Porter Robinson talks Worlds and being “so infatuated with Australian music”

In October of last year, inthemix’s Katie Cunningham joined Porter Robinson on his sold-out club tour of Australia for our first ever in-depth Headliners piece. Then, Porter was at the tail-end of writing his debut album and travelling around the country for one of the last tours he’d do as a DJ, before he delivered the record and debuted the live show to go with it. Eight months later, with the release of that long-awaited album Worlds only weeks away, they caught up once more.

So the Worlds remixes – like the Arty one and the Anamanaguchi one that came out the other day – are you approaching the artists that you want to remix for you, or are they coming to you?

It’s been a little bit of both actually. I’m obviously not trying to get any remixes from artists I don’t like, so I made a list of artists I’d be down to get remixes from. But also I just had people hitting me up, circumventing the label a little. Like Ryan Hemsworth hit me up over Twitter and was like “Hey, can I get the Sad Machine stems?” and I’m like sure, do whatever with it. I don’t know if he’s even going to make a remix, but the same thing happened with Cosmos Midnight. Cosmo’s Midnight – is that two dudes or is it one dude?

It’s two dudes but they’re identical twins so, confusing.

Oh god, that’s so confusing. And then Anamanaguchi was the same way, it wasn’t set up by the label. They just hit me up and were like “Hey, we’re trying to do something new and we love that song at the moment.” Oh god, the last time I talked to you Katie, that song wasn’t even written.

Yeah that’s crazy. Well actually I think you said at Future that you’d just written one more song really quickly that was going to go on the album…which was Sad Machine?

Ahhh. Okay, may have been that. Actually, no. Sad Machine was written and turned in – seriously – like five days before the album final release. I had to do some crazy, crazy shit, pull favours and bullshit, to get it to come out as fast as it did. It came out like the day after I did the master. But I knew that it was the song that needed to come out next, in order for the rest of the songs to feel cohesive. But yeah anyways, remixes, I’ve loved all of them so far and it’s cool to have those kind of artists fucking with me.

I was going to ask if you had more coming out but I guess you’ve already answered that.

Yeah, we got more.

And will there be another single coming out before Worlds drops? Or was Lionhearted the last one?

Yeah there will be another single. I almost feel weird calling them singles. The next song that’s coming out – it’s called Flicker – and it was the fourth song that I played in my BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix, actually.

Oh really!

Yeah. Well if you Shazam it, it comes up and it says ‘Flicker’. Yeah it’s the one that starts off with a like hip-hop beat and a vocal that’s Japanese and really high-pitched, right after Marijuana by Chrome Sparks.

Yeah I know the one you’re talking about. I remember it just said ID – ID on the tracklist.

Yeah I couldn’t say what it was quite yet. But yeah that one’s gonna come out next and we’re not calling it a single because obviously [it] has no aspirations of being the biggest song ever, it’s just the one I wanted to show people next. But it’s weird, four of the 12 songs will have come out in advance of the album.

Although there’s no old material on the album, no Language or Easy or anything on the record, but I guess the reason I feel good about this is – and maybe I’m just tooting my own horn, as it were – it’s not like I’m showing off the only four songs I put any effort into and the rest are just filler. I’m equally as excited for everyone to hear every other song on the album as I was those four. So I’m not kicking myself for putting out four in advance. But obviously I thought about it. I’m rambling!

So is there any one track on the album that’s especially close to your heart? Is there one song you feel stands out as your best piece of work?

I always feel kind of wary saying this because it’s one people have heard already, but I think the one I feel the most strongly about is Sad Machine. That might just be because I always like the most recent song I wrote the best. It’s the one that I wrote the most recently and maybe that’s why I care about it so much. But when I wrote Sad Machine I wanted to do something that for me summarised the album a bit, and for me it employed all the different tropes of the album: the vocaloid vocal, and the N64 type sound and the sort of vintage sensibility, but a little bit of the pop sensibility as well. And to me that song really represents the album. It’s my favourite.

Next page