Why can’t anyone quite put their finger on what makes this Los Angeles band so special?
We can only sit and wonder at the unknowable set of circumstances that keep the universe in check. The chains of ecosystems that teeter on the brink; the gentle precarities of hot and cold that keep infinitesimal things alive; the matter of seconds or days or yes/no choices that cause history to tick and that set us down exactly where we are, rather than where we might have been.
While the domestic equivalents of this astronomic balancing act might not be a matter of life or death, there’s still something miraculous in the incidental meeting of minds and the unexpected upshot of a life meandering through places and around people, only to find itself in exactly the right spot. To spend any length of the time in the orbit of Emily Kokal, Theresa Wayman, Jenny Lee-Lindberg and Stella Mozgawa – the four-headed Siren being that is Warpaint – is to witness exactly this kind of joyful equilibrium; a coterie of totally shared understandings and creative intent born out of childhood friendships and deeply forged new ones that happen to fit perfectly.
Kokal and Wayman met at school in Oregon, Lindberg hails from Nevada and Mozgawa from New Zealand, all four of them having drifted separately to LA, a hazy dream-world of possibility in the shape of boys, the amorphous entertainment industry and potential encounters with kindred spirits. Seven years later Warpaint have done the impossible; outliving the idle chatter of their well-worn origin tale – complete with A-list cameos – and making the real story about the rare and curious product of their serendipitous union; an enduring music that feels like it’s always existed – like it was somehow always meant to be.
But like all delicate, harmonious things, Warpaint was a couple of life choices shy of never happening at all…
“I didn’t imagine that I would ever be in an all-girl band,” confesses drummer Mozgawa, “I almost remember saying that to myself. People would say, ‘oh there’s an all-girl band that needs a drummer’ and I’d say nah, that’s not really my thing. My 14yr old self would not have been attracted to it at all.” Similarly for bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg there was a time when being part of a collective was utterly out of the question; “I didn’t start playing music seriously until I was 19 and at that point I hadn’t imagined myself playing in any band. I was so self-conscious and would only practise at certain hours when my boyfriend was gone… I remember telling myself I’m NEVER going to play in front of anybody and I’m never joining a band or playing on stage, the thought of it terrified me!”
With such blatant aversions festering in their individual pasts, it’s incredible that Warpaint find themselves now three years into a definitive line up, a blistering debut album under their belts and – off the back of two years intense touring – another just about to surface.