“I got sober from alcohol in early 2021, and I had already started this record. It’s interesting to kind of hear the songs that I started before that and the way that they changed,” she recalls. “That created a lot of openness and clarity in my life and my creativity that I just was then naturally channeling into this music. It became a lot about rebirth.”
Wolfe’s music is hard to categorize, but she is known for her tendency to blend folk music with heavier subgenres like gothic rock and doom metal. She’s aware of the specific taste required for people to enjoy it — “It’s not party music,” she laughs — but has never been afraid to stand her creative ground.
“There’s been collaborations that I’ve been asked to do that I felt like they just weren’t right for me. And maybe it would have given me a lot of exposure or more payment down the line,” she says. “I try to live simply and not have to do things that I don’t feel like I’m aligned with just for money. I know that’s a privilege.”
But she has found resourceful ways, in addition to touring, to make a living with which she feels artistically comfortable, such as collaborating with composer Tyler Bates on the soundtrack for the 2022 slasher film, X, which stars Mia Goth.
Director Ti West remembers wanting to experiment with a more avant-garde sound and talking to Bates about how best to achieve it.
“I kind of pitched this idea to Tyler that it’d be great to have a vocal-driven score,” West says. “It just seemed conceptually like a really weird and interesting idea to not just have the same old horror score that you hear over and over again.”
Bates, who had admired Wolfe’s music for years and had already worked with her once before, knew she’d be perfect. He came to her with the idea to use her voice to make “percussive sounds” throughout, including laughter, growling and even sexual noises — particularly apt given the movie follows a pornographic film crew in the ‘70s.
“She looked at me like, ‘What do you want me to do?’” Bates laughs as he recalls explaining his proposal.
But West, aware of their unconventional request, says Wolfe quickly rose to the occasion, making a big difference in the finished film.
“It’s hugely important. Music, certainly in a horror movie, is something that’s going to curate the tone,” West says. “At least for me, it’s something I’m thinking about before I even make the movie.”