helloooooo i'm porter

i make electronic music and i've been doing that since i was 12. i spent the last four-something years being on tour and DJing a lot.

i started to become really unhappy with the EDM-type stuff (let's talk more about what i mean by that if you want!) and retreated home for a couple years to write this new album called "worlds". it's my favorite thing i've ever made... it's seriously so, so dear to me. it's not out yet.

basically, i wanted to stop writing music for DJs/clubs/etc and instead write more personal, songwriting-oriented stuff that focuses more on being beautiful and vast-sounding and nostalgic.


there's one of the song off the album!

https://soundcloud.com/porter-robinson/sea-of-voices and here's another!


my proof: here!


Comments: 2408 • Responses: 37  • Date: 

StereoZombie862 karma


porter_robinson808 karma

im fucking crying and sad

FreeRangeHumans478 karma

Have you ever met Namasensei, the constantly drunk Youtube japanese teacher who serves as the vocals for 100% in the bitch? If so, how fucking crazy is he?

porter_robinson433 karma

i've skyped with him, and my older brother actually appeared in an episode of 'put it in your mouth'. jeremy rules!

tkspen372 karma

What's making you unhappy about the current EDM scene?

porter_robinson1340 karma

hahaha, fair!

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 to me. it was the BEST FUCKING FEELING EVER to be writing music without those confines. writing music makes me so goddamn happy again

scottg96166 karma

Couldn't you argue that for every track designed for the sole purpose of working well at festivals, there is another track that is melodic and musical? For example, the top two tracks on Beatport (last I checked) are Gold Skies and Left Behinds, both of which are quite well done pieces of music. I think the issue is that there simply aren't enough of those kinds of tracks, not that they don't exist.

porter_robinson451 karma

there are good edm songs that exist!

i'm not saying there aren't exceptions, and i'm not saying that good EDM tracks don't exist. it just doesn't matter to me - the whole discussion is moot with regards to my music, because 'worlds' is, 100%, sincerely, the album i wanted to write in every way.

for the most part, i criticize EDM not because i think nobody should write it ever, but instead to explain WHY i'm not writing it anymore. the response "well, good EDM tracks exist" doesn't convince me to write EDM because i've totally found what i want to be doing and see no reason to shoehorn it into a DJ-able context.

flyingswann320 karma

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?

porter_robinson482 karma

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.

giascle302 karma

Where did【=◈︿◈=】come from?

porter_robinson237 karma

i was looking at unicode character lists and making a bunch of different kaomoji and that one just stuck out to me. i wanted him to be my logo. people have been calling him the worldsmoji but i think he'll outlast the album

TonyTheCookie283 karma

Hey Porter, a 2-part question:

Have you accepted Shrek as your Lord and Saviour? If so, how many hours a day do you Pray to Shrek?

porter_robinson725 karma

i'm going to fuck shrek. i mean it

imnanobii266 karma

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.

porter_robinson212 karma

hey nanobii!

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.

booglez242 karma

How do you feel about EA Sports using "Sea of Voices" as a song in their E3 Trailer reveal of NHL 15?

porter_robinson408 karma

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.

dat_voices157 karma

Hey Porter! A few questions:

  1. Does the idea of playing a track live affect the composition/production of the track?

  2. What is your preferred DAW for production? Favorite plugins?

  3. Would you consider doing a separate AMA on /r/edmproduction?

porter_robinson261 karma

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

TheXEblaw148 karma

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!

porter_robinson447 karma


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

3) hehehehe

JamesSweeneyy88 karma

PLEASE collab with kanye PLEASE PLEASE

porter_robinson187 karma

if the opportunity ever comes up, i'll drop everything to do it.

Brianwilsonsbeard1140 karma

Hey Porter,

What was it like working with Mat Zo on Easy? What was the collaboration process like with someone as established as him?

porter_robinson175 karma

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.

snoopronsha295 karma

apparently everything went easy

ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ

BesottedScot52 karma

Dude your face is fat as fuck.


Dat's better.

porter_robinson194 karma

the /u/snoopronsha version is much jollier though

meesh_atwerq87 karma

at first i thought this read "we made out in the back of the tour bus on the language tour."

porter_robinson254 karma

u don't know that we didn't

2000014 karma

what was the story behind that song? I remember reading that mat had the hook melody written beforehand, and then you guys worked together fleshing it out.

porter_robinson55 karma

mat had made a version of the song that employed the same basic ideas and structure as our collab version, but without the lead melody, vocoder, second break, etc, the melody 'drop' his easy v1 was just the chords. i really like that version, actually.

i asked him if i could remix it and he was like "let's make a collaboration". i busted out a lot of my sounds from tracks like language, used all my mixing techniques, added the lead melody, vocoder, etc... i think the two versions sound really, really different from one another.

i've wanted mat to show people easy v1 for a while (or at least fuckin' give it to me) but i don't think that'll happen.

p.s., mat's track 'EZ' was not easy v1! i think that's easy v3.

Dhoppz125 karma

Hey Porter!

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;

  1. What was your main inspiration to move from the stuff you did on Spitfire to the whole new style coming out in Worlds?

  2. 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! 【=◈︿◈=】

porter_robinson232 karma

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.

handbaujzed12 karma

Can't wait for the koolhaus show!

porter_robinson22 karma

me tooooooOOOOo/neither

AVA711117 karma

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!

porter_robinson254 karma

thank you!

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.

flipsidephilosophy90 karma

that song was the first electronic song that brought me to tears, man. fucking incredible work

porter_robinson93 karma


jizzissippi109 karma

Seems like a lot of Japanese influence in your work these days. What interests you so much in that ?

porter_robinson346 karma

japanese music is the reason i started writing music, really. i first heard electronic music in dance dance revolution and that's what inspired me to even try.

tamakun80813 karma

Holy shit! What is your favorite mix? Please say 5th Mix or Extreme.

porter_robinson11 karma

i wish you hadn't suggested those two because you'd have been WAY more excited that that's my actual answer. those are the only two ddr soundtracks that i own on CD.

my favorite stepcharts are insertion, max 300, and so deep. my favorite songs from the game are mobo moga, candy (star), any dj taka stuff... also as far as stepmania goes, i loved A (IVKAS, the kbmp stepchart) and of course quasar and ageha... all pretty popular simfiles.


1) What are your thoughts on the Kaskade vs. SoundCloud debacle?

2) What does 【=◈︿◈=】 mean?

porter_robinson91 karma

to be honest, i'm not sure if i exactly follow what kaskade's saying (although in the interest of answering most stuff, i kinda skimmed it). i generally don't have issues with my music getting taken down from soundcloud, but i don't post mashups either. maybe ultra needs to be more on top of their game in terms of demonstrating to soundcloud that his uploads are legitimate.

from the sense i get, though, soundcloud's takedown algorythms have gotten stricter. i saw giraffage tweeting recently "i miss the days when i could write a song full of uncleared samples and then release it the same night on soundcloud" and i've seen that sentiment echoed in a lot of other places... i don't really know, though. all of my stuff (including dj mixes) are still on there.

i'm not really adding much here, but i didn't want it to look like i was avoiding the question.

this is fairly unrelated, but honestly, as far as soundcloud goes, i'd just like to have the options for artist to either 1) disable the waveform display or 2) prevent listeners from clicking around in the song. that'd keep people from just clicking to the loud part of the waveform. i don't think a lot of artists would do it, but it would be a nice option.

danieldino78 karma

What's your favorite song off Worlds?

porter_robinson107 karma

i found this by sorting the comments by 'controversial', but sad machine, divinity, flicker, and goodbye to a world are probably my favorites.

giraffenoggin74 karma


porter_robinson111 karma

ahhhh, thank so much dude.

1) i was really prepared for a backlash against sea of voices - i wasn't hoping for it, but it wasn't terrified of it either. i premiered with sea of voices expressly because i hoped it would get people talking. it wasn't the kind of pop single that you lead with - instead i hoped it would get people thinking about my music in a different way and to not contextualize the whole album as an 'edm' thing!

that being said, i feel like i'm talking about strategy too much. i try to treat strategy and marketing as as much of an afterthought as possible.

2) i never wanted to do that, but i've been digging and finding so much really good music, deep in the echelons of soundcloud recently, that i've thought about it more. i don't want to stretch myself too thin, though.

3) this is the scariest question aaaaagh. i don't want to answer it but i also don't want to delete the last two that i already replied to, so i'm leaving it blank, sorry.

adamikachu71 karma

top 3 anime?! GO!

porter_robinson215 karma

1) anohana: the flower we saw that day! i cried so fucking hard. it is breathtakingly gorgeous.

2) Ōkami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki. subs not dubs

3) hanasaku iroha. i was just rooting for ohana so fuckin' hard

i know i know shit tier taste or whatever. i like crying about moe girls

BostonFucktard73 karma

post fit, fuccboi

porter_robinson94 karma

the burden of fitpost is on the accuser

krstph1367 karma

Hey Porter, forgive me if this was answered already but what inspired you to make the song '' Unison''?

I love your new stuff! Thanks!

porter_robinson109 karma

no shit - the lead melody to 'unison' was original written to be the melody for 100%ITB. it felt too slow, though, and i felt that that song didn't call for a real chord progression, so i started it as a new one.

Pooperscooper10151 karma

In your lifetime, have you ever tried MDMA/ecstasy?

porter_robinson137 karma

i went back and forth on answering this, because i don't want folks to feel judged - but i've never done it. and usually, explanations as to why i'm not willing turn into people trying to change my mind. that's an uncomfortable position to be in. dunno. either way, nope! i haven't done it.

Chevsapher41 karma

Hey Porter! How'd you discover Vocaloid and Avanna?

porter_robinson69 karma

i think just being aware of otaku culture in general put vocaloid in front of me (and of course all the stadium hatsune miku videos, the domino's pizza thing that went viral in front of most people). i just remember googling 'english vocaloid', and then i discovered the terminology 'engloid', and that's how i found the zero-g stuff and avanna.

porter_robinson30 karma

i was really nervous when i made this reply because it was the first answer. i don't think i was making a lot of sense here.

i was really well aware of vocaloid well before any of the more recent viral, joke-y stuff like the domino's pizza ceo video.

elupin3235 karma

Been a fan since your "Get Brain" days, back when i was super into main stage bangers as well haha. To see you progress as a musician has been really cool from a fans stand point. Do you ever see yourself going back to producing bangers? Or even see yourself starting an actual band with limited electronic influence?

porter_robinson64 karma

since get brain. that's awesome.

i don't see myself ever producing edm music-for-DJs again, no. i've wanted to do a band or extended collaboration with some of my long-term music peers, but i guess i'll save that for someday long from now.

belacmu23 karma

Hi Porter! Loving the new stuff, way to be bold and just do what you like. That's real art.

Talking about "EDM", who do you feel has the chops in the game right now? There's a lot of up-and-coming producers lately who are really pressing against this whole typical dance music scene. Do you have any favourites from those guys, or any "EDM" guys who you think are really making good music/art?

porter_robinson41 karma

mannnnn i agree with you that there are a lot of defiant new producers who are killing it. i'm gonna put out a mix soon to try to share some of these artists i've been finding. i'm not saying anything yet though - i don't wanna do it halfass.

BubblefartsRock22 karma

Hey Porter. Big fan here. I remembering seeing you at SAMF last year and that set was fucking incredible dude. Then I went to see you in Milwaukee at The Rave ( I ended having to leave right as your set started :( ) and then when I got back home saw your 'put a fucking shirt on you bro' tweet and showed everyone else and we all had a good laugh (the crowd was pretty bad). Anyways I got a few questions!

-What was something you did that started making your music stand out from the rest?

-do you have any inspirations?

-What headphones do you use for production?

-What's your favorite food?

porter_robinson57 karma

i feel bad about that tweet. i was being angsty about djing in general and i'm sure that anyone who was at SAMF felt it was directed at them... that crowd was really good. for real. i just saw one dude strutting around shirtless after the show and i was being snarky.


i dunno! say my name did so well, and that got me started. and i feel cocky trying to explain why.

2) drinking coffee really makes me work (and poop)

3) i don't use headphones, actually. i just use rokit-somethings. my setup is seriously so shitty.. i'm just used to it.

4) pizza, (real) sushi, and tapioca pearls mmmmmmMMm

lolbeatporttop1013 karma

Hey porter!

I'll keep it short because there's a lot of questions to answer. I was just wondering out of the rest of Worlds, how much of the production would you say is analog?

porter_robinson37 karma

oh man, just the vocals. everything was done in-the-box (with software), basically - i found a lot of workarounds to make stuff sound older, a little dirtier, less stable - a lot of clipping and pitch destabilisation might be making stuff feel analog.

quasiregular8 karma

Why don't you type with capitals?

porter_robinson19 karma

i guess it's part of my "internet voice"? it just feels right to me. hard to explain. i don't think about it anymore.

Crafty_Schemer5 karma

What style do you consider the music you produce now?

porter_robinson11 karma

i don't know, really. i'm going to resist any names that people put on it - i really want to have my own signature. i don't necessarily want to encourage people to make stuff that sounds like me.

i DO want to inspire people to make stuff that sounds like THEM, though! i think i am happy with my music, with "worlds", expressly because i looked inwards and channeled all of my most personal influences. i would encourage other producers to do the same (if they aren't already) - i really doubt the result would come out sounding like me.