2014 Artist Survey: Warpaint

Theresa Wayman on Her First Concert, Mom Jokes, Childhood Celebrity Crushes, and Traveling to Mars

Feb 10, 2015 Issue #52 - January/February 2015 - St. Vincent
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For Under the Radar's 12th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2014. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2014 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions.

Check out our Best of 2014 print and digital issues for answers from alt-J, Camera Obscura, Chromeo, The Dears, Death From Above 1979, Deerhoof, The Drums, The Flaming Lips, Glass Animals, Hookworms, Sondre Lerche, of Montreal, Owen Pallett, The Rosebuds, Still Corners, Strand of Oaks, Teleman, Sharon Van Etten, The War on Drugs, Woman's Hour, Wye Oak, Zola Jesus, and others.

Here are some answers from Theresa Wayman of Warpaint.

[A shorter version of this interview ran in Issue 52, the Best of 2014 and January/February 2015 Issue, which is still on newsstands. This is the full version of the interview.]


Top 11 Albums of 2014

That's 11 and not necessarily listed in order, aside from my #1, Kate Tempest. Sorry! 

Kate Tempest: Everybody Down-In a league of its own.

Karen O: Crush Songs-Simple and genius.

Caribou: Our Love-Sick and addictive.

Aphex Twin: Syro-He's the best.

Lykke Li: I Never Learn-She's an incredible songwriter, dramatic but not overdramatic.

Little Dragon: Nabuma Rubberband-They're exploring different things and still on point. Darker sounds, slower tempos. They're gorgeous and flawless.

Clark: Clark-Solid grooves and good sounds. Quality. 

Die Antwoord: Donker Mag-It's exciting and different. Lately I like things that make me uncomfortable but also contain elements of familiarity, and I'm a sucker for hip-hop beats.

Mac DeMarco: Salad Days-Love it. Great songs.

Thom Yorke: Tomorrow's Modern Boxes-He's so good with sound and mood and feel. Makes me take a moment to sink into the moment! 

Banks: Goddess-I just love her voice and the songs are deep. Emotional, moody dark pop.


U2's new album was downloaded for free into millions of users' iTunes accounts without their permission. Was it a wonderful gift to music fans or an invasive action that devalues music? Also, which artist, other than you, deserves to have their album automatically downloaded to half a billion people more than U2?

No one deserves to do that. It was completely invasive and makes them look like creeps! I don't know whose brilliant idea that was, but they should be fired.

Mark Kozelek was criticized in 2014 for insulting his audience (calling them "hillbillies" for talking during his set) and for making fun of The War on Drugs when their sound bled over to the stage he was playing. What responsibility do performers have to be respectful of their audiences and fellow bands?

Hmmm.... In a festival situation, I think the coordinators are responsible for matching up bands and making sure there's no bleed. Mark's music is pretty mellow, so he's more likely to run into problems like that. But taking it out on another band and calling out the audience usually ends up backfiring on the artist. People don't respond to that well. But it is strange when people go to see music, especially intimate, quieter music, and they don't pay attention. Talking through someone else's show is not something I would feel comfortable doing. If I wanted to talk, I would go somewhere else.

What's the most uplifting or heartwarming fan interaction you've ever had?

There are moments all the time. Every day on tour. I honestly am so thankful for everyone who's ever reached out. I've received so many beautiful gifts and sweet letters and it really keeps me going. There are times when people are obviously going through hard times and when I feel like we help someone through to a better moment, I know we're doing something right.

What's the topic no one asks you about in interviews that you wish they would? Conversely, if you could get journalists to stop asking you one question, which would it be?

I don't want to be asked about how Warpaint started-such a boring question! I do want to be asked my views on current issues outside of music. I think topics like the NSA and politics and corruption in politics and environmental issues and gun control in America and healthcare in America, etc. (the list goes on and on) are all really important to talk about. More people need to be concerned about these problems that affect all of us.

Which musician or celebrity did you most have a crush on as a child or teenager? 

Superman and Johnny Depp.

What was your first concert experience like (who did you see and who did you go with)?

My parents took me to a Bob Dylan show at a concert hall in Eugene, Oregon. I was around 8 years old and I had been listening to Bob Dylan via my father for years. It was the first time I'd witnessed an artist come to life, and I was in awe. He and his bandmates were like magicians. At some point, I noticed that people were leaving their seats every now and then and putting flowers and gifts up on the stage. I was so inspired by the show that I decided I wanted to give something myself. So I wrote him a note that said, "Keep on keeping on"-I thought it sounded very adult and rock 'n' roll to say that-and signed my name. And when I brought it to the stage, he looked down at me and smiled. That was an incredible moment.

What was your most disastrous haircut experience?

Singapore. I went to a mall hair salon and tried to get some longer subtle sexy bangs but somehow that was lost in translation and I came out with an insanely short, blunt, and overstated fringe that makes me cringe just thinking about it.

"Weird Al" Yankovic was back in a big way this year. If he were to lampoon any one of your songs, which one would you want it to be? What would the "Weird Al" version's lyrics be about?

I don't know, but I would do a song called "Constant Cleaning" to the tune of K.D. Lang's "Constant Craving," about the truths of domestic life. Now that I've been off tour for a few weeks, I know again what it's like to be home, especially with a child involved! Constant cleaning! Hehe... I'm allowed one mom joke every now and then, right?

In 2024, as part of the Mars One program, four people might be sent to Mars with no hope of ever returning to Earth. Are they completely crazy or brave? Would you ever consider such a thing?

It is completely insane, but inevitable and exciting! I'm assuming they're not choosing participants the way reality TV shows do, so I think that there could be success there, in as far as people relations go. It's obviously going to be a challenge for those people no matter what, but I think it's worth the sacrifice and the gamble to get to travel through space to a new planet! It would feel incredible to be a new world explorer, to set out on dangerous missions into uncharted territories. I would consider it if I didn't have my son, but I'm so in awe of him and can't wait to see what becomes of his life.

www.warpaintwarpaint.com

 

 



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