There comes a moment in many a musician’s life when everything clicks, where the idea of going out and taking on the world feels suddenly very possible. That there can be more than just messing around in a bedroom and smiling between mates. Remi Wolf laughs at the thought, “I actually know the exact moment, the exact day where that happened!
“I was 15 and me and my friend, we knew a bunch of songs that we’d been learning and writing together, and one day we were like, ‘why don’t we street perform near this art festival?’ We parked on a corner, just to see if anyone gave a shit about us and we ended up making like $180 in two hours. I just thought, oh I can do this… this is the moment!”
It perfectly captures Remi Wolf and her near-fearless approach to music. A performer from the very start (“My parents say that I figured out I loved performing when I was 2”), her kaleidoscope world of huge pop energy, fizzing colours and sugar-packed punches rallies against grey skies. Whipsmart quips and instant doses of pop are the order of the day – exactly how a modern pop star should be. “I want my music to sound completely different to what everyone else is doing. I’m kinda striving for big sounds, unique sounds, unique flow, unique lyrics just… to be different!”
For anyone who’s glimpsed at Remi’s world, that should be clear. Latest EP ‘I’m Allergic To Dogs’ breathes with confidence and fun, an amalgamation of hip-hop, electronica and pop only possible in a world of flicking playlists. Remi Wolf is not about waiting around for people to shuffle in at the back, it’s about getting down the front and throwing yourself into that skittle-biting party spirit. “Performing was the first thing that I really fell in love with,” explains Remi. “There are just so many homemade videos of me performing magic shows or fashion shows or dance shows from when I was 8 or 9 upwards. A lot of me performing for my parents all the time, bossing my little brother around which is actually pretty embarrassing.”
Singing was a natural step. There were parties and backyard barbecue performances; showmanship going hand in hand with determination while soaking in the sounds of pop trailblazers. Conforming to the norm? The idea of that couldn’t be further from her mind. “The one artist that just really clicked with me from a super young age was MIA,” recalls Remi. “She had a huge influence on me just in terms of sounds and what pop music can be. Her song ‘Paper Planes’, when it came out, it was surrounded by a bunch of like soft-rock pop stuff, which I also liked, but she stood out so much in the sea that it had a huge impact on me.”
From the effortless personality of Prince and the impeccable musicianship of John Mayer, to Erykah Badu who “just changed something in my brain where I was like, woah!”, there’s a traceable line between those artists Remi first grew towards and where she stands today. Freedom. “I think all of them don’t listen to anybody, and don’t listen to what the market is trying to tell them to make. They’re just completely out on their own wave, completely independent and completely autonomous.
“I strive to have complete freedom, and I think I do create from a place of complete freedom,” states Remi, connecting that line to who she is today. “When it’s a good day, I’m completely free – that’s where I’m trying to go. I guess what I hope for my career is to be able to do whatever the fuck I want whenever I want.”
If ‘I’m Allergic To Dogs’ is anything to go by, Remi’s achieving that and more. Whether it’s the strutting and peacocking ‘Disco Man’, the dank drops of ‘Woo!’, the smoothness of ‘Hello Hello Hello’ or the irresistible pop perfection of ‘Down The Line’ – it’s not so much that Remi is rewriting the rulebook, she just doesn’t even acknowledge it. “I wanted to create this EP specifically for live shows, I want all my live shows to feel like a party at all times,” Remi says. “I want it to feel like a college party at my shows. That’s the environment I’m kinda going for. This EP, I wanted it all to be just hits – weird hits and danceable fucking rowdy hits!”
The animated video captures the mood perfectly. Digital dance moves, bursting bright colours, and surreal group dance-a-longs fit together perfectly as Remi starts to turn her audio-whipped world into visual form. “It’s really important to me,” explains Remi. “I didn’t make any visuals for my first EP [‘You’re A Dog’], and that was all me taking the time to find the right collaborator. I met Agusta Yr in London actually after finding her work on Instagram, and I could just tell right away we had very similar ideas. She completely got my vision. I wanted to create a world that people could dive into, that just feels like a completely different reality: very whimsy, very fantasy, very bright, but with this dark irony and glitchiness to it. It’s all super new to me but very important”.
With many different areas and lanes to open up in the Remi Wolf world, what comes next proves most exciting. Already laying out her claim to being a lightning rod of energy and feverish creativity, the good times are only just getting started. There’s already been a drive-in show to her name (the first event of its kind to take place in LA), and Remi’s focus is now on what comes next. “I’ve been using all this time to really sink into my own head in a way, working on a bunch of songs and kinda going back to my roots a bit writing on an acoustic guitar. I’m looking ahead.
“It’s been surreal seeing people react the way they have to the music so far,” she continues. “I feel like I’m confident in my shit, but also the most insecure I’ve ever been at the same time because now there are people I could let down. I never had that before. I think mostly I’m just excited, and for now, I’ve just been trying to dig into where I want to go with my art and just trying to figure out my path, and I’m just kinda fucking around with all that stuff!
“I don’t want there to be a question of whether one of my songs is actually a good song. I want it all to be super solid and danceable. Every song to be fully realised like… this is the vibe, fuck with it or don’t! Just really unapologetic debauchery I guess.” No questions asked, if there’s one party in town not to be missed – it’s Remi Wolf’s.
Taken from the August issue of Dork, out now.
Words: Jamie Muir