On the 1st December Pumarosa played at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow. A five-piece band coming from East London, their music has been called “industrial spiritual”. Exactly what that means I’m not sure, but if you haven’t heard them yet and like rocky/electronic music with lots of jamming then definitely give them a listen. I chatted to drummer Nick Owen to find out more about the band…
FreshAir.org.uk: Where did you guys get your name from?
Nick: It was quite a long process as we were trying to find a name that wasn’t taken - there’s always a band in New Zealand or Australia that had the one we wanted. Then Isabel used to be in a band called Mini Puma so that’s where the puma bit came from and then Rosa was a kind of composite word and then we found out that a ‘pumarosa’ was a fruit.
FA: Really! Have you tried it?
Nick: No. It grows in South America so maybe one day we’ll try it but they look cool and it’s kind of nice being named after a fruit I suppose.
FA: Who have been your biggest musical influences?
Nick: As a band I suppose there’s a huge list, not that we sound like any of them but there’s stuff that we all enjoy and have been inspired by. Nick Cave and a lot of electronic stuff like Aphex Twin and Radiohead.
FA: It might have been one you’ve already mentioned but if you could record a song with any band or artist who would you pick?
Nick: Maybe it would be good to do something really unlikely - like an electronic collaboration with - actually no that would be horrible! I was going to say with Nick Drake but that would probably not be worth it but I’m going to go with it anyway.
FA: Are there any hobbies or things that don’t directly contribute to your music that you feel influences it in any way?
Nick: Jamie and Tomoya are constantly in production, Jamie has a studio and is constantly researching and Tomoya does loads of improvisation nights and jazz. That’s all music based still though. Isabel paints and is a visual artist as well. I also make woodworking stuff. I don’t know why that kind of stuff seems to be quite prevalent with drummers.
FA: Maybe it’s because of the sticks?
Nick: Yeah! It could literally be as simple as that it’s the sticks.
FA: What’s the best thing you’ve ever made?
Nick: [pause] Well I built a house once.
FA: What song are you most enjoying performing on this tour?
Nick: I mean they come and go. We’re playing some songs off the album that we haven’t been touring earlier in the year so they’re fresher and newer – ‘Hollywood’ and ‘Barefoot’ from the album The Witch. ‘Snake’ is really fun, it’s probably my favourite because it’s psychedelic, crazy: really energy based. It’s easy for me because it’s just the same thing all the way through for about seven minutes so I can just really get into it. No matter how good or bad a gig is going that one is always quite strong.
FA: Are there any new/upcoming bands or artists that you particularly admire?
Nick: Yeah I haven’t actually heard them yet but I hear people raving about a band in South London called Black Midi and then also from South London – Shame – who are really good, they’ve just released their first album. I have a few friends who are in really great bands like Sweat, again, from South London – they all seem to be from South London!
FA: Do you have any advice for any aspiring musicians?
Nick: Technologically there are just so many angles now and there’s people who travel and play at stadiums from a laptop and there are other bands slugging around drums and then there’s any number of infusions between the two so I suppose just try out as much as you can. I think making music that allows you to be fluid and in the moment when you’re performing live is the goal. Maybe anything you have to pay attention to is annoying, that’s what I’m finding anyway. That’s weird advice. I don’t even know if that is advice!
FA: What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
Nick: Well I saw Nick Cave and that was incredible, he’s such an amazing performer. Patti Smith I’ve seen who’s also incredible. We saw Massive Attack as well and the sound design was phenomenal. That was at Glastonbury.
FA: Finally, if you had to describe yourself in three words what would they be?
Nick: Oh god. Amorphous, small and…it’s so difficult! I’ve got all day mate I’m going to be here all day…fff…
FA: Were you going to say funny?
Nick: I think you’ve said it, you’ve said it.
After travelling round the UK, Pumarosa will venture all around Europe on their tour, from Italy to Spain, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, and finally France.