WARPAINT

At one point during our Picnic at Hanging Rock–inspired shoot in the hills above Los Feliz in Los Angeles, the women of Warpaint were dressed in varying shades of ivory, wearing pink ribbons, and holding lacy parasols while looking sweet, serene, and forlorn against a muted backdrop. But that gentility is all a façade. In actuality, 27-year-old drummer Stella Mozgawa is cracking dirty jokes as she reads poetry from a prop book, and bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg, 32, is cursing at the rose she's holding after pricking her finger on a thorn. All four band members, including 33-year-old guitarists Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman, who also share vocal duties, are laughing and singing and generally behaving like women who've known each other for years and years—in other words, more like sisters than friends.


In fact, this Valentine's Day will mark the band's 10th anniversary. Kokal and Wayman have been inseparable since they were 11, growing up together in Oregon. They met Lindberg in the early aughts after moving to L.A., and Mozgawa, a native New Zealander, joined the band in 2009; their debut full-length, The Fool, came out the following year. The L.A.-based foursome's sophomore album has been a long time coming, but the self-named Warpaint (out January 20) is worth the wait. The record is a gothic, psychedelic gem, dark and dreamy with hints of Cocteau Twins and the Cranes—13 tracks you can sink into and float away on. When I mention that Warpaint seems like a perfect fit for BUST's Love and Sex Issue, Kokal agrees. "It's funny, because even the songs that aren't overtly about [love], there is a feeling," she says. "There's a lot of passion in our music. Jen says she just likes everything to be sexy, but even more than that, there's sensuality, meaning, like, 'of the senses.' I think we all draw from that."

Part of the reason Warpaint sounds so dreamy is probably the idyllic-sounding setting in which it was created. After several grueling years on the road, the band took time out to work on the new album and decamped to the Joshua Tree desert in Southern California for a month of uninterrupted music writing. "It was kind of a big slumber party," Kokal says. They'd start the day by making tea and eating breakfast, then reading or drawing together at the table before going their separate ways to write. In the afternoon, they'd come back together to play. "We start a lot of rehearsing and practicing with—there's no other way to say it—jamming," Kokal says with a laugh. The familial vibe that comes across at the photo shoot is amplified when the women have their instruments in hand. "A natural alchemy occurs between all of us that's really lovely," Mozgawa says. "We know there's something magic when we all play together."

ADVERTISEMENT

WARPAINT2ON JENNY LEE LINDBERG (HOLDING PARASOL): VINTAGE SHOES. ON EMILY KOKAL (LYING DOWN): SHOES BY MISSGUIDED, MISSGUIDEDUS.COM. ON STELLA MOGZAWA (WITH BOOK): BOOTS BY BC FOOTWEAR, BCFOOTWEAR.COM. ON THERESA WAYMAN (UNDER TREE): ANKLE BOOTS BY MISSGUIDED. TIGHTS ON ALL BY WOLFORD, WOLFORD.COM.

WARPAINT4VINTAGE TOP; PANTS BY GYPSY JUNKIES; RING AND EARRINGS, HER OWN.

WARPAINT5CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP: ON JENNY: DRESS BY DEAR CREATURES, DEARCREATURES.COM; TOP BY LIV LOS ANGELES, LIV-LA.COM, RING BY LIKE A CITY. ON THERESA: VINTAGE TOP; PANTS BY GYPSY JUNKIES; BRACELET AND EARRINGS, HER OWN. ON STELLA: TOP BY MCGINN, MCGINNCOLLECTION. ON EMILY: VINTAGE TOP; SKIRT BY GYPSY JUNKIES, THIGH-HIGH STOCKINGS BY WOLFORD.

WARPAINT6TOP BY MCGINN; SKIRT BY FUR ELISE, FURELISE.COM; TIGHTS BY WOLFORD.

WP6VINTAGE TOP.

New Fall Issue d217c

WP7DRESS BY DEAR CREATURES; TOP BY LIVE LOS ANGELES; RING BY LIKE A CITY; TIGHTS BY WOLFORD. INTERIORS BY MARIAH O'BRIEN.

WARPAINTON STELLA: HAT BY GLADYS TAMEZ MILLINERY, GLADYSTAMEZ.COM; DRESS BY ARYN K, ARYNK.COM; RING, HER OWN. ON JENNY: DRESS UNDERNEATH BY GYPSY JUNKIES, GYPSYJUNKIES.COM; TOP DRESS BY RACHAEL CASSAR, RACHAEL CASSAR, RACHAELCASSAR.COM; RINGS BY LIKE A CITY, LIKEACITY.COM.WARPAINT1ON EMILY: TOP(WORN UNDER DRESS) BY ARYN K; DRESS BY GYPSY JUNKIES. ON THERESA: HAT BY DLADYS TAMEZ MILLINERY; VINTAGE SLIP; DRESS BY GYPSY JUNKIES.

---

By Lisa Butterworth
Photographed by Annabel Mehran
Styled by Krissie Torgerson
Hair by Candice Birns
Makeup by Michelle Mungcal 

This article originally appeared in the December/January print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today


More from BUST

Tracee Ellis Ross Is 'A Woman Who Speaks Up For Herself': BUST Interview

Going Homme: BUST Fashion

Five Types of Vintage Jewelry We Need to Bring Back

Support Feminist Media!
During these troubling political times, independent feminist media is more vital than ever. If our bold, uncensored reporting on women’s issues is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $25, $50, or whatever you can afford, to protect and sustain BUST.com.
Thanks so much—we can’t spell BUST without U.

 DONATE NOW