Pooma – Persuader
Shoegazing is a European invention out of the UK from the 80s to the mid 90s. There are elements of punk and sometimes metal on the harder side of the genre. Those who grew up in that era are starting to recycle and change the genre which went on to spawn grunge and alternative. Pooma is one of the more interesting bands to be dabbling in the field. However, their most recent album, Persuader, is little more than dabbling, as the lead singer and co-composer Tuire Lukka has said that their next album will not be in that genre.
Persuader has been out for a little over a year. The music does fulfill that description of ethereal, swirling vocals, distorted, bent, and flanged guitar as described by Wikipedia’s article, “Shoegazing”: It features heavy synthesized instrumentation, guitars, vocals, and base. It’s got a kind of psychedelic quality to it. Where Persuader differs is that many of the effects come from the synthesizer which at times seeks acoustic imitation. The music is unique and offers an interesting audio trip. Though the instrumentation is largely synthed, they are close enough to acoustic instrumentation to require me to ask the band. As someone who appreciates acoustic music as well as that hippy era psychedelic rock I find the album to be quite entertaining. It is suitable for ambience, party, and would make for a good concert. The songs are all of good quality, though at times it is hard to follow the lyrics, and even harder to make sense out of them. Lyrically, as seems to be the case with most Indie bands, not to mention shoegazers, the lyrics seem to be more of an instrument than a conveyor of meaning. Pooma is no different in this case.
It’s said that the term ‘shoegazing’ came from shoegazers liked looking at their shoes, but were in reality concentrating on the pedals on the floor. However, the bootlegged videos from concerts show that there is a bit more than that to the band, but not a lot. At least they’re not looking at their shoes all the time. In fact, Tuire doesn’t look down at her feet at all.
Pooma – where did you get the title for your band?
Actually, it came from the city Pooma from India, and I read a book which was about, John Irving’s Book, A Son of the Circus, and the city Pooma was there, I kind of read it wrong at first, like it was pronounced ‘Pooma.’ I thought it was a really beautiful name. It reminded me of the animal.
How did your band meet and come together?
Actually, it we became friends first. We met over 10 years ago. And then we kind of noticed that we had the same taste in music. First it was only the four of us except for the bass player. The bass player joined us five years ago. He was in my school, and we noticed that we liked the same music as well. We got along together really well.
Electronic instrumentation has pretty much acquired the quality of acoustic instruments. Do your songs make use of any accoustic instruments, or is it entirely synthed?
We use a lot of electronic instruments while we’re making the music, like in demos and stuff. Then we replace them with real instruments as much as possible. We try to mix the both.
Windows media player identified your music as ‘shoe gazing.’ Was that a label that you felt comfortable with assigning to yourselves, or do you think it’s still an insulting term?
That just happened. We really like shoegazing music, but it was only that the record is quite dreamy and reverberant. I wouldn’t call our band a shoegazing band because the next record is going to be quite different. It was quite inspired from shoegazing.
I took some time to listen to different songs and artists that make up the canon of shoegazing, and I find that they tend to be somewhere between punk and sometimes sharing roots with metal, whereas your band seems to be trying to get a bit more of a natural and laid back sound.
I think because our roots aren’t really in punk. I think it’s more in the alter-jazzy elements. It just happened to become a bit of shoegaze album. It’s that kind of reverb and dreaminess. If you take all that away, it would be much more like acoustic and a bit like alternative pop I guess. I’m not at all into the heavy metal or punk genre.
One thing that is said of shoegazers is that the lyrics aren’t important except as a way to make the vocals become just another one of the instruments in the band. Would you agree with that statement as a general truth of the shoegazing genre?
I always think that lyrics are just really bringing us to the song’s level. But maybe a few of the bands see that shoegaze bands’ lyrics aren’t that important. It’s hard to tell from their point of view. Personally, I think the lyrics are really important. It would only be the focus on the melody it sinks into the other instruments.
I read your lyrics and I don’t really get a strong sense that you put a lot of importance in your lyrics. Sometimes you have some interesting things of phrasing things, the songs on a whole don’t always seem to be telling anything.
I just think lyrics are important to set the mood of the song. Usually when I write lyrics, I don’t try to tell a story or something. I just try to put some small links together that could describe certain feelings to connect with people.
What comes first? Do you start with the groove of the music sounds that your band is experimenting with and then the words come to you, or do you come up with the words and then try to make a sound to go with it?
Almost always it’s first the music, and then sometimes when I’m making a demo song, some words already come out there. Then once the song and melody is structured, then I try to work on the lyrics.
Shoegazing is being recoined as nugazing in the new underground movement.
It’s been emerging for some time now.
Do you think it’s more European or North American?
Our music hasn’t been out that much. We’re into both markets. The people who connect with the music are from all over the world: North America, Europe, and Australia.
Their album, Persuader from Amazon for $8.88.
They don’t have any concrete plans on tours, but that may change.