Warpaint Bassist Jennylee Learned to "Actually Like My Voice" on Solo Debut
Jenny Lee Lindberg
Photo by Mia Kirby
The echo of the word “hello” repeats itself on both ends of the phone as a beep cuts in to take over the would-be conversation. The melodic tone of the continuous repeating “beep” silences Jenny Lee Lindberg. It sounds like a little song, created just for that moment. But for this concert, she's just using an ATM near her home in Highland Park.
From her beginnings in Elko, Nevada to her 1999 move to L.A., to the first time she decided to play bass in 2000, Lindberg finds herself through music. It’s no big surprise that she, under the name Jennylee, would be the first of L.A.’s all female indie-rock group Warpaint to launch a solo album. No surprise to anyone but herself.
So on Dec. 11, Right On! will be more than a phrase that she says daily hanging with her friends, or a nostalgic quip her parents used back in the day. It will be the aptly upbeat title of her debut album.
On this cool, sunshine-soaked L.A. day, Jennylee’s album is the topic of this interview, though it stretches into where she loves to hang with her dog (Pasadena), places she’s lived in L.A. (everywhere), and her favorite venues to play (the Echo and Satellite).
Did the material for Right On come about when you were working with Warpaint?
Yes, bits and pieces started when we were writing the second album. There were songs I was writing on my own, that were “me” songs, not for them. When we were done touring in 2014, that’s when I wrote the majority of [this] album.
Then you and [producer] Norm Block went in to record?
I actually demo-ed all the songs before we even went in, except “White Devil” and “Never,” [which] we wrote in studio. I had recorded everything else in my home studio and originally was going to release an album of demos. I was doing everything and it was just too much. So I asked Norm for 10 days and that turned into two and a half months.
Did Stella [Mozgawa of Warpaint] play drums on your album?
She played on “Riot” and “He Fresh.” She wrote an electronic beat and I wrote “He Fresh” over that. Then we [collaborated] on "Riot," which was originally going to be a Warpaint track. Sometimes you just know when it’s yours and when it’s not.
What was it like working with all dudes otherwise?
It was a beautiful collaboration and I really wanted more of a masculine feel on the songs. It never worked because of schedules, but I really did want the girls to come in and play on something. I thought it would be nice.
So Warpaint is supportive?
Oh for sure. We’ve always been. I’m obviously the first person to release a solo record, which surprises me, but I think it’s good because everyone’s working on their own stuff, and it’s good to do that and flesh out your own vision. Then when we come back together, we have more to give.
Why are you surprised you are the first to release a solo album?
Because they are the dominant singer/songwriters. The music I used to make was instrumental, [with] minimal vocals. It took me a long time to be comfortable and actually like my voice. It’s not a classically trained voice, like Whitney Houston, so I would try to reach outside my range. I didn’t like the way it sounded, but I wasn’t singing in my own voice. I am learning to let myself go, embracing my quirkiness and imperfections.
Are you influenced by the L.A. music scene?
Not really. I’m inspired by older music and music I grew up listening to, and I think it’s a little bit of everything in my life.
Touring with this album?
I do plan on touring next year. Right now [Warpaint] is writing a third album, and then we have time [off]. We have no release date yet.
Any reason 2015 has been so quiet for Warpaint?
Yeah, we’ve been taking some time off and I’ve been writing. We’ve all given each other the time and space. We all decided before the next album we would do that. So we have some time on our own, to make some art on our own, instead of always having to make it with each other.
Right on, Right On! Yeah!
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