REMI WOLF might be one of the very best new alt-pop stars on the planet, but with her new track ‘Prescription’, she’s hitting even higher heights. Check out the latest cover story for our New Music Friday playlist edit The Cut.
Words: Martyn Young.
Photos: Ragan Henderson.
Some pop stars like to ease themselves into a new era; come back with something that’s a reliable, easy winner. Remi Wolf, though, is assuredly not just some pop star. A creative visionary for a new generation, Remi’s music is genre-fluid and full of vivid imagination, but on ‘Prescription’, her first new material since last year’s deluxe reissue of her brilliant debut album ‘Juno’, Remi returns with a truly jaw-dropping piece that marks her best work yet.
“It’s unlike any song I’ve made before,” she says excitedly as she spends a little well-earned downtime at home in LA. “I’m trying to chill out and reintegrate into modern society,” she laughs as she reflects on a manic two-year stretch of almost constant shows and recording culminating in a killer performance last month at Coachella. “It’s pretty challenging, I’m coming to realise. You forget how to do basic things. I’m trying to figure out how to exist right now.” One of the things that is helping her exist is chopping things. “I love to cook,” she says enthusiastically. “I love to make salads. Not like, leafy salads, but potato salads and egg salads and shit like that. It’s not even because I love those salads that much; it’s because I love to chop things. I love chopping things really small. I love a big knife on a little pickle.”
“It’s unlike any song I’ve made before”Remi Wolf
Chopping things and mixing things up, and doing things in an idiosyncratic way is central to Remi’s very being as an artist. There’s no one else quite like her. When the director Boots Riley knew he needed a specific piece of music for his new show, I’m A Virgo, he knew that he had to come to Remi, and that’s the genesis for ‘Prescription’. “For the past year and a half, whenever I would come home from tour, I’d immediately go to the studio,” she explains. “I had this two-week chunk of time in early February where I was working at Electric Lady with some friends. I got a call from the director, Boots Riley, who I’ve known for a little while. I met him in 2021 at Outside Lands, which was quite random but makes sense since we’re both from the Bay Area. We’ve stayed in contact, and we’ve always known that we’ve wanted to do something with each other. He and his family were really big fans of mine. I’d always see him and his wife and kids at my shows in San Francisco which is very cute. He gave me a call and was like hey, I’m making this show called I’m A Virgo, and I need a song for this scene. The premise of the scene was very intriguing to me, so I was like fuck it, I’m going to write this song. We wrote the song in like an hour or something. It was a fully fresh new song. We got a three-and-a-half-minute version of the song and sent it back to Boots, and he was like ok, great, we’re going to use it. It was really quick and awesome.”
The song was part of a new way of working for Remi. “It was really inspired by Prince and 80s synths and 90s acoustic guitars,” she says. “We’re breaching a new sound, especially because all of the recording and instrumentation is completely live. Nothing digital. It’s my most studio song.” So good was the song that Boots required more and insisted he needed a longer version which eventually ended up as a seven-minute transcendent gospel anthem centred around Remi’s stunning soulful vocal. “I was throwing it up to God with that one,” she laughs. “We were in that studio for 16 hours a day for three days straight,” says Remi. “We spent so much time arranging it. It’s very gospel. We spent a lot of time really building that ending. It really goes somewhere. It’s an epic thing. I’ve never even tried to create something like that, so it was really fun and challenging for me to shape the energy in that way.”
“I love to chop things. I love a big knife on a little pickle”Remi Wolf
With horns, soaring vocals and a skyscraping rousing climax, it’s a life-affirming piece of music that reflects the powerful emotions of the lyrics. “The song is about being in love and being really, really scared about it,” reflects Remi. “It’s about being in love and never being in love before and being really anxious and insecure and having all this personal baggage that you’re taking into this relationship, but you love this person so much, and they make you feel amazing and tingly, and you want nothing else but to be with them. They’re kind of controlling you in that sense but in a good way.”
As well as being a killer standalone track, ‘Prescription’ marks a bridge between the quirky, fluid experimentation of her debut album and the more expansive and ambitious music Remi’s currently working on. “I’m working on an album right now; I’m pretty far along in the process. I’m loving it,” she says excitedly. “‘Prescription’ is a pretty good gateway into the sound of the new music. It’s going to be raw with real instruments. It’s still going to be fun, but it’s going to have some weight to it. I’m all about arranging and crafting. It’s my bread and butter and what I love to do. I’m so lucky that I get to work with some of the most amazing musicians ever. We’re coming together and trying to make something that’s really musically there. I’m trying to make real music. I hope people like it and like this song. I know that it’s quite different from the general landscape of music right now.”
An artist with a vision like Remi Wolf has a wonderful sense of freedom and a feeling that anything is possible. “I’m very lucky that people trust me with my creativity,” she beams. “Hopefully, people have no idea what to expect from me, and hopefully, I’ve created that dynamic between me and my fans. They don’t know what to expect, and they don’t know what’s coming next, but they trust me, and I trust them to listen to it, and I think that’s a very special dynamic. I can do whatever the fuck I want. People are down for it, and that’s a special thing.”
So, when can we expect to hear a new full-length album from Remi? Unsurprisingly she isn’t giving anything away. “All I will say is that you will definitely hear more new music from me this year,” she says with a grin. Exciting times. For now, though, let’s celebrate the salvation and glory of a comeback single that truly raises the roof. ■
Remi Wolf’s single ‘Prescription’ is out now. Follow Dork’s The Cut Spotify playlist here.