"I'm Definitely A Pussy On The Table Type Of Girl" Clash Meets Remi Wolf

"I'm Definitely A Pussy On The Table Type Of Girl" Clash Meets Remi Wolf

Pop’s kaleidoscopic rule-breaker on releasing one of the year’s most exciting debuts.

Remi Wolf is one of the most disruptive artists on the scene, combining colourful imagery with surrealistic lyricism to create an effervescent vision of modern pop music. Her backstory is equally interesting, having trained to be an Olympic skier as a kid before auditioning for American Idol aged 17. However, it was with earworm melodies and eccentric verses capturing internet culture that Remi catapulted to virtual stardom. After dropping her first EP ‘You're A Dog!’ in 2019 and the second ‘I'm Allergic To Dogs!’ in 2020, she soon amassed a fanbase of Gen Z followers, lovingly dubbed the ‘Remjobs’.

The past couple of years have been a wild journey for Remi, who now counts the likes of Beck, Nile Rodgers and Camilla Cabello as fans. Bringing the universe to life, Remi’s maximalist visuals come heavily saturated with collage and psychedelic touches. Feeding into a desire for something joyous throughout the pandemic, her music videos acted as both entertainment for the fans, and as a place for Remi to let it all go when unable to perform live.

During this time, Remi was also faced with the reality of addiction and checked herself into rehab shortly after her first post-lockdown gig. This experience is something she is refreshingly honest about. Within the lyrics of her acclaimed debut album, ‘Juno’, Remi is upfront about her sobriety and spiralling mental health; she longs to be with her friends again, and even pokes a few laughs at herself when she’s in her worst moods. Throughout it all, she maintains a very clear message: just have fun dude.

Written with long-time collaborator Jared Solomon (and her dog, who the album is named after), ‘Juno’ is a joyride of cartoonish funk-rock laced with confessional messages. Georgia Evans caught up with Remi Wolf to unpack some of the collection’s most memorable moments and give a little insight into her colourful world.

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How have early experiences like Olympic skiing and American Idol shaped your approach to making music?

I was a racer for a long time, and it’s very competitive, it's very fast-paced, and you really have to train, so it gave me this work ethic and this knowledge of what it takes to be good at something. I think I'm very driven because of that. I've always been an achiever and I want to do a lot, so racing kind of gave me that foundation.

With American Idol, I don't think that really affected me because it was such a small stint in my life. At the time, it was one of the only ways to put yourself out there because it was the beginning of social media, so there was not a lot of DIY stuff going on. I think for a lot of people my age, it was like a talent show was the thing that would get you out there. I'm glad I didn't make it very far, to be honest, because I wouldn't have needed to learn on my own.

What makes you want to get so hands-on as a producer?

I have to be hands-on, or else I feel completely out of control. And also, I studied music so it's natural for me to be involved. I think I've grown a lot as a producer and as a songwriter in the past year, I mean just getting to be in the studio all day you end up learning a bunch of shit about the gear. I'm not a gear-head or a computer-head at all, it just doesn't interest me, I'm more focused on the flow of songs, the arrangement and how they feel, as opposed to the technicalities of what's going on. That’s why I think me and Jared Solomon have such a great balance because he's so technical. I'm making executive decisions and he's executing the sound, so we have a good pairing.

Do you feel you've gotten better at executing your vision over the years?

Yeah, I think so. It's strange because every song is a completely new thing, you can't just be like, “I'm gonna use what I learned on that song and apply it to this song,” because they all need to be treated differently. If anything, I have the vocabulary now to talk to people and get my ideas across, whereas maybe five years ago I didn't have that.

As a female producer, having the vocabulary and being able to hang on that level is important, because dudes, a lot of the time, just don't want to take you seriously. You have to put your dick on the table, or rather put your pussy on the table. I'm definitely a pussy on the table type of girl, I'm like, “listen to me or fuck off”.

Let’s dig into 'Juno'. How did you approach making the album, was it any different from the EPs?

I had a very similar approach to how I wrote the two EPs, but I was in more isolation. Usually, it’s like getting into the studio, jamming, and then banging out the song. I'm a pretty fast-paced person and I don't do a lot of revisions. If I don't like the song on the day then I probably won't go back to it later because I like to capture the feeling of that day.

The difference with the album was that I was in complete isolation, so I was barely seeing anybody and I was very in my head. I think that's kind of how COVID was for a lot of people, we were all very insular and deep in our fucking heads spiralling out a bit. And so, I think that kind of mania and depression made its way in. People always tell me, “wow your album is so chaotic,” but it's chaotic because that year was fucking chaos. It was the most chaotic shit that ever happened so of course it translated into the music.

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Within ‘Liquor Store’ you’re very honest about sobriety and codependency, was that hard at all?

I don’t think it’s hard because I’m always very honest with my writing. Sometimes with the style in which I write, I use a lot of surrealism and I kind of let my brain go down wormholes of imagery that lead me to weird places, but everything is very honest. ‘Liquor Store’ was one of the songs where I was very open with my feelings. “You can go if you want to but you know my mind will be walking a tightrope,” is one of my more blatant lyrics. I just wrote that song in such a bad mental state while I was going through really wild mood swings and I'm proud that I was able to channel that into something.

How important is it for you to be so upfront about where these lyrics come from and reaching out to listeners in such a way?

It's becoming increasingly more important to me. I never used to think about it at all, but I just went on tour and was able to meet all these people who are listening to my music, who are truly moved by it and experience so much joy. I can just see that it’s helping people. I think that me being as honest with them and as honest with my art as I can be is the best thing for everybody involved. So, it's very important to me at this point in my life.

What made you want to write a song about Anthony Kiedis?

I don't know dude, it just kind of happened. I had recently read his memoir, so that was rattling around in my head. That song is so descriptive of what I was going through with COVID mentally. It was what I wanted to be doing but couldn't, like doing Pilates and fucking tumbling around and having fun.

In his book, he was talking about his dad a lot, and like, he had so many issues with his dad, it sounded so fucked up but he's always loved him a lot. There’s that sense of, “I love my family intrinsically,” you're always going to love your family even if you’re having issues or fighting. I was thinking a lot about family at the time, and that's how it wiggled its way into the song. But also I grew up on the Chili Peppers, so there's that too. 

‘Grumpy Old Man’ is a real standout song, tell us a bit about it.

I love that song. For some reason, it feels like my baby that I need to nurture. I was deeply grumpy and hating myself that day. I was in a vat of self-hatred, and I exploded, putting all of that into ‘Grumpy Old Man’. I'm really shitting on myself in that song because I'm fucking grumpy sometimes and I get in horrible moods, people have told me that they felt they have to walk on eggshells around me, which is how that lyric came in. So I was airing all of these things that I need to work on.

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The closing track ‘Street You Live On’ is a proper anthem, what made you want to end the album with it?

The feeling of the song in your body makes it a really good closer. It’s like an end to a show, or an anthemic ballad, or at least as close as my music gets to that. It’s also different from all my other songs, so it leaves the listener thinking and leaves my world a little bit more open as opposed to ending with like an ‘Anthony Kiedis’.

You’re a visual artist as much as a musician, do you have an idea for the artwork and videos while writing?

I feel like there are always visuals going on in my head. I'm sure that when I was writing these songs I had ideas for the videos, but I tend to forget a lot. With ‘Grumpy Old Man’, we have a dance in the video and we made that the day we wrote the song, but usually, they’ve come later. Especially with this album, I’ve probably spent the last five months making videos, which has been a crazy, beautiful process.

Also, my videos are so performance-based, that I feel they’re like shows. Particularly during COVID, because I didn't start playing live until like a month ago, so they were my only outlet. That's why they were so fun, it was like, “wow this is my stage.”

Tell us how you came up with the album cover.

I love collage, and the multimedia aspect of being creative is really important for me. In the ‘Liquor Store’ video, we put together so many different elements of art, we worked with so many amazing artists to make that come together, so we wanted to pull that collage through to the album art. And I mean, the album's called Juno so of course, I wanted to copy his face a million times onto it.

What can we expect from the live shows?

My live shows are crazy because I go so hard. It's almost like a punk show. All the babies know all the lyrics to all the songs which I was very shocked by, but it's fucking awesome because it feels so communal like we're all in this shit together.

Anything to say to the Remjobs about the new album?

I hope you guys can find a song that you really connect with and a song that's yours. I love you guys. Thank you for listening. Thank you for supporting me. I appreciate you all.

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'Juno' is out now.

Words: Georgia Evans

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