LOS ANGELES – Remi Wolf took to an indoor trampoline park in Van Nuys one August afternoon, feeling exhausted. She had been busy all day, creating buggy visuals for her songs and getting ready for the tour. Then the traffic coming from the Eastside of Los Angeles was bad. So too bad.
She would be ready to sit down and talk by the vending machines in a minute, but she had to bounce back first.
Wolf took off her light purple Crocs and donned the regulation orange socks, which managed to complete her mixed look: a recently resurrected Urban Outfitters top she had in high school and a promotional cap for a record label she wore. did not even sign. her bunch of brown curls. At 25, Wolf was at least a decade older than almost everyone else ricocheting on the trampoline field. Then she hit two somersaults forward.
On Friday, Wolf will release his debut album, “Juno”. It is a collection of nerves, anxieties and self-recriminations on bubbling melodies and loose sound collages. “Juno” was widely written and recorded during the pre-vaccine period for the pandemic. While many artists sank into the aesthetic of calm during this era of isolation, Wolf turned the tumultuous emotions repressed within her into hyper-colored explosions.
“It’s not mellow at all, but it’s very introspective,” she said. “I have a lot of energy. As a person, I can just come and go until I crash. And then I’m, like, depressed, or whatever.
As the nebulous genre of bedroom pop erupts beyond the barriers of the bedrooms it was created in, Wolf has become one of its most engaging talents, reinforced by an unconventional charisma and a powerful voice. . “Remi always emphasizes what it means to be pop and what it means to be a pop star – not even belittling it, but just being able to laugh and think about pop music in a whole different way,” said Lizzy Szabo, senior. Editor-in-chief at Spotify who oversees Lorem, the influential Gen Z-targeted playlist that’s now part of Wolf’s dominance.
Like many people her age, Wolf has a great ability to suck up the often wacky wreckage of the recent past and make her look a lot cooler than she initially was. It shows in her love for hot pink trucker hats and candy eye makeup, but it also applies to her taste for music. At a recent sold-out show at the Roxy in Los Angeles, Wolf covered MGMT’s “Electric Feel”, Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” and part of Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me”, all with a face relatively impassive.
She found unlikely inspiration in Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis, one of the most maligned (if not misunderstood) lyricists to enter the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. She calls him “my king” (with more emphatic language) and even named one of the best songs of “Juno” after him. Like Kiedis’, many of Wolf’s lyrics sound entirely associative, as it refers to an orgy at Five Guys and a plane flight to Mars.
“I’m just following these little wormholes in my head,” she said. “I just like to shoot down all the pictures that I think describe how I feel.”
Despite the absurdity of the lyrics when isolated, for Wolf there is an internal logic behind each one. Well, most of them. She knows exactly what she means in her song “Grumpy Old Man” when she says she has “feelings in my feelings” and “violets on my violence”, but admits she came up with a line on the fact of having “fools on my booty”. just because those words are fun to sing.
Earlier this year, Wolf released “We Love Dogs! », A remix compilation of his previous songs. It included renditions of well-known genre twisters like Nile Rodgers and Panda Bear, but also a version of “Photo ID”, her most widely circulated song, starring ascendant star Dominic Fike, who became a friend. “A lot of people have figured out their style or maybe a general sound,” Fike said. “There’s something special about the way she composes her songs. I have the impression that Rémi is a real singer. Every once in a while they come back, and she is one of them. “
Although he grew up in the town of Palo Alto, a largely flat, snow-free bay area, Wolf began training as a downhill ski racer at the age of 8. She spent weekends at a cheap hotel in Truckee, a town near Lake Tahoe. She has been to the Junior Olympics twice. “I was jumping between different friends all the time so nothing ever felt safe,” she said. “I have become very independent and very insular in my own being.”
At the age of 16, Wolf quit competition and entered music with the same determined mindset that is demanded of athletes. “Once I stopped skiing I was like, ‘OK, I need something else to do just as intensely and as hard,’” she said. She formed a duo with her friend Chloé Zilliac called, naturally, Rémi and Chloé. At 17, Wolf tried out “American Idol” and was invited to Hollywood, but her experience there did not last long.
While participating in an after-school music program, a teacher paired her with another of her students, a young multi-instrumentalist named Jared Solomon. He had them play Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie”, with her on vocals and he on guitar. “We were immediately like, ‘Whoa, you’re really good,’” Wolf said.
Solomon joined Remi and Chloe’s backup group, and they rehearsed in his garage twice a week before he left to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston. When Wolf graduated from USC Thornton School of Music a few years later, Solomon asked if he could crash into her home while passing through Los Angeles as his friend’s tour DJ. The two hadn’t really spoken for five years; he finally stayed for a week. They experimented with a few songs together during this time, including “Sauce”, a slinky jam. which remains one of Wolf’s most popular tracks.
At the time, she was trying to break into the music industry as a songwriter. “I was on a pile of Adderall and I was psychotic at the time,” Wolf recalls. “Then he came, then we did our thing and then we were like, saints [expletive]! “
Solomon has become and remains Wolf’s closest musical collaborator. “We’re so connected to each other’s energy, especially musically,” Wolf said. “It’s hard for people to penetrate that. Wolf produced most of the “Juno” songs with him (he uses the name Solomonophonic), although more established personalities, including Kenny Beats and Ethan Gruska, also contributed to a few songs on the album. Solomon also stars in his live band, dominating Wolf in a Pantera cut-sleeve T-shirt.
Wolf’s debut work often leaned toward jazzy soul – which she attributes to her love of major and minor seventh chords – but with “Juno” she broadened the scope. While Erykah Badu remains a constant influence, during the making of the album she listened to artists like Jack White, Beck, Sheryl Crow and Michelle Branch. “I’m kind of a rock singer,” Wolf said. “That’s what I started singing, and then I moved on to more soulful stuff. But I am a belt. I love to scream.
An important moment in Wolf’s personal life also had a major impact on “Juno”: She entered rehab in the summer of 2020, a change that lasted for at least three years. Before, Wolf said, she drank frequently to the point of passing out. While she said that she was generally able to function in her daily life, she had started to struggle with her family, friends and coworkers.
“I did it for myself obviously, but I did it for my career,” she said of her sobriety. “There was just something in me that said, ‘Don’t destroy this. Don’t destroy your life.
Drinking left Wolf feeling bad all the time. Her sobriety revitalized her energy and enthusiasm, but it also forced her to deal with all kinds of emotional issues that she didn’t make room for with her goal-oriented approach. “So many things happened that I didn’t even know they existed,” she said. “I didn’t even know what it was like to grow up as a human. I obviously knew people were like, I grew up, blah blah blah. Now I tell myself that life is about growth. Which never occurred to me. It’s so crazy.
When the interview was over, Wolf returned to the trampolines. She did a few jumps in the air on a gigantic inflatable pillow before deciding to take one last zipline ride. She climbed the steps to the top of the platform, listened to a security spiel from the attendant, then turned to nudge the security camera mounted on the wall. And then she was gone.