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Talking Sex and Death at the Chateau Marmont With Slayyyter

The pop provocateur dishes on celebrity culture, “sober vibes,” and making her new album, ‘Starfucker’


Steven Simione*

Slayyyter is sitting on a couch in Room 49 of the historic Chateau Marmont hotel in West Hollywood. She’s bare-faced, barefoot, and sporting a silky, off-white nightgown as she takes sips of her iced coffee. “I feel like if you die here, you’re immortalized in Hollywood culture,” she muses. Last night’s empty bottles of Dom Pérignon and a half-eaten cake sit on the kitchen counter. It’s the morning of her 27th birthday.

“I’m really weird with this place,” the pop singer continues, casually citing the number of the bungalow where John Belushi died in 1982. “I have an encyclopedia and shit.”

Slayyyter sings about wanting to die at the Chateau in the campy lyrics to “I Love Hollywood!,” the scene-setter for her new album, Starfucker, out Friday. She considers the track her “magnum opus,” full of longing for Hollywood glamor and the irony of fame. “Party but I never sleep/I look so heroin chic,” she sings on the track.

The night before we meet, she filmed the music video for “I Love Hollywood!” here in this room. “I was fully in a gimp suit, and everyone sang ‘happy birthday’ to me,” she says with a laugh. “It was the funniest thing.”

Mainly produced by her close collaborator Nicopop, Starfucker serves, in parts, as a satirical commentary on the drugs, vanity, and debauchery of the L.A. she threw herself into when she moved here from a suburb of St. Louis several years ago. The subject matter can feel dark at times. But, in true Slayyyter fashion, she doesn’t take herself too seriously in the process.

Back in 2019, Slayyter’s debut mixtape tapped into a DIY hyper-pop sound that connected her with a queer, chronically online fanbase. Many of the lyrics — from her debut “BFF,” with its “matching Juicy lockets,” to her fame-manifesting “Celebrity,” where she pictured herself as “Hollywood’s new mistress” — were written from a closet in her mom’s house in Missouri. At the time, she says, she idolized the celebrity lifestyle she saw on TV and used pop culture to escape her surroundings. “I feel like it was me regurgitating TMZ/Perez Hilton culture that I would see online when I was younger,” she says. “But now, I feel like my take on fame and Hollywood is a little more from a close-up viewpoint.”

Slayyyter’s career took off further in the pandemic years. In the summer of 2021, she released her first full-length album, Troubled Paradise, a mixtape-style debut that she says was “very thrown together” and wasn’t received as well by critics. It’s been nearly three years since then, and she’s taken her time expanding her taste, elevating her sound, and curating almost 200 recorded songs into a cohesive 12-track project.

“I’ve had a front seat,” she says. “I’ve been the starfucker. I’ve been star-fucked. I’ve had people try to get close to me because they have weird, clout-chase-y intentions. I’ve seen the dumb-assery of Hollywood and it’s so sick and wonderful and awesome and I’m addicted to it.”

She adds: “It’s a mess. But I love it.”

The process of making Starfucker was informed by her party-girl nights in the city, surrounded by pseudocelebrities and fellow artists. She also got into watching old films for the first time. After getting entranced by Eighties thrillers like Body Double, Slayyyter began to long for the Hollywood magic that existed before she was born. “Everything seems a lot less sparkly than it used to be,” she says.

She also continued to draw inspiration from the tabloid culture of the early 2000s — she’s a big fan of Heidi Montag’s underrated pop music career. (She cites How to Be Famous by Montag and Spencer Pratt as one of her favorite books, and praises Montag’s unapologetic and “genius” search for fame.) If you ask her, true A-listers simply no longer exist, because of how we consume media and celebrities today. “The newer crop of people? No one gags me,” she says. “Who’s the George Clooney right now? There isn’t one.”

On Starfucker‘s LP cover, Slayyter stands in the middle of a retro-luxury apartment, holding a cigarette as she stares into the camera. Her album trailer features a closeup of the singer getting her makeup done as she strikes poses to Nancy Sinatra’s “You Only Live Twice.”

“I just wish the glamor would come back. I wish people would be cooler,” she says. “There’s no mystique.” (She later clarifies that her feelings on this extend to most artists, except Lana Del Rey: “That’s actually a Hollywood glamor doll. She, to me, is a real star. She could be in the 1960s and would be just as much of a celebrity.“)

Starfucker’s lyrics embrace that need for luxury and also the over-the-top vanity of the stereotypical Hollywood star. “Can you keep a secret while we’re dancing in my deco million-dollar mansion?” she sings on “Dramatic.” “Bitches asking if it’s all silicone/I’m always stopping the show/I look good, bitch, yeah I know,” she declares on “Plastic.”

“I feel like I could trick people into thinking that I’m more famous than I am. That’s kind of a funny way to live. It’s almost like the Angelyne effect, you know what I mean?” she says. “I want my life to feel like art. When I die I want people to be like, ‘Oh, she served looks and the hair and the wigs and the jewelry.’ I hope people will listen to my album and be like, ‘I’m going to do my hair in curlers today and drink a martini and live my little fantasy.’”

Some of the songs also play into the over-the-top persona she’s portrayed her entire career as a “crazy party girl,” like on “Erotic Electronic” and “Purrr,” where — backed by a circuit party-ready beat — she sings, “K make this kitty go errr/Coke make this kitty go work.” She’s not really into that lifestyle these days, though.

“I’m kind of sober vibes lately,” she says. “I’m just taking a breather. I don’t know if it’s a for-life thing… Everyone in my family is an alcoholic. I don’t want to repeat those patterns so I try to be really careful now.”

Slayyyter “almost feels weird” talking about the fact that she hasn’t gotten drunk in the last six months. “It’s like finding out Santa Claus isn’t real when someone comes up to me in a bar and they’re like ‘Can I buy you a shot?’ And I’m like, ‘Oh I’m not drinking tonight,’ and they’re like ‘Oh,’” she says.

“It’s the Gwyneth Paltrow thing: finding the balance between tofu and cigarettes,” she adds. “That is my life thesis.”

EVENTUALLY, THE CONVERSATION circles back to the Chateau, as it always does with Slayyyter. She mentions a star-fucking incident at the hotel that she now realizes helped propel her career a few years back. In 2019, the singer wrote “Daddy AF,” a raunchy sing-rap track about feeling ultra-powerful after a “one-night stand with someone kinda famous” at the hotel.

“I felt so cool,” she remembers. “I went into the studio and I was too hungover to sing so I just wrote this song about fucking models and it became my bread-and-butter song.”

Twenty-six million Spotify streams later, the track continues to bear fruits for the singer. “Daddy AF” plays a key role in the soundtrack to last year’s A24 horror flick Bodies, Bodies, Bodies. Seeing the film in theaters — and hearing an extended version of a song play through the speakers — was a true “pinch-me moment”  for her.

“That song kind of hit me off,” she says. “That was my first trip to L.A.: I had a wild night here and I made one of my biggest songs because of that night. Full circle.”

Songs like “Daddy AF” and “Mine” earned her collabs with pop acts like Charli XCX and Rebecca Black, along with Russian activist group Pussy Riot, for the song “Hatefuck,” on which she dropped the bar, “Wish I’d been around to tell your mother to abort you.” (Ouch!)

Slayyyter has earned top slots at several music festivals, including this weekend’s Life Is Beautiful Festival, and she recently joined Tove Lo as the opener for her Dirt Femme tour, which she described as a “very good underrated learning tool.”

“It really seasoned me as a performer,” she says. “You’re performing to win over a crowd.”

She’ll be taking those lessons on the road on her upcoming headlining tour, Club Valentine, where she’ll welcome burgeoning pop stars Miss Madeline and Bayli as her openers. “I wanted to do something really theatrical,” she teases. “And I’m ready for the costumes.”

Slayyyter may not realize it yet, but she’s already inspiring a new generation of burgeoning pop risk-takers. During a recent podcast interview, “I’m So Hot” singer Chrissy Chlapecka named her alongside Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears as artists she looks up to, saying it would be “absolutely incredible” to work with her one day.

“That’s crazy. That makes me feel old,” Slayyter says when I tell her about this. “I would love to collab, too. For someone else to be inspired by anything I’ve done just makes me feel like, ‘Maybe I’ve done something that’s worthwhile.’”

Mid-sentence, Slayyyter’s phone starts to vibrate. Her eyes widen as she holds up the phone to show a call from “Pawps.” It’s her birthday, so calls from family make sense — except, she tells me, her grandpa died a few weeks ago.

“Oh my gosh,” she says, taking a screenshot. “It’s my dead grandpa calling me.”

From Rolling Stone US