By Drew Howard
It’s an hour to midnight before ‘STARFUCKER”s release when Slayyyter gets on the phone with Pop Crave. The last time we spoke, the then 23-year-old was prepping to release her now seminal song “Daddy AF” – a crunchy, chaotic, hyper sexual banger that launched her into the pop-head consciousness and amassed over 25 MILLION Spotify streams. Four years later, Slayyyter is looking to elevate her sound and visuals with the release of ‘STARFUCKER.”
Inspired by erotic thrillers of the 80s, the work of designer Charles Burke, Sofia Coppola‘s ‘The Bling Ring’ and more, Slayyyter tells Pop Crave her album era visuals are just as important as the sonic landscapes she inhabits. Slayyyter‘s attention to detail shows in the final product, as ‘STARFUCKER’ proves to be her most polished and concise project to date. The album cover locked us in from the second it dropped this summer, a viral Stan twitter moment that Slayyyter tells us was a personal career highlight.
Continue below for our full conversation with Slayyyter where we talk about her ‘STARFUCKER’ era mood board, music leaks, HBO’s ‘The Idol,‘ and why “I Love Hollywood!” is her best new song.
How are you celebrating the album release tonight?
I’m not sure yet, I’ve been so go go go, the celebration might be a bubble bath and sleeping.
You’re releasing the “I Love Hollywood!” music video tomorrow morning after the album drops, what can you tell us about that?
My good friend Kate helped me shoot it. Originally I had all these treatments for it, but then we ended up going with a more DIY style. I think it’s my best video, I’m SO proud of how it turned out.
We shot a bunch of stuff for it last week at the Chateau Marmont, we were up for like 22 hours and just shot all day. There’s lots of different set ups, so many looks and outfits and fashion – I’m so excited. It was the night before my birthday, so we were up until 2 in the morning editing it. I’ve been pulling all nights, but it’s finally done!
There’s so much history in the Chateau Marmont!
It’s a very integral piece for my whole album era. I had to shoot it there, no compromises!
When did you first start working on the new album ‘STARFUCKER’?
I started working on it three years ago, the first song I worked on was around the time ‘Troubled Paradise’ was coming out. I already knew at the time what I wanted to do for my next project, I had my foot in the door and knew the sound.
The first song I made was “Tear Me Open.” I made that a couple weeks after I finished “Letters” for ‘Troubled Paradise.’ And the last song had to have been “Purrr.”
Tell me about your mood board for this new era
In terms of inspiration, it was a lot of the movies I was watching at the time – 80s erotic thrillers. I had just moved to LA, and I was collecting 80s vintage furniture and getting really into interior design. I was looking at old Charles Burke photos, those really retro ones with the crazy music equipment setups, silk plants and fur rugs. I was so inspired by all that and the idea of what music I thought should be playing in a setting like that.
This album was created to feel really cinematic, and I feel like it’s all one little universe – it feels like all the imagery I’ve put out is so married to the music, they’re both just as important as the other.
I know it’s not an 80s movie, but when I saw the album cover it made me think of the Billy Wilder film ‘Sunset Blvd.’ from 1950. Have you seen that?
Of course, that movie is iconic! I took a film class in high school that changed my life, and that was one of the movies we watched.
I watched that in my high school film class too. This might sound like a dumb question, but was everything in the album cover a real set?
It was a real set build. The day the album cover came out was the happiest day of my life. I was so proud to put that piece of art out. At same time I was a little bummed when I saw people saying, ‘Oh, it’s photoshopped, it’s AI!” I was like, ‘No!’ It was all actual vintage furniture and old pieces, the mirror headboard was actually vintage. It was my dream bedroom set up that we built in a little studio. I picked out the carpet swatches and made sure it was the correct color of mauve, there was so much work put into it and I love how it turned out.
I see a narrative playing out online where people say you’ve ditched the hyper pop genre. What do you make of that?
I don’t think I was ever hyper pop. I’ve always made pop music. I feel like people call my mixtape hyper pop because the mixing and mastering was terrible. So people are like, oh, it’s hyper pop! But I think if it was mixed a little better people wouldn’t have said it was hyper pop.
I don’t mind the hyper pop title at all, but I never saw myself as a part of that scene or adjacent to hyper pop artists. I feel like I was never super auto-tuned. Aside from “Throatzilla,” I feel I’ve kept all my music pretty straightforward pop vibes with a little experimentation. I haven’t departed hyper pop, my sound has just gotten more polished.
Who did you collaborate with in terms of the music this era?
My biggest collaborator was Nico Pop, he produced “Clouds” on the last album ‘Troubled Paradise.’ We put during Covid through Zoom – he sent me beats because I hit him up on Instagram, and we’ve formed this really beautiful friendship and collaborative relationship. He’s worked on so many songs on this album, he did most of the record. I feel we have the same taste in music, and I’m able to try things with him that I’m not able to try with other people because we’re friends and can joke around.
My DJ Owen Jackson produces a lot of my music too, he’s the best. He did some work on a couple songs for the album, and another one that I will hopefully put out soon.
So you’re planning to drop new music soon after ‘STARFUCKER’?
We’ll see, possibly. I’m trying to get together one or two songs that are in line with this album, but we will see!
Are you into the idea of a deluxe album?
I wish I could do a deluxe with six or seven songs that are demos from this project, but at this point it might be nice to tie it up with two more. Maybe in the future I’ll drop more music in this universe, but I need to shift gears, and I’m about to go on tour.
A lot of my demos have leaked too, so I’m not itching to put them out because the surprise is already ruined. Everything leaked!
What is the deal with all these leaks?
Girl, I do not know. Someone is tapped…I don’t want to point fingers, but I feel like someone is tapped. I never send music to anyone, I don’t even share it with my friends. I’m so careful, I make sure my producers are aware of scam emails and that they need to keep it to themselves.
I never upload to a cloud or drive, I keep it all filed in a safe place and people somehow still get my stuff. I don’t know how, but moving forward I hope that maybe things won’t leak as much. I’m going to start doing USB only so nothing leaks.
Do you have a rough estimate of how many songs leaked?
I feel like it’s been 50 or 60 songs. From what I’ve seen, there’s leaks from every session I’ve done making this album. Sometimes you do a session where you know at the end of the day the song you made isn’t going to come out, and now one will ever hear it, and yet it has all leaked. Even my trial and error session days.
You seem like someone who is pretty tapped into what’s going on online
I skim the forums quite a bit.
‘STARFUCKER’ has zero features. Was that your intention going in, or is it just how you work?
I don’t love collaborating, honestly. Whenever someone asks me who my dream collaborator is, I always gravitate toward naming dream producers or DJs I love. I had a period of time when I was trying to find people to feature on songs, and it didn’t work out. It’s so awkward to ask people ifs they’re not into the song.
I get really shy, I don’t like collaborating. It’s weird when it’s through the computer, and it’s rare that I do sessions with people where we’re both physically going in together to make something. I’d rather be selfish and just keep it all to myself.
Are you into the idea of music eras, or do you feel resistant to it?
I love eras. Every album, I hope to give a new era and switch vibes. I’ve always loved pop stars where every album is different from the last. Music is so specific to visuals for me, everything has its own visual universe.
I’m already thinking of the visual world for my next album. I was a big Tumblr girl, I love creating mood boards and vibes. I think repeating the same thing gets boring, I wouldn’t want to make this same album again.
Did you ever return to Tumblr when they tried to revamp it?
I’m kind of tapped out with Tumblr. Twitter is my favorite social media platform…we need to change the name back to Twitter, it’s not X. It’ll never be that.
People love to say Twitter under Elon Musk is a dumpster fire, but no one can ever get me off this app. You don’t have the blue verified check right?
I think it’s embarrassing to have a check mark and pay for it, so I turned it off.
I noticed Apple Music censored the entire album title, it’s just S********R — is there a way to fix that?
It’s so unfortunate, but with a lot of streaming platforms there’s kids that use it and all different kinds of people, so to a certain extent things have to be censored.
My original plan for this album cover was to have the one with my full boobs out, but I have to use it as a vinyl only. In a perfect world, I’d be able to run amok and be as vulgar as I want.
I’m most excited for the intro track “I Love Hollywood!” It sounds so cinematic, and it’s got a crazy chorus/hook. I want to see it in a movie.
Thank you! You can’t really pitch songs for soundtracks, but I wish I could get it in the new ‘MaXXXine’ movie starring Mia Goth. When I first made the song, it sounded like a sexy movie trailer – it could’ve been in HBO’s ‘The Idol.’ It’s my favorite song off the album easily, it encapsulates the whole thesis and vibe and everything I want to say with the era.
It reminds me of that viral Rachel Sennet video, are you familiar?
Yes! “What, it’s LA, we’re doing drugs!” Yeah, it’s very that.
That’s funny you mention ‘The Idol.’ When I watched it this summer, I was thought it was low-key Slayyyter-coded. People really shit on that show, but I loved it.
I’m so glad you loved it, I did too. I love coincidences like that. I was watching the show this summer, and in every single scene Lily Rose Depp has a cigarette in her hand, barely wearing anything with her boobs always out. I thought, this is SO my album vibe and it’s not even out yet. It was so funny.
“I Love Hollywood!” also makes me think of Sofia Coppola’s ‘The Bling Ring’ with Emma Watson
That movie was definitely on the mood board for this whole era. I don’t want to do just old Hollywood vibes – the way those kids are so obsessed with celebrity to the point they’re burglarizing celeb homes, it’s such a crazy concept. It’s very ‘STARFUCKER.’
Would you ever want to do another mixtape?
I don’t know if I’d make a mixtape again. I think a mixtape is specifically for before your debut.
But in terms of my debut mixtape, ‘Slayyyter,’ I’ve been thinking a lot about touching back on those kinds of sounds in an elevated way and revisiting the visuals for my first project with something new.
Stream ‘STARFUCKER’ on Spotify