Interview :: Theresa Wayman – Warpaint

January 24th 2014


After 10 years and 5 drummers, Warpaint are in fine and final form. The sophomore album is at last upon us, with the band having barely put down the brush between The Fool and Warpaint.


Flog writer Ash Berdebes chats with Warpaint guitarist/vocalist Theresa Wayman on a dreary Parisian morn, hours ahead of the first gig of their impending world tour, which will see them visit Sydney for Laneway and a sold-out secret show in the inner-west.


Ash :: Did you have the luxury of time with this record?

Theresa :: We intended to record with Flood probably eight months earlier than we actually did. So that date kept getting pushed and that was a little bit frustrating at certain times, but then having the time to write actually paid off.

And then once we were recording the album, it felt like we didn’t have enough time, and there was still a lot to deliberate over. I felt like some of the decisions we had to make were rushed. But overall, we were prepared.

What was the reason for the holdup of the recording process? Eight months is a big slab of time.

Projects that Flood was working on just kept getting extended and taking longer. 


Projects by any artists in particular?

I’m hesitant to say because I know how these things get turned into headlines…

Oh yeah, into angles, I wouldn’t do that. Let’s stick to new album kind of questions…

I just know it’ll just be, “Blah-blah’s band holds up Warpaint’s album”, you know? I can never tell who’s gonna actually do that. I don’t hate journalists, but I think there are some people out there that give it a bad name. And now I’m wary. I really am.

I think it’s what journalism does to people. You’ve probably noticed this in terms of writers trying to focus on the fact that you’re a ‘girl band’ or even trying to pick apart your relationships; that’s all striving for an angle. Does that get to you?

When we first started it was interesting, because everybody wanted to talk about all the famous people that we know or are friends with in Los Angeles. It wouldn’t necessarily be about how John Frusciante had mixed our EP; it was about how we knew some actor, it didn’t seem like it related to music at all. I thought that was a little weird.

But I don’t mind when people talk about the fact that we’re a girl band, because I think it’s a great thing that we’re doing something unique, and also something that should become more of a norm. And even though groups like Savages and HAIM are on everyone’s radar now, that wasn’t happening three-and-a-half years ago when we released The Fool.

I still think that there aren’t enough all-female bands out there at all. I mean, female bands writing their own music, and taking part in the whole spectrum of the process. There’ve been girl bands that have popped through, but never more than, like, three at a time, you know? I feel like there could be a lot of changes in that direction.


Any other all-lady bands at the moment that deserve more attention?

Maybe Pins. They’re pretty good but I think they’re really new though, I like what they’re going for but I feel like they could grow into themselves a little bit. I don’t really know of very many, there’s not many out there!

So you mentioned working with John Frusciante on the Exquisite Corpse EP. This album was recorded with Flood (Sigur Ros, Nick Cave, U2, Smashing Pumpkins). How was working with him – did he help you achieve a different flavour or texture that you wanted for the album?

Well, it was really exciting at first, and that excitement didn’t go away… but once we started working with him, I realised that this was another person that we had to communicate with and had to have a relationship with, and if we didn’t, there was no way we were gonna be able to make this album. Luckily he is the kind of person that can really put almost anyone at ease.

He really helped with the fact that we wanted things to feel more atmospheric and for there to be textures that weren’t crowding the album.

And with (Australian drummer) Stella Mozgawa with you for the writing process on this album, has she brought anything new?

Yeah, she’s another one of us. She works really well in Warpaint and, to me, the band with her has become the official Warpaint. She’s a really musical person in general and both inspired and inspiring.

Out of nowhere comes this dance track – Disco//Very. Can you tell me about how that came into being?

That track, we all wrote together when we went to Joshua Tree for a month and recorded the album. It just came from a jam really. We got a noise complaint when we were playing that song, actually. That was the only time. We were making some woman down the street “nauseous”, she said. So basically, we were like, “Oh, ok, we’re going to go with that one, that’s going on the album!”

Any straight-out jams make it onto the album?

When we were writing, ‘Love is to Die’ started from a jam. I hate the word “jam! But it’s the only word that works, really.

That refrain, ‘Love is to Die’ – it really sticks in your head. Who penned that? Does it mean anything in particular?

I penned it. And yeah, it came out without me really thinking about it, and then after we were writing it, I listened back and thought, ‘Oh wow, that really actually means a lot to me’, and I sort of said it unconsciously. To put it really briefly it’s sort of saying that… Love is everything. In order to partake in love, you have to be open to the full spectrum of life, from life to death, and also just let yourself go. It’s not really a mental thing, love is to dance; it’s a physical expression. It’s a point of letting go, really – to truly be in love.


If you are truly in love with Warpaint and don’t have tickets to the Sydney shows, well TOO BAD! Sold out. If you know of any spare tickets going for the secret show, contact the writer of this article.


*** UPDATE: A final allocation of tickets for the Sydney leg of Laneway will be released at 10am on Tuesday 28 January here. Go! Go! Go!


RELATED: Laneway Interview :: Savages

Laneway Interview :: Adalita



Read more from FBi Radio