Porter Robinson Reflects On Straying From EDM During Reddit AMA
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 tome. it was the BEST FUCKING FEELING EVER to be writing music without those confines. writing music makes me so goddamn happy again
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?
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.
Question (from nanobii)
what is your favorite drum machine, being used the most on the new album? i really like the drum samples on 'sad machine', and i figure you go through samples from specific machines rather than sample packs nowadays.
no drum machines, actually. just sample packs.
i think as far as """"""alternative""""""-sounding music goes, the "sample magic" stuff is a better bet than vengeance for drums.
Hey Porter! A few questions:
Does the idea of playing a track live affect the composition/production of the track?
What is your preferred DAW for production? Favorite plugins?
Would you consider doing a separate AMA on /r/edmproduction?
i'm not nearly as interested in the craft of "production" as i used to be. when i was 18, i was pretty much only making producer porn - i wanted to write music solely to show other producers how good i was. i'm way more interested in ideas now and less in the technicals of music production. a lot of my favorite music these days is underproduced or imperfect-sounding, but if the ideas and chords and concept is there, i'll love it.
that being said, i should probably give some suggestions!
1) sample selection is so so so so so much more important than any kind of post-processing. i remember being a new producer and wasting sooo much effort trying to EQ a shit kickdrum into sounding good and it wasn't productive.
2) getting the relative volume levels of each instrument correct is a more important task than EQing. new producers often prefer a sound after it's been EQed and in many cases it's only because the levels have changed
3) controlled clipping
4) don't abide by hard mixdown rules or mix with your eyes rather than your ears. i remember abiding so strictly to the rules i got from my old music production forums and just so, so much of it was misinformation
i mean, ultimately, you just have to keep writing music. make music forever no matter what
How do you feel about EA Sports using "Sea of Voices" as a song in their E3 Trailer reveal of NHL 15?
i just watched it 5 minutes ago. i hadn't heard about it until it went up. pretty cool!
forza horizon was good for my song language. i like the idea of people associating my music with their favorite things, so i think sync stuff like that is great.
Hey Porter! I love the direction you're going with your new music and Worlds!
1) Who are your main musical influences?
2) Of all the electronic albums being released this year, whose are you most excited for?
3) Who do you want to collaborate with most?
Thanks for doing this AMA!
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
What was it like working with Mat Zo on Easy? What was the collaboration process like with someone as established as him?
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.
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?
Thanks for doing the AMA, super stoked for the tour and for Worlds to drop! 【=◈︿◈=】
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.
Hey Porter, thanks for doing an AMA! Language is my absolute favorite song in the electronic music scene right now, it has been for a while, and I don’t know if anything will ever top it. It gives me full body chills every time I listen to it.
So my question is, what is Language to you? Why did you make it, does it have a certain meaning or purpose to you? And how long did it take you to create it?
P.S. I’m so stoked for Worlds!
the truth is that i knew i had something special with language. when i first wrote that riff, i couldn't even produce because i was so fixated on listening to it over and over. i think producers know the feeling. and then i wrote the piano melody that comes in after the riff and i was like "hooOOo boy". i was really happy.
language means the world to me - it was the first step towards 'worlds' material, and i think the fact that people liked it it was vindicating* for me and made me trust my instincts more.