Progress Report: Porcelain Raft
Name: Porcelain Raft
Progress Report: Mauro Remiddi — the man behind the raft — discusses putting the finishing touches on Porcelain Raft’s highly anticipated debut album.
Mauro Remiddi is a very friendly Italian man currently living in New York. If you are to believe his press clippings, Remiddi has done everything from travel Europe playing traditional gypsy Klezmer music with a traveling youth circus to reinterpreting traditional music from North Korea to serving as a pianist for an Off Broadway tap dance revue. All of these things, while fascinating in their own right, are even more interesting when viewed in contrast to the decidedly un-Klezmery bedroom pop Remiddi currently creates under the moniker of Porcelain Raft. Early singles like “Tip of Your Tongue” and tracks from 2011’s Gone Blind EP showcased Remiddi’s knack for crafting sanguine bedroom pop of the highest order, a job he elevates to shimmery new heights on his forthcoming full-length, Strange Weekend.
STEREOGUM: Has moving to New York City filtered into the content for the record?
REMIDII: Yes, it has but I’m not sure how I could talk about it accurately. So many thoughts and emotions come through but the way the record was made in such a hurry, there’s no time to overthink it. It’s mostly when I go back later and listen to that I’m like, “Ah, so that’s what I was feeling.” It’s like looking back at a snapshot of something you did without thinking. Going back and thinking, why did I do it like that?
STEREOGUM: What is your typical way of working? Do you work with other people?
REMIDII: It’s just me who produced and recorded it and it took me about two months. I really like to work with people and love collaborating, but for this record it was just me. As a collaborator, If you tell me something I’ll actually try what you say but I like to do it slowly after I understand your taste. If I would have had a producer it could have sounded better but I truly wanted to do what I had in mind and didn’t want to feel like I was dictator saying, “No, it has to be like this.”
STEREOGUM: Did you bring anyone in afterwards to mix it?
REMIDII: Yeah, yeah. This time it was an entire album so I was like, “This is too much, my brain is going to fry.” So I had a Chris Coady come in who had contacted me. He had liked my music and we met and it was just great. He mixed the album while I was on tour with Yuck. He had just five days to mix the album but I was happy with how it turned out. If I wasn’t I wouldn’t release it.
STEREOGUM: The album sounds much bigger and more lush than your previous stuff. If I didn’t know otherwise, I would have guessed that a lot of people played on the album.
REMIDII: Yes, sometimes it’s dangerous how your environment can affect your playing. The recording I did before was dictated by being in a small room and not being able to use an amplifier or drums or sing loudly. I had to use headphones all the time. Suddenly, I’m in a basement in Brooklyn and I’m able to be really loud. Suddenly I could sing full voice and use drums. Sonically that’s the difference you’ll hear. I don’t mind playing in a small room but it was nice for once to let it go finally and be loud.
STEREOGUM: How does this translate in a live setting?
REMIDII: This is the first time that I’ll be playing live with someone else. I have my guitars and samplers for playing live and before it was just me. I recreated things the best I could. I would never use a laptop on stage. It used to be that it would sound like the album essentially but a bit more raw since there were more loops in the recordings. As soon as you put me playing a bigger venue I felt that I was losing something. I was forcing myself to be louder and I realized I liked to play bigger venues but I decided to … well, not to form a band but just have someone else on stage. I thought, with two there would be better energy on stage.
STEREOGUM: How does it feel so far?
REMIDII: At the first two rehearsals I thought, oh my god this is the end! It just wasn’t working. You have to understand that I’ve been playing alone for so long. But suddenly I’m playing with this guy Mikey and he played in a band called Women. Slowly we’ve built it up and rehearsed the songs together so that the rhythms can sound a bit different from the originals. I’ve been having so much fun rehearsing them that I’m excited to play them live.
STEREOGUM: What will the rest of this year be like for you?
REMIDII: I’m about to support M83 in Europe and also have a few dates with Smith Westerns. Other things are coming in now so I’ll most likely be touring through the summer.
STEREOGUM: Do you feel like you’re finally making the music you’ve always wanted to?
REMIDII: It took me awhile to discover a lot of the music I’ve come to like. I was always uncovering music myself and didn’t really have friends to introduce me to things. I think it took me awhile to understand what I like. I feel like now it’s a mixture of things I love in my life. I feel more that it took so long to get here that it all makes sense now. Before I was more digesting things and moving on if I wasn’t into it. I like when I hear someone really young and has a strong vocal style but that wasn’t my history. That wasn’t me. It took me a while to figure it out.
STEREOGUM: I really loved the early singles you put out, but the new album is a nice leap forward. It sounds really beautiful and really focused.
REMIDII: After listening to the album so much, I wanted to be able to understand if it was just a collection of songs or an actual album. To me, it’s an album. And that’s what I wanted.