Recently transplanted to Maine, singer-songwriter Rob Cimitile, aka Builder of the House, has spent the last year or so putting down roots in the Portland music scene.

GO caught up with Cimitile to ask about what inspires him, his new EP, and how he first got interested in music — as well as that construction-worker-type moniker.

You’re from Norwalk, Conn. When did you move to Portland?

I first moved to Harpswell in October 2010, then to Portland in February 2011. So I’ve been here for a year. Before Maine, I bounced around a bit — New York, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, California, then Philadelphia. I moved to Maine from Philly.

Tell us about the name Builder of the House? What does it mean?

Builder of the House is the name of this current project of mine. A couple years ago, I went to a Vipassana meditation retreat. While there, I heard a story told by S.N. Goenka.

The moment the Buddha became enlightened, every memory from his current and past lives flashed before his eyes. He saw a memory from a past life of himself as a young man. He approached a wise sage and asked, “How can I end human suffering?” The sage answered, “You must find the builder of the house. Only then will you know the answer to your question.”

He saw at that time he didn’t know what the sage meant. But now, fully enlightened, he opened his eyes and said, “Ahh, builder of the house, I have seen you. You can no longer build a house for me, because I have taken away all your bricks.” So the “builder of the house” can be considered a metaphor for God, or the way to reach an end to human suffering. That story really stuck with me.

When did you first start an instrument? Ditto for singing and writing songs?

I switched from viola to guitar when I was 11. I started singing and writing songs at about 14.

On your website, builderofthehouse.com, it says, “My goal with all my music is to create positive energy that will spread to the listener and beyond.” Can you talk more about that?

Since I was a kid, I’ve always felt creating and performing music was something I was supposed to do. But until recently, most of what I created was adulterated by what I thought I should be creating rather than what I wanted to create. It wasn’t really coming from me.

It got to the point where I gave up music completely and didn’t touch my guitar for three years. I started working in biology, convinced this was a more noble profession. I had an awakening of sorts, and realized you can do anything selfishly or selflessly. It’s not what you do, but how you do it.

After this, I was able to create music that came directly from me. I also realized the music I made in the past did have some positive effects on people. I hope the music I write continues to do so.

Along with Facebook, is builderofthehouse.com the best place for people to learn more about you, hear songs, upcoming gigs, etc?

I like to direct people to my Facebook page (facebook.com/builderofthehouse) first, since I seem to be on that more than anything else. I try to keep everything connected, and the same information can be found on all my sites. People can follow me on Twitter at “buildermusic.”

When was (the EP) “I Am a Tidal Wave” released? Where did you record it?

Jan. 29, my dad’s birthday, is the official release date. I recorded the album in my apartment with one vocal mic and one instrument mic. It can be purchased online at iTunes, bandcamp and Bull Moose Music.

Staff Writer Aimsel Ponti can be contacted at 791-6455 or at:

[email protected]

filed under: