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Porter Robinson: “If you’re going to exist in the public eye, you’re going to get dragged”

Porter Robinson’s ‘SMILE :D’ is a testament to the power of creative liberation, as the artist fearlessly explores new sonic territories and confronts uncomfortable truths with unbridled enthusiasm.

Porter Robinson’s ‘SMILE :D’ is a testament to the power of creative liberation, as the artist fearlessly explores new sonic territories and confronts uncomfortable truths with unbridled enthusiasm.

Words: Ali Shutler.
Photos: George Muncey.


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“Every project I’ve done has been a total reinvention,” says Porter Robinson. After helping lay the foundations for EDM with a string of early tracks and co-writing Zedd’s massive dance-pop crossover hit ‘Clarity’, Porter’s 2014 debut album ‘Worlds’ was a glitching, melodic bid for fantastical escapism that wanted more than big drops or sugary hooks. 2021’s ‘Nurture’ took things even further. More stripped back and lush, the album saw Porter gently reckoning with relationships, mental health and belonging over intricate soundscapes.

“I guess the most surprising thing I could do now would be make something that retreads similar ground,” he says before smirking. “But I just can’t do that.” True to his word, new album ‘SMILE :D’ is another bold leap into the unknown, thanks to a giddy collision of scrappy 00s guitar and the bratty confidence of hyperpop. “I wanted to make music that felt huge.”