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INTERVIEW: Porter Robinson at Tomorrowland

INTERVIEW: Porter Robinson at Tomorrowland

Listen to Porter Robinson on iHeartRadio

At the young age of 21, Porter Robinson has already been named one of the most talented producers in dance music. After endless support from many of dance music's most beloved DJs, and having already toured the world making stops at the most monumental festivals, the future looks very bright for Porter.

Robinson played the stunning main stage of Tomorrowland in Belgium to an enormous crowd, and sat down to talk about his set, his upcoming album, and a hilarious story from his tour. Check it out below:

What do you think of Tomorrowland?

I think it’s the best organized, most comfortable, and best crowd-ish festival in Europe. I’ve done so many European festivals and so many of them, they’re institutions, so they don’t really care how they treat people and I think that Tomorrowland is not one of those. They’re just so nice to you! And they take care of you. The crowd is cool and I think that’s part of how its established its reputation as one of the best ones in Europe, because they just do a very good job. They just own it, they’re very good. I had a fun time two years in a row, so I’m a fan.

Today was your set on the main stage, how did that go?

I think it went well, I mean, my goal in playing the main stage was to play a set that was not comprised of music that everyone’s heard a million times before. I think it’s really easy for main stage DJs to fall into a habit of playing s****y music that everyone’s heard a million times before, so I wanted to play something that was a little bit different but still kind of accessible for a main stage crowd. That’s why I went to like, your 172 bpm stuff and your hardcore and some techno and, yeah I felt good about it. I mean, I had some mistakes, and it was tough cause there were some artists who played after me whose music I play pretty often, but in the end I felt pretty happy with it yeah, it felt good and that’s not something I always feel. You know yesterday I walked away feeling like I didn’t nail it, so I was happy that today went well.

Last year I played on the trance stage and my kind of approach to that is if I’m playing around a lot of trance people I’ll play less trance, and if I’m on the electro stage I’ll play so much trance, just to do something different. And if people have been playing trance all day, I’ll play electro to do something different. And I was happy this year to do the main stage cause I got to play a little bit more kind of ASOT-inspired type stuff, more pretty, so that was cool. I felt good about that. But yeah, if there’s anything I would’ve changed I would’ve played longer. My favorite thing to do is play an hour and 45 minutes. I’ m not sure what’s up with DJs playing like an hour, cause it doesn’t feel like enough time to get any message across. But in the end I felt good about it.

[PHOTOS: Tomorrowland 2013]

What do you imagine Tomorrowworld will be like?

I have no idea man, it’s like you never know what a festival’s international version is gonna be like. Like EDC London was very different from EDC Vegas so we’ll see what Tomorrowworld is gonna be like.

How’s your summer been going, you’re on tour right?

Yeah, kind of. Basically I’ve, over the course of the last year, only been doing weekends for the most part, cause I’ve been writing an album, but this tour I’ve been in Europe non-stop for about three weeks and I’m gonna come back for another three weeks in about a week from now. I’m going home tomorrow. So it’s actually been less busy than normal even though I’ve been getting as many requests as I would’ve, I’ve been turning everything down except for weekends and organized tours because I’ve been writing music. And I can’t write music on the road. A lot of guys can, I just really can’t do that. So it’s been slightly less busy which has been a relief, but this Europe tour has been pretty intense. Our schedule has basically been, we went from Tokyo, we played Fuji Rock, then we played a Fuji Rock afterparty, then we flew to the UK and London and we played a festival called Global Gathering, and then we got about 45 minutes of sleep and flew right here, and kept going. And we went straight from the hotel, dropped our bags off, and like showered, and pooped, and then came here.

Marathon mode!

Yeah we’re in marathon mode, we’re going super hard. Laughing at the fact that I said poop.

You’re writing an album, so how’s it going?

I think it’s going very well, if I can say so myself. I think it’s my favorite music I’ve ever made by far, It’s kind of different you know. The way I’ve been describing it, it’s less of a dance floor record, it’s less of an album that a lot of DJs will play. It’s more aimed towards touching your heart, it’s meant to be a little more emotional and beautiful, and more listening music oriented. I would say the focus is left of center alternative music inspired kind of lo-fi ish, but still loud and dancy and pretty album. I kind of got into this ... I never intended to be a DJ. I’ve been making dance music, electronic music since I was 12 years old and I’m 21 now. And this EDM thing happened to kind of blow up around me, and I became a part of it. And I’ve realized I’m not that interested in making records for other DJs to play, I wanna make music that makes you feel something, and that’s what this album is all about. And hopefully people will be into it, if not, I still feel strongly that it’s the best music I’ve made so far, and hopefully it’ll resonate with the people who listen to my music.

Well they already love it so far!

Well they love the music I’ve made thus far but I think the music I’ve made thus far is expressly dance-floor friendly. I’ve made like “Easy” and “Language” and the "Spitfire" record which were all meant for DJs to play. And this is a bit of a departure from that because it’s less of a DJ record. We’ll see how people feel about it. But again, it’s been the hardest I’ve ever worked on anything in my life, you know. It’s been a year and a half/two years of just non-stop effort into this music and I hope people like it in the same way I do. I know you’re not supposed to say you like your own music but I feel strongly that this is my best, I do, I really do.

Are you going to premiere any of it before you release it? Or are you gonna go straight out with it all?

Yeah yeah, I’ve premiered a couple songs in my sets, but those are all songs that are never gonna come out. Basically all of the music that I have played out is stuff that I’m gonna kind of kill and no one will ever hear it again. And then the record, when it does come out, is gonna be all music people haven’t heard before, except for “Easy” and “Language” which are two songs that I’ve already released that will be on the record, because I feel like they relate to the sort of sound that I’ve adopted. But yeah in my set today I didn’t play anything from the new album. I think there’s something to be said for a certain mystique. You know, all my favorite albums, there’s something mysterious about them and something kind of fresh and novel about them, and I’m less interested in like doing huge promo around a single that every DJ is gonna play. I wanna make something that’s truly compelling and touches your heart, and kind of an homage to the albums that I loved like “Graduation” and “Discovery” which are my favorite albums of all time. But you know, I accept the possibility that this stuff could completely fail. It could come out and everyone could say, “This is not DJ music, I don’t care for it,” but I will have done my best and stayed true to my own taste. And I guess that’s the best you can do right?

How was your North American tour last year?

P: The “Language” tour? Well I did two North American tours last year, one was the Language tour with my tour with Mat Zo and the M Machine, and the other was my b2b tour with Zedd. We did a tour called the Poseidon tour which was us both playing at the same time. Both were great, man, I have no complaints about either, I feel like both went very well, the crowds came out in throws, and supported. And they all went very well I think, it was great.

What was the best part about it?

I think playing to a crowd of people who know my music well. I think that’s the best part. Not having to play a bunch of dance floor records that are instantly recognizable, but being able to play my own music, there’s something that I find very nice about that.

That was an awesome mini aftermovie that you shared recently from the tour. What’s the most hilarious stor from the road?

I think it’s mostly the 12-inch dildo that we bought and threw at each other throughout the course of the “Language” tour. We had a game where basically, on the end of this dildo, there was like a sticky suction cup. And we had a game where you would take the 12 inch dildo and throw it against the tour bus or whatever surface you could find, and see if you could make it stick. Like a javeline throw. It took a lot of effort for it to hit just the right angle so that it would flop around and stay, so that was the best.

If you had your own land what would you name it?

That’s funny you ask that cause I’m really obsessed with the idea of world creation, the idea of like creating a universe. All the music that I’m writing in the album has, a big central theme to the album, is exactly that idea of creating a world where this music exists. I’m obsessed with big fast beautiful landscapes and very pretty imagery. I mean I’ve been fighting myself on naming the record that I’ve written for like a year now and I still haven’t figured out a good name for the album, so the idea for me to name this world I’ve been kicking around, that’s a big task. 

Photo Credit Getty Images & Nicole Mastrogiannis for iHeartRadio

 

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