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Artist Features

Interview: Porcelain Raft

Mauro Remiddi is a cool guy.  His songs are downright intoxicating and his live shows are intense.  But Remiddi, aka Porcelain Raft, doesn’t have a drop of the ever-present indie sarcasm in his bedroom-pop bones: he’s just super pumped to be making music and living the dream.  The London via Roma transplant exchanged some international emails with me about his recording process, songwriting, and revealed a somewhat philosophical thesis behind that poetic moniker of his!

So you’ve scored movies and played in a band, how do you like the solo life?

Oh my god…it’s PARADISE.

You recently put out a split 7″ with Yuck on Transparent – seems like an unlikely yet totally rad pairing. How did that project come about?

It all started by chance. I saw Yuck playing live once, really liked them and “The Wall” was stuck in my head for days so I recorded my version at home. I didn’t say anything to anybody about that recording. Than I met Daniel at one of my gigs, months later Daniel sent me the mp3 of his version of “Despite Everything” and it blew me away, his version is just amazing. So the same day I sent him my version of “The Wall” and that was it – until our common friends at Transparent heard about it and decided to put the thing out on Vinyl, very nice of them.

I’ve seen you play a mandolin, keys, etc. in different videos, how many instruments do you play?  Do you prefer one for composing?

Well I started playing piano when I was 10, I’m self taught. The piano gives you the spectrum of an orchestra in a way. You have the bass notes and can keep a bass line going and play chords and themes, all at the same time when you are lucky.  Once you have that experience it becomes very easy to approach other instruments, not to ‘master’ them of course, to have fun with them.  Now I prefer composing with guitar mostly because I can’t play it very well. So I’m forced to be simple.

“Surely it doesn’t float on water, which means it’s floating on something else.”

Your forthcoming EP Gone Blind is coming out soon (swoon), what was the recording process like for you?  What’s your set up?

I record at home. The space where I am in really influences what I do. Different rooms different music in a way, at list different approach to sounds. I try to record quick, not to over produce. I wouldn’t talk about my equipment though ’cause it feels useless to me. Give the same tools to different people and the music they will make wouldn’t sound remotely the same. That’s the beauty of it. I use external effects and instruments and record with a laptop, which I would never use for live performances. If I want to hear a CD-like performance I buy the CD where things are all soooo nicely compressed, live I want to hear unpredictable things dealing with the space they are in.

You have such a command over song structure, everything builds and fits so harmoniously together!  Can you name a few of your songwriting influences?

Funny you said that ’cause I think one of my weak points is structure! Somehow structure collapse under my feet specially when I play live and all I’m busy to do is to turn that ‘collapsing movement’ into a jump. There are songwriters that really made a big impression on me, like Syd Barrett in his solo albums, but I think my main influence are the movies, that’s the place where things take shape. Very often an image when resonates and connects with us, that image can start an abstract inner conversation, that little voice that whispers sssshhh yes that one, quite otherwise is gone – that voice may turn into a song.

Is there a story behind the moniker Porcelain Raft?  It fits your music beautifully, just wondering how you landed on it.

I had this name in my head, I liked the two words combined together. I asked a friend if he liked the name, he said ‘yes, but a raft made of porcelain doesn’t float on water’. That was it. Surely it doesn’t float on water, which mean it’s floating on something else. It’s a name that keeps the cynical away and the sweet heart close. Only a sweet heart would place the raft made of porcelain somewhere unreal where it can float.

Right on Mauro!  Porcelain Raft is playing Glasslands on 2/25

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