October 5th, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Isabel Munoz-Newsom – Pumarosa
            In September of 2015 Pumarosa released the single “Priestess.” The song set fire to the 5 piece London band. The band released their debut album The Witch in May. The album was produced by Dan Carey. They are doing a headlining US tour in October which will end with them opening for Interpol. They recently released the video for “My Gruesome Loving Friend” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22Sr–DH7S4&list=PLpoPad4WDvyX9fUxlrQN70vs0ox517Ui7
FEMMUSIC was lucky to do an e-mail interview with Pumarosa’s Isabel Munoz-Newsom. For info visit http://www.pumarosamusic.com/
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making The Witch?
IMN: The Witch was our first album so I guess the main challenge was locking down the sound. We have been playing a for a few before and the sound had gone through various phases, we had to let the songs still have their character, but find a way of uniting them also. I definitely feel like we achieved this! With Dan (our producer) it seemed to just flow. 
FEMMUSIC:  Tell me about working with Dan Carey. How did you meet him? What made you decide to have him produce The Witch? How was it working with him?
IMN: Pretty much as soon as we met Dan we all loved him. We recorded “Priestess” with him in his studio in Streatham and we were hooked. It is wonderful working with someone you really trust. We all have so much fun together. But it’s the best kind because it’s really intense- I mean, you are making something and it has to be good! We did not want to work with anyone else. He was the person who made us feel this way, and so we wanted to be with him.
FEMMUSIC:  Can you describe your songwriting technique?
IMN: I don’t really know if I have a technique. I keep notes of phrases or words, thoughts on my phone or in a book. I also just sit down and write a lot of words down, on paper. Sometimes about a chosen subject, sometimes just let my mind wander. Then I look through it retrospectively and pick out phrases which seem to have something about them. And then I know what I am writing about. I see what I was saying more clearly. Then I continue writing in that vein of thought.
With the melody and chords I work at the piano. Kind of jamming till i find a sequence that clicks, or sometimes I will have thought of something more complete before I get there.
Then when I have a song I play it to the band. Then we work on it, sometimes for months!! Till we come up with an arrangement that’s satisfying. Everyone writes their parts.
However there are a couple of tracks on the album which initially came from an improvisation and we then structured into a piece. (The songs are) ”Red” and “Snake.” With these two pieces most of the work happens together with all of us present.
FEMMUSIC:  What benefits do you see in signing to a label?
IMN: Well a label effectively gives you a loan to propel you into the world. This loan enabled us to record our music and also to be able to live and entirely focus on the music rather than holding down a full time job. We are signed to Fiction and they are a very good bunch of people. You feel supported, and you are.
I have huge respect for artists who can run their own label, but I do not have the energy to do that. I wish I did. I think I would have to divide my brain. However, the people who run our label love what they do, and everyone seems to know everyone in the music world, that is their zone, and they are totally focused on navigating it. Whereas I just want to b in my studio or on the road.
FEMMUSIC:  What song (not your own) had the most impact on you and why?
IMN: This is a very hard question. I guess during my life different tracks have suddenly exploded what I new music to be. Hearing Neil Young “Old Man” when I was really high as a teenager..I could not believe how tender and beautiful it was. Hearing “Horses” by Patti Smith. Then hearing Prince, oh man how can anyone be so sexy. Currently Aldous Harding is blowing my mind with “Horizon.”
FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
IMN: Yes I think so. Its just harder to get anywhere, because so many more men have come before.
 FEMMUSIC:  If you could tour with, or collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why?
IMN: I would love to go on tour with Nick Cave, just to watch him perform those heart breaking songs and with all that pain inside him. I think it would b incredible to witness.
FEMMUSIC:  What one thing would you change about the music industry?
IMN: I think the whole thing needs to be radically reshuffled. I don’t think it has caught up since illegal down loading and then Spotify happened. But one thing? Artists should earn a bit more from Sportify plays I recon. That would help us to keep going.

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