Northern Transmissions was lucky enough to talk with Porcelain Raft a.k.a. Mauro Remiddi about Music, Film, and North Korea, yes that North Korea.
NT: You have worked on quite a few different projects besides Porcelain Raft, including various films,
Vaudeville 2000, Berlin Youth Circus, and Sunny Day Sets Fire to name a few. What has been your most
pleasurable or interesting experience so far?
MR: Let’s say I would never come out with the music I’m making now if I didn’t have those experience. Each of them had their own little magic. I don’t think much about my past though, the present is already fulfilling enough.
NT: I read you hate milk, but your video for ‘Put me to sleep” has loads of milk in it.
MR: I don’t drink milk but I like its texture. Also milk in a bath remind me of birth somehow. For the video I liked the idea of this guy waking up in a bath full of milk not knowing why. Trying to recollect
the hours before his awakening.
NT: Are you amazed at how many successful artists have followed your lead and started off by making music in their bedrooms.
MR: Not really. Almost every laptop has a program to record music. You can even record it through the laptop mic and it sounds good. All you need is a sparkle. The need to tell a story. These artist have been and are successful because they had a story to tell. If they connect to the story no one really cares where you recorded it.
NT: After playing on the road for 27 years, what is the strangest place you have played in? Is there somewhere you haven’t played, which you would like to?
MR: The strangest place I ever played is North Korea, I played there in 1992 for the Spring Festival, revisiting traditional N. Korean songs in a more, let’s say, modern way. It’s a very long story as you can imagine. We stayed there for two weeks and played in very huge theaters, been broadcast in the national television. In a place where Elvis never happened, neither the Beatles. We were not allowed to move on stage, they never seen a musician holding an electric guitar and move at the same time. We were forced to take propaganda’s photos. I still have one of those at home. It was surreal and frighting at the same time.
NT: “Strange Weekend” is a real wide open album full of sounds of dream pop, Melodies, and synths. Was the recording process quite challenging, getting the sounds you wanted.
MR: I left London for good when I decided to record in NY, I got a place in Brooklyn and started recording with new instruments I hardly used before. I couldn’t bring all my instruments from London so I had to sell so much stuff.New York is a power station, an humming force that can charge anything that lands on it. The sounds you hear on the record are part of that humming I constantly heard, and still hear, while walking in Brooklyn. The synths and my voice had to cut through a rainbow of noises. The only thing I was concerned while recording was to capture that moment in my life, a moment where everything changed quickly, giving me a chance to create something I couldn’t possibly plan beforehand.
NT: Are you most inspired these days to write by various visual things, or is there music that is really exciting you?
MR: …mmm These days I’m inspired by performers. I saw Grimes live and she was just great. Also Dirty
Beaches really creates something special. I rarely listen to records at home though…I watch lots of movies.
NT: Are there any film directors who you would like to do soundtrack work for.
MR: Let’s see… David Lynch? Doesn’t need my soundtrack, he has himself and Badalamenti. Jim Jarmusch? Oh he has Tom Waits and Neil Young. Werner Herzog?…I like his choir-based soundtracks. Why ruin that.
Lars Von Trier? I would love to act in one of his movies, Lars I would be perfect please audition me!
I think the directors I like are all fine without my help.
NT: Do you find it a bit challenging trying to reproduce yer sound in a live setting, in so many different settings as well.
MR: It’s very challenging, this time I decided to be in two on stage, Michael Wallace (ex Women) is joying me playing drums and synths. We are rehearsing these days and it’s so much fun. I can’t wait to play live.
NT: Can you tell me about that photo on your website, where was that taken? And what was it in it that got your attention.
MR: You mean the Korean girls team? I found it on internet, I just loved the color of their clothes and their smile.
NT: What kind of music do you wanna explore in the future?
MR: I love gamelan and I love gongs. At some point, I’d like to go to Indonesia and explore a bit…there’s something so industrial in that celestial metal sound.
NT: Can you tell the readers which five records really had the biggest influence on you.
MR: I can name records that excited me, records that made me want to get lost in them. Not in a specific order: David Bowie ‘ Hunky Dory’ Vangelis ‘Blade Runner’ Soundtrack Flaming Lips ‘Soft Bulletin’ Nico ‘Desertshore’ Arthur Russell ‘World of Echo’