Remi Wolf talks 'Juno', touring with Olivia Rodrigo and Paramore, and her upcoming second album

Interview Remi Wolf: “I will always just do what I want; I don’t think I will ever conform”

Striding out onto the arenas of the world in support of musical juggernauts Paramore and Olivia Rodrigo, Remi is roadtesting an ambitious second record in equally massive fashion.

Remi Wolf might have a big year ahead of her, one set to encompass the follow-up to 2021 debut ‘Juno’ - a record that sent the 27-year-old California native on an uphill trajectory from buzzy, technicolour newcomer to a fixture on the world’s festival stages, with tens of millions of streams to her name. But before LP2 can fully come to pass, Remi has a more pressing decision to make: namely, whether she intends to incur the wrath of the mums of Europe when she heads out with Olivia Rodrigo next month for the ‘GUTS’ star’s mammoth arena tour.

“If you’ve seen my show, you’ll know that I swear like a sailor. It’s like, ‘Cunt, cunt, cunt, cunt, cunt’ forever,” she chuckles down the Zoom camera. “I’m on the fence of taking out some of the language stuff or going full-on and letting [the kids] experience something new. It’ll go viral…”

The Rodrigo-loving youth might not know what’s hit them, but for anyone who’s been following the singer since her early trio of canine-themed EPs (‘You’re a Dog!’, ‘I’m Allergic to Dogs!’ and ‘We Love Dogs!’), Remi’s unfiltered approach to everything she does sits firmly at the core of her appeal. Some of ‘Juno’’s most eyebrow-raising lines ranged from a tattoo description of “two fish kissing on my clit, motherfucker” to ‘Quiet On Set’’s extremely quotable “eating my ass like the human centipede”. Wolf has never professed to be anything except her unapologetic self, and that’s an attitude set to fully extend into her next body of work.

“I just want to live on the edge of genre, on the edge of profanity, on the edge of everything. I want it all to feel like it’s on the edge of falling apart - and I think I've done that!” she laughs. “I feel like it’s not up to me to decide what boundary-pushing is; I just hope I’m doing it by existing.”

Remi Wolf talks 'Juno', touring with Olivia Rodrigo and Paramore, and her upcoming second album

“I just want to live on the edge of genre, on the edge of profanity, on the edge of everything.”

Written in snatches of time between tours throughout 2022 and 2023, Remi describes LP2 as a collection of sibling songs rather than a document of one specific time and place. “I would go on tour, get back and be home for a week-and-a-half and, in that week-and-a-half, I’d just be working on music the whole time. And then I'd go out and do it again. And I just did that for two years,” she recalls. “So because of that, there’s definitely pockets of songs. There’s three songs that sound like sisters, and then four others that sound like sisters, and five others. But if you put them together, they’re a nice happy family.”

It’s a routine that doesn’t allow for much downtime, but also one that perhaps worked in the singer’s favour going into the well-documented anxiety of the ‘difficult second album’. Cliche though it may be, it’s one that Remi felt keenly. “There’s so much lore around the sophomore album. I think that can get scary,” she nods. “There’s just this pressure where you want people to love it and be able to make it their baby as much as they made the first album their baby, and I think sometimes that initial breakage of a sound can be a hard thing for everybody [to accept]. You have to be open, and you just hope that everyone is open with you.”

Though she’s keeping titles and details to herself for now, the bones of the songs are evidently shaping themselves into new and evolved skeletons. She describes some “absolutely wild song forms” and a newfound love of synths. On this record, she plays drums, bass and guitar, and has been challenging herself vocally more than ever. “All the songs I write, for some reason I write the hardest vocal parts ever and then I’m like, ‘Fuck, now I need to execute this live’ and it’s so hard to do…” she groans.

Last year’s standalone single ‘Prescription’ - a laid-back, seven-minute soulful jam of a track - landed as a new card in the singer’s deck, but it’s by no means indicative of where Remi’s heading next. The thing to glean from it, she underlines, is not to have any expectations at all. “I will always just do what I want. I don’t think I will ever conform, and if I have feelings of conformity, I will actively fight them,” she shrugs. “There’s definitely not any other song that sounds like ‘Prescription’ on the record, but also none of the other songs sound like each other either.

“A huge thing to actively reject is the TikTok culture of it all,” she continues. “I feel like the definition of a singer-songwriter on TikTok is really, really specific and boxed in right now, and that sound is travelling around and really sweeping the Spotifys and YouTubes and whatever. As an artist you feel pressure and you want people to like your shit, and with that comes a lot of like, ‘Woah! Should I be sounding like that or trying to write my lyrics differently?’ And you have to push that all out of your head and be like, ‘No, whatever comes out of me is the best thing because it’s me’.”

Remi Wolf talks 'Juno', touring with Olivia Rodrigo and Paramore, and her upcoming second album Remi Wolf talks 'Juno', touring with Olivia Rodrigo and Paramore, and her upcoming second album

“[With a second album] you have to be open, and you just hope that everyone is open with you.”

Having spent part of December on another massive arena tour, this time at the behest of Paramore, who also roped Remi in to contribute to their recent ‘Re: This Is Why’ rework album (the singer tackled live setlist opener ‘You First’), the wheels of rolling out Album Two have already been set in motion. Those shows, she explains, acted like a “less pressurised” testing ground for a couple of new tracks, including one with a “nice four on the floor” that she’s particularly excited for.

“That song’s pumping,” she grins, “and that’s part of the reason I wanted to play it on that tour, because we were playing arenas and when I first wrote the song, in my mind I was thinking I really wanted to play it in an arena with huge reverb. It’s a mini dream of mine that I got to realise.”

These days, having taken ‘Juno’ all around the world, massive stages are no biggie for the singer. “I don’t view those shows as anything different than a club that has 350 people in it,” she says. “I think the only part that felt more difficult was that it wasn’t my fans per se, but I thrive in a situation where I have to win people over.” And these experiences of constant travel, growth and change have found their way into the new album too.

Remi describes the record as “an album of transition”. “I was travelling the world so how could it not be,” she caveats. “I think in writing this record, there was no ounce of my life that was grounded except for this one relationship I have which a lot of the record is about. And I love writing about love and the trials and tribulations of love, and of my own mind and living in my own body, so those themes are still running very strong.”

Still negotiating a journey through sobriety that she says has been up and down throughout the course of making the record, there are a lot of things that are still in flux for Remi Wolf; gearing up for another year of touring and relentless activity, that might not change for a while yet either. But though she’s still not got it all figured out, the singer is clear as to the ambitious, exploratory attitude that she wants to take into her next album and long beyond. “I didn’t feel the pressure when I was writing this music, but I feel it now when I’m like, ‘How the fuck is this gonna be received?’ she questions. “But I’ve just gotta give it up to the gods and hope for the best and know that I put my all into the music and I really fuck with this music. I listen to this music, so if I love it then hopefully other people will love it too.”

Tags: Remi Wolf, From The Magazine, Features, Interviews

As featured in the February 2024 issue of DIY, out now.

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