Published on November 26th, 2012 | by PRESENCE1
In Love With Love
Created by husband and wife Elizabeth and Emile De la Ray, Porcelaintoy is a band that dabble in myriad genres and float from style to style.
Porcelaintoy encompasses both Elizabeth’s talent to write soulful songs and Emile’s ability to produce and compose rhythms digitally.
“I guess I’m always trying to make the electronic passionate and find the passion in it,” says Emile of his approach to digital music.
“[Elizabeth] writes the songs and it all gets wrapped around that. The songs carry it – I’m just trying to compliment it.”
Emile had an eclectic history of musical education before discovering electronic music, starting out with classical piano and violin when he was young.
“I started doing electronic music since I bought a keyboard in 1998. It’s just evolved I guess, I’ve learnt things from looking at what other people do.”
Elizabeth meanwhile, has been creating music since childhood.
“I’ve been writing music since I was a little kid so it’s always been a part of the way I think. For me it’s always something that’s come naturally. Emile’s always played piano, classical stuff, but I’ve always been a writer.”
Elizabeth’s influences include her mother who wrote music secretively (“she kept it all to herself”) and Bjork.
“Bjork’s probably quite a big influence on me because she’s so free. I think what I love about her is her freedom to express herself.”
“We’re both drawn to musicians that feel free to really express themselves.”
Porcelaintoy express both shy modesty and bold honesty. Elizabeth and Emile have musically collaborated since they met as teenagers and their personal relationship and musical collaboration have always been intertwined.
“We met through music and love,” says Emile with a laugh.
“[Elizabeth] had a CD she had recorded with a friend’s brother in a studio. I heard that and I wanted to make music with her, so we tried and we made a track together the day after we met.”
Being married has been a defining aspect of Porcelaintoy because, as Elizabeth says, “I think that is our dynamic – because we met through music.”
Both Emile and Elizabeth’s intent is to honestly express and share the passion they both have for music.
“I think passion is the main one, we want it to sound passionate. We’re a little bit eccentric and quite serious sometimes so that elements probably in there a little bit.” Elizabeth says.
Little about this band is premeditated, with music style, visual dynamic and musical partnerships all part of a natural evolution. Even Elizabeth’s songwriting process is spur of the moment.
“I don’t really ponder over what I’m trying to do, it just kinda happens. I’ll sit down when I feel like playing the piano, I’m not really thinking about anything, then I’ll just start singing. Then the song just happens. [When] we’re both jamming then that’s when we decide where the song’s going.”
Emile agrees the process is fairly organic.
“She’ll sing a whole song. A brand new whole song comes out of nowhere. That might not be the final version. Maybe later on parts of that song will make it into other songs.”
Although electronic soundscapes and Elizabeth’s songwriting have always been at the core of their work, Porcelaintoy has experimented with a variety of different sounds and styles. Emile describes their earlier music recordings as busy and intense.
“We even had babies crying on one of them,” Elizabeth laughs.
“It was really free, we weren’t thinking at all about trying to fit in with any culture or trying to sell ourselves. All we were thinking of was purely making the music,” says Emile thoughtfully.
“And I guess I’m feeling a bit more like doing that again.”
The new album Emile and Elizabeth are currently working on will explore that feeling. Titled Freedom of the Underground, this release will highlight another facet of their dynamic.
“A bit more edgy and a bit more gritty, ‘cause there’s a strong side to me,” says Elizabeth.
“I feel like what was expressed a lot has been just that shy, softer side, but there is a real strength there that we have there.”
Recently, the couple have recruited musical accompanist and cellist Charlie Davenport to collaborate on the live performance aspect. But recorded music is still very personal to Emile and Elizabeth.
“We’re creating the music for each other,” says Emile.
Both Emile and Elizabeth agree that approach to music is: “an indulgence, but it’s an indulgence we want to share.”
Freedom of the Underground is due to be released in 2013. Porcelaintoy will commence a European tour next year.
Article by Elizabeth Beattie
Photography by Megan Dieudonné
Styling by Roc Travers
This article was originally published in issue 11 of PRESENCE ZINE November 2012.
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This article was published in issue 11 of PRESENCE.