When Porter Robinson touches down with Skrillex and Tommy Lee at Level Nightclub this month he will still have half a semester of high school to complete.
The number one charting DJ (on the Beatport’s Electro-House chart) who caught the world’s attention for his song “Say My Name” is actually still attending a charter school in North Carolina in a hometown about as far removed from the music scene he’s won a spot in as possible.
“There’s almost nothing of an electronic club scene here,” said Robinson, who ultimately couldn’t play in it even if there was at the tender age of 18.
Noting he started learning how to produce from the music he found on Japanese video games, Robinson said everything he has learned about musicality he’s taught himself—including how to play the piano.
And he’s even had to learn how to adapt to the tastes of his fans.
Initially, he was working on a hard dance sound tempered to a very specific German audience, but as the scene started to fade earlier this year, he took his efforts to a more mainstream level, producing electro-house.
And he’s reportedly done well, catching the attention of The Crystal Method, Armand Van Helden and Tiesto—now scheduled to play Kelowna in the spring.
All of that said, it’s really only been within the year that Robinson has developed his sound.
Though he was roughly 13 years old when he started playing music, until four months ago he had never been on a plane alone to go overseas.
But what he lacks in experience, he makes up for in work ethic and style. Based out of his house, it takes him an average of 40 to 50 hours of work to complete a song and he never stops writing.
Add that to the eight hours he’ll spend in an airport waiting for flights, not to mention the essays and homework, and Robinson admits he has little time to himself.
As to how he manages to get so much into his schedule, that he says lands squarely on his dad’s shoulders.
“He is responsible for so much stuff that gets smoothed out,” Robinson said.
Whether it’s working around his school’s requirement not to miss more than 28 days during his graduating year, or navigating through tour stops, Robinson said his life is similar to any other teenager’s in that the parental figures are still a major part of the equation.
Skrillex, Tommy Lee & DJ Aero play with Porter Robinson at Level Nightclub Feb. 17.