I stumbled upon a promo piece that accompanied Porter Robinson’s recent EP release as Virtual Self. Porter Explains the pitfalls and ideal vision for the future of electronic dance music. A powerful message that forces us to take a step back and remember where EDM came from, what it has brought us, and ultimately where we want it to go.
Virtual Self is my new side-project. With this E.P., I want to convey a certain kind of ‘new nostalgia’ and resuscitate some things that have fallen out of fashion, especially from the early 2000s.
Musically, the project is super super inspired by rhythm games and electronic music from that time period. I could talk endlessly about the techniques that I learned to make stuff sound like it was written in 2001, but that’s probably boring to you — but I tried to authentically incorporate IDM-y, jungly drum breaks, era-accurate trancy supersaw sections, early hardcore and j-core elements, but all morphed into something that sounds kind of ‘big’ and thoroughly produced. In other words, I wanted to morph 2001 tropes into a 2017 production sensibility.
Finally — and this might be the goal that’s dearest to me — is to push electronic music in a different direction. As electronic music essentially converged with pop in 2016 (for the second time in the last 10 years, the other time being 2011), I think it’s pushed a lot of artists away from risk-taking and passion projects. In the last two years, for most artists, all they really had to do was compromise their style by like 30% and add a safe, inoffensive tropical vocal to have a chance at having a hit — and I think for many, that temptation was too much.
In the last two years, for most artists, all they really had to do was compromise their style by like 30% and add a safe, inoffensive tropical vocal to have a chance at having a hit — and I think for many, that temptation was too much.
In my opinion, electronic music is at its best and its healthiest when new, exciting, unexpected things are happening. This is a genre that thrives on novelty. And to be totally clear, I don’t think that Virtual Self, early 2000s trance, or digital abstract art are the solution or the future at all . But!! I DO think this style is something unexpected, and something I’m uniquely poised to make, because I love it. And that’s the precedent I want to set, or at least the approach I want to remind other artists of.
I really, really, truly, love electronic music, and I want it to be as good as it can be. I hope that by doing something unexpected, I can shake things up and hopefully inspire other artists to do something weird.
Anyway, please listen and enjoy!
Thanks for taking the time to hear about all this.
– Porter Robinson