By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
In between puffs on a Newport at Petco Park in San Diego, Sonny Moore contemplates one of the biggest moments of his career. The Padres' baseball stadium serves as the first stop of his first headlining tour, whose start is a day away. Not bad, considering the L.A.-based DJ and producer known as Skrillex is only 23 years old. In fact, he's already become a dance-floor god, regularly performing at festivals and nightclubs across North America and Europe to hordes of fans. In 24 hours, 3,000 kids will be losing their minds over his cutting-edge show.
That is, if it happens.
Right now a pair of men are strapping him into a black outfit that looks something like a wet suit — except that it's fitted with sensors. A critical part of his stage show, it will turn him into a wireless human joystick by connecting him to a complex motion-capture system. On a screen behind him will appear an animated android he calls Illgamesh, twice his size. When Moore raises his arms, Illgamesh will raise his arms; when Moore drops his hands out of sight to fiddle with his computer, Illgamesh's hands will reveal Moore's techniques. "It's never been done live before the way we're doing this," he boasts.
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But something is amiss. Moore's insane schedule has given his crew almost no time to rehearse, and a series of technical difficulties related to the motion capture begins to surface. His managers and production team are running around inside a stadium lounge that serves as a backstage area, pounding out messages on tables lined with MacBooks. The pressure is becoming intense, and PR people are starting to freak out.
Moore lights another cigarette.
Long gone are the days when all a DJ had to worry about was his record collection. Moore's show relies on complicated technology to create a massive visual production. At the center of it is a sci-fi-looking structure called the Skrillex Cell, some 20 feet high, composed of bright white cubes. They frame Moore as he performs, and the Cell's walls light up with 3-D images: bright green grids, spaceships, trippy spinning columns, the android on the back wall. The music is so closely tied to the spectacle that tech problems could practically sink the show.
With round cheeks and big eyes peering through oversize Sabre glasses, Moore looks way too young for all this. He's short and prone to slouching, his long, dark hair oddly shaved on one side and hanging over his right eye.
Yet somehow, this digital wunderkind has moved to the forefront of the electronic dance music movement, the new rave scene that's sweeping the country. After kicking off his DJ career only three years ago at tiny Hollywood venues like Cinespace and Boardner's, he's played a gig practically every day this year, including such massive shows as Coachella and Las Vegas' Electric Daisy Carnival. (Moore performs at Hard Haunted in L.A. on Sat., Oct. 29.) He was just on the cover of Spin magazine and he's cute enough to be plastered on bedroom walls, but his specialty is new media. He's not yet a household name, but he's done something better: He's gone viral.
In fact, the Internet is brimming with fans paying him homage, from those replicating his songs' beats on violin or piano, to the photos of comic book convention attendees dressed like him. There's tons of fan fiction in his honor, as well as out-and-out Skrillex-inspired porn, some of which imaginatively pairs him with his mentor, the electronic music star known as Deadmau5.
But Moore's popularity is in contrast to his shyness, which seems at times to border on social anxiety. He rarely gives interviews, and here in San Diego makes little eye contact, his high-top sneakers pressed tightly against the stadium seat in front of him. Text messages and phone calls concerning his vast commitments batter his (already cracked) BlackBerry, until its vibrations knock it onto the concrete. "I overcommit myself," he imparts.
It's understandable if he feels overwhelmed. After all, not long ago he was anonymously lugging his gear into ratty Los Angeles DJ booths. Now Moore's millions of social media followers obsess over his every move, and he has a team of tech geniuses scrambling to make sure his custom-built show functions.
And, at the eleventh hour, it finally comes together. When he takes the stage the following night, Illgamesh — glowing in shades of white and red — is an immediate hit. The music, meanwhile, carries the crowd to another plane. Revelers gyrate next to the baseball diamond, the girls largely underage and dressed in bikinis, furry boots, neon tutus and even cat ears. Lanky, zit-faced guys in loose-hanging jeans and T-shirts bob their heads. (A section serving drinks for those of age, meanwhile, is nearly empty, which gives a sense of the demographic at play here.)
Unlike a typical by-the-hour DJ, Moore combines live performance with his prerecorded tracks. He mixes cuts like Notorious B.I.G.'s "Hypnotize" into his own songs, which he reproduces live by taking their components and reconstructing them, using popular DJ software Ableton Live. He dips into genres like progressive house and even a little soul, but the crowd goes crazy for dubstep, a recent dance-floor phenomenon known for its gratuitous bass lines and, oddly, its almost undanceable beat.
Curated Halloween events from Night Tap:
you totally forgot to mention how the "my name is skrillex ep" was released before "scary monsters." actually you forgot to mention it completely. or how lady gaga and mainstream artists commission him to do official remixes for them.
This is the most comprehensive article I've read so far about Skrillex and his rise to fame. Whether his music is praised or criticized, it can hardly be denied that he's at the helm of the present EDM scene.
I like his conduct. He maintains steady exchange with his fans. He isn't a standoffish bitch, and that deserves some appreciation. Earlier tonight he even let a girl wear his jacket for a short while, and she took off with it (although she did end up returning it). He's just nice.
This sums up the Skrillex phenomenon succinctly:
"@mikebeee It is me or does Skrillex look like Corey Feldman fucked Sinead O'Connor?"
This sums up Skrillex completely:
Just thought I would say this! I am not an unnamed woman! I'm fairly certain I put my name in the post on the Girls That Look Like Skrillex web page, but I'm Sherillex! Aura Slavit! I'm not anonymous XD Please for the love of god take a twin picture with me. And that isn't the full quote, what they leave out is the fact that I was actually playing a show in my Skrillex costume and a guy flipped out thinking I was him for real there as a special guest xD and I also had the same reaction at an anime convention I went to in August <3
"Me dressed up in my Skrillex costume for a set of mine last week. A guy really thought I was him for a minute when I was sitting next to the dj booth waiting to go up. But..you know, I’m just a girl who looks like Skrillex~" is the full comment and here is the link to my photo, hair was parted kinda weird and my bald was disappearing, but believe me, I do try XD
Jesus Christ, they're talking about MY skrillmau5 drawing in Page 3, paragraph 3. I'M THE WEIRD ARTIST! HAHAHAHA
best article on Skrillex and the electronic scene that I've ever read! :D u need to do this more often =)
Boy King??? Dig a little deeper... Skrillex is a one-hit wonder. His sound is limited, unlike Joel Zimmerman, aka Deamau5... who constantly develops his sound which is mostly derived from analog signals. Deadmau5 is still far from King. Electronic music has so many genres, but for progressive house or dubstep, Skrillex is still a baby.