Creating art as a queer person can be in and of itself a political statement simply for the fact that being a visible, LGBTQ person is in and of itself a political statement. As a musician who uncovers the significance from within the banal, Wolfjay is emerging as an artist who not only provides nonbinary representation in pop music but as a creative who refuses to be canceled.
Melbourne-based Wolfjay is the synth-pop singer/songwriter/producer Jack Alexander, and they are known for creating music that is all about the feels. A resounding essence of teenage angst paired with post-adolescent melancholy, the whimsical and dreamy pop illustrates a scene that sounds like warm summer and feels like fresh spring rain. Indie-rock has never sounded so elemental.
Wolfjay is releasing the brand new single “In Memory Of” this Friday, February 7, and it is a quintessential addition for the daydreaming, emo artist. An ode to walking away from toxic people environments and using the catharsis of music to explore personal freedom, a feeling that is all too familiar for many of us, this track hits the nail right on the head. OUT FRONT recently talked with Wolfjay about “In Memory Of,” the queer community in Melbourne, and trusting your instincts.
In writing your most recent single, “In Memory Of,” what was it that you were letting go of? Was it the hope of the situation becoming a distant memory or more of a reflective perspective that inspired the song?
The song was inspired by a really mundane interaction I had one day on the way to work. I walked past someone that I had been really good friends with for a long time, for years, and who I’d had to cut contact with because it was a toxic relationship that I knew wasn’t good for either of us; (I) chose to not interact. It was so tough because I really missed them, but I knew that it wasn’t right. The song was birthed out of that feeling, of the daily recommitment you make to yourself to stick to a decision that is difficult to make. It’s half reminding yourself why you made the decision in the first place, and giving yourself the push to double-down and recommit to that choice.
What is the biggest inspiration for you when it comes to writing music and creating art?
I think my biggest inspiration is being surprised by really strong emotions hidden in small interactions. My music and my visual art is all just trying to extrapolate the subtleties of tiny, fleeting moments up to a huge scale. That’s always the goal, and that’s always where ideas start for me.
How important is it for you to be an out, queer person?
So important. It’s an opportunity for me to say that, ‘I’m not my cage; you can’t define me that way.’ It’s a constant reminder to me to follow my instincts and trust my gut. I don’t have a set of rules binding me to what’s ‘correct’ or ‘appropriate.’ That voice of doubt in the back of my head that worked so hard to disqualify what I felt drawn to has grown much quieter. It’s a nice feeling.
Did you have any hesitation in being out with your audience?
Not really. I think, if anything, me talking about my identity and queerness helped bring a lot of valuable context to my music, so people who’ve followed my music since day one really understood it straight away. Also, queer people fucking rule, and I love them so much, and being more vocal about my identity has meant I get to have so many more lovely interactions with the community. It rules. Being queer is the best.
Did you have anyone who was inspiring and instrumental in your coming out, either celebrities and public figures or possibly someone you knew personally?
I have a really solid group of friends who are all queer, who I know both online and in real life, and I think just having years of relationships with them in URL and IRL, seeing how they react to things, and how they handle themselves day-to-day, really helped me become comfortable with coming out. When I finally did it, it was more of a formality than a lifestyle change. I already felt comfortable being myself around them which made the process so easy. I’m so grateful for them.
What is the queer scene like in Melbourne?
The queer scene is so here incredible. I live in a really left-leaning area of the city, and I see so many queer couples hanging out when I’m out around my house. It’s the best place in the world. There are so many incredible, queer artists and events in Melbourne as well. I’m slowly trying to hang out with as many people as possible and work on projects with them. I love it all so much.
What do you hope that people get out of listening to your music?
Peace of mind. Everything will be ok. Sometimes it’s not, and that’s ok. But soon it will be better.
What are you most looking forward to this year, and what can folks look forward to next from Wolfjay?
I’m playing my first international shows in New York at The New Colossus Festival next month, which is insane! We’re doing a fundraiser for it at the moment (wolfjay.com/fundraiser) to help fund it all, but I’m so looking forward to that. I’ve fallen in love with New York through movies, music, and art like everyone else, and I’m beyond excited to be over and be amongst the amazing artists in that city for a few weeks. Apart from that, I’ve spent the Australian summer working on heaps of new music, so there might be a longer release somewhere on the horizon!
*Photo by Sabrina Gallagher