Annie Sebel | 1 February 2011

There’s quite the buzz surrounding all-girl four-piece Warpaint. We caught up with Emily to chat recording, touring and Bjork…

Where did the name Warpaint come from?

There was a time in our band where we didn’t have conversations; we were constantly saying band names to each other. Warpaint came as I was walking to the movies and I thought the name was heavy and cool and sounded like the kinda music our band would live up to.

How did you guys meet?

I met Theresa in Choir when I was 11 in Oregon, and then we moved to LA and met Jen. When I met both of those girls it was like meeting best friends. Then we met Stella. It was like a puzzle piece when Stella came in that we’d been trying to fit so having her and her Australian-ness is just the best addition.

Why did it take you so long to put out a record?

We had a lot of line-up changes and we took our time playing together and getting our chemistry and comfort level at playing instruments. We wanted to be really good.

Is it true you formed on Valentine’s Day?

Yeah, we really did. The first time we ever got together and played it was on Valentine’s Day, it’s a good anniversary.

You’ve been called every genre under the sun, how would define your sound?

I would describe it as trancey, tribal, a bit psychedelic and a bit of rock. The inspirations coming out of it, changes from song to song. But I think the Catpower and Bat for Lashes comparison is mostly coming from the fact that we’re girls singing minor chords more than what we sound like.

Do you have a frontwoman?

I would say that it’s a democracy in our band and everybody is stepping forward and stepping back constantly. It really only functions as a balance if everyone is equal.

You’ve been touring non-stop, do you have any pre-show rituals?

I get naked and run around the block, oh that would be funny. If I’m nervous I’ll just do something really crazy before. I try to just have a good amount of time before the show to be in the mindset of what I’m doing. I like to centre myself. Sometimes I do vocal warm ups, sometimes I drink tea, sometimes I drink whiskey.

How do you keep yourself entertained on the road?

We listen to music and we’re all constantly trying to make each other laugh, everyone’s a real joker. So time flies the most when we’re laughing. Sometimes we make music.
What music do you listen to?

We all like to listen to electronic music like Aphex Twin but we listen to all sorts of random shit like a Ladies Night CD compilation that I bought at a truck stop or we listened to The Kinks today.

Do you have any bands that you’d recommend?

Innerway are a really great band from Orange County, they have a new record coming out, that is mind blowing. I can’t believe that the whole world doesn’t know who they are. Also Snakeface, but they never play, which is a tragedy, as they’re so good. Really heavy, beautiful metal, punk music. And Connan Mockasin is from New Zealand he’s got a great record that is maybe one of my favourite records that I’ve heard in years.

If you could work with any artist who would you pick?

Thom Yorke and it would be nice to work with all the great electronic musicians and programmer / composers of that kind of music, I have so much respect for it and it would be fun to do some electronic tracks.

Have you ever been star struck?

I was around Bjork once and I didn’t even feel like I existed I was like, “Whoa!” I couldn’t believe she was standing beside me. I didn’t say anything. She’s the greatest.

After touring here what’s next?

We’re going home to do a US tour and we’ll try and demo and write on the road or in breaks. It fun and exciting to write new music.

Do you miss writing when you’re touring?

Only because Stella came into our band three weeks before we made the record so we’ve never really written with her, besides her putting drum parts on songs that already existed. When we’re sound checking it feels so good to just start jamming and making things up  – it makes me so excited.

How long before we’ll get another album?

I don’t know, I’d hope to start working on it next year but being able to take our time with the demos and the writing.

You can catch Warpaint at Laneway Festival.

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