“My voice is the cen­tre. It’s the most im­por­tant thing that I do. Ev­ery­thing that hap­pens elec­tron­i­cally fol­lows the voice.”


Moog syn­the­siz­ers), and tra­di­tional Afro-Colom­bian per­cus­sion (tamb­ora drums, mara­cas), all fig­ure into the flow.

The process of cre­ation, for Pimienta, is “very pro­lific, very fer­tile ground.” She records “skele­tons” as ba­sic mu­sic frame­works, which she then presents to her band in a weekly ses­sion. “Melodies come to me and I will just put my head­phones on and do a lit­tle demo. I send it to my band­mates and then the fol­low­ing Tues­day, we will start prac­tic­ing that and fi­ness­ing the sound,” she says. “I de­liver the skele­ton and each per­son in my band has some­thing to add — adding the meat and the blood to it. Then I add the skin to it with my voice. That’s how we work — from my head­phones to prac­tic­ing to per­form­ing it live. If peo­ple like it, we keep work­ing on it. I don’t take too long. I know when a song works and when it doesn’t work,” she says.

It’s a col­lab­o­ra­tive process, but one where she has the fi­nal say. “I’m very aware that I am a woman and fem­i­nist and in­ter­sec­tional. And as ador­ing as my band­mates are, they are still men and they will un­wit­tingly say shit that I don’t want to hear,” she says. “It’s re­ally a big mix of a lot of dis­ci­plines com­ing to­gether in a very beau­ti­ful pack­age.”

Her planned fol­lowup to La Papessa re­flects her evolv­ing cre­ative process. “The al­bum that I’m work­ing on now is less col­lab­o­ra­tive. I’m work­ing with a sin­gle pro­ducer and I’m giv­ing him all of the parts and he’s fi­ness­ing it. I do enough; I don’t need to be the best pro­ducer in the world, be­cause my songs are very strong,” she says. “The beau­ti­ful thing about the way that I work [is] I can be in a show where it’s just me and my voice, and peo­ple will be sat­is­fied. And that is the way I want to al­ways make mu­sic, where the song can be per­formed with an acous­tic gui­tar and voice, or with one drum and voice, and it will have the same im­pact as it has with a full band.”

But it all comes from her home and stu­dio, she says, a place where she is able to both pro­vide for her child and cre­ate in­de­pen­dent art on her terms. “If you want mu­sic to be your life, you have to treat it like so. I’m com­pletely en­gaged and en­am­oured and so proud of how this place has been trans­formed. It re­ally tells the story of how I came to Toronto all by my­self with my son.

“Me against the world, and I fuck­ing did it. I made it.”

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