Warpaint is an American indie rock band from Los Angeles, California, formed in 2004. Since its inception, the band's lineup has included Emily Kokal (vocals, guitar), Theresa Wayman (guitar, vocals) and Jenny Lee Lindberg (bass, backing vocals). Stella Mozgawa (drums) joined the band in 2009.
Former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante mixed and mastered the band's debut EP, Exquisite Corpse released in 2008. Current RHCP guitarist Josh Klinghoffer performed drums and guitar on the EP in 2007. It was followed by their full-length album, The Fool, in 2010.
On December 6, 2010, the BBC announced that Warpaint had been nominated for the BBC's Sound of 2011 poll and they were the cover stars of Beat magazine's Winter 2010 launch issue.
Beginning and formation (2004–2007)
Warpaint formed in Los Angeles on Valentine's Day 2004. The original lineup consisted of childhood friends Theresa Wayman and Emily Kokal alongside sisters Shannyn Sossamon and Jenny Lee Lindberg. The band played in the Los Angeles area for three years, writing songs ("Stars", "Beetles", and "Elephants") which would eventually comprise their debut EP.
Exquisite Corpse (2007–2009)
The band began recording their debut EP, Exquisite Corpse, in December 2007, with producer Jacob Bercovici. The sessions took over two months and concluded with mixing and mastering by then-Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante, who was also Kokal's boyfriend at the time. Warpaint self-released the EP in 2008, which quickly moved to number 1 on the Los Angeles Amoeba Records local artist chart. In 2009, Exquisite Corpse was rereleased worldwide on Manimal Vinyl records to critical acclaim. The song "Elephants" featured in the 2011 independent feature film "Siren", a horror genre film directed by Andrew Hull and released by Lionsgate.
Drummer Stella Mozgawa joined the band in the winter of 2009. Shortly afterwards, Warpaint were signed to Rough Trade Records, and immediately began extensive touring throughout the United States and Europe, including an opening slot for The xx.
The Fool (2009–2012)
On October 25, 2010, the band released their debut album, The Fool. The album received a glowing review in the NME. Prior to the album's release, the band contributed a cover of the David Bowie song "Ashes to Ashes" to We Were So Turned On, a Bowie tribute album released in conjunction with War Child.
"Shadows", the first single from their debut album, was released as a digital download and 12" vinyl on January 10, 2011. A remix of the single, "Shadows (Neon Lights Remix)", proved popular; managing to be playlisted by BBC Radio 1 as part of the In New Music We Trust.
Warpaint toured the United States and Europe in the spring and summer of 2011 to promote the album. They played at various major festivals including Summer Sundae, Bonnaroo, Glastonbury Festival, Reading and Leeds Festivals, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Rock Werchter and Electric Picnic.
In 2011, the rerelease of Undertow charted in the UK at number 92 and also in Australia at number 75. On September 25, 2011 they played the prestigious Hollywood Bowl (as a support act).
As early as 2011, drummer Mozgawa, in an interview with NME, expressed the band's intention to "experiment and write with one another" as the current line-up had never composed songs "from the ground up" together. Bassist Lindberg further indicated that most of the newer songs were written by "just jam[ming] and free-flow[ing] onstage". In February 2013, Wayman confirmed to NME that the band intended to create a minimalist sound on Warpaint, revealing that the band developed songs at soundchecks, and experimented more with acoustic guitars and percussion instruments on the album. Lead vocalist Emily Kokal noted that R&B and rap music was an influence on Warpaint and stated that on the album there are "things that have drum machines and ambience, music that's more than standard rock." Kokal added that the album is largely keys-based, which contributed to the overall sound being "definitely different" from the band's previous album The Fool (2010).
Produced by Flood and mixed by Nigel Godrich, Warpaint was released in Germany, Ireland, Netherlands and Switzerland on January 17, 2014; January 20 in Denmark, France, Sweden and the United Kingdom; and January 21 in Spain and the United States on Rough Trade Records. A snippet of the album's lead single, "Love Is to Die", was featured in an advertisement for Calvin Klein on September 25, 2013 and later as part of a teaser for an upcoming documentary of the same name about the recording of Warpaint. The single was released on October 28 with the pre-ordered digital version of the album.
On November 20, Warpaint performed "Composure," from The Fool, as well as new songs "Love Is to Die" and "Keep It Healthy" on BBC 6 Music with Steve Lamacq in the United Kingdom. The next day, an article from the December 2013 issue of Dazed & Confused magazine appeared online, providing insight into the making of the new album, as well as the accompanying documentary, filmed by Lindberg's husband and filmmaker, Chris Cunningham. Lindberg later confirmed in a November 24 interview on XFM that Cunningham's documentary would be made available shortly after the album's release.
A music video, composed of a two-song vignette from the second album—"Disco//very" and "Keep it Healthy"—was released in April 2014. Directed by Laban Pheidias, the video features skateboarding from professional skateboarders Justin Eldridge, Kris Markovich and Patrick Melcher.
Warpaint have been compared to Cocteau Twins,Joni Mitchell, and Siouxsie and the Banshees.
NME has described their style as "Intermittently emerging from plaintive moods into harder rocking, they play expansive, lushly-harmonic psych-rock songs with enough time-changes to satisfy even the most beardy prog-rock bong-tokers."
- The Fool (2010)
- Warpaint (2014)
- Current members
- Emily Kokal – vocals, guitar, synthesizer (2004–present)
- Theresa Wayman – guitar, keyboards, vocals, drums (2004–present)
- Jenny Lee Lindberg – bass, vocals (2004–present)
- Stella Mozgawa – drums, guitar, keyboards, vocals (2009–present)
- Former members
- Shannyn Sossamon – drums, vocals (2004–2008)
- David Orlando – drums (2007–2009)
- Michael Quinn – drums, cello (2009)
- Josh Klinghoffer – drums, guitar (2007 on EP recording)
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