We caught up with rising DJ and producer Porter Robinson to chat about his early start, the challenges of producing an entire album, and why the UK crowd is more skeptical
DJ and producer Porter Robinson has made quite a name for himself in the US over the last few years, being hailed as a protégé of Skrillex and booking mega-bucks Vegas residencies, but he’s turning his back on all of that with his debut album Worlds. Branding the EDM genre constraining, Robinson has focused on more technical experimentation rather than his traditional club bangers. To get the lowdown on this sonic shift we caught up with the North Carolina native to chat about his early start, the challenges of producing an entire album, and why the UK crowd is more skeptical.
Firstly, how did you get into producing?
I got into producing at the age of 12 after hearing electronic music in the Japanese rhythm game Dance Dance Revolution.
We’ve read you started pretty early, when did you know you wanted to make music for a living and not just a hobby?
I don’t think I ever decided that… I didn’t expect to have a music career, despite music production being my first and favorite hobby. I had a song that found a ton of success unexpectedly in 2010, and things sort of progressed from there. I was on track to go to university.
Your debut album Worlds has just been released. Has your process been any different creating an album as opposed to single releases?
It was much, much different. When you write an album, you have the opportunity to express so much more – there’s context for everything and not every song must stand up on its own. There are so many songs on Worlds, which if I released them alone, would probably be largely dismissed as a weird deviation for me. I think doing an album in a sound that was completely new signaled to people that this was a commitment to a new sound. How do you think your sound has evolved while making this album, and what inspired it?
I think my most important source of inspiration is note-taking and being diligent about not forgetting my random ideas that happen when I’m out and about. If there’s ever a lull in my productivity, I just reference my notes.
You’ve recently said that you find the EDM genre boring now, why do you think that is?
I don’t hate EDM, but I found it really constraining for me. The notion that every song must be workable for DJs, that every song must be danceable, and that every song must adhere to the tropes of the genre – it was just limiting.
You’ve played quite a few electronic festivals in the last few years. What have been your highlights?
Coachella was definitely the best for me. Have you noticed any differences between the crowds in the UK and US?
Honestly, the UK crowd is more skeptical – tougher overall. Maybe that’s to their credit. It’s pretty rewarding once they’re convinced.
Other than the debut album, what else have you got planned for the rest of the year?
I’ve got a series of tours that are accompanying the album. It’s a big deal to me because this will be my move away from DJ sets where I play other peoples’ music – it’s much more of an artist show that’ll focus on originals.
The album ‘Worlds‘ is out now.
Catch Porter Robinson live at KOKO, London on October 30th.
Words: Jordan Porteous