Concerts

Porter Robinson on Debut Album, Worlds, and Outgrowing "the DJ Thing"

Page 3 of 3

The 22 year old also yearns to be ranked among his heroes -- and held to the same standards.

"When I see my favorite artists perform, like Kanye West, Daft Punk, Justice, if their sets were 90-percent cover songs, I'd probably be really disappointed," he says. "I admire artists who are known for their music first and foremost, and I think that's what I was reaching for with the record."

These influences are heavily apparent in the music on Worlds. So is the impact of Robinson's well-documented love for Japanese culture and video-game soundtracks.

"Japanese video-game music is the whole reason I even ever heard electronic music and was interested in it at age 12, which is when I first started writing music," he explains. "What I was trying to do with this record was to pass off every influence that was not authentic to me, and then do something that was superclose to what I love."

Some have analyzed Worlds as a sort of concept album, trying to glean a specific narrative from its lyrics. And Robinson accepts that kind of interpretation, in the sense that it's a musical journey. But he also says the record isn't telling any singular, linear tale. Rather, it's a deeply referential sonic montage, and each song is an exploration of all the TV shows, movies, video games, literature, and art that he loves.

"Worlds, to me, is meant to be an appreciation through music of fiction, escapism, and fantasy," Robinson explains. "It's meant to be this musical homage to the feelings that I get when I fucking watch anime, a sci-fi movie, or I read a book. A lot of people think that Worlds itself is meant to be this story. But in fact, I would say that it's about stories. That's why it's not World, because it's not a world."

In all, from conception to completion, the album took three years. And though he was possessed by an intense, unrelenting vision throughout the Worlds sessions, even the record's creator was surprised by what it eventually became.

"I think that it ended up being slightly more sweet than I had pictured it in my head. I imagined it being a little darker and a little more sad, but there's only so much that you can hold a song's hand and tell it what to do," he says. "This will sound so weird, I know -- but to a certain extent, in my mind, these songs have always existed or were meant to be. Sometimes, when I'm halfway done, I want it to go in a certain direction, and I just can't force it to go that way."

See also: Five Signs You Might Be a Shitty DJ

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Kat Bein is a freelance writer and has been described as this publication’s "senior millennial correspondent." She has an impressive, if unhealthy, knowledge of all things pop culture.