Warpaint is an all-female indie rock band based in Los Angeles continuing to prove that girls rock. The band formed in 2004 but didn’t release its debut album until 2010. Since then, Warpaint has received rave reviews from the Guardian, Rolling Stone and Pitchfork for its dream-like yet intense music.
The Frame interviewed Stella Mozgawa, Warpaint's drummer, about how Hanson helped her start drumming, what she's thinking on stage and how she's living her teenage fantasy.
When did you first know you wanted to play the drums?
I remember this boy in primary school who was the school drummer and he never let me sit at the drum kit. As soon as I got to high school, which was the following year, it was kind of like if someone tells you that you can't do something, you want to do it a million times more.
What did your parents think about you playing the drums?
My parents weren't too keen on the idea of me choosing the drums after piano, and guitar and bass. They made me prove to them that I really wanted to do it. So I took lessons, and I would set up a little drum kit on the couch with different pillows, and I'd have these really big sticks and just learned how to play to records. I was just desperate to learn how to play Hanson songs.
That was my first drumming inspiration, 'cause I saw this kid who was my age playing the drums in this band and I thought, 'Well, I could do that as well.' When my dad bought me the drum kit, I felt that was the-- I got parental approval.
What are you feeling when you're playing the instrument?
I feel like more and more these days it feels like a sensual and a meditative experience. Whereas before, when I was growing up and learning how to play, it felt a lot more cerebral. So now I've let go of that a lot and it's more about the feeling and emoting through this instrument.
Is there a song that you loved playing in the studio off the latest self-titled album?
There's this adolescent magic to the first few times you record music in a studio and you go home and you listen to it and it blows your mind. You're like, 'I don't remember doing that. I don't remember operating in that way.' And then when you hear it on the playback, it's a completely different beast. And I remember the song 'Biggy.'
We played it in the room and it just felt like this weird kind of seance, and everyone was kind of in a weird trance, and then we went into the control room to listen back to it. I was so blown away that we were even capable of doing that. Not that it's the most miraculous song in the world. It was that little slice of magic that when you get it, you want to just hang on to it forever. And I like doing loopy stuff. Loopy as in loop-like, not zany.
What's going through your mind when you're playing in front of an audience?
It's definitely different playing in front of a crowd instead of being in a studio. You're getting an immediate reaction from people and you can look into their eyes and you can see if they're bored. I think there's part of me that is eager to please and there's a lot going on in my head when I'm playing in terms of, 'Oh wow, I got to really step it up to make this moment special,' because the last thing that you want to do is invite mediocrity into some innocent person's life.
Do you have any doubts that you've chosen the right career path?
I mean there's definitely moments of doubt where you just think, 'What am I doing? Am I still a child? Am I just trapped in this teenage fantasy of playing music and touring in a band?' All these visions that I had when I was playing in my room, closing my eyes and being in front of a group of people. Or just weird things like, I wanna play 'Conan' one day or I wanna play 'Later... With Jools Holland.' And then you're in that experience and you just think, 'Is it all just a fantasy?' Thankfully, we're a generation where we can kind of do whatever we please, so we might as well do it.
Warpaint will be headlining the Desert Daze music festival on May 2, 2015 in Mecca.