Very few EDM artists have been able to achieve the success that Porter Robinson has achieved this year. He managed to completely transform his style from an electro-heavy sound to a more calm, lush, ambient sound which is not always the easiest thing to do. He also released his official debut studio album titled Worlds in August this year to critical acclaim and commercial success. The record managed to top the US Billboard Dance/Electronic chart as well as charting in the UK, Australia, and the Netherlands. He also headlined a successful tour earlier this year to promote his album. His new style has helped to push the boundaries of EDM and the industry is better for it.
While he was at Stereosonic he made some time to give a keynote address titled “Changing The Game” which is now available for viewing online and it was indeed inspirational. The keynote address was hosted by former label mate Nick Thayer at the Electronic Music Conference (EMC). The 22 year old Porter touched upon several topics including the process he went through when making his album, and what inspires him in general when he’s creating music. One of the things that stood out most was his advice to up and coming producers that it is important to remain true to yourself and to be original. Many times a lot of great musicians follow trends too much to the point that it stunts them creatively. They conform to the style of music that is popular at the moment, and don’t do much to add to the culture creatively. Those are wise words from someone so young.
He said that although it’s good to be original you should not force it as that can actually prevent you from achieving the very thing you want. “The more effort you put into changing the game, the less likely it is to happen. The best subversion happens naturally,” Porter said. “I think the better way to do it is to try and do something that stands out. And having an identity is really important for that … I’m not saying authenticity is this magic bullet,” he added. “You might do something authentic and just have bad taste.”
Porter Robinson is also known for his interesting take on live shows. He expressed his desire to steer clear of playing DJ sets as he doesn’t want to alienate his fans. Instead he has created a show which involves playing live instruments, samplers, etc; something which is rare to see in electronic music (for good reason though since a lot of the elements of EDM are difficult for a human to play). He also chronicled how he started out making music and writing songs as a teenager, and how music ended up being his career even though initially he had no intention of being a successful touring DJ/musician. He detailed how he had no artistic direction and no proper sense of where his music was heading until after several years of producing, touring, and gaining experience. At the end of the session he answered questions posed by the live audience who were present in the auditorium.
If anything the youngster is a breath of fresh air to an industry which at times seems to be doing the same thing. Artists like him are needed once in a while in order to shake things up. You can watch the entire video of Porter Robinson’s keynote address below.