“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.”