The Recording Academy Pacific Northwest Chapter played host for GRAMMYs On The Road At The 2012 Capitol Hill Block Party held July 20–22 in Seattle. The Chapter conducted exclusive backstage interviews with artists performing at the block party, including indie rock band Absolute Monarchs and Porcelain Raft, the pop/rock solo project of Italian singer/songwriter Mauro Remiddi.
Absolute Monarchs discussed performing their first concert, the band's songwriting process, the Seattle music scene, and future plans for recording and touring.
"I feel like I don't really have to look further than Seattle for everything I need," said guitarist Shawn Kock. "There are so many great bands in [Seattle]."
Formed in Seattle, Absolute Monarchs features Kock, Miki Sodos (guitar), Mike Stubz (drums), and Joel Schneider (vocals/bass/keyboards). Drawing on influences from indie bands such as Jesus Lizard, Drive Like Jehu and the Monorchid, Absolute Monarchs released their debut album, 1, in April featuring songs that draw on elements of rock, psychedelic, folk, and electronica. The band performed their first Capitol Hill Block Party set during the festival’s 2010 installment. That same year they were named one of the 10 best local bands by CityArts magazine.
Porcelain Raft discussed his musical background, beginning his solo career, recording his new album, Strange Weekend, and composing soundtracks for short films, among other topics.
"The idea [for Strange Weekend] was to create a page of a diary," said Remiddi. "It was to create a photograph of me at that moment. I didn't use anything that I wrote before. I just moved [into] this basement in New York and I started recording and that was the process basically."
A native of Rome, Remiddi previously performed as part of Three Blind Mice and the related five-piece band, Sunny Day Sets Fire. He composed the soundtrack for the 1997 short film La Matta Dei Fiori before launching his solo project, Porcelain Raft. His first solo EP, Gone Blind, was released in 2011. His debut album, Strange Weekend, followed in January 2012. Porcelain Raft is currently set to perform select dates in Europe in September.