It all started with “Dance Dance Revolution.” The videogame first exposed Porter Robinson, then 12 years old, to an electronic music sound nowhere to be found in his native North Carolina.Now 20, Robinson has since become a sensation in the electronic dance music scene, performing at major music festivals including Coachella and Lollapalooza and topping Beatport and the iTunes dance charts with his first EP, “Spitfire.” “I came into DJing with a sort of virgin perspective because I’d never seen any DJs, so I was less tied down to all the tropes and cliches of conventional dance music,” he says. With the influence of DJ Wolfgang Gartner’s music and a mentor he met through a DDR forum, Robinson transitioned into a hyper-detailed club sound. His 2010 breakthrough hit, “Say My Name,” showed that influence, using techniques like big buildups and trance breakdowns. Robinson signed to Skrillex’s OWSLA label in 2011 and now has residency at major Las Vegas clubs Surrender and XS. Constantly looking for ways to change up his sound, Robinson continued to push the medium with his most recent No. 1 dance hit, “Language.” “When I wrote (“Language”), I set out to give me goosebumps and make myself feel nostalgic,” he says. The song’s success has only emboldened Robinson to continue to shake up the scene. “Now that I have an audience, I can experiment more because people are already paying attention,” he says.
Impact: The young DJ is topping electronic charts with debut EP “Spitfire” and most recent single “Language.”
Next: Will join DJ Zedd on the North American Poseidon Tour in late September
Cause: Walks dogs at his local shelter in Chapel Hill, N.C.