“Fun, Hard, and Flirty”: Meet Club Eat
Meet Club Eat. Since debuting their live act at a Manhattan dim sum restaurant last year, Ren G and Chicken have become notorious nightlife fixtures known for their electro-pop beats and angsty lyrics. With a debut album on the way, the band’s frontwoman called up our senior editor Taylore Scarabelli to talk teenage psychosis, ’80s albums, and boys, boys, boys.
TAYLORE SCARABELLI: Hi, Ren.
REN G: Hey.
SCARABELLI: So we just wrapped the shoot.
REN G: Period.
SCARABELLI: How are you feeling?
REN G: Fab. Eric rocks.
SCARABELLI: What were the looks giving?
REN G: Dolly, like, toy doll. Pretty and feminine with a little bit of edgy styling.
SCARABELLI: Just like you. Is fashion a big part of your life?
REN G: Absolutely. And it’s always changing. I’m still in my teenage psychosis, but as I get older my influences change. Less is actually becoming more, which is fab.
SCARABELLI: That’s hot. So you have your first album coming out under Club Eat.
REN G: Yes.
SCARABELLI: How did that happen?
REN G: Bitch! Me and Chicken have been making music for a few years now. We put out two EPs, A sides, B sides, and I was just like, “I want the next body of work to be an album. I want it to be a full vibe.” We didn’t know what the sound was going to give at all. We had our influences and the music we were listening to, that definitely shines a bit, but I feel like the writing just came organically. It’s not inauthentic or super trippy or whatever. It’s just me singing about my life.
SCARABELLI: Did you always want to be a pop star?
REN G: Always.
SCARABELLI: What artists did you look up to as a kid?
REN G: Oh my god. I mean, there were quite a few, but I would say, as a child, Britney Spears and Madonna were the two. Janet Jackson. I had Rhythm Nation on CD, that was major. I saw the girls in my local dance recital dance to it and I was like, “This is the coolest music I’ve ever heard.” I’ve always really been inspired by women in pop. Oh, and the Spice Girls too.
SCARABELLI: Yes Spice Girls.
REN G: And then I loved all of my dad’s ’80s music. I loved Siouxsie Sioux. I loved The B-52’s. I loved Alison Moyet. The list goes on.
SCARABELLI: But now you’re a K-pop girl.
REN G: Oh yeah. Absolutely.
SCARABELLI: What’s hot in K-pop right now?
REN G: There’s a new group called NewJeans that I’m super obsessed with. They’re a teenage group. They’re super young, but they just have this super fresh sound I haven’t really heard in the genre before.
SCARABELLI: Why is everyone so obsessed with K-pop?
REN G: I feel like it strikes a chord that a lot of other music just doesn’t. There’s attention to choreo and also, how you come up as a K-pop star is so different from anything else in the world. These girls train for years. It’s very disciplined. It’s almost like a ballerina or something.
SCARABELLI: Are you that dedicated?
REN G: Of course. I try to be as disciplined as I can.
SCARABELLI: Give me a day in the life of Ren G.
REN G: Wake up, text, email, listen to music. Then it depends on what the day’s giving.
SCARABELLI: And then, you’re just daydreaming about boys.
REN G: Exactly. That’s what this album is about. It’s about waking up and daydreaming about boys.
SCARABELLI: Can you describe your dream date?
REN G: It would probably be Jon Bernthal taking me out to a movie and a nice Italian dinner.
SCARABELLI: You’re a classic girl.
REN G: Oh yeah. And I like simple classic guys. What can I say? I’m the star.
SCARABELLI: That’s right.
REN G: I don’t know what it is about Jon Bernthal, I’m just obsessed with him. He’s so hot. He’s like your type-A queen’s man.
SCARABELLI: True. What gets you in the mood to write?
REN G: Well, I’m always writing and I always have ideas. I have an endless Notes app that refreshes every six or eight months or so. But writing with Chicken—he can help flush out these ideas or feelings that will just be stirring in my head. I literally write something every day. Maybe it’s not a full-fledged song, but it’s a hook or an idea or even just a title.
SCARABELLI: How do you feel about people calling your sound electroclash?
REN G: It makes sense and it’s not like, “What the fuck?” But I think with this new project people will hear a different side of us that doesn’t live in that genre anymore.
SCARABELLI: How would you describe it?
REN G: As pop music. It’s not that I think I’m better than electroclash. When I was a teenager, electroclash was huge. Felix da Housecat is still one of my biggest influences, production-wise.
SCARABELLI: Can you describe your sound in three words?
REN G: Fun, hard, and flirty.
SCARABELLI: Love it. So when I met you, you were still a baby in the scene.
REN G: Barely. I was still trying to DJ when I met you.
SCARABELLI: How did you get into it?
REN G: I’ve always loved music, but I had never really partied or gone clubbing until I was like 21 or 22—I started quite late. My father was a DJ and my uncle was a DJ, but I can’t really say they were a huge influence. But anyway, when I stepped out of working in fashion I loved going out, and I wanted to DJ. I was making mixtapes for friends, begging people to teach me how to play, and it all just happened. But there was a lot of fucking work there. It was a lot harder getting into DJing when I started doing it.
SCARABELLI: A lot of people don’t realize how hard everyone works to get to where they’re at. It doesn’t all happen overnight.
REN G: I played free parties for years. I played bars for years. I threw so many variations of parties with different friends. And that was just DJing. And now getting into production, it’s been a whole other type of experience and journey.
SCARABELLI: So what’s next for Club Eat?
REN G: I want to tour the world. I want to keep making music with Chicken, and I just want to keep going. I literally don’t want to stop. It feels like we’ve just reached the beginning.
Stylists: Ren G and Lucy Gaston
Hair: Sonny Molina using Oribe
Makeup: Kuma using MAC Cosmetics
Photography Assistant: Malcolm Sales
Fashion Assistant: Lulu Lee
Production Assistant: Domenic Nadal
Post-Production: Franco Erre