Warpaint‘s Theresa Wayman has been working on solo music on the side since 2010. Now, she’s released her debut album ‘LoveLaws‘ as TT. We caught up with Wayman in London to discuss exploring her romantic side, finding freedom in her own voice, touring with Harry Styles, and what comes next.
Watch our video chat with Wayman above, and read much more from our interview below
Do you get frustrated at hearing people talk about this record like it’s some kind of ‘side-project’, when it’s really just ‘you’?
“It does make me uncomfortable and make me mad. I’m like ‘this is it’s own thing, and it’s legitimate in it’s own way and it could reach people who have no idea about the project it is to the side of’. It should stand on its own. It’s just the way it is, everyone says it all the time. Thom Yorke has the best numbers in terms of how well his side projects do in terms of Radiohead, and there’s a lot to be said for that because Radiohead is special because it’s back, the group extends beyond one person and I understand that.”
How would you describe the ‘character’ of this record?
“I see it as a fireplace in a room. To me, it creates an ambience and a vibe that could make a room feel complete – or cosy and inviting. It’s the kind of music you can just put on in the background and just go about what you’re doing – it doesn’t take over. I like that about it. But then, if you wanted to put on headphones and get into it, you totally could. There’s a lot there.”
So if the record started in 2010, what kind of snapshot would you say that the lyrics portray of your life?
“It’s definitely personal. I’m writing about experiences I’ve had over the last two years, trying to understand how to fit and my romantic side into my life, where it’s not very easy to meet somebody and incorporate them into my life. I’m married to my work and I have a child, so even if I get a break from my work, I can’t go gallivanting around the world to wherever and hang out wherever I want. I want to go home in my space with my kid too. I’m not easy really. There’s two sides to myself that don’t really go together. But then the process of this album and writing about it, I’ve balanced those things and I’m settled. I feel OK with how it is and I can wait for the right thing to fit.”
Was it freeing or daunting to finally go it alone outside of the band?
“It feels great. It probably feels too good. It’s kind of infectious and I know there’s more there that I want to explore, and I want to take my time in being in my own world. After all these years it’s hard to not want to do that. It feels like a priority to me. I’m sure that the other girls could feel that way too and probably do. It’s not like we’re not going to be writing together. We have plans to do it soon but I think we need to spend some times by ourselves. The more we do that, the better off the whole of the band is anyway.”
What about your live persona as a solo artist?
“Yeah, it is strange, and everyone’s looking at me like so what’s next? Or say something and I’m like ‘Oh yeah, good job! Great!”. I do feel weird being the boss. Although I do want everyone in it to care and somehow make it feel like it’s theirs too. I have no idea what it’s going to be like, being on stage without the girls. After all these years with Warpaint, I think it’s time for something new.”
Are you developing some new ‘moves’?
“Ha! I have them in my mind, but I don’t know if I’ll actually go there. In my mind, things get much bigger than they do in real life. But we’ll see. I’m having some dancers come on, so maybe they can instigate me doing some other things.”
“Oh, yeah. And lots of nudity.”
I’m sure Harry Styles had a pretty intense solo show. What was it like being on the road with him?
“It was so much fun. It was great. It was such a luxurious tour, because we were in Asia where they just treat you like kings and queens. He was just really nice and such a great guy. He has this saying ‘treat people with kindness’ all over his merch. He really means it, too. Plus he’s bouncing all over the place stylistically with his openers, and I think that’s really cool for someone in his position. I don’t see a lot of big pop artists expanding outwards like he does.
“He does have a lot of girls in the audience, and it was good to play for younger girls while being a band who writes music for themselves. We’re not just singers. I think we could be a really good example for them.”
And what is next for Warpaint?
“We’re going to do start writing another album in the next couple of months. We have a new label now, we have plans with them to do another album. We’ve started writing little bits here and there, and at the end of last year when we were on tour with Depeche Mode, it was a very long tour. We had a little studio at the back of the bus and we were writing some. I think we’ll probably write in July, that’s when we’ll have some time.
“I’ve learned that it’s necessary for making an album and art in general to not have to worry about money constraints and time constraints and making deadlines based on other people in the music business’ needs. I want us to become as self-sufficient as possible. When a painter paints, they don’t get someone to come in and tell them what tint of orange to use, or where to place it on the canvas. At the same time, I definitely don’t want to write this solo album and then let it fizzle out. There’s a lot more to do. I feel could extend from the album and I want to do dive into that even more.”
Jenny [Lee Lindberg, Warpaint bassist]’s solo album was great. Do you think there will be more solo work from the rest of the band?
“Emily [Kokal, singer] has tonnes of music from over the years and has been writing songs for so long. I feel like she just needs to decide she’s that she wants to do it and she’s ready, she has the content there so no problem.”
So now that you’ve formed your own world of your own feelings and desires, how are you going to measure the success of this record?
“Of course that stuff is always there at the back of your mind, it’s hard for it not to be. It’s hard to not pay attention to how it’s perceived, and of course I want it to do well. I want it to resonate with people. In this day and age, there’s so much music being released, there are so many bands, and I know my music will land somewhere with people who are maybe Warpaint fans, and those who are not. But, I try to not pay attention to the outside world too much because I don’t want to feel like I’m on an assembly line of new additions and bands. It just continues on, like you start to feel like you don’t matter a little bit.
“I’m not saying that to whine or complain about it, but sometimes you can feel that way. I know if I listen to the music, I know what it means again. That’s the beauty of the indie world – we’re free to do whatever we want, which is cool.”
‘LoveLaws’ by TT is out now.
She plays the Pickle Factory in London tonight (Wednesday May 23).
Warpaint will also play London’s All Points East Festival with The National next week.