Pop Quiz: Porter Robinson on the Second Sky competition and why he by no means anticipated it to work – San Francisco Chronicle


Porter Robinson Photograph: Gaelle Beri

When Porter Robinson got here up with the concept for the Second Sky Competition — which is scheduled to happen Saturday-Sunday, June 15-16, at Center Harbor Shoreline Park in Oakland — he had no thought if it might work.

The plan was to convey again the frilly stage present the 26-year-old digital music producer used for the tour in help of his sole studio album, 2014’s “Worlds”; load the invoice with a bunch of associates and obscure DJs he admires; and stage it at a venue he has by no means visited (some three,000 miles away from his house in North Carolina).

What may probably go fallacious?

It seems not very a lot. With the help of Goldenvoice, the promotion firm behind the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Competition in Southern California, the primary day of Second Sky offered out immediately. So that they added a second day — and that one offered out too. Now Robinson, who this yr was nominated for one of the best dance recording Grammy beneath his alias Digital Self, is questioning the place his ambition can take him subsequent.

The Chronicle spoke to him from his house in Chapel Hill.

Q: After laying low for therefore lengthy, you’re having a fairly epic yr. What spurred the burst of exercise?
A: It’s bizarre as a result of from my perspective it’s sort of an off-year. I’m in between initiatives in the mean time. If you happen to ask my followers, they’re like, “All proper, do one thing!” Persons are ready for me to be a bit of extra energetic. I imply, I’m working actually exhausting by myself, however I are typically fairly secretive about what I’m doing till it really comes out.

The Grammy factor was surprising. After which Second Sky turned out to be an even bigger second than any of us anticipated.

Q: Did you even know you have been eligible for a Grammy?
A: I used to be in Indonesia, and I acquired again to my room, and I noticed it on Twitter. I assumed there had been a mistake. I assumed, “For what?” I noticed that my aspect mission, which I contemplate to be this extremely area of interest factor, was nominated.

Once I did Digital Self, I thought-about not even telling individuals it was me. I actually felt like I used to be making the music for myself and a number of the individuals who have been extremely keen about a number of the issues I like from the early 2000s. To get a nomination for that utterly blindsided me. I used to be ecstatic. I’m not going to lie — I used to be leaping round my lodge room for 20 minutes.

Q: There are a number of music festivals on the market. What do you suppose Second Sky brings to the combo?
A: I suppose my thought was, for as soon as, to provide my followers what they need by doing the present that they needed to see. In change, I’m capable of put all these different artists that I’m keen about in entrance of them.

It’s actually exhausting for high-quality music to get via proper now. My hope is to raise this little slice of my style and, hopefully, enhance the music scene usually by one or two levels.

Q: How tough was it to place your dream lineup collectively?
A: I acquired fairly fortunate. I put collectively an inventory of individuals I wish to see, who I’m actually listening to that I feel my followers would possibly take pleasure in and who’re capable of put collectively a festival-size dwell efficiency — and I despatched that to my managers. We acquired nearly all of the those that I attempted to get.

I actually wish to make this factor pro-artist. My hope is it would showcase everybody in an excellent gentle.

Q: Each days of the competition offered out nearly instantly. Had been you shocked how rapidly tickets went contemplating you have been performing songs from a 5-year-old album on a invoice loaded with unknown acts?
A: I used to be anxious about promoting out a single day. The demand vastly exceeded the capability a number of instances. I actually needed all people who needed to go to have the ability to go, and I assumed we had the right-size venue.

There have been some individuals who have been in my ear who stated, “It will probably’t all be artists who you suppose are cool.” I actually resisted that. I needed it to be my associates and artists I love. Once I hear music that I feel is nice and I do know the person behind it’s struggling to make ends meet, I would like them to have greater platforms.

Subsequent yr, I can go much more bizarre with it.

Q: It’s wonderful that you just even acquired it far sufficient to have that dialog.
A: Yeah, repeatedly, in my profession I felt like, “When is all this going to cease?” I simply really feel actually fortunate that I’ve been capable of do one thing approximating no matter I feel is correct. I would like that to be potential for extra individuals. I don’t need artists to should compromise for profession causes. I’m making an attempt to create a bit of world the place I could be on the identical stage as a number of artists that I like.

Second Sky Music Competition with Porter Robinson, Madeon, Cashmere Cat, Kero Kero Bonito, G Jones, Nina Las Vegas, others: Midday-10 p.m. Saturday, June 15, and Sunday, June 16. $75-$195. Center Harbor Shoreline Park, 2777 Center Harbor Highway, Oakland. Venue is barely accessible by way of a free shuttle from the West Oakland BART Station; or get a experience to a chosen drop-off location close to the venue. No on-site parking is offered. www.secondskyfest.com

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Aidin Vaziri

Aidin Vaziri is The San Francisco Chronicle’s pop music critic. E-mail: avaziri@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @MusicSF

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