Skrillex loves it when folks cover his songs, which is good because there are a billion of them. When we met with the twenty-three-year-old producer in San Diego recently to interview him for this week's cover story — out today — he noted that he was particularly impressed with fan-made YouTube versions of his hit “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites.”
“The best shit is when you get kids who cover my songs orchestrally,” he says.
But employing a symphony is only one way to do “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” justice. Here are our top five favorite cover renditions.
5. The ukulele version
Somewhere in California musician Steve Ambarian — who also records EDM tracks under the name King Kuula — turned Skrillex's four minute and three seconds dance floor track into a one minute and twenty-five second ukulele cover. He takes out the dubstep elements of the track, the Cup Stacking Girl sample and distills the song to its basic melody. This short and sweet rendition is charming because it sounds like something playing at a college dorm.
4. The 8-bit version
Two months ago, an artist named 5ug4rfr33 from Kansas City uploaded this 8-bit — or, chiptune — version of song. Somehow, it only has 2,000 views! When dubstep travels through the magical world of a Nintendo Entertainment System, it comes out sounding like Mario has gone on some beautifully-mad jumping and kicking spree.
3. The dubstep-goes-rock version
Pinn Panelle is a Boston-based rock band who, in addition to recording their own original material, cover dubstep tracks using live instruments. In just over three weeks, this cover of “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” racked up nearly 950,000 views. The best part is that they actually have two musicians credited with playing “wobbles,” the distinctive bass lines that characterize dubstep.
2. The “mouthstep” version
When Skrillex told us someone did an a capella version of the song, we imagine he was talking about this one. AaronicStuff calls refers to his cover as “mouthstep.” He mimics all parts of the song vocally, layering them and then editing the various takes into a video. It's hard not to be in awe. He's also recorded covers of other electronic dance music tracks, like Bassnectar, Flux Pavilion and Calvin Harris.
1. The string-piano quartet version
If you follow Skrillex on Facebook, then you have probably seen this. He posted it last spring with the comment “I've never seen anybody who's done a piano/violin cover who's attempted to play the wobbles as well as the melody!”
UC Berkeley graduate Summer Swee-Singh arranged this medley of his songs, which she performed with fellow Cal students inside a practice room on campus. Swee-Singh has arranged a number of EDM covers, including OWSLA artist Zedd's remix of The Legend of Zelda theme, several Deadmau5 numbers and the best medley of Daft Punk tunes you'll ever hear.