Theresa Wayman is one-quarter of Warpaint, the band whose rousing siren sounds have bewitched music-lovers since their formation way back in 2004. This September sees the group release their latest album, Heads Up – which founding member, vocalist, and guitarist Wayman has crafted while simultaneously working on her own solo electronic album, BOSS.
If you're fortunate enough to have witnessed Warpaint perform live, you may have noticed that all four members seem intrinsically close – even spiritually linked – to one another. Wayman says that they listen to music together frequently, but rarely talk about it, as they already know which deep-rooted music has informed them individually. And then there’s the dark charm in their songs. 2009’s Exquisite Corpse transported women to the bedrooms of their pubescent selves and captivated men with a seductive but sinister 'Lisbon Girls' effect. Four albums later and their sound has evolved into an exciting new experimental, electronic direction prevalent on new single, New Song. Heads Up looks to be a new chapter: a mature, evolved piece of work that has allowed the outfit to explore new sounds and even instruments, in order to create something entirely fresh.
For Wayman, the music that has influenced her sound over the past decade is rooted in her teenage years. “These albums and songs that I have picked I still go back to because they sum up everything that I find valuable in music and also everything that I'm trying to achieve with the music I make,” she explains. “I have albums right now that influence me, but these ones always ring true. They’re not something that was the case for just that moment in time, you know?” Here, she reveals the five albums that have informed her musical practice.
Debut by Björk (1993)
"I started listening to Debut when I was around 18. I felt, as probably many girls did, that she was speaking directly to me. She was expressing all the things that I wanted to say while also creating really deep, yet exciting music. I just loved that she was almost a full spectrum of emotion and experience and that she was such an unlikely pop star. It gave hope to all of us who were maybe not cookie-cutter, Disney types and [showed us] that there's room for something more interesting out there. She's just an anomaly to me, hugely inspiring. I felt like I related to her so much that it gave me hope in terms of what was possible for my life."
I’m Still in Love With You by Al Green (1972)
"This is an album that I listened to a lot when I was between 15 and 17 years old. I would sit in my room after school doing my homework or whatever and listening to Al Green and fantasising about love. I’m Still in Love With You taught me about romance. I think it's in-built in me to have that romantic streak and he really resonated that in me. He's a master of the love song: very sensual and sexual. And then on top of that, his artistry and the sounds of the album are phenomenal. Simply Beautiful is one of my all-time favourite songs."
Biograph by Bob Dylan (1985)
"It's a compilation of released and unreleased songs, and so there were versions of tracks on there that I had never heard on his other albums that were really mind-blowing to me, like a version of I Shall Be Released which I can't seem to find anywhere except there. That song really resonated with me. That's the first time I really fell in love with him because my Dad had been listening to him for years before and then I kind of discovered him on my own. I fell in love with him and his poetry through Biograph and started reading his lyrics and the liner notes about the process and it made me understand him and the process of making albums. That compilation made a huge impact on me."
Remain in Light by Talking Heads (1980)
"I remember a specific moment when I was a child and I saw that album cover and I put it on and thought: 'this is the craziest thing I've ever heard.' I absolutely love it. If you look at the album cover now it’s actually very basic, but the blue and red totally drew me in at the time. That was one of the first albums I had seen that had been made on a computer and I was kind of confused by it. Most people weren't doing that with album artwork at that time and so it was so eye-opening. And then I also just loved how full the songs sounded and they're so propellant: it’s non-stop in a totally new way because of all the polyrhythms and layers of sound. That album will forever be one of the best albums ever made."
ATliens by Outkast (1996)
"I'm trying to figure out how to sum up why that meant so much. I mean, first of all, the content of what they're rapping about is so much more intelligent and meaningful than what a lot of rappers are rapping about these days. André and Big Boi are on another level. And maybe the 90s were slightly deeper in general than people are with music these days. Barring Kendrick Lamar! ATLiens was was a huge album for me and my friends when we were driving around on Friday nights. I distinctly remember listening to it and thinking to myself, 'I want to make beats like this. I can do this.' They opened a door in me when I was really young, which led me to a part of myself that I didn't know existed."
'Heads Up' by Warpaint (Rough Trade) is due to be released on September 23, 2016.