Porches Talks 'The House' & Making Music That Defies Genre
Whether you’re craving something sentimental, bold, body roll inducing or just flat out invigorating Aaron Maine (AKA Porches) creates it all. With the release of his latest project, The House, he offers a power packed punch of soul-stirring tracks befitting for the dance floor or mellowing out in the comfort of your own home. Lyrically and melodically, the music maverick plays by no set of genre-defined rules and attributes everything from street traffic to paintings as his style muses.
Much like his music, conversing with Maine is refreshing and inspiring. He’s free from pretension and akin to no artist amid the sea of electronic-based mimicries within the industry (this is a good thing). How could he not be on your radar?
We spoke to the trendsetting artist about the inner workings of The House and how his infinitely cool Dark Muscle merchandise line came to fruition.
How was your creative process different for this album versus Pool and Slow Dance in the Cosmos?
I think the main difference was how concentrated the time was that I spent writing and recording it. Slow Dance in the Cosmos took like three years to make with this producer. It was just hard to get the time in the studio with him and he lived like four hours away.
Also, I think I was able to take my time in the studio. I wanted it to be a faster turnaround than Slow Dance. So, that’s kind of why I kind of learned how to record in the first place, so I would not have to rely on anyone else’s time to get stuff done. For whatever reason, I think my time became a bit more precious because we were quite busy with touring with Pool. There’s that and it was the first time I didn’t have to have a side gig to support myself. So, I really wanted to take advantage of my time and just work on my music. I was just doing it every day and it seemed important to see it through in that short period of time. It had to come out the way it did.
How long did it take you to complete The House?
I started writing it basically immediately after finishing mixing Pool. So, I think it was the end of 2016. Then, I kind of finished it up at the beginning of 2017. It took about a year.
Are you happy with the outcome?
Yeah, I think for the most part. I feel like it kind of achieved what I set out to do with it. I tried some new stuff out. I tried to keep it raw maybe at the risk of the technical quality of the recordings and vocal takes. I felt it was important to capture the spirit as close to the conception of the songs in terms of the recording. I haven’t listened to it in a second because it’s been nice to have some space. We’ve been rehearsing the tracks recently and they feel really good to play and they hold up. I’m happy it’s out. I’m happy I don’t have to think about it anymore.
I felt it was important to capture the spirit as close to the conception of the songs in terms of the recording.
Right? I know it’s such a process to release an album—from the songwriting to recording, mixing, and mastering. I’m sure you’re relieved that it’s out there now.
Yeah, it’s good. Feels nice to just have people be able to listen to it and make up their minds. My part is done.
What I find interesting—based off of what I read in other publications—some of them pigeonhole you into just a dance music genre. Your music is so much more than that. It’s not just a dance music album. If you had to define your overall signature, what would you say your sound is?
It’s kind of hard to say. Like you were saying it doesn’t really fit all that well into one [genre]. Maybe lyric pop music? I don’t really understand what indie music means anymore or the title at least. I feel like electronic music is a whole other world that I just kind of draw inspiration from, but it’s not totally that.
I feel like electronic music is a whole other world that I just kind of draw inspiration from, but it’s not totally that.
I hate the fact that genres even exist. Like you mentioned, you draw inspiration from electronic music. There are so many influences now within electronic music now that it’s more than the genre that it’s defined as. You have hip hop, you have R&B, you have the pop element. There’s so many different things that the genre encompasses.
Yeah. I’m a fan of the music in general. Especially with this one (The House) I tried to consciously not stick to one particular vibe. I made whatever felt right that day.
Not just with your latest album, but generally speaking, how has songwriting served as an emotional outlet for you?
I guess it sort of feels like meditation sometimes and it’s really nice to kind of feel like I can slow down time almost when I’m writing and recording. The process of creating something is really exciting to me especially when you are excited about the outcome.
I know the album was mostly composed by you, but I noticed there are quite a bit of contributors ranging from Dev Hynes (Blood Orange) to your father. What was the motivation behind including these artists in The House?
I kind of had the thought that I wanted to include more people than I have in the past. It’s quite a long album and it was even longer before I cut like four songs off of it. Some of the most exciting moments on it to me are when there’s a whole other personality or voice that only they can offer. So, it felt close to home and exciting—a better reflection of my experience of having all these voices that are familiar to me also on the record. I didn’t really have a plan.
Nice! Do you feel like you’ve learned something about yourself from collaborating with these different artists?
Yeah! It was the most I’ve ever collaborated I think in any capacity with my music, so that felt good. I’ve tried in the past in different stages of the writing process and it just felt really good bringing people in towards the end. So, the thing with my dad was totally new. The Norwegian (“Åkeren”) song was a totally unplanned collaboration. I’m too much of control freak to write a song with someone, so it was nice to do that. I learned that I enjoyed collaborating a lot more than I thought I would.
Some of the most exciting moments on [the album] to me are when there’s a whole other personality or voice that only they can offer.
That’s cool. I always like to get the perspective of artists that collaborate with producers and fellow artists. When you collaborate with someone, you’re bound to learn something new about yourself through the process. So, that’s nice that you learned that. So, a little birdy told me that you’re into fashion. Can you tell me about your joint collab with Phillip Wong (associated with Hood By Air) and your Dark Muscle brand?
Oh! Lovely! Phil Wong is an old friend of mine from college. I think he was studying design and I was studying painting, but we weren’t really so tight in school. We randomly crossed paths a few years ago and realized we lived a few blocks from each other. I’ve been lucky enough to have him onboard and design all the merch with me. It’s fun to make stuff that doesn’t feel like a band T-shirt. We try to make stuff that we would actually wear. I find myself wearing our clothes out quite often which is fun to be able to do. We just got finished designing this next batch of clothes for this tour coming up. He’s still onboard. He’s amazing and it’s really nice to get to work with him. It would be fun one day to have it be like a proper thing to have an online store. I quite enjoy that part of the process.
Do you feel like music influences your style and the merch that you guys design?
Yeah, definitely. I think everything does influence me—music, the people I see on the street, my girlfriend’s clothes, the traffic on the street, the size of my apartment [and] the paintings I see.
For your fans and listeners, what would you want them to take away from The House and your approach to creating it?
It’s hard…I just hope that it’s an enjoyable experience. I hope that it can resonate with people and they can either freak out or listen to it and feel some comfort or have some sort of relationship with. How they interact with it is up to them. I just hope that it feels good.
Photographer: Sophie Hur
Stylist: Lyn Hersh
Photo Assistant: Timothy Salisbury
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