As EDM continues to grow and evolve in America, the all-encompassing term becomes increasingly insufficient to encompass the panorama of genres and sounds that fall under its umbrella.
From the resurgence of deep house to the hip-hop influenced bass rumbles of Flume and the kitchen-sink experimentalism of artists like SOPHIE and myriad of alternative sounds in between, electronic dance music has moved beyond the visceral, hands-in-the-air euphoria of prime time big-room bangers that power festival main stages.
For Porter Robinson, falling into the circuit of main stage marquee DJs determined to keep crowds dancing happened almost by accident. After an early single topped the Beatport charts, an ambitious promoter hit the young producer up with an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“My origins, my roots are not as a DJ,” Robinson explained during an interview with Radio.com. “I didn’t go out watching DJs, I didn’t go to clubs, I was seriously 15 years old in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, just at home writing electronic music for many, many years. Then I had a song I released that was a Beatport No. 1 and I started getting requests to go DJ. This guy was like, ‘I’ll pay you $500 to come to Portland and DJ my party.’ I was like, well, let me learn how to DJ and I will do that for you. For one reason or another, my DJing happened to go really well. Not to say I wasn’t proud of the music I was making at the time, but I almost feel like I chanced into it. I just kept taking the opportunities that were given to me and doing my best at all of them.”
With his 2012 single, “Language,” Robinson moved beyond the typical “banger-y, bass line electro stuff” towards something he considers more sensitive, emotional and ultimately risky.