Porter Robinson very recently allowed fans to ask him open questions about his music as well as his ‘Worlds Tour' on AMA. For those of you not familiar, AMA or ‘Ask Me Anything', is a forum on Reddit that allows anyone to post questions to a particular prompt. In this case, Porter Robinson invited many to discuss his latest work through AMA, and then replied to several of the questions fans asked. Here's what we've learned!
1. How he feels about preforming at festivals
flyingswann: Do you see yourself still playing “EDM” type festivals in the future (e.g. Ultra, EDC, etc) or are you trying to get away from that scene entirely?
porter_robinson: i'm going to premiere my new live show, that's more “worlds”-y, on the tour this year. i didn't want to send mixed signals by getting in front of tens of thousands of people and DJing bangers – it's too big of an audience and i think'd be confusing for folks. when i return to those festivals, it will be my proper “worlds” show. in other words, i'm not opposed to EDC or ultra – i just didn't want to do my old DJ thing this year, and my new liveshow wasn't ready.
2. Porter's view of the ‘EDM Scene'
tkspen: What's making you unhappy about the current EDM scene?
porter_robinson: hahaha, fair!
first of all, i want to define what i mean by “EDM”. when i talk about EDM, i generally mean main-stage, 128 BPM, 1-2-3 JUMP banger type stuff. i don't mean all electronic music that's dancy – even though that's what the name prescribes, i don't think that's how it is (or should be) used anymore.
a lot of my angst about EDM came from my songwriting process. i think that EDM, in order to do its Job in its intended setting (a DJ set), has requirements to make it ‘work'. the most effective electro tracks have a 30-second buildup, where the chord returns to the root note, with risers, maybe a rising vocal, a snare roll – there are moves you HAVE to do in an ‘EDM' track to make it work.
i think that emphasis on FUNCTION over real artistic expression is what soured me on the genre. it felt extremely limiting to me to try to write music that had to, y'know… “work”. and once i cast that off, it opened up the world to me. it was the BEST FUCKING FEELING EVER to be writing music without those confines. writing music makes me so goddamn happy again
3. Why he does not want to produce ‘EDM' anymore
scottg96: Couldn't you argue that for every track designed for the sole purpose of working well at festivals, there is another track that is melodic and musical? For example, the top two tracks on Beatport (last I checked) are Gold Skies and Left Behinds, both of which are quite well done pieces of music. I think the issue is that there simply aren't enough of those kinds of tracks, not that they don't exist.
porter_robinson: there are good edm songs that exist!
i'm not saying there aren't exceptions, and i'm not saying that good EDM tracks don't exist. it just doesn't matter to me – the whole discussion is moot with regards to my music, because ‘worlds' is, 100%, sincerely, the album i wanted to write in every way.
for the most part, i criticize EDM not because i think nobody should write it ever, but instead to explain WHY i'm not writing it anymore. the response “well, good EDM tracks exist” doesn't convince me to write EDM because i've totally found what i want to be doing and see no reason to shoehorn it into a DJ-able context.
4. Where did the Worlds logo come from
giascle: Where did【＝◈︿◈＝】come from?
porter_robinson: i was looking at unicode character lists and making a bunch of different kaomoji and that one just stuck out to me. i wanted him to be my logo. people have been calling him the worldsmoji but i think he'll outlast the album
5. Some of Porter's inspirations
TheXEblaw: Hey Porter! I love the direction you're going with your new music and Worlds!
Who are your main musical influences?
Of all the electronic albums being released this year, whose are you most excited for?
Who do you want to collaborate with most?
1) daft punk and kanye west are my all-time faves
2) i don't know if it's this year, but i've heard madeon's album and it's FUCKING magificent. i've been singing one of them all goddamn day
6. Changes to his live shows
Dhoppz: Hey Porter!
I've been a huge fan since the Spitfire days, pre-ordered Worlds, and got advance tickets to your Toronto show! …Does that sound too obsessive? … ¯\ _(ツ)_/¯
I have 2 questions;
What was your main inspiration to move from the stuff you did on Spitfire to the whole new style coming out in Worlds?
Are there any major changes/new things you will be putting into your live shows to accomodate for the change of style?
porter_robinson:not at alllllll!
1) well, i think that i had already shifted away from spitfire material with ‘language' and ‘easy'. i'm going to try to not be too long-winded about this because i want to answer as much as i can, but here's how i got there, basically:
i wasn't aspiring to be a massive DJ from the start. i didn't have this career track in my imagination before i started – i just kept taking opportunities and good things kept happening. before long, i found myself with a fanbase and a little bit of angst – i wished that i had come into thing with a plan, with a stronger idea. my issue with ‘spitfire' is that i was trying to be a jack-of-all-trades and trying to do several different genres… like i was trying to impress producers rather than write the best music i could. it's way way way more interesting to have ONE idea, executed well – all of my idols do that. i repeat a lot of moves in ‘worlds' expressly because i wanted it to feel cohesive.
2) the ‘worlds' show is going to be all my music. it's not gonna be a DJ set in the way people are used to – i'll be running multitracks (so i can turn cut out, say, the drums, bass, and leads, and just leave the vocals), trigger samples, singing!!!, and other stuff.
7. What it was like working with Mat Zo
Brianwilsonsbeard1: Hey Porter,
What was it like working with Mat Zo on Easy? What was the collaboration process like with someone as established as him?
porter_robinson: we made it in the back of the tour bus on the language tour. i don't know whether him being established made it any different but it came together really naturally, i think. very few disputes and most things we made, we kept.
8. What inspired him to started writing music
jizzissippi: Seems like a lot of Japanese influence in your work these days. What interests you so much in that ?
porter_robinson: japanese music is the reason i started writing music, really. i first heard electronic music in dance dance revolution and that's what inspired me to even try.
9. Fan's reaction of his new music, and starting his own record label
How did you think your fans would react when you first released “Sea of Voices”?
Have you ever thought about starting your own label?
If you could pick any 3 songs to show your diverse taste in music, what would they be?
porter_robinson: ahhhh, thank so much dude.
1) i was really prepared for a backlash against sea of voices – i wasn't hoping for it, but it wasn't terrified of it either. i premiered with sea of voices expressly because i hoped it would get people talking. it wasn't the kind of pop single that you lead with – instead i hoped it would get people thinking about my music in a different way and to not contextualize the whole album as an ‘edm' thing!
that being said, i feel like i'm talking about strategy too much. i try to treat strategy and marketing as as much of an afterthought as possible.
2) i never wanted to do that, but i've been digging and finding so much really good music, deep in the echelons of soundcloud recently, that i've thought about it more. i don't want to stretch myself too thin, though.
3) this is the scariest question aaaaagh. i don't want to answer it but i also don't want to delete the last two that i already replied to, so i'm leaving it blank, sorry.
10. Porter's favorite anime
adamikachu: top 3 anime?! GO!
1) anohana: the flower we saw that day! i cried so fucking hard. it is breathtakingly gorgeous.
2) Ōkami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki. subs not dubs
3) hanasaku iroha. i was just rooting for ohana so fuckin' hard
i know i know shit tier taste or whatever. i like crying about moe girls