Dubstep, as a genre, can be called an infant when compared to all the other genres of electronic music. People were quite sceptical about Dubstep music in its initial stages. It sounded nothing like they had ever heard of before. One could describe it as a high octane, concentrated and free flowing brand of music that seemed to defy all the pre-existing conventions about electronic music. It was quite clear that it would take a miracle for people to start listening to Dubstep on a more regular basis and even begin liking it perhaps. Well that miracle came in the form of Skrillex.
This man needs very little introduction. Any listener of music has heard of Skrillex at least once or twice in his or her life. People who don’t know him well would depict him as a strange musician, with strange outfits, strange hairstyles and an even stranger style of creating and playing music. When you hear his tracks for the first time, you may feel a little weird about it. As mentioned before, there is nothing conventional about Dubstep music. It almost sounds as if it is a hotchpotch of every kind of music out there. Once you listen to a few of his tracks a handful of times, you’ll begin to get used to it, and be a little more drawn towards his style. Before you realize, you’ll be shaking your head, arms and body to his rhythm and voila! A new Skrillex fan is born.
By profession, Skrillex is an electronic dance music producer, DJ and songwriter. His birth name is Sonny John Moore and he was born on 15th January 1988 in the Highland Park Neighborhood of North East Los Angeles. He was raised in the neighbourhood of Forest Hill in San Francisco. In there, he attended elementary school like any other average child. But Sonny was far from average in his days of childhood. Not surprisingly, he was extremely passionate about music, and he spent much of his days appreciating and learning the art of music. This caused his personality to be a little different from other children. As a result, he was often bullied in school. The bullying took him from one school to the other. Much of his childhood was spent in changing schools and moving homes. Eventually, it was decided that he was to be home schooled. He was 14 years old at that time. He wasn’t entirely dedicated to education. His interest lay in music. Once he got learn the bitter truth about him adopted, he decided to drop out of home schooling and divert his focus to music. A young teenage Sonny would often participate in Punk gigs in Mexican America neighbourhoods. His interest in Punk music soon transformed into interest in electro rave. He started attending electro club raves in the downtown Silver Lake’s and Echo Park neighbourhoods. For Sonny, these weren’t just pleasure and entertainment trips. With each gig he attended, he picked up a new lesson in music. With each artists he listened to, the fire of passion in his heart burned brighter.
The year 2004 is when business picked up in Sonny’s life. He approached Matt Good from First to Last with the proposition of playing guitar for the band on their debut album. Sonny was recruited by three studio producers and he was appointed as the lead singer. Yes, the Skrillex that you know today started out his career as a lead vocalist around 10 years ago. The band’s first full length album was released in June 2004 by Epitaph Records. The album was named, “Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has a Body Count”. The band went on a number of successful tours where Sonny put his sheer talent on display. The second album Heroine was released on March in the year 2006 through Epitaph Records once again. Much like the previous album, the band registered high record sales with the new release. On the back of the fresh success, Sonny and his crew went out on tour. The celebration was short lived as Sonny struggled with his voice. He had developed a handful of vocal problems which disrupted his singing capabilities. As a result of his “broken” voice, the band hand to cancel a number of tours. What followed next was a difficult phase in the life of Sonny. He went through surgery to get his voice fixed. Once he was healed and healthy, he made the tough decision of resigning from the band to pursue a solo career. Given how hot the band was then, it seemed like a pretty unwise decision from the lead vocalist at that time. However, like every superstar musician, Sonny knew that he had it in him to build a career on his own and to reach for the stars without the help of his band members. He no longer wanted to be associated with a band. He wanted people to recognize him for who he is, and love the music that he created on his own. His first course of action as a solo artist was the creation of a Myspace page. In there, he posted three demos called “Signal, “Equinox and “Glow”. He continued this trend of releasing demos for quite some time, months in fact. He went on tour with a full band in an attempt to promote his CD which contained some of his best demos. Interestingly, the CDs were very well packaged and had an unique artwork made by Sonny himself. This gives you a clear understanding of how he committed he was to spreading the word about his solo career out there.
In February of 2008, Sonny decided to take his band on the second annual AP Tour. The line up in that tour was quite star studded, and this was an amazing opportunity for young Sonny to let his work shine among more experienced artists. A year later, he released Gypsyhook EP. This was a digital EP that contained three songs and four remixes crafted by Sonny himself. He added another feather to his cap in the year 2009 when he toured alongside Hollywood Undead. At that time, his band name was called Sonny and the Blood Monkeys. The changing band line-ups and names tell you that Sonny was going through a phase of experimentation. His plan was to mix and match till he stumbled upon the winning combination. On the internet, Sonny was known as Twipz. All of that changed when he hopped on the initiative to produce and perform under the alias Skrillex. Back then, his operation was confined to the Los Angeles area, but it was sure to expand in the days to come. His official debut EP as Skrillex was released in the year 2010. It was called “My Name is Skrillex” and was a free download. He continued to aid other bands with his programming and vocal services in that time.
The Year of Change: 2011
In 2011, he joined “The Project Blue Book Tour” in 2011. It was here that he revealed a number of new songs, one of which was “First of the Year” (previously known as Equinox). Other tracks included Reptile and Cinema. By now, he had transcended into the realm of Dubstep completely. All of these newly released tracks were a huge commercial success. For instance, Reptile was played in a TV commercial for Mortal Kombat 9. It was in this year that released his legendary track known as “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites”. This track took the world by storm. In June 2011, he went on to unveil “More Monsters and Nice Sprites”. The song that garnered the most attention from this EP was “Ruffneck”. Later in August in that year, he formed his own label known as OWSLA. Through this label, he was able to release a music video for “First of the Year”. In December of 2011, Skrillex released the Bangarang EP on Beatport Records.
2012 till Now
The highlight of 2012 in the career of Skrillex was the release of “Make it Bun Dem After Hours”. Like most of his previous works, this was very well received by both the fans and the critics. 2013 was the year of “Leaving”. This was his 7th EP and it produced the single “Try it Out” with Alvin Risk. In 2014, came out “Recess”. This was a LP, unlike everything else he had released hitherto. One could label it as his debut album.
The way Skrillex has used the Dubstep and presented it to the casual listeners is truly amazing. Without his dedication and commitment to music, the world may have perhaps never been familiarized with Dubstep as it is today. Currently, Skrillex is working away to come up with more innovative sounds to entertain, enthral and in certain cases shock the listeners. If Dubstep ever becomes as popular as Rock ‘N Roll and R&B, then historians will definitely look back at Skrillex as the man who put the Dubstep motion into action.