For Aaron Maine of Porches, music is a very powerful thing.
“Music is definitely therapeutic for me,” he told American Songwriter. “It’s an escape, it’s a way to kind of tune in to my own world and create something that I get a real physical high from making. So, it serves me in that way before it even leaves my computer.”
Maine has been at the helm of the synth-pop band Porches since he founded the project in 2010. While the group has had a rotating cast of members — Frankie Cosmos played bass for a period of time — Maine has been the principal songwriter since its creation, and has proved himself to be as adept a writer as he is a versatile one.
“I suppose it’s just about trying to grow,” Maine said, “that’s the goal at the end of the day with every release, to try to do something I haven’t done in the past — essentially never do the same thing again. I feel like there’s so much to explore. I think that’s why everything has some form of evolution. Even if you’re doing the same thing the context that you’re doing it in changes.”
This sentiment is a big part of Maine’s creative canon; each record he’s released has an entirely unique sound, almost as if each album was its own world that Maine lived in. The most recent of these records is Ricky Music, which dropped on March 13 via Domino Recording Co. In addition to being a sonic evolution, the record is also Maine’s most personal and vulnerable release to date.
“I think the vulnerability changed my writing,” Maine said. “I think that having released music in the past and being able to listen to it, to hear what I was trying to say and how it translated, I have more distance and perspective to figure out what I want to say and how to say it. I felt a little more confident in expressing myself and these specific sentiments. I wanted Ricky Music to be as personal as possible. It had been a while since I’d released music, I really wanted to put something out that people could sink into. I spent around two years writing to get this big, big folder of songs with certain ones I would keep going back to. There’s a lot of different attitudes and specific time periods within those two years, but I pulled some to create this collage, this pretty honest compilation of these vulnerabilities.”
“It’s very much like a practice,” he continued. “I never sit down to specifically ‘make a song for the album.’ I think that’s why my records tend to sound pretty different when listening through them all — one month I could be obsessed with one sound and the next month obsessed with something totally different. I personally think it’s exciting for me to listen back to the culmination of all those different tangents and ideas. I think the songs develop pretty organically. Each song is like a mini-world, a snapshot of a specific moment, and I like the idea of picking out like 10 or 11 and you have this really weird collage. It feels very true and honest to me.”
And it sounds honest and true when you listen to it. Maine uses the word “collage” to describe the record, and that is quite an apt description. The record’s 11 tracks are eclectic and colorful, yet have tremendous flow. It’s almost as if the album were a kaleidoscope and each song was a crystal, offering an abstract and ingenious look at the same image. And while it is cloaked in layers of tasteful autotune, Maine’s voice is emotive and candid throughout the record.
“If you can turn a trying situation into a piece of music or art, it’s sorta like a victory,” Maine said. “You’re able to have something to show for it that other people can enjoy, that you can enjoy. Maybe it’s difficult to listen back to certain things, but I think that at the end of the day the beauty that could come from something like that is worth the wallowing in these feelings or uncomfortable situations. I think this album is emotionally open for me, and I think that’s always been the goal, to communicate what my experience of life is. I think on a broad spectrum, that’s what being an artist boils down to: sharing your experience in life”
Listen to Porches’s new album Ricky Music below: