At the Djakarta Warehouse Project 2012 few weeks ago, I got a chance to interviewing one of the main lineups of that Jakarta’s massive dance festival, Porter Robinson. This 20-year-old beatmaker from Chapel Hill, North Carolina gradually rises to the prominence on Summer 2011 with his killer electro anthems like “Language”, “Spitfire”, and “Unison.” Had been getting recognition and playing alongside top DJs like Tiesto, Armin Van Bureen, Skrillex and Deadmau5 all over the world, this boy genius told me about his music and the crazy journey so far.
So it is the first time you come to Indonesia?
Second, I was in Bali last week, but really I think it’s still my first time.
How was your impression so far about Jakarta?
I haven’t really doing anything, the traffic is crazy, but the hotel is really nice, it’s beautiful. So yeah it’s really good day for me It’s been great.
Okay, would you mind to tell me a bit about your music? How would you describe it?
Yeah, I do like electro, dance music… hmm… It’s weird, it’s always weird to talk about your own music. My DJ set is kinda high energy, very fast mixing, I play more songs pretty quickly. It’s fun and challenging. I wanna do something unique and so energetic.
Who were your musical influences when you start to make your own music?
Wolfgang Gartner would be number one artist that really influence me. His music is very detailed, very intricate, and it sounds really difficult to make. For me that’s really inspiring, you can tell how hard he’s working on his music. When I first started, there’s also Deadmau5, but today its kinda changing, I’m still love them but today the music I love the most is music that has some kind of beauty, being gorgeous and makes you feels some goosebumps. Like Sigur Ros, Stars, a lot of soundtracks for movies or TV shows.. I wish I could show you my iPod, haha.
Talk about electronic music, how do you think its evolved until now?
Hmm, actually I’m always been secluded. I came from small country town in United States, there’s no clubs, there’s no DJs. I was never really being a part of the electronic music scene, I’m just follow the music that feel most inspirational for me. Few years ago that music happens to be electro, like Wolfgang Gartner and Deadmau5. I didn’t grew up going to clubs, I didn’t really grew up strictly listening to electro legends, like classic dance stuff or house music, I’m not the best person to tell you how it change, but I think it’s in healthy stage right now and I just hope in the next few years producing music will be more challenging, more interesting, I wanna see the scene to take more risk.
So what is your aim for electro music itself?
Uhm, to be honest of course in the next year I wanna write music that exciting and fun to listen to but at the same time I want people to feel emotions. I think my biggest song is “Language” which I wrote late last year and the biggest compliment I ever get is when fans says their crying during that song. I wanna make people feel that way. I think its more challenging than making people dance and go crazy. I’m writing an album right now that focus on emotion and beauty, goosebumps and chills, haha.
Will you collaborating with someone?
Yeah, I have a lot of collaborations coming up but I don’t want to announce it until its come out because sometimes people…they don’t wanna do it and when you looking back, you announce the collaboration but it didn’t happen… so I’m just gonna say wait and see, but I’m doing some collaborations for sure.
Where was your biggest gig so far?
I think it was Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas. I think its like 50 or 60 thousands people… really crazy, I was on the main stage, right after Avicii and right before Armin Van Bureen. I think that’s my biggest show ever.
Beside electro, what kind of music you do listen to?
Uhm, when I’m listen to music in airplane or whatever, it’s often more indie music these days, and I got a lot of film scores, some kind of music that makes me feel something, but I still like dance music, I really do. I still playing dance music whenever I’m partying or DJ, but there’s another side of it to me, which is the emotional side and I think it’s important.
Well, then what are your favorites movies?
The House of Flying Daggers has one of my favorite soundtracks ever, it got the same director for Hero… Spirited Away is also my favorite movie of all time.
Wow! You actually watching anime too?
I watch so much anime!! Haha, Dan, my tour manager is laughing right now because all the time I watch a lot of Japanese media. Not only anime, but I also watch a lot of like tv show and… I’m kinda embarrass about it, it’s kinda my own thing
Have you performing in Japan?
No, but I really looking forward for it, next year I’ll do it. You know, I’m actually gonna have layover in Tokyo the day after tomorrow, I’m actually looking forward for that, haha. I think just to being in Tokyo airport is exciting to me. I’m really obsessed with Japanese culture for sure.
Beside music, what else you enjoy?
Well, I used to do debate and fencing. I used to do sport and stuff but when I start writing music I decide to give all of them up because for now music is the thing I really enjoy the most. I think to do something well, you really have to put everything into it, so I don’t have much time to being with friends or do sports. Just writing music all the time and it’s works for me, you know. I’m still watching shows and plays video games, though.
Do you have any particular resolution for 2013?
Hmm…resolution… I just want to finish my album, that’s all I wanna do. And I got few months off and I decide to cut the touring for a little bit, today gig is like one of my last shows for awhile. Cos I’ve been touring everyday for like two years and it’s really hard for me to write music on the road so after these few days I’m gonna back home and try to finish my album.
Where did you record your album?
I record it on my bedroom at home; I don’t have a studio really. It’s just my computer and my speakers in the same bedroom I grew up as a child. I always believe that you can make good music in any system, you don’t need expensive equipment, you just need to be indulgent and know how your system supposed to sound, listen to a lot of music, and listen to your song in car and in headphones to make sure its sounds good in a lot of different places. I think with enough technique you don’t need a lot of equipment.
So you consider yourself as bedroom musician?
Totally. Hundred percent. I never work in studio. But for these collaborations I need to go to studio to do some vocals and stuff, but for the most part I do it in my bedroom.
Did you listen to another bedroom musicians?
Yeah, the more important thing is sometimes you can’t even tell whose bedroom musician or not, because it doesn’t sounds any different in my opinion. I mean Skrillex is a pure bedroom musician, for his last album he made it with only one speaker because the other one was broken. I think its good evidence that you can make a good sounding music on lo-fi system.
Last question, what can we expect from your live performance?
Well, kinda like what I said before, I’m gonna mixing really fast, try to get play a lot of songs in an hour and half. I want to show a bunch of different music that I like, some of it would be kinda darker, some of it would be more beautiful. I just like to express different array of emotions and feeling and style. But is gonna be fun show, as long as people want to come and see and have an open mind, it should be awesome.
Photo by Muhammad Rahadian