Remi Wolf is the Gen Z sun, Millennial rising pop star of your dreams. Drawing inspiration from a wide range of genres, decades and even animals, the 25-year-old artist from Palo Alto, California has perfected a style of hook-heavy pop that feels at once carefree and studied.
Wolf just dropped her debut album, Juno, and its accompanying music videos for tracks like "Liquor Store" and "Guerrilla" feel like a fever dream (in the best way possible). Expertly crafted and with a distinct, claymation-esque style, Wolf's visuals stand out among the nightmarish algorithmic content we can't seem to escape.
Watching her videos, it's clear that we're living in the Remi Wolf Cinematic Universe. Just hit play and the pop star will cement herself in your mind as a young auteur — immediately, you get the sense that these visual stories weren't afterthoughts, but something that Wolf had in mind from the beginning of her creative process.
Although Juno was written during quarantine, Wolf's cheeky lyrics will leave you smiling. And she wouldn't want it any other way. So we talked to the American Idol alum about her adopted dog, Erykah Badu and pumpkin spice lattes.
Walk us through your affinity toward dogs. Between your remix album, We Love Dogs!, from earlier this year and the dog-collaged album art for Juno, it seems that pups are a big part of your creative inspiration.
Honestly, the whole dog theme started off as a complete inside joke between me and my friends. With the first two EPs, it felt right to connect them with that joke. But then I ended up adopting a dog, Juno, at the beginning of quarantine. The canine energy became much more present in my life, raising a puppy. He was there throughout a lot of the writing of the album, so I wanted to dedicate the album to him. It was a happy coincidence that it tied in with the rest of the titles.
The lyrics in "Quiet On Set" had me dying. "Eating my ass like the human centipede" and "What's better than two girls, two cups?" unlocked a part of my memory that I must have repressed. As a musician in 2021, are you cognizant of soundbites like that going viral TikTok while writing?
TikTok is such a crap shoot anyway. Even if you make the most "TikTok-able" song, you never know what people are going to latch on to. For "Quiet on Set," specifically, I was in a mood that day and having fun, and it is my writing style to say whatever I want.
In the age of visual effects, it's refreshing to see videos rely so heavily on real props like with "Liquor Store." What was your inspiration behind that dizzyingly entrancing set?
We took a lot of inspiration from Pee-Wee's Playhouse, and surreal '80s and '90s children's shows that relied on heavily abstracted and playful sets. I approach all of my videos like fun little experiments — trying things I've never done before visually. That's how we landed on everything for "Liquor Store."
Being born in '96 puts you right at the cusp of Millennial and Gen Z. Musically and creatively, would you group yourself into one generation more than the other?
I really think I'm a true cusp. I've had the Gen Z style going on forever, like dressing very loudly, which was different than a lot of the people I grew up with. But at the same time, pumpkin spice lattes were a pretty huge part of my life. So there's the Millennial in me.
Your remix album is stacked with amazing renditions from artists like Tune-Yards, Little Dragon and Kimbra. Do you have a dream collaborator?
Michael McDonald or Erykah Badu.
I can't place your music in any specific genre, which I love. Who are your biggest musical inspirations?
Erykah Badu, Amy Winehouse, Beck, Mac DeMarco, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Hall & Oats, Chaka Khan, Earth Wind & Fire. Everybody!
You've gained quite a large following over the course of the pandemic. How do you feel about emerging from this period and going on tour?
I have all the feelings about going on tour — both anxious and excited. I'm most looking forward to putting a face to the fans and listeners that I've accumulated on the internet during the pandemic and meeting everyone. It is going to be amazing.
Photo courtesy of Alma Rosaz