Supergroups: Who's the BOSS?

Luke Acton examines Theresa Wayman from Warpaint's all female supergroup BOSS and what it means for the future of musical collaborations.

3rd November 2015

Warpaint’s Theresa Wayman is joining Hot Chip drummer Sarah Jones and All We Are bassist Guro Gikling to form BOSS, a supergroup that has just released their first two tracks: ‘I’m Down With That’ and a remix called ‘Mr Dan’s I’m Dub With That’. Supergroups have usually been a boy’s club of mainstream rock. The kind of all-star combinations that you’d think up as a kid, like Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighter Dave Grohl, with Josh Homme and John Paul Jones to make Them Crooked Vultures. These kinds of bands are looking increasingly outdated when you see the heightened flexibility in terms of creative direction and collaboration that BOSS is indicative of, which is emerging as the norm in the music industry.

As an all-female supergroup, BOSS did not form with the aim of creating a band to counteract the patriarchal in-crowd of the rock scene"

As an all-female supergroup, BOSS did not form with the aim of creating a band to deliberately counteract the patriarchal in-crowd of the rock scene. Rather, they formed because it was natural, through a sincerity that goes above the typical exercise-in-hype that makes the older forms of supergroups, like Them Crooked Vultures, old fashioned. I remember being obsessed by the Foo Fighters in my early teens and being excited when I heard that they were mixing together two of the best contemporary rock bands with one of the greatest classic ones. The hype was incredible, but I remember even in my young and musically impoverished state finding them wanting. Yeah they had joined up, and yeah they were making new music, but it was mediocre, they had done nothing new.

BOSS does not suffer from this. There are influences from each of the members’ other bands, the dreamy riff that makes up the backbone of ‘I’m Down With That’ is reminiscent of All We Are, with a gritty Warpaint-esque bassline and Hot Chip future sounds. All the sounds belong and fit. This is because they are just fresher musically than a lot of other supergroups, they are from a generation that collaborates a lot more freely and originally – not trying to maintain their previous styles from previous projects. FFS has twenty six studio albums from full-time projects between them, Atoms For Peace has twenty nine. These groups each have members who have established sounds and places within music and as such, just can’t match the creative agility of this younger generation. BOSS’ members are fluid in their collaboration, two of Warpaint’s members are engaged in side projects and their second album was made primarily through jamming and experimentation, Sarah Jones is fluttering between projects (she is actually currently on loan to Hot Chip from New Young Pony Club) and Gikling’s All We Are only released their self-titled debut album at the beginning of this year, now she is in a supergroup with two of the best current musicians in the world.

Their ability to move from one project to another and their unwillingness to commit solely to one project, an MO that is becoming increasingly common, shows that they are doing this project not for the sake of hype and mutual fame that most of the previous, all-male incarnations of supergroups have, but for the sake of making good music.

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