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Head to head with… Pumarosa

Ahead of their headline show in EartH’s theatre, we caught up with Pumarosa‘s drummer, Nick Owen, about their new album Devastation, touring, and what to expect from their forthcoming gig at EartH.

Hi Nick! How are Pumarosa doing today?
Hello! Very well thanks – had a great show in Glasgow last night, so everyone is feeling pretty happy.

What was the process like when creating your new album, Devastation?
We started with quite a few jams, which we recorded and then listened back to / cut up and arranged. Isa would take these, work on them a bit, then we would refine them again all together. Some songs arrived as piano and voice compositions by Isa. Because there was no bass, I think this coaxed us in a certain direction – particularly on songs like ‘Virtue’ and ‘I Can Change’.

How would you say your sound has developed since your last album in 2017?
Lots of the same sensibilities are there, but we took a small sidestep on Devastation, experimenting more with sequenced electronic textures. I think we learnt a great deal from writing this album – it was the first time we set about composing an album from scratch if that makes sense.

The visual side of Pumarosa – especially videos, artwork and your live shows – is hugely impressive. How important is the creative side of the band?
Isa always makes the album artwork, so it is always interesting to see a visual interpretation of things overlaying on the music. And videos are a really interesting experience – to hand over aesthetic control to someone outside – we were lucky to work with a couple of good video directors on this album, Robert Fox and Michael Harding.

Outside of music, who or what inspires you creatively and why? The world of ideas in books – it’s a vast place out there!

Where do you feel most at home – on stage or in the studio? What are your favourite parts of each and why?
I think we love both equally. The immediacy of the stage is great – no time for second-guessing. But building a track in the studio, starting something and not knowing where it will finish is also an amazing thing to be a part of.

What have you learnt about yourselves and each other since your last tour – either musically as a band or personally as individuals?
I think being in a band requires a great deal of sensitivity towards each other. The more we do, the more I trust in everyone. It’s a hard-won but really gratifying process. A lot happened personally, but we got that into the record!

With the tour coming up, what are some of the ways the band passes time on the road?
The travelling bit of touring is quite a reflective time. I listen to audiobooks when I can, or we listen to music and read. There is a TV, but it doesn’t work somehow.

What can we expect from your live show at EartH?
We are really happy with how the set is sounding. It’s mostly from the new album with some classics that we’ve been revisiting. We’re excited to play at EartH – really love the space. Plus some great supports in Audiobooks and Jessica Winter.

What’s next for Pumarosa – after the release of your new album and the end of the November tour?
Not sure what next year holds in terms of touring yet. But I think we will just get on with writing more material. I feel the more we write, the better we will get and writing is the best part – before you have got used to the song, or bogged down in particulars. Just being able to play freely together and be lost in that. It’s funny how the push and pull of directions affect you – I think as a result of making Devastation, we’re imagining something more tender and sparse and basic – Simpler Times.

What is a question that nobody ever asks you in interviews that you wish they would?
Probably just a really complicated cosmological quandary that we know the answer to already.