Porter Robinson was just 22 when he released his acclaimed debut album, “Worlds,” in 2014.
When he celebrated his 28th birthday last year, the incredibly popular DJ and electric music artist still had yet to issue a full-length follow-up.
The streak finally ended when Robinson finally unveiled the long-awaited sophomore album “Nurture” in April.
Robinson is celebrating the new album with a U.S. tour that kicks off with his two-day Second Sky Festival at the Oakland Arena grounds Sept. 18-19. It’s the second go-around for this fest, which debuted in Berkeley in 2019, and tickets for both days are already sold out.
Besides getting to see Robison perform, Second Sky attendees will get to experience Madeon, Jai Wolf, Toro Y Moi and other acts. Visit secondskyfest.com for details.
Robinson, who is now 29, also plays Oct. 1-2 at the Los Angeles State Historic Park. Tickets are $69.50-$199. For more information, visit porterrobinson.com.
I recently had the chance to chat with Robinson, who was in his hometown of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, at the time of the call.
Q: What makes Second Sky different from one of your regular concerts?
A: Second Sky is really the ultimate experience, honestly, if you are a fan of my music. We ultimately want it to almost feel like a theme park. We go so hard in terms of decorating it and trying to make it feel like this other world that you escape into.
Second Sky is the place where it’s like you go there and you truly feel like you are immersed into another world.
Q: Plus, fans get to hear a lot of artists who they might not have heard before. Talk to me about your experience as the curator of the festival.
A: I spend so much time listening to music. I love getting into the world of artists. It’s one of my favorite things to do. Part of what keeps me going as a musician is there are constantly new artists coming out and when you listen to their music, I just feel immersed in their world and I can kind of see the world through their eyes.
As the person who is curating the lineup, I am just trying to find artists who exist in this middle ground — (artists) I think would be new for the audience, but they would ultimately grow to love.
It would be really easy for me to pick a lineup of artists that I think I kind of know they would love, or would be popular picks, or would sell the tickets out somehow even faster.
But, ultimately, that’s not going to be my goal. I’m trying to create a world of all this music that I think is amazing and beautiful and life-giving and a nice mix of stuff that hasn’t really gotten a chance on American main stages and should get a chance.
That’s really ultimately what it’s about.
Q: That’s a pretty awesome vision for a festival.
A: I want artists to really want to play Second Sky — like more so than other festivals. I want them to feel it’s a place where an artist can go and it will be a really big opportunity for them to play in front of a really cool group of fans.
I think that was what the first year was. And I think it will be the same story this year.
Q: Why did you choose to bring it back to Bay Area as opposed to holding it in another region?
A: I have a long history of my shows tending to do well in the Bay Area. That’s something that I’ve always felt lucky to have.
I’ve felt like that audience has been so loyal over the years.
I love the Bay Area. I love playing there so much. So, it’s a natural fit.
Q: A couple of weeks after Second Sky, you’ll be heading to SoCal to perform a two-night stand at the Los Angeles State Historic Park. That should be a great spot to see a show. Seems like you are always playing cool venues on your tours.
A: My team and my booking agents, they have a good understanding of what would make sense for kind of my world. We try to always pick the venues very carefully.
That Historic Park is beautiful and it will be a really nice match, I think, for this album “Nurture” that I just released — which is sort of themed to beauty and reality and the search for meaning, and I think having (the concert) in a big park will be something that is special.
Q: Speaking of “Nuture,” how does it feel to finally drop your so-called sophomore full length after such a long wait?
A: It was the biggest catharsis, the biggest relief, I could possibly imagine.
I wrote that album over the course of seven years and, during that time, I spent a lot of time struggling. I struggled with creativity a lot. I became extremely obsessed with working on music all the time — to the point where I was sort of driving myself crazy and becoming unproductive.
But I just so badly wanted to write another great album, that matched up to the first one, that I ended up making things really hard on myself – creatively and emotionally.
It was just not a good place.
Q: No, it doesn’t sound like a good place.
A: Throughout that time, there were just so many things that could have gone wrong. I remember spending time thinking, like, “God, is this album going to leak before I am ever able to release it?” or worse, “Am I still going to be alive? Am I going to get in some horrible car accident? Am I going to see the day when my second album is released?”
There were times when it got really bleak like that.
So, I’m ultimately just so grateful to have finished the project and have it out in the world for people to enjoy.
There’s no feeling like it.