Porches Constructs Poignant Synth-Rock

Porches Constructs Poignant Synth-Rock

The intuitively expressive artist continues to create emotion-forward music.

The intuitively expressive artist continues to create emotion-forward music.

Photography: Clement Pascal

Styling: Marcus Allen

Text: Max Bell

This article appears in the pages of VMAN39, available on newsstands now. Order your copy now at vmagazineshop.com

Being a twentysomething is an experience fraught with change—personal, professional, and otherwise. The 29-year-old Aaron Maine, better known as indie rock act Porches, knows the attendant terror and excitement well. Since dropping out of the arts program at Purchase College, State University of New York, he’s worked frustrating day jobs, moved from his quiet hometown in Pleasantville, New York to New York City, and experienced the dissolution of a long-term relationship. After years of recording music in his spare time, Maine has also released Pool, his acclaimed debut from Domino Records, which received Pitchfork’s coveted “Best New Music” stamp in 2016 and afforded one of the most fortuitous shifts in his life thus far: the ability to make music for a living.

“[Music has] kind of been my sustenance for the past few years, which never ceases to amaze me,” Maine says from his new Chinatown apartment, the horns of passing cars scoring his resonant monotone.

Prompted by the aforementioned breakup, Maine relocated while completing his latest album, The House. After setting up an in-home studio, his music proved a welcome and cathartic distraction. “Even though it was hard to adjust and work on the album in a new room, it helped to have this constant goal throughout all of these transitions,” he explains. “If I was feeling lost, I could point all of my energy toward completing the album, and that felt really comforting.”

Arguably Maine’s best project under the Porches moniker (he also composes as Ronald Paris), The House sits comfortably between indie rock and indie pop, as he utilizes everything from propulsive synth melodies (“Find Me”) to autotune (“Anymore”) and crisp, punchy drums that sound directly imported from the ’80s (“Now the Water”). No matter the instrumentation, Maine manages to combine intimate portraits of love with raw, unflinching introspection. Lead single “Country,” for instance, is a slow, meditative ballad that builds on one poignant image after another. With clipped yet pointed lyrics, he renders the physicality of romance with a specificity that cuts to the bone (“Watch the water drip/From my mouth to yours/I like how you take a sip”).

“For some reason, certain simple instances have more gravity to me, and I feel compelled to put them in a song,” Maine says. “I search for meaning in the seemingly mundane.”

Of late, little in Maine’s life seems humdrum. Having just returned from a vacation in Oslo, Norway with his new girlfriend, he’s preparing for a 38-date, cross-country tour this spring and handling press for the record. He’s also working incessantly on the next Porches album. For now, at least, the changes seem for the better, and Maine is embracing each one.

“I’m just trying to keep making as much [music] as possible, outdo myself, grow, and nurture this relationship that I’m in. I’m excited.”

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Credits: GROOMER MATTHEW TUOZZOLI (ATELIER MANAGEMENT), PHOTO ASSISTANT SHAWN MCCARNEY, STYLIST ASSISTANT PHOENIX JOHNSON, LOCATION CLEMENT PASCAL STUDIO

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