Porter Robinson, the 18-year-old musical mastermind from North Carolina, took some time to talk to us after his killer set at Voyeur on 6/16. Check out what he had to say…
LED: How was it that you were initially exposed to EDM and what inspired you to start creating your own tracks?
Porter Robinson: Well I pretty much have the unsexiest story of how I came into it. When I was 12 my brother brought home a copy of the video game Dance Dance Revolution. The score was composed of Japanese Electronic tracks, and at that age I thought it was super dope. So my parents bought me a mini keyboard…and that didn’t really allow me to do much. So over the next 6 years I learned how to make music on the computer. I got my first record contract when I was 15 and since then the genre has been so rapidly developing and I’ve just molded myself into it.
LED: LED: Who are some are the artists that you draw the most inspiration from?
PR: I’m a big fan of Wolfgang Gartner. He operates on a realm of consciousness that’s completely separate from ours. No matter how hard you try you can never be as good as he is. Another is the Dutch House group Noisia, they put out a lot of good drum and bass. Also there’s Brian Transau aka BT who did a lot of work on the soundtrack for Fast & Furious. Essentially I really appreciate guys who just bust their ass to put out music that’s incredibly detailed and interesting.
LED: LED: Given all of your success and the fact that you’re from a college town, is there still a lot of pressure on you to further your academic career?
PR: Well both of my parents went to UNC, so I kind of grew up always thinking I’d go there.
LED: LED: So would you say that UNC is your “dream school”?
PR: I always viewed getting accepted as an accomplishment, a way for me to know I had options but also have the choice to do whatever I wanted. I did apply for this coming Fall semester and got in, but I’ll be deferring for at least a year.
LED: LED: How do your parents feel about you skipping out on their alma matter to pursue your music?
PR: They’re totally supportive. My dad is a lawyer so he’s been really instrumental in helping me with contracts and stuff like that. And my mom always makes sure everything is taken care of before I go on tour…she still even makes sure I’ve packed my toothbrush. I just don’t want to look back when I’m 60 and regret missing out on the opportunities for success that are in front of me right now.
LED: LED: You’ll be performing a lot with Skrillex this summer, how was it that you guys initially got hooked up?
PR: The last 3 tracks I played here tonight are going to be released as an EP on Skrillex’s upcoming label called Owsla and we’re about to start a 30 day bus tour with Zedd called Owsla Summer Tour (earlier this year we also collaborated for the Project Blue Book tour with Tommy Lee and DJ Aero). Originally though, my manager Aaron was the one who introduced us to each other’s music. He booked Skrillex’s first gig at the same place I had mine (Motiv in Santa Cruz, CA). When he got in the car Aaron put in a CD of some of my stuff, he dug it, and we started chatting…he sent me an early version of “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” that at that time had some different vocals that the final edit. It was really just an organic process of us getting to know one another.
LED: LED: This summer you’re going to be playing at quite a few festivals, including EDC next weekend. Which one are you most stoked on?
PR: Well, I don’t like to play favorites…but I am really really REALLY excited about EDC. I see the Vegas EDC as being the “main” one, so it’s really awesome that I get to be a part of that. I love playing at smaller clubs in smaller towns [although I do LOVE playing here in San Diego] because there’s so much pent up energy due to the fact that it’s not every day that they have talent coming through and playing for them. But EDC is going to be incredible.
LED: LED: Have your experiences as an artist still allowed you to appreciate the quintessential high school experience: going to football games, having kickbacks with friends, wreaking havoc around your neighborhood, etc?
PR: Well I went to a small charter highschool, so we didn’t even really have a football team and for the first 3 years of high school I was making music but I wasn’t touring so I still got to hang with my friends and I wouldn’t ever want to miss out on fun times with them.
LED: LED: What do you expect to see in the years to come?
PR: I think traditionally we have seen songs with filthy, gnarly drops…and of course that’s dope but after a while the same stuff becomes redundant. I think we’re going to see more songs that shock the audience, at least that’s what I’m all about. Now with more and more digital DJing some of the constraints of the past are being illuminated and I think we’re going to see songs with a variety of different tempos. And also even some more styles of EDM, recently there’s been Moombahton with its heavy Latin influences which I’m really into right now.
Catch Porter Robinson at LED’s two shows at the end of August: