Porter Robinson‘s love of electronic music is a relationship often expressed through care and criticism. A recently uncovered e-mail document from the producer on his Virtual Self project proves as much.
The leaked e-mail, which was addressed only to key industry partners and friends, offers further insight into Robinson’s views on the the state of art and authenticity in electronic music.
In the message, Robinson speaks to pop’s infiltration of electronic music since 2016, his concern over how artists have been compromising personal style for the safety net of a chart-topping hit, and his goal to reignite creative risk taking.
Robinson felt he was uniquely positioned to “push electronic music in a different direction,” whereby his Virtual Self identity could be used as a launching pad for giving the industry the creative invigoration it needs.
The message was confirmed by his management as authentic, as well as in Robinson’s replies on Twitter, embedded below.
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 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
H/T: Your EDM
Photo credit: Ohno