There are some bands that seem to pop up out of nowhere, while others start appearing on friends’ playlists and on bills for shows you want to see until they become part of your consciousness. Porcelain Raft is the second kind.
We first heard the work of the band—stage name for Mauro Remiddi—on a friend’s stereo. The song was called “Tip of Your Tongue,” and the friend had seen Remiddi play at one festival or another and had come back raving. Since then, the Italian native (who has done time in London and Brooklyn) has had a steadily increasing profile and just today his debut full-length album, Strange Weekend, drops.
Remiddi specializes in a lush, haunting brand of electronic music that can seemingly reference everything from The Cure to M83 (with whom he will soon be touring the UK) but never once seem to be rehashing what you’ve heard before. (Don’t believe us? Listen to “Put Us To Sleep” here.)
We caught up with Remiddi to find out about his new record, his new hometown and what happens when you lock yourself into a room.
Being completely without musical talent myself, I’m curious how you got started making sounds that others actually want to hear.
I started when I was 10. My grandmother bought me a piano and I had a small tape recorder, so I would record my own radio programs. I would put in some records and play some songs. I have all of these tapes from when I was a little kid.
How did that progress into the sort of work you’re doing now?
It’s hard to say, because I never stopped. I never really had time to look back and think about it. Since then, it’s been an ongoing thing. The thing that changed was that now I’ve decided to show what I’m doing and open the door to people. Before I didn’t have that.
So, the record is called Strange Weekend, which can give a listener lots of ideas. What does the title mean to you?
The idea comes from… Let’s imagine it’s like a small snapshot of my life. I wanted to make sure the idea was clear. It’s not having something to do with eternity or something that never ends. The album is something that has an end, so the idea of two days and everything that came into your head in those two days, which was the idea. To record something that had a very small time span. I wanted to make sure it was clear I was talking about a very small amount of time, and those feelings happened in that amount of time.
Did it take only a weekend or is that just the feeling?
In general, it’s just a feeling. Of course, the album is the most focused thing I’ve ever done. It’s sharper. I just like the idea of it, showing a small portion of a really big painting.
How would you describe the songs on the album?
These songs are more focused. I recorded them in a basement and in that basement I could be very loud and I could play until very late. I didn’t have any problems because the basement was soundproofed. Before I was in a small room and had to be careful with noises. Finally in the basement, I could have more dynamics and could really go for it. It’s much more dynamic than before.
Was this was the first group of songs you recorded in New York?
The space where you record things is an instrument itself. Your room is an instrument. I moved to New York, which is such a big echo chamber. You feel this humming going on all the time, this energy. You truly can’t sleep at night. I remember recording for a very long time and never felt tired. All of the excitement of moving did influence the sound. In a way it’s louder than before.
Are there any songs you are especially surprised by?
I used my usual technique to record a song with 24 hours. The idea was to compose and record a song as quickly as I could, not to think too much or over-arrange. I couldn’t go out because I wanted to finish the album, and I got some beers and started drinking and recorded the single ‘Unless You Speak From Your Heart’ and that was the single I released. That night I just wanted to have fun and do something new.
With the new, more focused songs, do you think things will change for your live show?
Now I am playing with a drummer, Michael, and there are the two of us on stage. The way we are playing those songs. It’s not just imitating the drum machines on the album, it’s rearranging them. The more I play those songs, they more they develop. The way they’re recorded is just the first thought, without time to really articulate it. The more you get to know the song, the more details come out. That’s the exciting part of playing live.
Photo by Jennifer Medina