There are very few music artists in today’s industry that are as polarizing as Skrillex. If you ask one person, he or she may tell you that Skrillex is the best thing since sliced bread. If you ask another, they could declare that the stuff he makes “isn’t even music.” The guy in the back, however, nods his all-knowing head because he is aware of the basslines and music structures required for tracks to be “actual dubstep.” But all biases and music snobbery aside, just what’s the deal with Skrillex? It seems as if the general public can’t make up their mind, so it’s time to clear things up.
The man behind Skrillex, Sonny Moore, has been in the music industry longer than most would guess. Before his Skrillex project had even been conceived, Moore was the lead singer of the post-hardcore band From First To Last. With that band, he released two full studio albums and found moderate commercial success. This early rock background was vital for his success years later. In 2007, Moore broke off from From First To Last to pursue a solo career, and within a few years, he had released the world-famous “Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites.” Being Moore’s first hit as Skrillex, this was the song that broke him into the world of electronic music. Moore, with this song, was one of the first to skillfully combine metal and hardcore aspects with dubstep and electro elements.Despite Skrillex being proclaimed as unoriginal by some, songs like “Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites” are most certainly unique and fresh to the industry.
The heavy hitting bass combined with the high pitched vocals and devilish background noises still influence electronic music to this day. However, his influence extends beyond his own music. Moore’s label, OWSLA, has signed many artists that are gaining huge traction in today’s music world. Zedd, who is getting ready to release his second studio album, owes his career to Skrillex. Porter Robinson, who just last year released his critically acclaimed debut album, saw his first EP release through OWSLA. These are just two examples of many. No matter what people think of his music, it is undeniable that he has an ear for today’s industry.
Since the release of “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” just five years ago, Moore has released two full length LPs and numerous EPs, winning five Grammy’s in the process. Although his releases stick within the electro and brostep genres at most times, he also dabbles in drum and bass and trap styled tracks. Is he the most original and boundary-pushing producer to ever enter the scene? No, probably not. But is he a producer that consistently churns out fantastically produced music with his own style? Yes, most definitely. His music might not be the most emotionally inspiring to ever be produced, but that isn’t what his music is for. Moore’s music is pure energy. His goal is to have hard hitting tracks that inspire us to dance and have a great time, and they certainly do just that.
On top of all this, there is an endless debate about the genre of Skrillex’s music that needs to be settled. To stop it all here, Skrillex does not produce dubstep. A track has to possess extremely specific characteristics in order for it to be categorized as dubstep. A break beat structure and a tempo of around 140 BPM are just two of the requirements. Skrillex, being such a varied producer, does not stick within these specifications. In fact, it is very hard to categorize most of his songs. He has a variety of elements of most of his songs that pull from trap, house, dubstep, and electro. Moore has never claimed to be a dubstep producer, and he is correct in not doing so. The reason why so many people think of Skrillex when they hear about dubstep is strictly due to uninformed people declaring him as so.
In summary, Skrillex’s public perception is extremely fickle. You can ask 10 different people what they think of Skrillex and you’ll get a different answer each time. Also, their answer is probably different from the one they had a few years ago. At that time, it was cool to hate on Skrillex. Recently, however, it seems the general public has warmed up to him. But in the end, Moore’s main goal as a producer, as he has stated a myriad of times, is to make music that makes people feel absolutely fired up. He’s never set out to make strictly dubstep or strictly drum and bass tracks. He makes music for pure energy, and he does an exceptional job at exactly that. I believe that his music will be remembered for decades down the line. He is the face of the North American surge of electronic music that has occurred in recent years, and deservedly so; his influence on the modern landscape of electronic music is undeniable.