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Porter Robinson

The Journey Of Porter, Musically and Mentally

by MIke Ciro

I’m proud to admit that Porter Robinson is my favorite musician, along with being a great role model. He has stayed true to himself more than most other EDM artists out there and is a pure source of inspiration, as well as motivation. His style is hard to affiliate with a single sub-genre, because not only does he have a unique style, but multiple. Some newcomers to the scene may not know, but Porter has changed his sound a lot throughout the course of his career. Not just as Porter Robinson, but through several aliases. Before there was ever a Porter Robinson, there was Ekowraith, and while still existing as Porter Robinson, Virtual Self has come to coexist. Each of these aliases differed greatly in their vision and perhaps portrayed different times in Porter’s life.

At the age of 15, Ekowraith was the first name that he started releasing from the years 2005 – 2010. During this time he was acquainted with Madeon through online music forums. It’s well known that they’ve become good friends since then and blessed their fans with the memorable Shelter Tour. During this time he produced music that went by ‘Hands Up’, a genre quite popular in that time that included influences from Trance, Happy Hardcore, and Eurodance. He started releasing music commonly referred to as ‘Complextro’, which I would best describe as Electro with Dubstep influences. Complextro was certainly trending at that time, with artists like Knife Party and Wolfgang Gartner also partaking. Porter’s Spitfire EP took the EDM world by storm in 2011 and he quickly acquired a massive fan base. Soon after, he released his single ‘Language’ the next year, which showed a more melodic and brighter side of Porter’s visions, which shot to the top of the Dance Music charts. It was most definitely a foreshadowing of what was to come, as later in that same year, he released ‘Easy’ featuring Mat Zo, which sat at the top of the Beatport Top 100 for an impressive two-week stretch. His unique talent has been righteously recognized throughout his reign to this day.

In 2014, we were stunned with the groundbreaking ‘Worlds’ album, which led to the start of one of the most legendary tours in the history of Electronic Dance Music. Seeing the performance of Worlds for my first time in at Electric Zoo NY in 2016 was truly something comforting that I didn’t see coming at the time. His music released a soft spot in me that I had tucked away during darker times in my life. Since that day I’ve literally played his music at least once a day. It’s become a crucial part of my life and lifts me up when not much else can. Just when I thought he couldn’t become any more impressive, he revealed his Virtual Self and rocked my world. With this project, he did what a lot of old school DJs have been begged to do, and that was returning to the old school. Tiesto may have not returned to Trance, but Porter Robinson successfully brought a concept to the main stage that portrayed the Golden Era of Dance Music pretty well. Virtual Self can be viewed as a return to his passion of harder music that he produced under Ekowraith. The Virtual Self experience is an exhilarating roller coaster through multiple genres, including Breakbeat, Happy Hardcore, Trance, and Techno. The project was highly controversial among his original fans, while it gained plenty of new fans along the way. Personally, I’ve never seen Porter enjoy himself more than when he’s on stage being his Virtual Self, and that in itself brought me joy.

Some may not know, but Porter has openly talked about his struggle with depression throughout his career. As someone who can relate to once being a slave to depression, he’s become my favorite artist since seeing him speak so openly about his own struggles. A great example of the power his music has on me was the gift of seeing his Secret Sky set during the peak of quarantine season. Like most, I wasn’t dealing well with being locked down at home and was feeling more depressed than I had in a while. Secret Sky was the only positive thing I really had to look forward to at the time. When the day came I was just as excited as I would’ve been to see him play live in person. It has been rumored that Porter fans do nothing but cry and wipe tears on their pashminas and that I can confirm. There has not been one set I’ve witnessed by him that hasn’t triggered at least a single teardrop. These tears aren’t the kind you shed after a breakup, but the kind that you shed when something touches the deepest and most intimate parts of your soul that you may have not known were there prior. His Secret Sky set was no exception and perhaps evoked even more emotion than any set before, particularly when a familiar song came on that made a lot of old emotions and memories resurface. If anyone can get away with playing ‘With You’ by Avril Lavigne in the middle of their DJ set, it’s most definitely Porter Robinson. He ended the set with his debut of ‘Look At The Sky’, which is the 3rd song revealed on his forthcoming album, ‘Nurture’. This song spoke to me on such a personal level through the lyrics, I was in awe. Because of this experience, I vowed to be more serious about my mental health and sought out solutions to stay more positive through challenging times, and the day that his new album drops is one that I certainly look forward to.

Not only do I admire Porter for his music, but I’m also able to relate to him on a level that no other artist has before. Not only does his music feel like the ultimate soundtrack to my life, but the openness of his struggle with depression truly makes me more confident in overcoming battles within my own life. Porter makes being open about your emotions acceptable and welcome. Most people, by default, would rather play it safe and portray a tough image of themselves. I’ve learned that life is much more easygoing and stress-free when you accept being your Virtual Self.

A more in depth display of how Porter’s sound has progressed through his impressive reign.

*Featured Image Via Grant Gilmore*

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