Porter Robinson Revisits His Rowdy DJ Past

The producer takes a break from his new live show to hit the turntables at Marquee

Porter Robinson saves his old-school rowdy side for gigs at Marquee. (Photo by Tony Tran)

Porter Robinson, the artist who once released drop-heavy tracks, such as “Easy” with Mat Zo and “100% in the Bitch,” has a new album and new outlook. That album, Worlds, is supported by a meticulously planned live show series, Worlds Tour, which will take Robinson across the country and soon—you guessed it—around the world. Despite being on the road, Robinson is making time to bring his now rare, old-school DJ sets back to Marquee on October 25.

For those who aren’t familiar, what is the difference between your Marquee sets and your Worlds tour?

There’s a pretty big difference. Right now, I’m doing a live show on tour where I’m only playing original music and I’m not DJing. I’m singing my own songs, playing keyboards and doing live instrumentations. I’m doing lots of long, soft ambient moments. My shows at Marquee are a totally different thing. That’s where I do my most energetic, throwback thing. If you want to see my old DJ sets, the thing that I used to do, Marquee is the place to do it. I know a lot of my fans like to come out and they have nostalgia for that old-style type of show.

Was it difficult to change people’s perception of you and alter their expectations of what a live Porter Robinson performance will be like?

People who had their ears to the ground and Internet heads who pay attention and listen to my music all got the memo. They know what to expect. It’s a gradual process, and I’ve seen so many people come to [the live show] in rave gear, or people who were skeptical and they are now like, “Oh, he’s right. This is something really different.” Many people who aren’t familiar with my new music have definitely praised the show for being something unique to them.

But you’re still into the nightclub vibe?

It’s really fun. As much as I love doing the live show, DJing is like playing video games or something just really unbelievably fun. That doesn’t mean I want it to be my sole outlet for expression, but it’s really cool to come back to Marquee and to just, you know, get a little bit drunk and play some bangers. [Laughs.] I don’t hate that at all.

Where are some of your favorite places to play?

Tokyo is my favorite place in the world. I’ve been influenced and inspired by Japanese culture for about a decade now. I started making music because of Japanese electronic music when I was 12, so I love playing in Japan. I [also] love Australia. I could list a billion cities.

Cities like … Las Vegas?

I sincerely believe that Las Vegas is a place that I could live. I’ve been to a lot of cities, and Las Vegas is a really livable place. It’s actually pretty nice, I mean, outside the Strip. I just love Las Vegas, and I totally did not expect that.

Photo by Rachel Epstein

Photo by Rachel Epstein

Are you going to stay away from the EDM festival scene, or do you plan to go back to the main stages at Electric Daisy Carnival, Ultra and the like?

Last year I didn’t do EDC and I didn’t do Ultra. I skipped both of them intentionally because I was preparing this record and live show, and I didn’t want to send mixed signals. I don’t rule out going back to them in the future. Those festivals have live stages sometimes as well, so that’s an option.

What is it about DJing that you still like so much?

It’s fun to collect music. When I’m not making music, I listen to it constantly and really purposefully—I won’t let myself move on until I listen to every single new thing that’s in my Soundcloud feed. That leaves me with this cool kind of extensive library of music that’s fun to DJ. I really love the reaction. It’s like somebody handed you the auxiliary cable, and you get to show a carful of people a song that everybody loves. That’s what DJing is to me.

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