Time to give a VJ major props. Ghostdad ran all over with Porter Robinson for his 30-date Language Tour, showcasing some of the most badass visuals I’ve seen in a while.
DD Hi Ghostdad. Porter Robinson sent me your way via Twitter. How are you doing, and where are you at right now?
GD I’m good! I’m in Brooklyn New York. Just got back from the Language Tour and crashed out for a few days but I’m slowly returning to real life.
DD Was this the first tour you’ve been a part of?
GD This is the first Porter Robinson tour I’ve been a part of. Before that, I was on tour playing music and visuals with my band WIN WIN, and with Spank Rock as one of his backing DJ’s also doing visuals for his show. I’ve toured in the US, Canada, Europe and Australia.
DD Rad. How did you did you hook up with the Language Tour, and what made it unique?
GD Porter and his management saw some of the WIN WIN visuals and commissioned me to make content for his show. They mentioned they were also looking for someone to VJ on his tour and the rest worked out from there. This is the first time I’ve focused just on visuals without performing or DJ’ing on stage at the same time, so I could really fine tune it. The scale of the venues and production were also bigger then the past things I’ve done, which made it a great opportunity to put stuff on a big screen and make it look really good.
DD Talking about big venues and screens is a perfect introduction to EDC Las Vegas 2012. I went with a few buddies and felt that 3 artists brought their best; Afrojack, Feed Me and Porter Robinson. For Porter’s set on Day 3, my friends and I were dumbfounded by the combination of his set and your visuals. One friend was dancing like mad and stopped dead, staring at parts of the show. VJ’s have such an integral role in live environments, especially with electronic music. They are usually in the background, not getting a lot of recognition so I wanna stop and say, rad fucking job!
GD Awww shucks man thanks. Porter definitely brought it musically, I remember him killing it. Festivals can be tough. For the DJ and the VJ I guess in this case. You’re often thrown in with 10 minutes or so to make sure everything is plugged in and works and then someone is like “GO!” and you go. EDC was a surreal experience mostly because of it’s size. It’s probably not as nerve racking as being on stage but looking at the crowd from front of house you could see the tens of thousands of people that were there. Those were some amazing screens and the production designers deserve props on making it look amazing to start with. Also thanks to the guys at @vsquaredlabs for putting me up on the screens, they were running most of the content that day and graciously patched me in.
DD Now going into these visuals more, how much input did Porter Robinson have on all the imagery? Did you show him a bunch of ideas and bounce it off his thoughts, or did you present it all to him and he was like, “fuck yes”?
GD We had a really good back and forth going for the two months leading up to the tour. I would send batches of ideas and he would come back with notes. We actually found a lot of common ground when looking at our Tumblr feeds for references. Somewhere in the middle I went and did visuals for him at Coachella, which gave me a chance to see some of the stuff I was working on and pick it apart a little more. We also worked with two other video artists who prepared content for the show so I was grabbing their stuff and making it VJ-able during that time as well.
DD Yah, he seems very involved with all aspects of his presentation as an artist. How would you describe the theme of these visuals? There’s so many themes melding together; video games, anime, Mayan/Egyptian shit, nature and space..
GD I think Porter wanted something that was stylish and artistic without being too serious. Looking at Tumblr feeds as a pool of ideas contributed a lot, and we definitely follow some blogs that go heavy on the themes you mentioned, as well as gifs and internet memes. I like referencing internet stuff in my visuals because it gives people something to grasp on too. And we might be of a generation where video games and nature and space are all sort of naturally dazzling to us, cuz we grew up paying attention to them so much (or maybe that’s just us nerds ha). It’s good to have some graphics that feel recognizable in the same way Porter plays songs people recognize as sort of arrival points in the set.
DD Any funny memories from the tour you can share?
GD There were lots of funny times with the crew out there, everyone was awesome to hang with. I can’t think of any specific things off hand I’m still sort of coming out of the blur of playing a show every day for a month. One thing that was funny during the shows was when Porter would change his routine a little bit to mess with me and our lighting designer. On the mixes he did often, sometimes he’d change it by 8 or 16 bars which he knew full well was messing with us. We’d end up launching our cues then have to sort of dial them back and wait for the right moment, and I could see Porter laughing on stage cuz he knew we were scrambling. I think our LD Ben, found a way to shine lights in his face or something to get back at him. Made for some fun unpredictable moments.
DD Haha nice. Where do you go from here?
GD WIN WIN has a new record coming out this fall and we’ve changed our live mode from a DJ/VJ setup to drums, guitar, synths, and live visuals. Very excited for all of that stuff. Here’s our latest single
And we printed some posters that are sort of visual preview.
Plug plug plug haha! I’ll be working on more dates with Porter too, we’re figuring out which shows and festivals make sense to bring a VJ too. You may see some of the elements I made in pre-programmed form at some of his DJ gigs, where projection is available in the meantime.
DD Well I wish you the best with all that. Thanks for talking time to talk with Disco Droppings.
GD Sure thing, thanks for having me!
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- Jimi Jaxon