Rock is dead and we’ve discovered the problem. Bands are stuck in the ultimate writers block, endlessly repeating a tired formula for writing music. Punk rock and the alternative music of the early 80′s started to separate itself from this format, but we took a giant step back somewhere around….grunge and still haven’t recovered. With that in mind we were blown away by our new favorite band. Warpaint are yet another fan-tabulous (a new word we’ve coined just for them) band from Southern California. With a sound that evokes early Cocteau Twins, The Cure when they weren’t rich and a bass player who’s writing skills reminds me of Peter Hook before the ecstasy days. In other words, Warpaint is the breath of fresh air that will suffocate you and you will love every minute of it.
Jenny Lee took a few minutes to let us put the finger on the pulse of this exciting new band.
TDOA: How long did it take you to record the album and how many tracks are we talking about these songs? They flow from sparse to dense within a single song.
JL: Well.. it actually took about three years. We went through so many changes prior to recording our e.p. and so did the songs. But we spent a good 2.5 months in the actual studio, taking our sweet time and making sure we were absolutely, fucking stoked on what we heard. That never quite happens. We’re never so happy with the finished product. We always think we could do better. I’m sure a lot of people can relate to that condition. Then mixing took about another month.
TDOA: Please talk about the thought process behind some of the vocal effects that pepper the record. Influences, what role your producer played in the decision to add them and the emotional impact you expect from them. We like to call it “Cocteau Twins on razorblades”!
JL: When it came time to mix, a very dear friend offered his services. He,and all of us being down for the reverb. It went well, but we were ever so pleased to hear his eccentric style on some of the other vocals. We probably would have never gone that route. I’m glad we were all open (because) it breaks up the vocals for each song, adding separation. Not one song sounds the same. The e.p. makes me laugh, cry, get pissed…dance…day dream.. twirl my hair… I dunno, pretty much makes me feel everything.. I’m hoping that gets across to the masses.. or at least a vast audience.
TDOA: Tell us about the band please. I notice that three of you are credited with vocals. Is there one lead singer or do you share lead vocal duties. Is King Davey a drum machine or the only boy in the band?
JL: Theresa and Emily are the main singers. I do the back up vocals. We’re open to everything, but for now that’s the line up. King Davey is a real life boy, who plays drums, but we are currently playing with Josh Kllinghoffer on drums.
TDOA: I know you’re currently unsigned, but what’s the plan? Any nibbles from labels yet? Planning to do some showcases like CMJ or next years’ SXSW?
JL: We should probably make our way to those showcases. We have yet to appear at any. We have a lil ju ju juice happening as far as recognition from some labels go (but) we’re in no mood to be hasty. We want to be patient and get with what feels right in the heart; a company that would be the most integral, down for the cause, livin’ the real life. Representation is what we are looking for. That’s not so easy to find these days. Perhaps we will start our own label and release ourselves. …ya never know.
TDOA: We’ve interviewed a bunch of great bands from Southern California in the past few months (Darker My Love, Crocodiles, No Age…). Any connections with the other So Cal bands?
JL: We know Darker My Love and have been friends with Tim for awhile. They’re good people (with) good music. Have yet to meet the No Age crew, but I love what they’re doing. I can’t say I’ve heard of the other band, but I’m sure they have a lot of great shit to offer as well.
TDOA: A lot of the music coming out of So Cal (youselves, DML and Crocs) remind us of that great period of British music where 4AD and the Mary Chain dominated “alternative” music. Any sense of why this genre is being rediscovered in your area of the country?
JL: Shit, I have no idea. I can say that it’s not intentional. I don’t think any of us try to sound like anything other than ourselves; shat we are feeling, what makes us move. But, we all grew up listening to it, so the inspiration is flowing like a gang, up in all our heads.
TDOA: Interviewing 101 dictates that we ask, where’d the band name come from?
JL: Emily made it up one day…Well it’s already a thing , but she said it out loud and everyone loved it except me. The obsession they all felt was unbearable on my soul, and had to give in. I now am as equally obsessed and can’t really think of a better name for us. Thank god that time of trying to come up with names is over. We went through many and we were constantly changing our minds. Dang dog!! …Twas brutal..
TDOA: Our love of Billie Holliday is such that we love that you named a song after her. Can you tell us about that song and why you named it after one of the greatest singers of all-time?
JL: Emily brought that song to the table. It started out as a jam. The song actually has nothing to do with Billie Holiday, it’s more about how perfect the spelling of her name went in the song, rhythmically and stylistically.
TDOA: Fave albums of this year, so far or of last year?
JL: The Empyrean: John Frusciante, The Crying Light: Antony and the Johnsons, The Jokers Daughter: Danger Mouse, 23: Blonde Redhead (sort of last year). I know I’m forgetting many. Well that’s a start…
TDOA: At the end of every interview we submit our theory that bad music makes people less intelligent (hence the name of the website). Any band/musician you’d like to banish from the planet in an effort to save us all?
JL: Never. I feel for all people creating anything, and who am I to judge? I may not like it, but that doesn’t mean I have the right to say it’s bad. What’s bad to me could be the best thing in the universe to another. Perhaps even life changing. So, on that note, to each her own. But I must say there is an amazing a cappella version of a Smash Mouth song that makes me laugh harder than I have in awhile.
To profess your undying love to Warpaint, visit their myspace page at:http://www.myspace.com/worldwartour
and vote for them in the Deli L.A. Artist of the Month contest at: http://www.thedelimagazine.com/la/
…while these kinds of contests may not seem important to you, they are the lifeblood of emerging, unsigned bands. They get you noticed by labels and are likely to get people to go to your shows. So you have a choice, you can support bands like this or continue to be stuck listening to mainstream- forced down your throat-Nickelback-Clear Channel crap for the rest of your life. You make the call…