Paint The Town Red
The term ‘L.A cool’ is often banded around for the wrong people these days. Sure, it’s not hard to be cool in Los Angeles with its sunny beaches and relaxed laws on marijuana use, but sometimes to reinvent the term, there needs to be an exodus in mind and, in WARPAINT’s case, physically. In this instance, the place was the Joshua Tree National Park in the midst of the Mojave desert of South-Eastern California, site of so many self-exploratory journeys of artists, thinkers and individuals seeking solace in the wilderness. Setting up camp in a house here, members Emily Kokal, Jenny Lee-Lindberg, Theresa Wayman and Stella Mozgawa made their third and self-titled effort under a blanket of astounding natural beauty.
The result: an album steeped in a wholly more collaborative spirit; more drums, more synth, a more ‘Warpaint’ sound. Sure, the album has the complexities and confessional longing that fans have enjoyed on 2010’s The Fool, but at the same time there seems to an element of stepping up their game with an altogether more assertive lyrical effort. At the risk of sounding laymen’s, the feeling is more sassy, as if, guided by their mutual encouragement, each member has stepped out of their shell. Tracks like Disco//Very tear at the listeners ability to resist the command of ‘Don’t you battle / We’ll kill you / We’ll rip you up and tear you in two’. Underneath the superficial sass however, there remains the raw emotional subject matter on tracks like Love Is To Die, proving that this is still a band that can soundtrack a thousand heart breaks. Viva L.A Cool.
Thursday 20th March sees Warpaint bring their new material to Liverpool, and ahead of the event Bido Lito! talked to Emily Kokal, about the change of direction, and life on the road so far.
Bido Lito! : The word ‘Warpaint’ has strong connotations; do you find that you adopt a combative attitude when it comes to performing?
Emily Kokal : I wouldn’t necessarily say that.. The word War is a provocative thing and brings a lot to mind. When we named the band we realised that and especially back then felt the intensity of that word. It felt like a name to live up to …we’re not gonna just be all cute and nice with a name like that (not that we would ever be that way anyway), we’re gonna be fierce and strong and uncompromising. Now it translates through us with a concentration and a battle, I suppose to conquer new places in ourselves and in our music and always keep forging ahead and challenging ourselves. That’s how the word ‘Warpaint’ has manifested itself into our band.
BL! : You’ve announced an impressive string of live dates for the rest of the year, what have been the best and worst bits of being on the road so far?
EK : We’re toward the end of a 7 week tour ..that’s intense [laughs}..the best part is learning about and enjoying new cultures, food, meeting people, playing with other bands. Traveling is very stimulating for creativity! Hardest part is finding personal time and space.
BL! : Which tracks have been best received from the album so far on the tour?
EK : They’re all feeling great. Love Is To Die is obviously the most familiar as our single so people love dancing along to that..
BL! : You’ve cited the Joshua Tree and a collective environment as some of the influences on the new material, what other inspirations have you drawn upon?
EK : Love, each other, travelling and touring The Fool, experiences, growing up and discovering more about yourself.
BL! : What song / album is playing on the Warpaint tour bus right now?
EK : Since we don’t get on the bus until the night before our Leeds show and have mostly been flying everyone it’s pretty isolated on headphones at the moment. For me.. I’ve been listening to this Eurythmics song- This City Never Sleeps, Miles Davis In A Silent Way, and the King Krule LP.
BL! : What’s been the biggest perceived change in your live set since the last album?
EK : We have more synths, more harmonizing. In ears [headphones] have made us more able to listen and play with subtlety and dynamics. New songs!
BL! : This time around the recording process was documented via a film shot by Chris Cunningham, how important is the visual side of things for you as a band?
EK : It’s becoming more and more.. Chris really understood the visual aspect of our music and helped us in translating that. We all like to draw and play with our style, aesthetic, and visual world so infusing that into the music and into Warpaint is exciting to us.
BL! : You described The Fool as the ‘older sister’ of your debut, on that same token, what familial relation would this album be to it’s predecessors?
EK : Hmm… The Mama!