Last year, Mauro Remiddi released his first album under the name Porcelain Raft. Strange Weekend was a fascinating, astral collection of songs that caught the attention of many with their striking rhythms and infectious melodies. We were able to speak with Mauro and talk to him about where he goes from here.
Noted: Mauro, over the course of your musical career, you’ve been a composer, indie band frontman, and now with Porcelain Raft you have a solo project which has seen you rise to prominence. Has the progression been a natural evolution for you? Or have you intentionally looked to keep yourself changing?
Mauro: I think there are certain things about your career you don’t choose. I changed through the years because I’ve been learning and discovering and perfecting a mood I wanted to portray. I was born in a country where things come third hand. It was a long way to now. My career just started.
Noted: There’s a sweet juxtaposition in the way that you have been travelling for decades and seen so many avenues as a musician, yet your 2012 album ‘Strange Weekend’ is very much an in-the-now album and a self-expressed snapshot of two days. Just over a year on, what are your feelings on the record? Does it mean a lot to you, or is it as fleeting as the weekend it represents?
Mauro: I see records as a page of a diary, I don’t want to make statements or sum a life time. I feel my debut record is me moving from London to NY. So many changes and I focused on the moment. Just like going to a party and say ‘Hi’ instead of telling the story of your life. Who cares anyway. That record is an open door to my life at that moment.
Noted: I saw you perform in London as part of your tour with M83, and you were on your own. Your music and vision seem very personal and inclusive, so what’s it been like performing more recently with other musicians to back you up?
Mauro: I like to perform solo, but you have to understand the size of what you are doing. As soon as you move to big venues what you are doing changes according to the size, to the space you are in. I liked big venues so now I’m adapting to that space, in the future I will play as a trio, keeping the raw solo energy, keeping the mistakes part of the performance but expanding on dynamics.
Noted: The pattern of your movement as a musician would suggest that there is more to come from you. Do you plan on releasing more music under the Porcelain Raft moniker? Would you use the same approach of making a ‘snapshot’ album, or would you want to create something entirely different?
Mauro: I will try to release everything under Porcelain Raft. Like a soundtrack of a movie, many different genres but all united by the story. I just recorded my new album which is way more ‘live’ and band sounding, with some instrumentals as well. I also recorded an EP of instrumentals. I need to decide when to release those. I can’t wait to play live shows again.
In a strange way in my head new and old music live in the same place. Time line don’t exist when it comes to masterpieces.
Noted: You’ve directed the music videos for your own singles – from what I understand, you’ve wanted to show people what your music looks like rather than just sounds like. Are you an avid film fan? Has filmmaking ever been an avenue you would like to explore?
Mauro: I love movies, which are my main influence. I love soundtrack too. Any image is connected to sounds and to silence. Silence itself is part of a composition in a way. Image and music is one thing, than music can be self sufficient, so images. For example I find anything that Bach wrote ‘music self-sufficient’, that music doesn’t need images, we can attach them to it if we like. It’s our choice. I find that beyond amazing.
Noted: You’re signed to the Secretly Canadian label, which homes other artists such as Jens Lekman, Damien Jurado and Yeasayer. Do you have a relationship with any of your labelmates? Have any of them influenced your taste at all?
Mauro: I’m actually not familiar with most of SC bands, I just like the people running the label. Once I toured with War On Drugs and they are such a great band.
Noted: As you are well-travelled, do you have a favourite location? Do you have any advice for travellers?
Mauro: I have favorite locations or I would say favorite memories of a location. Berlin, Copenhagen, Seattle, Porto, Paris so many. Traveling is an adventure, you need your instinct and your sense of wonder. The rules are respect the locals and don’t be an asshole. Pretty simple.
Noted: What currently takes up most of your time? What’s on your agenda for today?
Mauro: That’s a question that really gets to the point. Now…I have a dog. My beloved wife Grace wanted a dog so we got Charlie, the wonder dog. He’s great but needs so much attention and all I want is to record music, all he wants is to play and go to the park, he’s driving me crazy. Most of the time I want to kill him. I need peace, he needs action. I’ll tell you what is on my agenda today, give that dog to some random UFOs flying over Brooklyn.
Noted: Do you keep up with new music? What are you currently listening to?
Mauro: I mostly record and listen to what I do to understand what I did. I have not much time for the rest but I listen to what’s going on of course, there’s so much good stuff around is insane. I have to say there’s nothing really that I put on repeat, it’s all like ‘wow!’ and than I forget about it after a day or two. Maybe that’s not a bad thing either, like shots of goodness. In a strange way in my head new and old music live in the same place. Timeline don’t exist when it comes to masterpieces.
Noted: Do you have any ultimate goals as a musician, or do you prefer to take life as it comes and see what happens next?
Mauro: My goal is to create a solid body of work, I want to build a cathedral underwater, I want to hear the bells ringing with whales looking at them.