I had a minute to catch up with Theresa Wayman of Warpaint last week, just as the band is beginning to near the light at the end of a very long touring tunnel; we talked about everything from her son’s favorite Warpaint jams to how the band settles creative disputes, so read up on all that below and prepare to get your mind blown Friday at The Fillmore. And regardless of whether you can make it out to the shows, do yourself a favor and snag a copy of Warpaint, out now on Rough Trade. HERE WE GO:
So you’ve really been running the road to tour this record…are you kind of ready to get some time off at the end of October?
Yeah, a little bit. It’ll be nice to home for Halloween and my son’s birthday.
Oh, I’m sure! Speaking of which, how is it being a parent and a musician? I feel like a lot of people expect it to be this impossible mix, but from most of the musician parents I’ve spoken to, it seems like it can actually help in terms of forcing you to make the most of your time.
Yeah, I think I get a lot more done having my son than if I didn’t have him, because it just makes you realize how precious your time is. It really lights a fire under your butt, and you have to get stuff done.
Right. And I know he’s still pretty little, but is he super into any of the Warpaint tunes at this point?
He loves them! He puts them on more than I do, actually. [Laughs]
Amazing! Does he have a favorite song?
He loves “Shadows” a lot, and he loves “Hi”.
Well he’s got some good taste, then! [Laughs] Getting back to wrapping up this stretch of touring, though, have you had any favorite moments and/or horrible moments recently that stand out?
You know, just the fact that we’ve been touring for as long as we have been this year (it’s been pretty nonstop) has been hard. It makes the road kind of rough…we’re all a little bit road weary. We’re enjoying it, but when you do something too much (no matter what it is) it can be too much of a good thing.
Yeah, I mean, I honestly don’t even know how you’re all standing at this point. And what about the live performances? I know you continue to expand your repertoire with every new record, but are there any songs that you still look especially forward to playing live, and/or that the audience gets super excited about hearing?
I think “Love Is To Die” is going over really well lately; people seem to get really excited by that one. I also really love playing “No Way Out”; that one’s really fun. (And “Disco//Very”.)
Cool. And aside from performing, there are obviously a lot of different roles at play in what you do as a musician; do you have a particular aspect of the job that you like better than the others?
I like them all for their own reasons, but I guess the thing I love to do the most is to write music. It’s like if you’re a painter and you love painting. [Laughs] It’s the process of creating that thing (whether it’s a painting or a song or whatever it may be)…it’s really cathartic and fun; it’s like solving a puzzle that you created for yourself, in a way. I do love playing live, but for different reasons.
Right. And when you ARE working through the creative process (as with any collaborative effort) I’m sure there are points where creative differences come up; obviously to have had the level of success that Warpaint has, there has to be some level of setting those differences aside to preserve the integrity of the music and the project, but when you DO run into issues, do you have any specific way of coming to a consensus?
Well, sometimes we don’t deal with it very well, and other times we’re really compassionate and good with each other; it kind of goes up and down. But we have a rule that we have to try everything, try everyone’s ideas, and then we generally agree if something works or doesn’t work. So I guess we’re kind of lucky that way. Sometimes we come to a moment where we feel that somebody’s guitar or bass line isn’t quite right for what, say, I had in mind, and that is a tough moment for anybody to try to say it in a nice way; it’s not personal, it’s just ultimately about the song. But when we’re working, sometimes we forget that it’s not an attack if somebody says that something you’re doing isn’t right for the part. So you just try to be the best person you can be, even though sometimes things can get tense. (Communicating nicely is the key.) My main point is that it can be uncomfortable, but that’s being in a band; sometimes you just have to let go of your own desires and give into what somebody else wants.
Of course, of course. Well, kind of touching on the dynamic of your band, too, do you still find that people are really harping on the whole all-girl-outfit thing? I don’t mean to necessarily rehash it by asking right now, but I do think it’s kind of bizarre that in 2014 we can still have this sort of fixation on bands that happen to be comprised of all women, and that we still see it come up a lot in press interviews.
Yeah, I mean, people do sometimes feel the need to bring it up, and it’s fine with me if they do. It is rare for a band to be made up of all women; it’s happening more and more now, but it’s still rare, so I understand if people are confused or need to make a point about it.
And how do you feel about doing interviews in general? You can be honest with me here and I won’t be offended [laughs], but I think the more prominent the internet becomes as the sort of medium for accessing band interviews, the more it becomes apparent just how many questions you get asked that are EXACTLY the same. And I guess it has probably always been like that for press interviews and we just didn’t realize as heavily it until recently, but I think I’d go nuts if that sort of Groundhog Day thing were happening to me on a daily basis…
Yeah, I guess I don’t really like interviews that much…I don’t mind them, but it’s like you said…once you’re starting to do a bunch of them, all of a sudden you do feel like you’re doing the same kind of basic interview over and over again.
Yeah, and it’s like, on the flip side of that, I would love to ask off the wall things in interviews all the time, but people definitely get upset sometimes if you don’t stick to very specific points about the music. I mean, that’s not to say you can’t find new and interesting ways to discuss the music, but I think when you limit it to that there is a higher likelihood that you’re going to run into repetition. BUT, you may be glad to hear that my next (and final!) question is: you’ve been at this for a good amount of time now, so if you were to offer any advice (like maybe something you wish someone had told you when you were starting out) from either a music perspective or a general life experience one, what might that be?
I guess I kind of hesitated a lot when I was a little bit younger, and my advice for someone who wants to express their creative voice would be to really go for it and dive all the way into it; let your insecurities and your fears and your questioning take you further into it, not stop you from doing it. If you’re a person that feels like you’ve got that in there, you’ve just got to go for it until you feel an alignment with what you’re producing.
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