This Los Angeles-based all-girl quartet smoosh together all the great things in music: interlocking guitars, driving rhythms, inventive basslines and four-part harmonies that are at once gauzily delicate and banshee fierce, all of which coalesce beautifully on their debut album, The Fool. We spoke to bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg for this bluffer’s guide to the band.
Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman grew up together in Portland, Oregon, while sisters Jenny Lee Lindberg and Shannyn Sossamon were in Reno, Nevada. Eventually they ended up in LA – and it was all Sossamon’s idea.
‘My sister was living in New York and she had just had her son, Audio. She said she was really inspired. She came home a few weeks before Valentine’s Day and we jammed on the same thing for like four hours.’ And on Valentine’s Day 2004, they consummated the relationship and formed Warpaint. ‘It was like the best date ever.’
Shannyn no longer drums in Warpaint, but that’s okay, because they found Stella Mozgawa.
‘She’s my musical soulmate. When she came it felt like Cinderella trying to find that shoe. Her and my sister play drums so differently, but when she joined it felt like how it should be, which is how it felt when my sister was in the band.’
Warpaint are a tight unit, and it took a while for Jenny to feel comfortable on stage.
‘Being on stage in the beginning, it was really hard for me not to be aware I was being stared at. It made me uncomfortable. Now it’s really exciting that people are watching and listening – it’s almost fuelling things. It kicks you in the a**: this is the real deal, you have to show up and be your best.’
Their biggest non-musical influence is an unlikely one.
‘Laughter. When all four of us are hanging out, we’re real goofy. Many of our songs have been written because we were laughing for an hour before we started playing. It actually loosens us up.’
Discovering bass helped Jenny focus. Instantly.
‘I had really bad ADD, as I’m sure a lot of kids do. I had lots of creative energy and didn’t know where to direct it, so when I started playing bass it was the first thing I’d found where it’s like, “Nothing makes me feel this way. This is definitely what I should be doing with my life.”’
If The Fool was the soundtrack to a film, it would be one of the Twilight movies.
‘I want nothing more than one of our songs to be in those films! I’ve always loved the myth of vampires and werewolves, and when they come together I’m really into it. I went to see the first Twilight movie and I walked out. But I ended up going to see New Moon and the soundtrack was awesome. It’s not the most brilliant film, obviously, but it’s a guilty pleasure. I went back and watched the first one and got super-addicted to their chemistry. Their desperate, can’t-live-without-you, I’ll die-for-you chemistry makes me feel like I’m 10 years old!’
The Fool is available now on iTunes