Porches

In The Eye Of The Storm With Porches

01.02.2016 | Music | BY:

“The storm was beautiful, but now there’s lots of it to slowly melt and just slush away” comes creator of Porches Aaron Maine’s melodic musings from out of my iPhone on a dismal London night. I’ve called to chat about Porches new album Pool, which has been three years in the making and marks a peak of Maine’s impressive output. Talking to the frontman, the sense of excitement about having an audience for the new record is palpable, which is understandable given that it’s been ready to go for months. And it’s been well worth the wait.

Sonically the album marks a new, more experimental direction for the band (which includes his partner Greta Kline aka Frankie Cosmos). Guitars are swapped for synths and drum machines to intoxicating effect. Indeed, speaking to Maine a couple of days after New York’s recent blizzard feels like apt timing. With a sound that’s both surprising and familiar, cosy and alienating; it’s wholly immersive and will whip up another storm in 2016.

You existed in a couple of guises and line-ups before Porches, what was it about this name and group that stuck? 
I guess Porches the name and project started a while ago, like five years ago, when I came back from a tour with my rock band. Back then everyone was living in different places and we weren’t practising, so I made a new batch of songs that felt really different. I don’t really remember why I called it Porches though. I’m not particularly fond of it anymore but…. it’s just a name. And it took a while to start playing those songs live and to figure out how to do it. It wasn’t until Cameron and Greta joined the band that it felt like the kind of line up and instrumentation was finally something special. Before that we were messing with backing tracks and different members.

What was the inspiration behind the album? 
I listened to more music, saw more things and experienced new things by living in the city. For me it was important to make something different, that made me feel different that made the audience feel different too. I was paying more attention to music that was being made currently and in drum machines and electronic music saw this cool, exciting potential for something new, and how far you could go with it. It feels really fresh still, even though its widely done to me it felt more exciting than guitar music.

Yeah, it feels like you’ve managed to create something surprising from what at first sounds familiar. I’m interested especially in the motif of water throughout the album, both lyrically and in the quality of the sound, was that a conscious thing or did that evolve naturally?
I was actively trying to make something that made you feel that way… Watery.

And when you’re writing, are you speaking from personal experience or as a character?
The songs are definitely personal. I know in this album the lyrics are pretty abstract, they’re not experiential or based on actual events in my life, but they are a collage of my mood, or whatever I was feeling like that day. Kind of like a set of emotions I put together to paint an emotional landscape.

They’re kind of like impressionist paintings?
Yeah and it was exciting to do that for the first time. I feel like I have always just clung to an experience and it was freeing to not have to experience something psychically to write about it. It taps into a different place. It’s not based on any specific instances so it’s just like a portrait of myself emotionally. Because of that I still feel in it (the album) and still like the songs and can get behind them.

So are you quite considered in your approach to making records? 
I definitely live in the song for a while, or at least I live in the recording for a long time. I kind of like that vibe of a recording that’s been loved and given the attention that it deserves.

I’m interested in the eye contact element of performance. Do you ever find it uncomfortable? What’s your performing technique?
I actually made a conscious decision to perform with my eyes open. I realised that I was always closing them or looking down. It’s funnier and more interesting to scan the audience, to look at everyone and how they were feeling.

Have you ever got up on stage and completely screwed up?
Um (long pause) I mean I’m sure… I don’t know! I’ve l tried smoking weed before performing and I just can’t. It’s fun and sounds very special but I’d be psyching myself out. We try to be really focussed and professional. That wasn’t always the case, but it’s been like that for a while now! I

What was the evolution into music, could you have been a banker?
Hah, no. I went into college to study painting but always knew and felt more passionate about the fact that I truly needed to make music. And it was just a matter of time before I realised that it could be a thing.

It’s easy to romanticise creativity in the city, but what’s it actually like being an artist in New York these days? 
There’s an insane amount of creative people but I don’t really know if New York embraces them, but at the same time that’s where people get their energy from. It’s something to, not rebel against, but to struggle with. It’s very not chill. You kind of have to be on your shit if you want to make it happen and want to stay around. I love that.

Pool is released 5th Feb 2016 on Domino

Main photo: Jessica Lehrman

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