ABOVE: PORCELAIN RAFT
Maybe it’s the way that he presents it or the way it speaks to him, but Mauro Remiddi’s musical project Porcelain Raft seems to capture an out-of-body experience.
Remiddi left London to come to New York City after signing with Secretly Canadian, and the change from recording quietly to recording in a city of noise brought his album to life. His debut album, Strange Weekend, is a glimpse into a short period of time in his life when he was experiencing a variety of changes. The dream-pop sound landed him a tour with M83, and he’ll be coming stateside supporting Youth Lagoon and Smith Westerns.
We chatted with Remiddi about the possibility of dabbling in other artistic projects, the electricity of New York, and making music on his own.
ILANA KAPLAN: Can you tell me about your musical influences?
MAURO REMIDDI: Well, I think when I was a little kid, my father had lots of soundtracks at home, so I remember listening to soundtracks when I was 10, 12 and 15, thinking that every record was like a band. You know, soundtracks have different songs. It depends. I had these records, but each song was so different from one to the other. In my head, I thought it was normal that an album would contain so many types of general music. I think that was one of the main influences, were those records, when I was a kid; that a record could contain different moods and different styles and all make sense somehow. So, I think that was probably one of the strongest musical influences. Then of course you grow up, and there are things you like. When I was a teenager, I didn’t have many friends come up to me and say, “Hey, listen to this and listen to that.” I had to discover many things by myself. It took actually a long time before I discovered bands like The Velvet Underground or discovered the classics. I was born in Italy; there is a different type of culture there. So, it took me a long time to discover good things by myself growing up.
KAPLAN: What was your inspiration for Strange Weekend?
REMIDDI: [laughs] I think the fact that basically I record and compose at the same time, it’s not like something happens to me and I get a guitar and I think about it. It’s more like I absorb everything that happens to me and then I go to a studio and just compose on the spot and record on the same day. When I recorded the album, so many things happened. I signed to Secretly Canadian, I decided to move continents from London to New York. So many things happened at the time. I was overwhelmed. At that time, I found myself in a basement recording. Nothing was planned. All of the songs were composed in two months. I think more the inspiration was absorbing all of these changes that were happening at the time when I composed this album. It was mainly changing cities and not having my friends around. It was meeting new people in the city. I love New York. It was discovering a new world. It was sonically, changing cities influenced the album somehow. Suddenly I wasn’t in London, where I had to play really soft and I had to sing very softly. I had to record with my headphones. Suddenly I was in New York, and everything was charged with electricity. In the basement, I can make as much noise as I want. Sonically, I think that changed a lot.
KAPLAN: Who would you love to collaborate with?
REMIDDI: Collaboration is a bit funny. I don’t really like to jam. I don’t really like to be in-studio and experiment music with somebody else. I have kind of an image when I go, and that’s what I want to do musically. Right now in my career, I just want to do my thing. I’m not sure I’m thinking about it right now. Probably if I meet somebody and I get along, maybe we’d compose some songs together. Not really though, because I wouldn’t know what to say.
KAPLAN: What’s the story behind Strange Weekend?
REMIDDI: The idea is kind of a musing, which has a timeline. The timeline is very short. I like that. I like to describe something that had an end: that had a beginning and an end. This time was very small; it was a weekend, just two days. It was anything that happened in two days. I was sick of all these albums and all this music that tend to be forever. You have these titles that describe something that never ends. I thought, wait a second; I want to record something that is a snapshot of a moment in my life that is very restrained and very short. What about two days? Most of the songs are actually about that: anything that happened to me in a weekend. That was the idea mainly. I just wanted to frame it. I just wanted to have the frame of the album, very small and very short.
KAPLAN: What do you want your fans to get out of your album?
REMIDDI: It’s not what I want… it’s my feelings. That’s what I felt at that moment. It’s a snapshot. What I wish is that I left enough room for people to enter and feel what they want to feel. I don’t want anything.
KAPLAN: You’re touring with M83 right now. How did that come about?
REMIDDI: I don’t know how it happened. I had been asked, “Would you like to support his album?” and I was like, “Yeah, sure.” I loved his album, so I was very excited when I heard about it. I think it’s going to be roughly two months in Europe. This is the first time that I’m playing music with somebody else: Michael, who plays drums. For the set, it’s me and him. This is really exciting because I was playing by myself.
KAPLAN: Will you be coming to the US after your UK tour?
REMIDDI: I’m going to play some gigs supporting the Smith Westerns. I’m about to support Youth Lagoon in the US. I’m looking forward to that as well. I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s an open book. Right now, it’s looking good. I’m supporting bands that I really like.
KAPLAN: Those are bands that really complement your sound. Where do you see yourself in five years?
REMIDDI: With time, I’d really like to expand a little bit with other things. Maybe make a movie and collaborate and make soundtracks. Keep making albums and playing live. The thing I love the most is playing live. That’s where I see myself. I wouldn’t really know in details. I would like to play live shows, make records and to make a movie would be nice at some point. Maybe using another name. Not letting people know that it’s Porcelain Raft.
KAPLAN: What’s the song that means the most to you off of Strange Weekend?
REMIDDI: Every day it changes. Every week it changes. The one I’m listening to the most is the last one, “The Way In.” That’s the one that clicks the most. I’m not ashamed to say that the only thing I’m listening to these days is my album. It’s nice after you recorded it to listen back and you understand what you were doing, basically.
PORCELAIN RAFT’S STRANGE WEEKEND IS OUT TODAY IN THE US. FOR MORE ON THE ARTIST, VISIT HIS WEBSITE.