Set to release his new album on Secretly Canadian, the emotive lo-fi pop maker speaks to us about settling as a solo artist and the influence of dreams
The clue is in the name. Porcelain Raft – as in something delicate and fragile – you could hold onto it but it might break. Which makes for a perfect encapsulation of the music 37-year old New York-via-Italy transplant, Mauro Remmidi makes. After three EPs worth of lo-fi slow burn anthems, his intoxicating debut album, ‘Strange Weekend’ comes out this month on Secretly Canadian. Despite its basement studio origins, the album is a lush-sounding collection of dreamy lovelorn pop christened by Remmidi’s emotive choirboy vocals that whisper of regret and longing.
Dazed Digital: The music you make as Porcelain Raft is a departure from your last band, Sunny Day Sets Fire - do you feel you’re being more true to yourself as a solo artist?
Porcelain Raft: I guess I wanted to create something I couldn't put my fingers on and I needed to be by myself to solidify that idea, that image. In a band there's a lot of talking sometimes, I didn't want to explain myself anymore. I just wanted to follow my intuitions and contradictions and see where they would lead me.
Dd: Does the idea of an unfinished song or work-in-progress appeal to you more than a finished product?
Porcelain Raft: The feelings are the thing that appeal to me, the recording is a reflection of that. In a way all I do is a finished work in progress. It's finished because there is a CD/Album and it's a work in progress because I'm not done yet. What I'm really interested in is where those feelings are coming from. Which side of you is talking now. I think a recording can show where those feelings come from. In my specific case composing and recording a song in the same day helps me to draw a map. To see where I was and where I am now.
DD: There's a dreamy, hazy quality to the music. Do your dreams inform the sensibility of the songs?
Porcelain Raft: I’ve always had vivid dreams. I remember my dreams clearly so that really has to do something with the general atmosphere of my music. Having said that, I would like to say I'm more interested in the moment when your eyes open in the morning, that second that you don't even remember where you are or sometimes even your name. That fine line between your watery eyes and the rest of the world.
DD: You’re living in New York after a few years in London – did the change of city affect your creative process?
Porcelain Raft: I think that affected the sound of the record for sure. NY is like a giant power station, there's a constant beautiful humming, an undertone that keeps you awake in a state of daze. I love it. NY is the biggest echo chamber in the world.
DD: How do you think the album has moved on sonically and emotionally from the three EP’s you put out last year?
Porcelain Raft: I never had, as an idea, to make something 'different'. Life happens and you tell it as it appears in front of you and you tell it with the tools you have in front of you. So much happened in my personal life the past year and I'm sure you can hear that on the lyrics of the album. On a sonic level I need that sense of urgency, I didn't want to spend time putting mics around an amp for a day to get the right sound. I plugged my guitar straight to the desk and played what I had in mind. If it's not a 'clear' sounding record it's not because I like lo-fi (which I honestly don't) or because I like muffled unclear sounds. It because what it matters to me is catching something that may not be there in few hours. Like a snapshot that shows the aura of whatever you are doing disappearing slowly.
DD: How excited are you to take the album on the road and play it to audiences?
Porcelain Raft: I've been rehearsing the live show with Mikey (ex-Women) who will join me on stage playing drums and sometimes synths and guitar. We are very excited to realise the album on stage. I can't wait to play live!
Stream 'Unless You Speak From Your Heart' HERE.