STELLA MOZGAWA

Since she joined LA trio Warpaint ahead of the release of their debut album ‘The Fool’ a decade ago, Australia native Stella Mozgawa has become a shining light in the global indie rock scene and beyond, emerging as a go-to collaborator for some of the world’s finest songwriters, be it for her outstanding drumming skills or arranging, engineering and co-writing.

Co-producing every Warpaint album to date, including their in-progress fourth LP, Stella cut her teeth in the production game out of necessity, sculpting the band’s demos with such energy and purity that large chunks of the initial versions were often carried through to the finished product. Exploring the interplay between production and musicianship, her development in both areas fed into each other, allowing her advancing production skills to improve her efficiency as a musician and vice versa, not seeing the two arts as separate entities.

It was working with Flood (PJ Harvey, New Order, The Killers) on Warpaint’s 2013 self-titled album that gave Stella the confidence to see her production through to the next level, realising that her self-produced demos for the band came with their own distinctive style. Encouraged to keep the soul and spirit of those demos, the spontaneous nature of her first recordings became integral to the final versions of songs to be heard on Warpaint albums, and served as a turning point in her emerging career as a producer.

Branching out between Warpaint albums, Stella has racked up an enviable list of guest appearances over the past decade, becoming an integral collaborator for the likes of Kurt Vile, Cate Le Bon and The xx. From session and live drumming to co-writing and arranging, her voice as a collaborator, drummer and producer continues to come into focus, with credits on everything from the upbeat dance of SBTRKT to the softer tones of Regina Spektor and Wild Beasts frontman Hayden Thorpe, who she worked with on 2019 debut album ‘Diviner’.

She also joined the all-star cast for Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme’s Desert Sessions project at Rancho De La Luna in Joshua Tree, California in 2019, contributing drums and working alongside Homme, Primus’ Les Claypool, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and a revolving door of collaborators, in a process where the floor was open to everyone’s ideas.

Constantly evolving and exploring new landscapes, Stella also wrote the elegantly eerie, percussion-driven score for 2018 film ‘Clara’s Ghost’, which premiered at Sundance and starred Chris Elliot (SNL, Schitt’s Creek) and Abby Elliot (SNL). Working alone for the first time on the project, her expertise at seeing a project through from the start to the very finish joined her already notable skills as a top-tier collaborator. Also on her list of collaborations is electronic side-project Beef, created alongside Bryan Hollon, aka Boom Bip and one half of Neon Neon.

Moving into the new decade, Stella has just finished up work on her first production job on a full-length album, helming the new record from LA-based Terrible Records signings Cryogeyser. Seeing the project out within four days out of necessity and tight schedules, her belief in capturing the purity and soul of a first take has been seen through from the early Warpaint days into her quickly blossoming career as a producer. The more that you labour over something, you can actually kill it, she says, and in protecting the fragile ecosystem of a song or an album, you can perfectly capture that magic.