“Major artists don’t start from the ground up like this anymore and it shows,” read an Instagram comment on a video of a young Lady Gaga singing in a club packed to the brim, donning her now-iconic Fame-era bottle blonde wig with the heavy bangs, and lovingly bumping into audience members crowding the stage. When I read that, I thought, That’s not true. I just saw Ren G from Club Eat do exactly that in the basement of Mehanata, a Bulgarian-owned club right around the corner from V’s office. Performing her popular track, “Clothes,” she danced, sweated, and, similarly, swung her iconic bob all around the Lower East Side proletariate, and they, so to speak, were eating it up.
Originally from Long Island, Ren G wasn’t set on becoming the working fashion girl’s pop star. She was a self-admitted scene kid, obsessed with Cobra Starship and 3OH!3, who evolved into a club kid, inspired by every genre of dance music and her uncle’s trove of 80s deep cuts, but today, she’s a budding pop star. “I don’t think I was fully myself as a teenager. I think I’m a late bloomer. With Club Eat and what I’m going through in my life, everything feels like it’s happening for the first time. I feel like I’m 16,” she shares with a genuine smile. Excited about the recent launch of START, Club Eat’s first full-length album, the gradual shift from deep-synth club to hyper-pop is something she feels is more authentic to the duo’s interests.
For those who were around for Club Eat’s early days, this may feel like a 180. For starters, Club Eat was founded as a series of underground parties for emerging DJs, now it’s a duo. Secondly, the sound is, to reference one of START’s popular tracks, more bubblegum. “This definitely exhibits a new side of us as a group, but I think even with the first few Club Eat projects there was always that mix of genres,” she says of the refresh. “We try to keep it rooted in those sounds and tempos that inspired us in the first place.”
From what I saw at Mehanata, it seems that the original fanbase has grown, but the demographic has remained the same. The line outside of the venue was littered with downtown girls smoking cigarettes, wearing Anna Bolina and ironic Y2K staples like studded berets and L.A.M.B merch (Gwen Stefani’s fashion line founded in 2003), and nothing felt out of place. “The reception has us excited to move into this new sonic territory,” Ren says, and if the buzz surrounding Ludlow Street was any indication of what’s to come, Club Eat’s future is looking delectable.
Photography Corey Olsen
Fashion Emma Oleck
Makeup Sena Murahashi (Management + Artists)
Hair Yu Nakata (87 Artists)
Manicure Mamie Onishi (SEE Management)
Production coordinator Landon Carter (Lalaland Group)
Photo assistant Justin Mulroy
Stylist assistant Monica Bon
Location Lumen Studios