The playlist: Warpaint's Theresa Wayman

(Image credit: Joseph Branston/Future)

Guitarist and vocalist Theresa Wayman explores her inspiration behind the songs of Warpaint.

The first song I learned to play... I’m Looking Through You - The Beatles

“Emily [Kokal, vocals/guitarist] and I both learned I’m Looking Through You. We learned to play it together and sing the harmonies. After that the second song I learned was Creep by Radiohead. I love that song so much - it’s an incredible pop song, which can be a really hard thing to write.” 

The song I remember covering in my first band... Ashes To Ashes - David Bowie

“Warpaint was my first band, so the first song that I ever fully covered was Ashes To Ashes. It’s one of the favourite recordings that we’ve ever done, actually. We also covered My Guy [by Mary Wells - written and produced by Smokey Robinson] in the song Billie Holiday. I figured out that we could put that vocal in there over these chords that Emily was playing. It was my first cover idea.”

The most challenging of my songs to perform live... The Stall - Warpaint

“I’m playing a Roland SP-404 sampler in certain parts, so I have to stop and jump to that and then push a hold button on the last hit so that I can go back to playing guitar. And then I’m also singing harmonies the whole way through, so it’s complicated, but it’s certainly fun!”

A song that seemed to come very easily in the writing process... Shadows - Warpaint

“The chord progression, melody and lyrics came together really fast. When I went to record a demo of it with a friend I was telling him I wanted to do a certain beat in the chorus and when he opened up a sample library that same beat was, weirdly, the first thing that we came across!”

A song that I had to really work at and nearly didn’t get finished... Jubilee - Warpaint

“It’s a song that our most die-hard, original fans want to hear released, but we’ve just had so many versions of it and we can’t figure out how to put it together. Dre was a little bit like that too - it was a little challenging, but we got there in the end.”

A riff that I wish I had written... Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana

“All of Kurt Cobain’s riffs! They’re so amazing and so simple that sometimes I think, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?!’ It feels like he’s figured out what simple really means - that you’re just gonna use the best and most essential stuff . It’s like still-life drawing - after you’ve practised it so much you know how to draw the most essential lines.”

The song I would play to someone who had never heard my music... Elephants - Warpaint

“This song really epitomises how tough we are but it’s also a really catchy song and a real crowd pleaser. Our fans have always loved that song a lot. I could play it over and over again for years... Which we have done, actually! I think it’s a pretty flawless song and I don’t feel that way about everything that we do.”

Warpaint play All Points East Festival in London on 2 June.

Rod Brakes

Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar WorldGuitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.

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