Time flies by when you’re having fun, and wow has it been fun. This year, Skrillex is celebrating his first completed decade in the dance music community. Ten years sounds like a long time, but for all that he has accomplished, we don’t understand how it didn’t take longer.
There’s a theory that to truly master something, you have to do it for 10,000 hours. If that is true, how Skrillex created his dubstep/house/punk empire makes a little bit more sense. In 2004, Sonny Moore first entered the music scene as the lead singer for the punk band, From First to Last. It wasn’t actually until 2008, that Sonny Moore traded in his name for Skrillex and really started working on dance music. Finally, in 2010 he released his first hit, and the rest is history.
Now it’s 2020, and Skrillex is easily one of the most well-known names in the United States dance music community. He’s given us 10 years, 40 singles, 6 EP’s, and 23 music videos. He’s put a lot of work into making our community happy, and we want him to know we noticed. We have highlighted 5 of our favorite songs from the past decade and why they mean so much to us.
Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites
There’s no better place to start than with the one that started it all…kind of. While Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites was not Skrillex’s first song, by far, but it was his first hit in the dubstep community. It flew into the top 50 songs in the Billboard 200, earned Skrillex his first certified gold track, and took home the Grammy award for “Best Dance Recording”. A pretty strong start, if you ask us. What started as Sonny Moore’s side project ended up putting him on the dance music community map. Almost every artist hopes to become a household name, and Skrillex was well on his way to making that happen.
First of the Year
What really sets this song apart for us is the video that came with it. The grammy-nominated music video isn’t your standard story. In the music video, there is a pedophilic man who has focused on a young girl at the park. He follows her down a dark alley and seems to be preparing to do something terrible. Sounds like the setup for a very sad video, doesn’t it? Well not in this case. Once the beat drops and the iconic line “CALL 911 NOW’ is played, there is a huge surprise coming that man’s way. While we would love to tell you the rest, we would hate to ruin the surprise. Luckily for you, we’ve linked it below.
Bangarang has to be showcased because it is one of the most authentic Skrillex songs there is. From sound to logistics, there isn’t a song that is much more his style. The song itself is energetic dubstep mixed with Sirah’s chopped up vocals. For context, you might know the name Sirah because she also does the vocals for many songs both produced by Skrillex and under the OWSLA label. In addition, the music video complementing the song was directed by Tony T. Datis, the man who produced the Grammy-nominated video for First of the Year. Similarly, the music video for Bangarang also showcased Skrillex’s lighthearted, rebellious, and childlike joy that we see from him in his stage presence and songs.
Finally, much like a lot of his music, Bangarang and the corresponding EP also received Grammy Awards for the year they were released. However, the similarity we see here is not only about what award was given. Winning a Grammy Award doesn’t just mean your work is good, it means your work has been impactful to your genre. Out of all the songs created in his category for the year, he was chosen. Not only that, his music is chosen frequently. Year after year, Skrillex has been selected as a pioneer in the dance music community. For a metal vocalist turned dubstep DJ, we think that’s pretty awesome.
It’s a great song, but that’s not why it made the list. We would be remiss to talk about Skrillex without mentioning his one solo album. Recess, released in 2014, was no small deal. In fact, it was actually much more than just an album. In 2014, on March 7th, an app titled “Alien Ride” was released on the Google Play and Apple App Store.
Initially, one would believe that the app itself was simply a game where you rode through space shooting at meteors. So why was Skrillex promoting it? Like, we get it, aliens and space are cool; but kind of weird for a dubstep icon to tell us to download. Then, like many great stories on the internet begin, Reddit cracked the code.
Most of us didn’t know it at the time, but the app contained a secret folder with 11 hidden objects and a timer set to end on March 10th at 6:30 pm. Somewhere, somehow, someone made their way into the locked folder and blew up the internet with what they found. As we came to find out, the 11 objects were actually unnamed links to the 11 unreleased songs that would eventually make up his iconic album. Maybe that’s why there’s only one album. How do you follow a release like that up?
On March 10th, the album was announced and, 8 days later, finally became available to those of us who aren’t hacker wizards. To sum up our point here, Stranger is the song we love, but really the whole album is really worth the hype.
Believe it or not, this song isn’t just on the list for how ridiculously good the drop is. We want to celebrate Skrillex for adding a little bit of bass to everyday life. Lately, in the world of music, there’s been a very toxic mindset where people pride themselves on hating a genre of music. We don’t get it. Even if you wouldn’t choose to listen to something, why hate someone’s art? We are proud of Skrillex for not being afraid to share his music, even in a world where a lot of people will choose to not be kind about it.
Ok, this song is in here partially for how good the drop is. That being said, we could have chosen “Wild for the Night” or “Summit”, but the point is the same. Skrillex shares his music and, in turn, shares the dance community we all love. It might not seem like a big deal, but we think it’s pretty brave.
If you know much about Skrillex, you know that he is most certainly a jack of all trades. We wanted to showcase the impact Skrillex has had on the dubstep community, but we know his reach has gone much further. Every project, from Jack U to Dog Blood, all have a strong presence in the dance music community and our lives. We could write a whole series on how awesome we think he is, but that’s for a later time.
Whether you listen to Skrillex daily or don’t listen to him at all, we think we can all agree that he has done a lot for our world. So, Skrillex, thank you for being you and keep up the good work. Here’s to hoping for another decade just like the last.
Photo by Watchara Phomicinda