Wine & Warpaint
WINE & WARPAINT·SUNDAY, JULY 15, 2018
You know something until you don’t. You feel something until you don’t. In the mad scramble of consciousness we latch onto the tethers we were handed, with an illusion of choice, and build our cities on them. As you grow, you take each tool that’s handed to you–from hammers and nails to lifts and machinery–even if you can’t lift it at first. If you’re brave you don’t turn your back when the next tool is too heavy and go back to the ones you know. You work with it, learn it, and bravely apply it to what you’ve built, without looking back.
This is what happens when, after you’ve spent your whole life building, the next tool you’re given is a sledgehammer.
“Wine & Warpaint is what happened to me when I realized that everything I thought I knew no longer existed, or at least not in the way it used to,” says Brandon O’Neill, the multi-instrumentalist and songwriter behind the moniker. “Since I was super young I’ve tried to be true to the path, wherever it takes me. At a certain point I realized I was pretty far off from where I used to be.”
Where he was, in fact, was working full time for a church, which in his mind contradicted with these new, evolving perspectives. “I’ve been so deeply entrenched in Christianity since I was a kid that I’ve heard every argument, I know all the terms, I know how to translate when people say one thing but really mean another. I’ve been so engaged for so long that I know the dirty laundry behind what seems to be a great message. It came to a point where I couldn’t ignore that anymore. It felt like my being there was making me complicit with ideas that I not only disagreed with, but came to believe were negative and harmful.”
This point of tension gave birth to the first notes that would eventually blossom into a full blown project.The band’s simultaneously fresh and familiar sound channels an alt bite for fans of Citizen and Movements mixed with a mid 2000s pop rock and emo vibe that draws influence from The Killers and Paramore. “More than my own preferences or opinions, the emotion of the songs essentially dictated what the band would sound like,” O’Neill elaborates. “At the same time it’s right over the plate for me in terms of what I love musically. Really the goal of this project was to have it be as cathartic as possible.”
The pursuit of the right sound to carry the songs led them to Glow in the Dark Studios in Atlanta, Georgia and producer Matt Goldman (Underoath, The Devil Wears Prada, Anberlin). “The whole list was Glow in the Dark,” says O’Neill. “Too many of our favorite records were tracked there, so it really was the only option.”
With a blend of brash rawness and accessible structure and melody, the debut EP “HOMELESS” (releasing fall 2018 on all digital platforms and the band’s website) sonically complements the thematic content of the songs through driving rock drums, crashing guitars, and 80’s-style synths and programming. As a result of something that fell apart, the EP is a cornerstone of something new, the first step to rebuilding and reclaiming, and an ambitious marker for the future.