EditorialNew Music

What It Takes To Produce Like Porter Robinson

Porter Robinson's new album, Worlds, comes out Aug. 12

Have you ever been watching Porter Robinson’s live show and wondered:

“How the hell did he get so good?”

Well the answer is quite simple: spend every single moment of free time learning how to produce.

See, while the the image of the superstar producer may coincide with the pretty-boy celebrity, the majority of producers who came up before EDM “exploded” were actually on the opposite side of the spectrum. From a very young age they were spending every moment inside playing video games and tinkering with computers, and Porter was one of them.

Here’s something Porter tweeted right around the time he was developing visuals for his live show:

“I love big, vast, beautiful landscapes despite never caring about the outdoors and I fully attribute that to games.”

Given how totally awesome it is to be outside it might be hard to believe that anyone wouldn’t care about the outdoors, but when you take into account Porter’s raw talent it really isn’t that surprising. He found his sanctuary in virtual worlds (pun intended) and instead of channeling that love into making the games themselves, he started making music.

That sheer dedication combined with a mind for all things digital is what lead Porter to producing some of the best electronic music in the last 10 years before he was even old enough to legally drink alcohol.

His debut EP “Spitfire”, which was released when Porter was 19, separated him as a producer with a deeper knowledge of music than his peers, while demonstrating his potential to make music that attracts an enormous audience. As the first ever release on OWSLA, “Spitfire” established the newfound label as a purveyor of truly innovative music, speaking to Porter’s status as a trendsetter within the scene.
Since then, Porter’s entire career has been based solely on his talent. You won’t find any twitter beefs or relationship scandals after typing his name into Google, and his fanbase has grown exponentially over the last six years with a rather minimal release schedule.

There were a couple singles, including his tear-jerking house track “Language”, but the pinnacle of Porter Robinson came in the form of his debut album ‘Worlds’.

Let me start by saying that I, personally, preferred “Spitfire” Porter. 5 years later, I still don’t think I’ve heard a dubstep track as symphonically exquisite as “Spitfire” (the title track), and there isn’t a track on ‘Worlds’ with that same intensity.

However, as a work of art, ‘Worlds’ is a perfect example of where complete and total dedication to a craft will lead. In truth, dance music, with all it’s defining factors like tempos and lacking melodies, was too limited for a mind as creative as Porter’s.

He needed to sonically express his unwavering love for the virtual landscapes and characters with which he shared his youth. ‘Worlds’ allowed him to do that.

With the release of that album, Porter is now one of the most revered producers in the world. His live show has catapulted him beyond his DJ counterparts, and the music that comes with the live show is about as far as away from “generic” or “EDM” as you can get.

Don’t forget, the source of that innovation is dedication and these five artists show a similar level of dedication in their work.

Releece – Lavender

In regards to dedication over notoriety, Releece is one of the best examples. Quietly producing some of the most tranquil and melodic beats I’ve heard in years, Releece’s effortless style is slowly invading the future bass through his multiple collaborations. Whether it’s a remix of Zhu or a production with his partner An-Ten-Nae under the Dimond Saints moniker, he has a sound comparable to few and sought after by many. Yet he maintains a humble 2,400 followers on soundcloud. This guy truly is a gem to be discovered. His music will take you places.

Shigeto – City Dweller

Some of you may have already heard of Shigeto. If you have, then you’re definitely aware of his unequivocal talent for crafting atmospheric beats. In the same Porter’s music guides the listener through different worlds he had crafted, Shinto’s music harnesses real life images by using more organic sounds. H discography ranges from hard hip-hop to jazzy compositions, but this particular track in on a the more dissonant/ambient side. Personally I feel like I’m lost in a rainstorm when I hear this tune.

Lights – Slow Down (WRLD Remix)

Once Porter put out ‘Worlds’, the massive success he achieved while working around genre-barriers was bound to inspire others to try and do the same. Well, this guy WRLD was more than inspired by Porter. As far as I can tell from his Soundcloud page, ‘Worlds’ was basically the reason he started making music. Other than the fact that he pretty much shares a name with Porter’s album, his first track was posted two years ago (right about the time ‘Worlds’ was released) and his sound evokes similar images of adventures in virtual landscapes. More importantly, he also disregards genre-attachment and has quite the knack for production…just like Porter.


Remember how I said I haven’t heard a dubstep track that compares to “Spitfire” since the EP was put out back in 2011? Well, this track still isn’t quite as good as that one, but its has the same grueling symphonic underpinnings and a level of raucous bass that only can only be provided at 140 bpm. Best of all, he literally has 7 followers on Soundcloud, one of which is me. So keep an eye on this guy. I’m sure he’ll be going places, and you have chance to say “i knew about him before everyone” and who doesn’t love that?

Sonic 2 – Chemical Plant Zone (Mizuki’s Fireside Flip)

There really isn’t a way to gauge how much someone likes video games, but given how often Mizuki’s music makes me feel like I’m in the middle of a boss battle from an NES game, I’d say his love almost matches Porter’s. This track comes from the classic side-scrolling action game, “Sonic 2”, the song for which was flipped into a retro mix of dubstep and 8-bit gaming sounds. Every artist needs inspiration and I have a great amount of respect for artists who make their inspirations clear as day. Even if that inspiration is video games.

Written by
Harry Levin

Hi my name is Harry Levin. I live in LA and I'm an absolute lover of music.

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