Last month, Remi Wolf released her killer new live project ‘Live At Electric Lady’. The EP sees Wolf and her live band produce fresh renditions of a selection of tunes from her back catalogue – as well as one well-picked Frank Ocean cover – with dazzling results.
“It’s one of my favourite things I’ve done,” she tells NME backstage at London’s All Points East Festival about the EP. Growing up listening to live albums and watching archive gig footage online (“I’ve kind of been a YouTube rat for a very long time”), Wolf explains that this format was often her preferred way of experiencing music: “I grew up listening to the Erykah Badu ‘Live’ album even more than the actual ‘Baduizm’ album, and I love it so much.”
‘Live At Electric Lady’ allowed Wolf to dig into her love of improv, jazz and “off the cuff” live moments, resulting in an electric collection of performances. It also feels fitting that this project has emerged at this time, given that Wolf has been on the road for almost a year. Even now as an “incredibly fun” festival season is drawing to a close, Wolf is gearing up to go straight into preparations for her own headline tour later this year.
The live experience feels intrinsic to Wolf’s multifaceted sound, and serves as the ideal way to fully experience her funk-fuelled tunes. As she told NME last year in her Big Read cover interview: “Sometimes I’ll write songs out of a need to expel whatever the fuck is going on inside… but the most therapeutic part for me is performance.”
For the latest in NME’s In Conversation series, we caught up with Wolf in All Points East’s Koko Backstage area to discuss her new live EP, touring with Lorde and the one-year anniversary of her debut studio album, ‘Juno’. Here’s what we learned.
Wolf almost covered AC/DC for her ‘Live At Electric Lady’ EP
Wolf tells NME that the EP, which was recorded at New York’s iconic Electric Lady Studios, very almost featured an AC/DC classic. “I was going between [Ocean’s] ‘Pink + White’ and ‘Highway To Hell’ by AC/DC, which are incredibly different songs,” she recalls about her choice of cover versions.
“I wanted to challenge myself with the Frank Ocean cover. It’s such an incredible song, and I think I just wanted to give myself something to really make my own in an interesting way, which I think I did with that one. I’m honestly really proud of the whole project, it’s one of my favourite things I’ve done.”
She’d tour with Lorde again in a “heartbeat”
Earlier this year, Wolf hit the road with Lorde as the support on the latter’s ‘Solar Power Tour’ of the US, an experience she’d “do again in a heartbeat”. “Ella’s amazing,” Wolf tells us about the New Zealander. “I love the whole team, her whole band was awesome. It was just awesome to be able to go into all these incredible, iconic theatres in the US, and both do [my own] show and watch an incredible show every night.”
Lorde’s “stunning” live set-up has had a lasting impact on Wolf, and later this year she’ll embark on her own headline tour. “We’ve been prepping for a while. There’s a lot coming that I haven’t done yet: a lot more stage production, a lot more lights and visuals,” she explains. “I wanted to make the show a little bit more special and a little bit more theatrical, and, honestly, I think I was really inspired by Lorde’s stage design. Watching that and seeing every night how impactful a beautiful stage design can be, it really elevates a show. So I wanted to do my own take on an elevated show.”
Wolf’s year since releasing ‘Juno’ has been the “craziest year of my life”
Wolf’s debut album ‘Juno’, which we described as “funk-pop at its brightest and boldest”, celebrates its one-year anniversary next month. Looking back on the past 11 months, Wolf says: “It’s been probably the craziest year of my life. I’ve been touring since September … I mean, I’ve lived a lot of life this year: I’ve aged probably about 20 years. I’ve got to get my back really cracked when I get home!
“It’s been amazing,” she adds. “I really can’t complain. It’s exhausting and I’m constantly going out of my mind a little bit. But I’ve managed to stay pretty sane throughout the entire process and I’ve learned a lot, and what a beautiful world we live in!”
Speaking candidly about her single ‘Liquor Store’ was a hugely important moment for Wolf
Back in July, Wolf marked one year since the release of her 2021 single ‘Liquor Store’ with a message on Instagram in which she spoke openly about her journey with sobriety. ‘Liquor Store’, she explained, was the first song she wrote in LA following a four-month stint in rehab that she underwent “in a grand Hail Mary to save myself and my budding career”.
“I felt it was a really important part of my story, and a really important part of that album,” she reflects to NME now. “I was pretty much sober [for] the entire ‘Juno’ writing process, and it was a pretty huge life adjustment for me at the time. It just really deeply impacted me, and still has impacted me to this day. Like I said [in the post], sobriety is not a linear thing: I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs with it in the past two years, and it’s something I’m continually trying to get to know. I’m trying to get to know myself better every day.”
It was hugely important to Wolf that she shared her story. “If people are going through that and they want to make a life change, or they’re feeling depressed or alone in any way, I just wanted people to know that I relate,” she adds. “And I’m there with them.”
The warm reception from her fans and peers validated this decision, with Wolf explaining “the day that I posted that, it was such an immediate flood of love”, reiterating the belief that “honesty is what people need”. It’s important to tell “the truth,” Wolf says: “Being a human and sharing our human experiences, that’s the only thing that brings us together. Especially when there’s so much distraction and so much bullshit that wants to tear us apart.”
Working with Still Woozy on ‘Pool’ was pure fun
Wolf teamed up with Still Woozy to release ‘Pool’, a psych-flecked tune that was a “really fun one” to create, back in March. Wolf explains that the pair wrote the song together after a day spent sitting by a pool talking about life and drinking piña coladas when Still Woozy was based in LA.
Heading over to another pal’s house, they then “immediately just wrote a song about exactly what we’d just done and what we’d talked about”.
‘Pool’ will likely be a stand-alone track rather than a gateway to a bigger project. But Wolf does tell us that she’s currently working on new ideas for music.
“I’m definitely working on a lot of new music whenever I get time; pretty much whenever I’m home from tour I’m working on stuff,” she says. “It’s coming together, and I’m super-excited about all the stuff I’ve been working on recently.”
Remi Wolf’s ‘Live At Electric Lady’ EP is out now