A delicate frame masked by a dark hoodie melts into a cozy chair in the back of Manhattan’s Ludlow Hotel. I approach Theresa Wayman–who is most well-known for being one-fourth of rock band Warpaint–and she strips back her hoodie. Her sweet and airy speaking voice is a welcomed sound so early in the morning. “I love all your earrings,” she says to me, almost immediately. “I need to revamp my earring collection. I’ve lost a few; some aren’t silver anymore,” she adds, trailing off a bit at the end.
Wayman is so soft-spoken at first, it’s as if there’s a feeling of slight uncertainty lingering after every breath. I quickly realize that this petite guitarist–who has identified as a member of Warpaint since its creation in 2004–is actually quite nervous about her debut solo album, LoveLaws. With nearly a decade of experience songwriting, recording and performing, she admits that there have been many anxious moments when it came to creating LoveLaws. “Not having the band with me is a little weird. I feel naked and afraid, like the television show,” she says with a small laugh. “I’ve had many freak-outs about doing this project, about having it be an extension of me, and feeling exposed, in a way. But, I’ve had some time to try and get comfortable with that.”
The nerves that surround the release of Wayman’s solo album, under her stage name TT, stem from the possibility that fans might carry certain expectations or listen with Warpaint’s sound in the back of their mind. With Warpaint being such a collaborative four-piece band, each member has always been able to bring a piece of themselves into the albums, but Wayman tells me that she’s been looking for an additional creative outlet for a long time. “People are just making music and the point of doing a solo album when you’re in a band like Warpaint is so you can get all your juju out there. It’s only going to benefit the band,” she says.
At first, Wayman tells me that she had a collection of romantic songs ready for LoveLaws. There were break-up ballads and aspirational love songs, focused on relationships she couldn’t necessarily realize in actuality, due to her touring schedule. “I was single for a few years and I was really romanticizing about having the perfect relationship when in real life, I wasn’t able to have any relationship,” she says. Though romantic love was the original inspiration for the album, the subject of love naturally expanded to include different influences. Wayman tells me that her 13-year-old son inspires the most love within her, though there are no songs on LoveLaws directly about him. “That’s for LoveLaws 2,” she jokes.
One of the songs on the album, “Take One,” focuses on self-empowerment and loving yourself, while “The Dream” tells the story of striving to be a strong person for someone in your life. “It’s about being there for people when they’re going through stuff. Instead of taking things so personally, being able to be a steady person for them,” she says of the idealistic narrative on “The Dream.”
On the overall sound of the album, Wayman says since she was able to approach it differently from a ‘Warpaint’ album. While there are dissimilarities, she didn’t intentionally stray from any specific Warpaint styles. “It should sound like it’s own thing. I would hate for it to sound like Warpaint, but without the other members of Warpaint,” she says of LoveLaws. With a psychedelic quality to the album, mixed with a dreamy voice, there is a clear separation between TT and Warpaint. “I think it’s a mood album. Like having a fireplace on. You can put it on and pay attention to it or just have it on in the background and feel good,” Wayman says of the album’s vibe. From learning to love to loving yourself, the tapestry of musical layers throughout LoveLaws gives us an insight into who Wayman is as an individual artist, and a person; with her faded silver earrings and all.
TT’s LoveLaws is available now on Wayman’s own LoveLeaks/Caroline International. Catch her performing live this summer in between Warpaint commitments.