Warpaint have always been a band who have pushed themselves past their boundaries and far beyond. Over the past decade, the LA four-piece have combined elements of psych-rock and art-pop in a way that transcends the genre spectrum of what it means to be a modern indie band. Sonically, they refuse to limit themselves into a narrow box and continue to challenge both themselves and expectations of themselves.
Guitarist Theresa Wayman is no different. With ‘LoveLaws’, her debut solo record as TT, Theresa tests herself as not only a musician but also a producer, a bassist, and a beat-maker. It’s a brilliantly personal work that depicts love at its most vulnerable, with raw emotion shining through dark and moody synths. Lyrics as simple as “Why can’t you be next to me?” recited repeatedly under gauzy instrumentation manage to ask a thousand questions.
“It’s my softer side. My romantic nature,” admits Theresa. “It’s about being confused about having to feel good about that side of my life. I used the pain as an art form instead of letting it distract me from my music. It was cathartic! I was like, ‘Enough already!’”
After years of producing a huge body of work with Warpaint and touring endlessly, Theresa needed some time on her own – away from the relentless chaos and pressure of being on the road and having to deliver based on what was expected of the group at all times.
“It’s about having fun,” Theresa continues. “It’s about having fun with music. With Warpaint, it kind of became a little bit of… I felt like I was backed into a corner and had to fill a certain role. I just didn’t want to do that.”
“The whole point is getting to know yourself through what you’re doing and having fun and exploring.”
But that doesn’t mean that Theresa completely neglected the Warpaint in her. While 2014 release ‘Warpaint’ was written collectively with the group as a whole, their approach to 2016’s ‘Heads Up’ had various members of the band split off in pairs or individually to write separately before bringing ideas back to the group. It’s this ethos that inspired Theresa to take her own solo approach to music without having to be weighed down with the demands of Warpaint as an art project. With ‘LoveLaws’, Theresa has seemingly hit the perfect sweet spot between the two methods – providing the entirety of the creative direction but also savouring and enlisting her Warpaint bandmates for their input and musicianship.
“I loved playing bass [on this album],” she admits. “I think it might be my favourite instrument. But I also love programming beats and making loops and samples and a perfect bassline. Or a perfect guitar loop on a beat. and just creating those little amoebas of sound.
“With Jen[ny Lee Lindberg], I just wanted to have a little flavour of her on there, and so I just sent her ‘Take One’ and she worked with that,” Theresa explains. “I wanted for her to go crazy on that little instrumental section, and do whatever she wanted. and I was like, “cool!” and then with Stella, cause she also produces. I asked for some input and how to take it to the next level and she added with these crazy synths and a couple drum fills and I loved it.”
“I was definitely [making the record] for me and myself only.”
‘LoveLaws’ as a solo project isn’t the only time where Theresa has her own separate world that she calls her own. Being a mother – and a soccer mom – to a young son is the reverse of the rockstar life she leads with Warpaint. The two universes – stark in contrast – are spheres that Theresa allows herself to seek recluse in.
“I think [having my son] made me remember my childhood,” she says on how being a mother has affected her songwriting. “It makes me get closer to the dreams I’ve always had. It makes me remember who I really am. Because who you are when you’re a kid is easy to stray away from when you’re a teenager or in your twenties. But I feel like backwards in time, in a way. It’s probably directly related to my son. Watching him grow makes me remember what I was feeling! It’s really exciting because I feel young through him.”
With nobody else to answer to on ‘LoveLaws’ but herself, Theresa was able to channel a creative side she wasn’t usually able to unleash when working with Warpaint.
“I was definitely [making the record] for me and myself only. I don’t care about what people expect, persay,” she continues. “People kept saying, ‘You should add more guitar!’ and I’m like, why do I have to? Because I’m a guitar player in Warpaint? I wanted to explore other things.”
With art, says Theresa, it’s about discovering yourself, challenging yourself, and watching yourself grow. “The whole point is getting to know yourself through what you’re doing and having fun and exploring,” she adds. “It’s pretty much the point of life. To me, at least.”
‘LoveLaws’ is out 18th May via LoveLeaks / Caroline.
Taken from the May issue of DIY. Read online or subscribe below.