Drummer Stella Mozgawa jokingly described the LA four-piece as a "bunch of witches" in an interview with The Skinny in 2014, and you'd be a fool not to have your radar for superstitious meddling on high alert. The band formed in 2004, then consisting of of guitarist Theresa Wayman, guitarist Emily Kokal, bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg and her (actor) sister Shannyn Sossamon - with eerie vocal harmonies supplied by all four members. Their debut EP Exqusite Corpse (2008) was self-released, and mixed and mastered by John Frusciante (Red Hot Chilli Peppers). An experimental, improvised approach to writing and recording resulted in a record of uncharted twists and turns, and tracks like Elephants and Billie Holiday remain well-worn live favourites.
Sossamon left the band to be replaced by Australian drummer Stella Mozgawa, who met Kokal by chance at a Metallica show. Shortly after, Warpaint signed to esteemed indie label Rough Trade and released The Fool, their debut LP. Reviewed as a "slow grower" by The Skinny, the band featured in their first of many interviews with the magazine that same year. Magical lead single Shadows was quickly followed by Undertow - their first track to chart in the UK.
In 2014, their critically acclaimed self-titled sophomore album marked a decisive point in the band's history. Talking to The Skinny in January 2014, when the band fronted the magazine's 100th cover, Mozgawa explained how Warpaint demonstrated the group's intentions of longevity and independence: "We don't want to be a flash in the pan, and we want to be able to dictate what we do." Warpaint was recorded in the mythical deserts of Joshua Tree, produced by legendary Flood, and showcased the band's interest in the rhythms of rap and r'n'b. Eleven months on, the record was voted The Skinny's favourite record of 2014.
In the same interview, Mozgawa reflected on the idea of the album format, saying that "we're just ready to re-imagine" how and when Warpaint publish music. Her promise holds true, as stand-alone tracks No Way Out and I'll Start Believing attest - in addition to the remix-swap the band released with British band Daughter in December 2014.
Emily Kokal - vocals, guitar, keyboard (2004 - present)
Theresa Wayman - vocals, synthesizer, guitar (2004 - present)
Jenny Lee Lindberg - bass guitar, vocals (2004 - present)
Stella Mozgawa - drums, vocals (2009 - present)
Shannyn Sossamon - drums, vocals (2004-7)
David Orlando - drums (2007-8)
Josh Klinghoffer - drums (2008-9)
Michael Quinn - drums (2009)
Tours, films and Charts
Renowned for their live shows, Warpaint tour hard; the band have played nearly every major festival that Europe and the US has to offer (Glastonbury, Coachella, Reading & Leeds, Rock Werchter etc.) as well as myriad venues across the world, ranging from the intimate to the Hollywood Bowl.
Single Love Is To Die was featured in a Calvin Klein advert in September 2013,
Celebrated filmmaker (and Lindberg's husband) Chris Cunningham has a documentary of the making of Warpaint in production.
Warpaint charted at #2 in the UK Independent Albums Chart, and #7 in the US Billboard Independent Albums chart.