Warpaint guitarist Theresa Wayman — who brings her solo act TT to The City this week — always been inquisitive, something she noticed about herself when she was about 7.
Growing up in Eugene, Ore., without TV, she played outside, studying her surroundings with Thoreau-like precision. Watching tree blossoms wilt, then fall to the ground, she says, “I’d ask myself, ‘Why is this flowery thing no longer green, no longer a flower? And if that’s its existence, why can I now make, say, pretend soup from it?’ I’ve always been investigating what’s going on around me, and my curiosity almost suffocates me sometimes.”
Her first solo album “LoveLaws,” released in May, poses the same kind of existential questions that pepper her daily dream diaries and journals.
The concept started six years ago with an experimental track called “The Dream,” before graduating into the ethereal trip-hop-retro mix of “Safe,” “Tutorial” and “I’ve Been Fine” (whose skeptical lyrics suggest otherwise).
Between motherhood and Warpaint’s busy schedule, making “LoveLaws” took extra energy she initially wasn’t sure she had.
“Logistically, squeezing another project into my life was difficult,” says Wayman, 38. “But I also was curious to find out what kind of music I would make, like, what do I have to say? What can I do?”
A couple of “LoveLaws” songs are breakup-themed, she admits. But Wayman uses the material to examine underlying behavioral patterns that can doom a relationship from its inception. She says, “I have a strong romantic nature, but I wanted to investigate what part of me was making these decisions, blocking my self-discovery.”
She was young when she began exploring the world. Her high school graduation present to herself was a week-long trip to Costa Rica.
After she met fellow musician and future Warpaint co-founder Emily Kokal, they began traveling together, to Indonesia, Europe and other locations, before moving in together in Los Angeles, where Wayman occasionally took on acting roles.
After four riff-rocking records with Warpaint, she also joined the supergroup BOSS, with Hot Chip’s Sarah Jones and All We Are’s Guro Gikling.
Creatively, it wasn’t enough.
TT (the nickname that her 12-year-old son and his father have for her) is a proponent of the examined life, “even though people consider that extraneous and look down on it.” She adds, “But if you wake up and spend two hours writing in your journal, or trying to figure out your dreams? It may look like a luxury, but it really helps you focus on today and find some peace and fulfillment.”