Search The Line of Best Fit
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Remi Wolf
Nine Songs
Remi Wolf

The morning after her latest sold-out London headline show, Remi Wolf sits down with Matthew Kent to talk about the icons who inspire the future headliner to be her own inspirational, singular self.

08 July 2022, 08:00 | Words by Matthew Kent

In just a few short years singer/songwriter and pop maverick Remi Wolf has grown from tastemaker favourite to being adored by some of her favourite artists.

When we meet in London the morning after a sell out show at Koko, Wolf is fresh from a tour with Lorde across the US and is about to head to Italy to support Red Hot Chilli Peppers. But before that she tells me she's going to hang out with one of her idols Beck while she’s in the UK.

With her boisterous, technicolour EPs You’re A Dog and I’m Allergic To Dogs, Wolf found fans all over the world. Loved for her tongue-in-cheek lyrics, no fucks attitude and upbeat energy, as the lockdown of summer of 2020 approached Wolf’s vibrant singles “Woo!” and “Photo ID” served as the perfect tonic for the collective malaise.

Making a name for herself with her raucous live shows, her Koko sell-out was no exception, she rattled through the feel-good anthems which make up her debut album Juno and aired newer offerings taken from the recently released deluxe edition.

Wolf’s relentless touring schedule seem to be having an impact however, “I’ve never done a stretch of touring this long or been working this hard on the road before, it’s all becoming a bit exhausting, so I’m just trying to hold it together,” she admits. Wolf pulled a muscle in her leg at Koko, and is still suffering with a sprained ankle from three weeks ago which she re-sprained.

Powering through thanks to her number one self care technique – sleep, Wolf's other piece of advice to herself is “to not bury my feelings too hard and be communicative and honest with my band, so I’m not isolated and in my own head. When I start to internalise things a bit too much, it turns into a bit of a problem.”

Happy to be back in London, Wolf mentions vintage shopping and breakfast in Shoreditch. “I love eggs,” she laughs, “there are lots of beautiful eggs, so it’s perfect for me!” Like many touring musicians before her she feels “in the big cities people tend to be a little more reserved, but London still goes hard.”

Wolf's Nine Songs selections, which she has pulled from every era of her life so far, reveals that her idols have one thing in common – they’re all artists who are singular in their vision, and much like herself, are creative powerhouses.

Taking in Fleetwood Mac’s timeless anthem “Dreams,” a song she discovered through her childhood best friend, “Red Room” a sprawling jazz track from Australian outfit Hiatus Kaiyote – a shared favourite with a new friend WILLOW, as well as a colossus from Wolf’s not-so-secret-anymore inspiration, Drake, Wolf's picks tell a story of an artist with a boundless fascination for the power of music.

“Missing” by Beck

WOLF: “I first heard this song, so long ago, when I was a child, but it didn’t become one of my favourite Beck songs until the last time I was in London. It was in November and I became obsessed with his album Guero. I would walk around, walk down by the river and listen to it on repeat. I have a very specific memory of listening to the song and taking a photo with London Bridge.

"I really liked the song because it has such a good groove, his voice sounds amazing and I imagine he wrote the song [thinking] ‘how can I write a Sting song?’ It kind of sounds like The Police and that was really interesting to me. I always go back to that song, constantly.”

BEST FIT: What was it like having Beck remix “Sauce” for your We Love Dogs compilation?

“It was one of the best days of my life when I heard that remix - life completed. It was exciting and scary and I didn’t understand it, I still kind of don’t why he fucks with me and I don’t why at that time he fucked with me. I didn’t even have an album out at that point. He took a risk and I’m really grateful to him. I’m actually seeing him tonight in Manchester.

“I cried when I got the remix through and it’s the one time I’ve ever really gotten super emotional about a collaboration like that. When I was younger I don’t think I thought any of this was possible or that this even existed to be honest. The life I’m living now wasn’t even something I was dreaming about, because I didn’t even understand it.”

“Ode to Viceroy” by Mac DeMarco

“I heard this one for the first time when I was a senior in high school. It was when his album 2 came out which really broke him stratospherically across the world, or at least in the US or in my town. It was such a huge album and “Viceroy” was the first Mac DeMarco song I ever heard and it completely, and immediately, changed my perception of music and what I thought was possible. It had such a deep impact on me.

“I was in the car with two of my friends, Parker and Eli, and we were smoking weed – it was such a typical teenage moment where you’re getting high, you’re just loving life and there’s not a care in the world. Then there’s this Mac DeMarco song about cigarettes that’s playing that’s so vibey and chill and DIY in a way.

“He became the soundtrack to my life for a year and I still love every single thing he’s put out, I think he’s a genius, he’s so unique and completely fearless. He’s such a strong voice, he doesn’t let anybody tarnish that and I really, really respect him.

Was chilling in the car, smoking weed, listening to Mac a big part of your teenage years?

“Honestly, no! Which is why it was so powerful, because it wasn’t something I was doing a lot until my second semester of senior year, because I was a ski racer. This is Remi finally engaging in a childhood. For 10 years I was ski racing and that’s all I did. School and skiing and I had a very small semblance of a social life.

“I had friends, but my life was very split, like Hannah Montana, half the week I was skiing and half the week I was at my school and they were four hours apart. So I was commuting and travelling and it was almost like a tour, so it wasn’t until I stopped doing that that I was able to actually engage in pop culture.

“It sounds weird, but it feels like my teenage years started when I was 18 and I went to college, because that’s when I was finally able to be like ‘Wow! The youth! The culture!’ I’d been missing out on everything, and so when I turned 18 my world kind of exploded and I was like a sponge. Mac DeMarco was a part of that exploration of mine and this newfound lease on life.”

“Back in the Day (Puff)” by Erykah Badu

“I became obsessed with this song, probably in my sophomore year of college. I didn't really listen to her before then, but I became fully obsessed with that album, Worldwide Underground. I went through this phase in college where I was stealing a lot of CDs from Goodwill. Hopefully I don’t get arrested or detained for saying that, but we’re in England it’s a different territory.

“That was one of the albums I had acquired from the local Goodwill and I became obsessed, and specifically with that song. I think at the time I was also smoking weed and it’s a very pushed-out, chill, laidback bop.

“When I was at USC, a lot of the songwriters around me were very folk-orientated writers, so that played a part in my writing, but I was always super into R&B and soul music and Erykah Badu was part of my own journey. She’s a genre-blender writer and so unique, and in a similar way to Mac DeMarco, she has an undeniable artistic voice. You know it’s them whenever you hear a Mac or an Erykah song.

“This is more about her honestly, I chose that song because it was one of the ones that really sucked me in, but she’s an incredible artist and this creative force. I think she’s a really big influence behind the way I approach lyrics as well. She’s so witty and funny and that’s my bread and butter.”

“Mary” by Alex G

“Again, Alex G. A pioneer. A forefather to me. I fucking love him. All of these artists are wildly creative, singular voices.

"I lived in this house of 10 different musicians when I was in college. It was this big Victorian house and pretty much what we would do all day was smoke weed, get drunk and jam for hours. We had a drum kit and a bunch of instruments in the living room and we would just play each other music all the time. That was the culture of the house. It was a constant rotation of music, all of our minds being blown all away by all of this music. It was amazing, because everybody was obsessed with music, we’re all in music school, it was beautiful.

“We’d all cook food together and listen to tunes. “Mary” by Alex G was one of the songs that would be sitting on the kitchen counter, all playing and singing for months on end and we would play that song. There was an Angel Olsen song and we were really into The 1975 too. There were a lot of songs that made their way through that house, but “Mary” specifically paved a little crevice into my heart.

"I still love that song and I still cover it. I learned how to play it on guitar, I never learned how to put songs on the guitar, but that one I did. That song was my first introduction to him and because of that song, I’ve become a super fan of him and all of his work.”

Who were you living with in the house, any names fans might recognise?

“I lived with my friend Liz who inspired my song “Liz” – I actually met Liz in my college audition, not even for USC, for another college. We both auditioned together. My friend Danny, who’s done a bunch of shows with me – he plays trumpet for me sometimes.

“My friend Cole, who’s the drummer for Wallows, I lived with him for three years in that house and we’ve done collaborations together. They played their first ever Wallows show in that house which was amazing. Everyone is pretty much still doing music now and my drummer Connor lived in that house with me. It was a very, very formative time of my life and I’m still good friends with pretty much everybody.”

“Fuck and Run” by Liz Phair

“This is a more recent discovery for me. I discovered Liz Phair in the past year but she has completely changed me. She’s incredible. I did a show with her a month ago, she was doing a ‘90s tribute show and as her opener for the show, she had five different artists cover different songs from the ‘90s. So I covered “Loser” by Beck, obviously. It was the hardest song I’ve ever had to memorise in my life, because the lyrics are fucking crazy.

“Liz Phair is one of those artists - that especially for women - where you feel understood. There are plenty of artists who are brilliant and amazing and that part connects with me, but she is so fucking honest and she’s narrating the female experience in your 20s. Or at least mine. I listened to her and it felt like a hug. She’s very important to me and that song specifically, it’s so raw.

“Just listening to this song, it’s such a story. It’s a story of this girl getting fucked over by all these dudes and her narrating her own trauma, but in this badass, cutting, monotone way, where she sounds detached, which I fucking love.

“The whole album Exile In Guyville is one of my favourite albums ever. Pretty much the production of the entire album is just electric guitar, bass and drums with some background vocals and that’s literally it, and it’s brilliant. It cuts so deep, because it’s all right there and her writing is so cool. It’s genius. I love it. I love her!”

“Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac

“I grew up on Fleetwood Mac. Me and my best friends in high school would listen to Rumours on repeat and “Dreams” is the banger. I love a chord progression, and "Dreams" is a 4/5 chord progression, just two chords over and over and over again. That’s the most impactful chord progression for me, and I think that’s because of “Dreams” that I’ve gotten really into that.

“My friend Paige, who I’ve been friends with since Kindergarten, introduced me to it. She was listening to them and her mom was a musician, so she was always on music a lot earlier than my parents. They’re not musicians at all. They would have their things that they would listen to, but I’m also the oldest of four kids, so in the car there was a lot of Radio Disney and not a lot of music curation in the house. It was kind of on me to do it and on me and my friends to go out and find my shit.

“Stevie Nicks is a fucking icon. This is a brilliant break up song, it’s one of those breakup songs that also makes you feel good. It’s everything – it has the sad, the happy, the nostalgia – it’s a perfect song in that way."

“Kiss On My List” by Hall & Oates

“The reason I chose this one is because of this Howard Stern interview with Daryl Hall. It’s maybe like five years ago, so I don’t know if he’s well into his 50s or 60s, but it’s this live version and it was the first time I’d ever heard the song.

"I was completely blown away by him, and his voice is just amazing. He’s an amazing vocalist and the band is so talented and it’s such a great video. Whenever I need a pick-me-up or I need to feel better, I will go onto YouTube and watch that video and smile.

“Every single Hall and Oates song is a banger and gets you dancing. I think they're truly one of the best bands and songwriting duos ever.”

“Red Room” by Hiatus Kaiyote

“Hiatus Kaiyote are a band out of Australia and the lead singer’s name is Nai Palm. She writes all the songs and she’s this absolute insane vocal freak, just incredible. She’s hippy-dippy, like this alien on her own fucking planet, doing her own thing. It’s so unique and I’ve been obsessed with them since my freshman year of college.

“I got really, really into them and I would have sex to their album all the time. That was when I really started loving the album. “Red Room” is on their most recent album and it’s one of their more stripped-back albums. They’re very jazz-heavy, R&B fusion usually, but this most recent album is a little more simple. I’m a huge Nai Palm fan. Like pretty much anything she does I worship, she’s an absolute god.

“And whenever I hang out with Willow, who is also a huge fan of hers, pretty much all we do is sing Hiatus Kaiyote songs.”

“Passionfruit” by Drake

“I stan the fuck out of Drake. I know people don’t like Drake, he gets a lot of hate and he’s like 'Whatever.' The man is a hitmaker. All of his lyrics are so relatable, and the production on all of his songs is undeniably beautiful.

“I’m a huge fan of “Passionfruit” specifically, I think it’s a brilliant song. It's the way that it’s easy listening, but with him it’s beautiful, easy listening and it still makes you feel something. I think he’s a perfect popstar.

Does Drake inspire you?

“Honestly, a lot, but secretly. It’s a secret because when I’m writing a song, I'm not thinking about Drake, but I feel like he’s somewhere in my bones. The man is simply chilling. He’s in Toronto, in his mansion, he’s chilling with his bro-skis and that’s who he is. And I love him for that.

What would a Drake and Remi collaboration sound like?

“I’d want it to sound like Drake and for him to take the lead on it and I can pop in. You know what’s another really great Drake song? Or a good template for a me and Drake song? Drake and Rihanna's “Take Care”. It’s a perfect duet, there’s just so much tension. I don’t know if Drake and I would have the same chemistry, but something like that would be sick.”

Remi Wolf's deluxe version of Juno is out now
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