A Conversation With Chet Porter
Talking Tour Dates, Tour Stories, and What's To Come
[Photo: Cole Janeteas]
It's a beautiful Fall day in New York City, and we're set to meet with Chet Porter during some off time from his tour with Feed The Beat alumni, Lemaitre. Chet Porter might not be a household name yet, but trust us when we say that he will be. After releasing a handful of remixes and singles on Soundcloud and Spotify, Chet dropped his aptly titled single "Stay" via Foreign Family Collective, which drove streams in the millions. It's clear that Chet Porter is exactly that: here to stay and pioneering a new lane within electronic music.
We took this opportunity to talk to Chet about his recent touring, his process behind making music, and what the future might hold.
For the Feed The Beat community who doesn't know anything about Chet Porter, how would you describe your music in few sentences?
Oh man, this is a tough question! [laughs] I would just say, "fun!" I wanna make happy, refreshing, indie pop electronic music and have fun. It's not necessarily club music but something you would listen to while you're walking to class. A lot of people assume that when you describe music as electronic that it's all EDM, but I wanna make something that I would listen to and hopefully something other people want to listen to.
Looking at your tour schedule, you've been touring pretty hard recently. How has that been?
It's been a lot of fun. It's also been pretty exhausting. The longest tour I've been on before this Fall was maybe, 28 days. My latest tour with Lemaitre was little over two months. I've definitely had days when I could feel touring taking a toll on me, but it's a lot of fun. When I'm on tour, I'm always dreading going back home because you make these friends on the road and grow close with the band you're touring with. To think that we're just going to say goodbye is kind of sad. I probably won't see them for a really, really long time, but for a 30 day block, they're my best friends that I'm living with. I literally can't avoid them! Because we're living in a bus together.
Now, is this your first tour on a bus? Have you always been in buses, or have you done the van thing before?
Before this Fall run, like even before September, I had never been on a bus. So I was usually flying from date to date which gets to be really expensive and exhausting. And it also just sucks having to check my bags because I always get so nervous that they're gonna lose them or break them or something.
Do you have a baggage loss story?
Oh, it's more than that. It's a pretty long story to tell but basically, I had my keyboard bag and I asked, "Is it cool if I carry this onto the plane?" It's the same as carrying on a guitar basically. And they responded, " Oh yeah, that makes sense, that's cool." So I go all the way through the airport and they scan my ticket at the gate and they look at my passport. So I start walking, I put my headphones in, I'm just walking, strolling. I'm onto the plane now, walking down the aisle, and I feel my keyboard bag just get smacked out of my hand. And I was like, 'What?!" I didn't know what was going on. So I turned around - I guess I said "What?!" pretty loudly, and by the time I turned around and took my headphones out this girl was on her radio calling for the police.
Well that escalated quickly.
I asked what was happening, and she responded, "You can't bring this on the plane." So I asked if I could gate-check it. She said, "No, you need to come with me right now. The police are on their way." So, apparently she had been yelling at me to stop after she scanned my ticket, but I didn't hear her because I had already gotten the thumbs up to go. I had to talk to the cops and she kicked me off the flight. She removed my name from the system and the police officer ended up asking, "Do you really need to take this guy off the flight entirely and make him fly tomorrow?" Ultimately the police officer got me back on the flight which was cool. It was all pretty ridiculous. They ended up gate checking my bag and I asked, "Can you put a 'fragile' sticker on it?" She just rolled her eyes and left.
Did you make it there ok though?
Thankfully, it was all ok. Actually one keyboard knob is broken but like, whatever.
What are your favorite cities to tour through? Any great tour stories?
I don't know if I have really good stories because I've only been touring for a year - but I really liked Seattle. I've only played there once but Seattle is great. San Francisco is great. L.A. is always super good and there's lots of stuff to do there and lots of stuff to eat there. New York is one of my favorite places too. I just like it. I don't really have a real reason. Everything's pretty. It's easy to get around. I have a lot of friends in New York too. I would live here, I think. [laughs]
[Photo: Cole Janeteas]
What do you think your fans can expect when they come to one of your shows?
I think if you were to one of my shows you should expect to hear my music. I have some pretty chill songs that wouldn't fit in a live setting necessarily, but I'm gonna play them anyway. I think that's the thing. A lot of people come with the expectation of like, "Oh, it's EDM, this is gonna be a party." But I have really really slow, soft parts in my set that you can't even really dance to. It's more just like, you absorb it. I want to kill people's expectation of thinking an electronic music show is always gonna be loud and lasers. I hope people leave being like, "Okay, that's not really what I fully expected." And whether they like that or not doesn't really matter to me because I just like the fact that they didn't get what they expected anyway.
You released 'Stay' this year and streaming numbers seemed to skyrocket pretty quickly. What was it like watching that happen?
It was cool. I've never really gotten that many streams before so that was a nice feeling. I'm happy that many people have listened to it and I'm really looking forward to the future.
What does that hold?
I'm really excited to play a bunch of festivals next year. I've never really played a 'real' festival before so I think it will be a new experience, and kind of exciting. Plus, I'll hopefully get to see a lot of other bands and acts that I've wanted to see for a long time. It's cool because not only are you playing, you're also attending.
And any new music coming soon?
I've written a bunch of music over the past half-year or whatever but, I don't know. I wanna start over. In the last six months I have grown up a lot musically. I figured out more about what I wanna do, what I want to sound like, and what I want to achieve. Instead of trying to adapt the songs I've written to what I'm feeling right now, I'd rather just start over. Once I have time off at home, hopefully it becomes pretty routine and speedy and like, "Oh, eight hours a day? Wrote this. Sick!" Hopefully I can get in a headspace where it's just like, "write, write, write, write, write!"There will definitely be an EP in 2017. It's a very personal thing to me to have an EP out. I've never been a huge fan of the singles game. Just releasing single after single. I like sitting down and listening to a record from front to back, so I want to have that.
[Photo: Kurran Reid]
What drives your musical influence?
Music-wise, indie bands like Passion Pit and Tokyo Police Club are hugely influential to me. Aside from music, I find nature inspiring. I can't write music indoors. I've become used to writing music on my front porch in Toronto. I have this morning routine where I wake up, make a breakfast sandwich, make coffee and then i'll just sit outside and work on music all day. It's almost impossible for me to make music without natural light. I have a studio in my room but it's too dark so I don't use it. I'd much rather grab a pair of headphones and go sit on my front porch. I would never watch a scary movie outside in the sunlight, so why would I write a happy song in the dark?