use humour, weird metaphors and weird imagery. I just try to think outside the box. Luckily, a lot of that comes naturally to me. It’s kind of a brain dump. All my songs are little brain dumps.
It’s that feeling that you need to write it down. Have you got any artist like that, who inspires your work?
I have a lot of people that inspire me. Blossom Dearie is this artist, she’s not alive anymore, but she was an amazing jazz pianist and singer/songwriter in the 50s and 60s. Incredible lyricist, and so funny and so witty, and quick. I love the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I love the way that they write songs. It’s so free and then literally they’re saying gibberish in a lot of the songs.
Supporting them must have been so exciting for you.
It was awesome. Yeah, what a great day. 98-degree day in Italy but incredibly amazing. One of the best shows I’ve ever seen in my life. Truly, I found new life at that show in myself because I was really tired on that tour and I needed a pick-me-up. Seriously the best show I’ve seen in my life.
Sometimes you just it’s like that. You need that moment.
You just need it. Yeah, it was necessary.
Your performer persona is pretty easygoing and seems very confident in the best way possible. Do you ever feel pressure to live up to that in your everyday life?
Um, yes, and no. My persona online and my persona as an artist is just me. I’m not putting on an act or anything. It pretty much translates most of the time, I guess. There have been times when people think that I’m gonna be really outgoing and crazy. I can be kind of shy but if you know me, then I’m cracked. I’m cracked open. I’m spilling every shit everywhere. It’s all pretty assimilated.
Makes sense: The persona is always a projection of yourself anyways. Fashion also works by those rules. Your style is always amazing. How important is fashion to you in creating your identity?
It’s really important to me. I just enjoy clothes. It’s not even the fashion industry or fashion culture or designers. I get excited about designer stuff too, but I just love clothes. I’ve always loved shopping, thrifting, patterns and colour. I love it. It’s honestly a crucial part of my self-expression. It’s fucking sick.
It’s even more exciting when you’re after just pieces, not designers because you can construct yourself better as well.
Yeah, no, exactly. I’ve actually gotten into Prada a lot. They’ve got great stuff. I love the loafers. I have a tattoo that says Prada loafers. And a hotel – that was done by a friend of my drummer. They came into our hotel room and gave my whole band tattoos. That was fun.
That’s very tour vibes. What are you excited about in the nearest future, personal and music-wise?
I’m really excited about this tour coming up in North America, the Gwingle Gwongle tour. It’s gonna be really amazing. We’re finalizing all the stage design and production which is something I’ve never really dipped my toes into until this tour. It’s gonna be really fucking sick. I’m just excited for people to see all the work that we put in. I’m excited to see how I do with a real stage because I think I can make a lot happen without the production around me, it’ll level up the whole show. I hope people will understand what I’m going for.
Press play on Remi Wolf’s Juno (Deluxe) below now…