When it comes to songwriting, a lot has changed for Uffie since she unleashed her mid-‘00s club hit “Pop the Glock.”
Back then, the American-French singer-songwriter kept busy jaunting across Europe, where she typically played club nights, sometimes in a different country each night. “I started touring immediately after I released my first songs,” she recalls on a recent phone call from her home in Los Angeles. “We were literally making music to play for shows.” That meant working quickly to craft songs that would resonate with nightclub audiences.
These days, Uffie spends more time in the studio. “It’s much more concept-based,” she says of her current approach to songwriting. “What are you writing about? How does this hit you?”
In September, Uffie dropped her single “Cool” via Toro y Moi’s Company Records, where a melancholy intro snaps into a pogo beat augmented by vivid lyrics (“Mink when I’m cold/Kissing by the pool/Life’s a disco”) and a thick bassline.
The song was made prior to the pandemic during an in-person studio session. “I had never met either of the producers or writers in the room. It was our first time all meeting and I had some of the lyrics written out, but we formed it there,” she says. “It was one of those days where I feel like everything just lined up.”
Uffie says that lyrics and songwriting have always been her focus, but she’s becoming more interested in production as well. “It really lends itself to the songwriting in that it’s an extension of how you can control the emotion of what you want to portray,” she says. “That’s an evolving process for me right now.”
In fact, a new remix of “Cool,” released on November 16, was helmed by Uffie. “I thought it would be really fun to try remixing my own music,” she says. On the remix, Uffie teases the “Life’s a disco” line with a snippet of strings, but the track runs a different course as the tempo increases. It plays less like a dance track and more like blur of memories from wild night out.
“I had originally thought more about doing a club mix, but we just got weird with it,” she says. Uffie collaborated with pal Veronica Wyman (Veronica Jane of DAGR) under the name NeverHaveIEverFuckedABlonde on the remix. Uffie was featured on DAGR’s single “Fuck Knots,” earlier this year.
“Originally working on ‘Cool,’ it was such a cinematic, visual inspiration, especially through the video and pulling from those references,” she says. “We wanted to have this break in the middle that felt like that cinematic dream moment and then reverse the whole thing and have a tempo change and make it go in this whole other world.”
The remix came together quickly. “We started together and had to go to two separate sessions, so we reconnected on Zoom after and, I think, stayed up until 3 or 4 in the morning working on it,” says Uffie.
While Uffie spent much of the ‘00s touring, she took an extended break in the ‘10s. “I had been on tour since [I was] 16. I needed a moment to just be a human, mature, and exist,” she says. That break had an impact on her music as well.
“I think just maturing changed the content a lot, growing up a bit, but as well, as a mom, I’m not going to be doing club tours every day anymore,” says Uffie, who has two children. “[Touring] was very fun when I did it, but I don’t necessarily want to do now. I think all of that combined really changes where you want your music to live and exist.”
In recent years, she’s been spending her time co-writing for other artists in addition to working on her own material. “I only really write for artists where I really love what they do and feel a connection to it and I think that I can add to it. I don’t think it’s really worth it as a songwriter trying to squeeze into something that you don’t help elevate,” says Uffie.
“What I really love is that you can get outside of your own mind and, after touring for so long, when you’re writing, you kind of have a little voice in the back of your head that’s reminding you that you’re going to have to sing these words for years to come,” she continues. “You lose a little bit of that naivety and freedom. Stepping into someone else’s head, you just don’t have that. It’s getting to exist in somebody else’s world and interpret it.”
Songwriting with others, she says, has changed since the pandemic. “Before, I was doing sessions every day, whether it be for myself or for somebody else, five days a week,” Uffie explains. “But working on Zoom has really changed that pace and process. Instead of volume, it’s taking more time on things, being more selective. So some weeks, I’ll spend focusing on co-writing or doing writing camps for other people.”
While in-person writing sessions have been returning, Zoom sessions aren’t a thing of the past. “If you can’t dedicate a whole day, Zoom can be incredibly efficient, if you work well with people,” she says. “It takes out that time of banter and messing about, which is also, at the same time, one of my favorite things about the studio.”
She adds, “I definitely still do some Zooms and it can be convenient, but it is really nice to get back into the room and feeling the energy that you really can’t recreate over a screen.”
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