For both members involved, Lea Porcelain feels like a project that was meant to happen. Julien Bracht and Markus Nikolaus still can’t put a finger on why everything clicked when they first shared a recording space and made music, but it did. Nor can anyone truly fixate on why the duo’s music - a hybrid of genres, orbiting different worlds between songs - is affecting so many people inside and outside the industry. Before this project, Bracht and Nikolaus were working within completely separate musical spheres. Bracht was a successful techno producer touring the world, Nikolaus a go-to independent musician, navigating between Berlin and the rest of the world. Read More...
For both members involved, Lea Porcelain feels like a project that was meant to happen. Julien Bracht and Markus Nikolaus still can’t put a finger on why everything clicked when they first shared a recording space and made music, but it did. Nor can anyone truly fixate on why the duo’s music – a hybrid of genres, orbiting different worlds between songs – is affecting so many people inside and outside the industry. Before this project, Bracht and Nikolaus were working within completely separate musical spheres. Bracht was a successful techno producer touring the world, Nikolaus a go-to independent musician, navigating between Berlin and the rest of the world.
From the start, they shared one thing in common. Both frequented legendary club Robert Johnson, in Frankfurt. Bracht was a regular fixture, and Nikolaus was drawn to the way his future bandmate favoured live instrumentation over the norm. “I was impressed that there could be so much soul in this club music,” he remembers. Both still pursued their separate paths, but they kept in touch. “We said from the beginning that there would be a time we’d try something new,” Bracht says.
One year later, the foundations of Lea Porcelain began to fall in place. Bracht had grown tired of the nightclub scene, too accustomed to “the people taking drugs, living from one weekend to another.” It had grown stale. “I renovated my studio, cleared some stuff out. Then I told Markus we should try something out.”
Within hours of their first session, Bracht promised he’d bid farewell to solo success in order to make this project work. “The first session was a complete new experience of making music,” he remembers. “There was such a power behind this music.” Bracht was convinced Lea Porcelain was the future, but Nikolaus took some convincing. “It was so simple, it was too good to be true,” he laughs. Never confined by genre, they’re free to pursue any kind of song, through whichever route they please.
Lea Porcelain aim to make “universal” music; songs people can treasure in day, night, between different states of mind. They want to make music for “the entire world”, and this partly stems from a globe-trotting past. Bracht toured the globe after growing up in Spain, France and Germany. Nikolaus lived in Cork, Ireland, and both have spent time recording and living in London.
Meeting at Robert Johnson, they now base themselves in the FUNKHAUS, a Berlin broadcasting house created under Soviet supervision that now houses the world’s biggest recording studio – even bigger than Abbey Road’s Studio 1. According to Bracht, the space’s owner “really supports the artists who are working there.” Dozens of musicians – including Nils Frahm and Ry X – write, practice, record and play shows in the same place, allowing creativity to thrive. It’s the perfect home for Lea Porcelain.
Travelling the world, they’ve seen the way certain music can cross borders, having an impact regardless of the circumstances. And through their first steps, Lea Porcelain are having the same effect. Debut EP ‘Out Is In’ introduces Lea Porcelain in the form of an all-embracing headrush. The title is borrowed from the duo’s ethos: that in order to make something work, you have to commit every fabric of being. Opting out is the only way in. “When you want to do something and you want to do it in a way people take it seriously, you have to completely give yourself to it,” Nikolaus asserts
“Not many bands can sound completely different from one track to the other and still be themselves,” they say. Musical heroes include Radiohead, a band who transgress and reinvent without fail, while still retaining their trademark. No matter the genre, range of instruments or sound palette, their presence is unmistakable. Eventually, Lea Porcelain want to have this effect, this idea that “when the track starts, you know it’s them.” Every song is tied together by the duo’s ethos, their free approach towards making music. In the standout moments of their debut, everything spills outwards, drums cascading into the distance, a cross between self-destruction and complete euphoria. A full-length is complete, but the pair are taking their time before showing their full hand. Until now, they’ve kept these songs guarded, anticipating the right moment for everyone to hear them. In 2016, 2017, and onwards, one of the most exciting new bands is going to turn heads.
- Lea Porcelain – “Out Is In” Video (Stereogum Premiere)
- Lea Porcelain's "Bones" is chosen for the 'Headphone Moment' on the BBC Radio 6 morning show
- Lea Porcelain premieres music video for "Similar Familiar" via Clash Music
- Lea Porcelain releases "Lea Porcelain EP" via Velvet Independent
- Lea Porcelain is selected as one of the "7 Most Memorable Performances" at Eurosonic Noorderslag 2016 by Nothing But Hope and Passion
- Lea Porcelain premieres music video for "Loose Life" via Konbini