When a band releases a huge album, tours the world for over a year, and play music festival after music festival, down time is a must. Well, more than a must.
That's exactly what the indie rock band Warpaint did before gearing up to get back in the studio again. "We took a break and everyone got a chance to work on these creative impulses," said lead singer and guitarist Emily Kokal when we chatted on the phone. The band had just played the first show of their new tour that's in support of their new album, Heads Up,
which debuted September 23. The band will be making a pit stop at Saint Andrew's Hall Saturday, October 1.
We talked about their new album, getting personal with lyrics, and that wacky new music video.
Metro Times: Thanks, for talking to me! Everything well?
Emily Kokal: Yeah, no problem. And yes, we just played in Seattle.
Metro Times: Yeah, how was it? It was the first show of your tour, right?
Kokal: Yeah, it was so fun! I was surprised how crazy the crowd was.
Metro Times:Oh, that must be the best!
Kokal: (laughs) Yes, it was!
Metro Times: Well, congrats on the new album! I've been listening to it the past two days and it's great!
Kokal: Aww, thanks! That's awesome.
Metro Times: So what has been going on since the last album and now?
Kokal: We all definitely needed some time off after touring for so long. We've all really grown a lot, exploring different creative outlets which has been nice. But we were ready to start working again and collaborating after having time off.
Metro Times: I bet the time off was nice, though!
Kokal: Absolutely! But after you've toured an album you get really good at playing it live and you miss it, so we were ready to get back to work.
Metro Times: What was the writing process like for this one?
Kokal: We all kind of did our own things and wrote. There's something interesting that happens when you keep writing at bay. It's like I could develop the thoughts and lyrics more. We kind of felt like we weren't able to exercising those creative impulses. So once we got back in the studio everyone sort of had this freshness and was ready to collaborate.
Metro Times: Did you like making the album that way?
Kokal: You know, I kind of realized that there's nothing wrong with having a process that doesn't make you suffer in order to make art. We found a different way to work with each other naturally and it just worked.
Metro Times: A lot of the lyrics on this album are pretty personal and specific. Is it hard to separate your personal life from the music and the lyrics, or does it just kind of all meld together?
Kokal: I suppose good lyrics are personal because people can relate to them. Us as a band have always been so personal, but it's a way as an artist to deal with your own emotions.
Metro Times: Does it ever get frustrating when people just assume you're sad or angry because you're singing a sad or angry song?
Kokal: Oh, yeah. But that's going to happen regardless. But the audience wants to invest in that drama. An album like Lemonade
is banking on that, and that's why it works so well.
Metro Times: I loved the music video you all released for "New Song," too!
Kokal: Oh, thanks! It was seriously so much fun to shoot.
Metro Times: Where did the inspiration for that come?
Kokal: Honestly, we were in New York for a few days and we thought, "what the hell, let's just do it" and we filmed it on an iPhone. We weren't taking ourselves that seriously at all. And it's one of the more pop-like songs that we've done so we wanted it to be fun.
Metro Times: It kind of reminded me of those music videos that were filmed on iPhones back in like 2012 that were super serious and saturated like a bad Instagram filter.
Kokal: Yes! We kind of just wanted to play with that idea except we were like in on the joke.
Warpaint play at Saint Andrew's Hall on Saturday, October 1. You can buy tickets here.