Porter Robinson is here and he means business. At just 22 Porter is setting up to release his debut “Worlds” later this week through Astralwerks / Virgin EMI an album that’s already been making waves and gaining some big buzz behind it. Porter is one of the most talented emerging EDM/Electro artist out there at the moment, his work doesn’t rely on some of the more cliché things we’ve come to expect from the genre, instead Porter has developed his own unique sound and is paving the way with his very own and distinctive brand of music. In what has been probably one of my favourite interviews I’ve done (I’m a big fan of his music so this was beyond amazing for me). Porter and I talked about Worlds, his return to Australia for Stereosonic, Anime, Adventure Time, Tumblr, his fans and much more in the interview after the jump.
Alex: Hey Porter how are you?
Porter Robinson: Good, good how are you?
Alex: I’m fantastic. It’s wonderful and sunny day here in Australia at the moment. Are you excited to be coming back here for Stereo?
Porter: Yeah, you know I spend so much time in Australia, and it’s one of my favourite places in the world, so I’m like always excited. I think that Australia’s touring festivals are just the best ever. So yeah totally, totally excited to come back.
Alex: Last time you were in Australia you were like kinda the small stages here at Stereo and the little club shows. Now I mean your almost at the headliner spot, you’re like one of the top billed artist for Stereosonic. Is it kind of amazing to think that you know people across the other side of the world really want you to come here and play for us?
Porter: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. It blows my mind just the position that I’ve been given there. It’ll be interesting I think. The music that I’ll be playing will run somewhat counter to the status quo, especially with most of the music that’s on the Stereosonic line up. Stereosonic seems to be very tech, EDM type of stuff, and I think that the music that I’ll be playing will probably contradict quite a lot of that. It’ll be interesting *laughs*. It’ll be fun to take that plunge.
Alex: I’ve been listening to the stream of the new LP “Worlds” that’s coming out in a few days. I’ve been reading the press release for it and there is “EDM” mentioned in the press release, but when you listen to it, it really doesn’t sound like an electro type album. It’s got a very different sound to it. So what was your process in making this album to make it like sound different to what you’d normally hear from a EDM type artist?
Porter: I went and I did a lot of introspection I think for “Worlds”. I basically returned home and refused to tour for some time, and only taking you know little occasional tours, and spending much, much, much more time at home. I just basically tried to figure out what the idea was that I stood for and why I even write music, you know I found myself with an audience and with a following and I wasn’t really sure that I represented anything. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was expressing musically so I think that you know my first goal with “Worlds” was to make something that was personal and expressive, but you know what exactly is that? I think that you know the biggest motif of the album is that if it had to be about anything I think that “Worlds” is about escapism, and fiction and fantasy and it’s not about reality it’s not about… you know it’s not about activism or earth, it’s very much about the fictional universes that we immerse ourselves in. Cause that’s like a big role in my life and it was intact like video games that inspired me to write music at all, so it’s kind of that personal thing for me, yeah.
Alex: Been looking at the “Worlds” concept art that you’ve been posting up on Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram all that and it’s a very like sci-fi/anime feel about it. You’re obviously a big anime fan do you think that that’s kind of the worlds that’s influenced this album?
Porter: I think that Japanese sensibilities have absolutely inspired and directed me, I mean a lot of the chord movements and a lot of the melodies and even the instrumentation that I’m using is just totally inspired by like music that you hear in “Legend Of Zelda: The Ocarina Of Time”, and a lot of the chord progressions you hear in the album you can find easily in anime soundtracks, Not just one I mean it’s not like I went to one song on an anime soundtrack and lifted it, you know it’s a progression that’s basically in all of them. I really stayed around that I think for several of the tracks on the record. So yeah, there’s a massive, massive Japanese influence and my interest in anime is defiantly part of that yeah.
Alex: Have you got like a favourite anime just wondering?
Porter: Yeah, absolutely. I think my favourite of all time would be this anime called uh… I’m just trying to decide between two… Well okay I’m gonna go with “Anohana” yeah “Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day” it’s basically, yeah I tend to really like those sappy, not sappy, kind of those emotional, tragic really beautiful anime and basically this one is about a group of friends that have drifted apart and after the death, when they were kids one of their friends died and she basically reappears as an apparition and it’s like she kind of goes about reuniting this group of friends. It’s really tragic and really sad and super nostalgic, and the music is just gorgeous, it’s kind of my favorite. My other recommendation would probably be a movie called, I think “Ōkami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki” I think it’s if you look up “Wolf Children” you can find it.
Alex: I think I’ve actually seen that one a few weeks ago a poster for it in a shop.
Porter: Oh really! Yeah it’s to ally beautiful one of my favorites ever very Miyazaki inspired I think and of course “Spirited Away” and all those Miyazaki films are just amazing, I think they’re my favourites ever.
Alex: We’re you sad to hear that Studio Ghibli is shutting down now?
Porter: Yeah, Yeah I mean I feel there have been rumours of Miyazaki’s retirement for so, so long so it’s almost hard for me to know if to take it seriously. But I believe that whenever Miyazaki retires and Studio Ghibli is done that it’ll be the right time for it. I’m sure that he’s been involved with it for so long and I trust him to make the right decisions. Of course it’s the end of an era but it’ll be a tragic end to bear witness too.
Alex: Another thing I’ve found just searching your Tumblr Tag and stuff like that you’re a massive fan of adventure time.
Alex: I swear there are just 100’s of photos of you with adventure time posts, do you have a favourite character from the show?
Porter: You know it’s been so long since I’ve watched Adventure Time actually, this is ridiculous but I was really, really into it in it’s first few seasons but I haven’t’ been watching it much recently. I think for me it really is the relationship between Finn and Jake you know your two main characters but they’re so charming to me. There’s an episode where there’s like I think there’s an episode where there’s like a bear that’s been antagonizing Finn for like, no maybe the bear’s been antagonizing Jake? Anyway it’s like just getting up to this moment where Jake is running to Finn and something ridiculous has happened the bear is there new best friend but the bear keeps antagonizing Jake it’ like the classic TV set up where you know only one of them doesn’t like the new friend, and typically what would happen would be the character that you love would go up and be like “Guys, guys you gotta believe me, like this person is actually evil” and they’d be like “Nah we don’t believe you” then at the end of the episode you’d find out that they had been evil all along. It’s like a classic TV set-up, but what happens is like Jake comes running to Finn and he’s like “Dude you gotta believe me this bear is like evil he’s been doing all this shit to me” and then Finn’s just like “Okay dude I believe you, we’re friends,” and I’m just like YES for once they don’t rely on the shitty true to make conflict for the episode. I just think that Adventure Time is really subversive and I absolutely love “Pendleton Ward” he’s a genius and it’s just rocks.
Alex: I was going to say I think my friend got me obsessed with it and I’ve just been obsessed with LSP she’s like my favourite character in the show she’s just hilarious to me,
Porter: Oh yeah wait, were you the tumblr guy that made the post that you’d do a LSP impersonation for me?
Alex: Yeah that would be me.
Porter: Lets hear it it’s time let’s go.
*LISTEN TO THIS AUDIO IF YOU WANT TO HEAR ME DO A LSP IMPERSONATION AND HEAR PORTER DO AN AUSTRALIAN ACCENT
Porter: There you go.
Alex: Well done. I think American’s get way to caught up in the Crocodile Dundee type thing, that’s just what Australians must sound like to American’s now.
Porter: Once you’ve been to Australia you just like, it’s obviously the last thing that I would do is do an Australian is to do the bogan thing. You know of course that’s not going to impress any Australians. I like to do a slightly more modern slightly more nuance thing when I do your accent. For the longest time I would try to do it in Australia and I would just get destroyed they’d be like you’re fucking up this word, but eventually I did it for “Nina Las Vegas” last time I was in Australia and she was like “What the fuck” like she was amazed, that was my, that was my high point of my last tour in Australia.
Alex: I don’t think you want to go on stage at Stereo this year and do the bogan accent and be all “Strayla mate”.
Porter: Yeah, I don’t think I would get a good reaction or influence people to listen to me at all.
Alex: Speaking of Tumblr you keep in touch with fans through social media a lot. Is developing the relationship you have with fans something that’s important to you?
Porter: I think I could go either way. I tend to go back and forth I mean there were times when I was really involved and then there were times when I was really closed off. What I don’t like to do is trying to use my fans for career, like I don’t wanna use my fans as a career asset you know like I don’t want people to be like “I like Porter Robinson because he’s so close to his fans”. I want people to like me for my music first and foremost so I think my interactions with my fans is somewhat metered I don’t want them to necessarily rely on me as their best friend. At the same time I genuinely like these people, I think my fans have really good taste and make me fan art and dress like the ways that I think is cool. That’s what I really love, often times when people say like “I love my fans” and stuff I’m just like well why? I feel with my fans I really have a reason too, they put effort into understand my tastes and who I am artistically. They made this birthday video for me where like 20 of them like recorded a Youtube video for me for my birthday telling me why they liked me and it was just so beautiful and I was just in tears you know. I felt so well understood by them. But I like to maintain a somewhat air of mystery and I like to choose my own degree of separation. That might sound weird but I suppose I want my interactions with my fans to always be sincere, so i don’t want to like force a reply to every tweet. I also like to be scarce, you know like I don’t constantly release music, I like to maintain a little bit of mystique at times.
Alex: I can’t wait for your new LP to come out, “Worlds” is going to be massive and it’s going to attract so many people to your music. It’s a brilliantly written album. I think the NPR stream of the album went up today?
Porter: Yeah It went up but it was territory restricted to the USA but I’m sure by now someone’s ripped it and you can probably find download of it somewhere on the internet to listen to in Australia there somehow,
Alex: Can’t wait to have you back here for Stereosonic it’s going to be a great set and can’t wait to see you live again.
Porter: Thank you so much and I can’t wait to return.