Skrillex is a dance-music name you might not be familiar with yet, but you will be. The former frontman for From First to Last, Skrillex (aka Sonny Moore) is spreading like wildfire: He broke a record by having eight of the ten best-selling tracks on Beatport, and he also had the site's first-ever number-one dubstep single. His debut EP, My Name Is Skrillex, caught the attention of Deadmau5, who signed him to his Mau5trap label. His second EP, Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites, was released in October, and the title track quickly jumped to the top of the Beatport charts. His remixes for big-name artists such as Lady Gaga, La Roux and the Black Eyed Peas are also gaining popularity. A unique blend of dubstep, electro and pretty vocals makes his productions stand out in a scene flooded with continuous loops and segregated genres. While deejaying comes second to producing, Skrillex has a heavy touring schedule that runs through next year. We spoke with him recently about his influences and his productions.
Westword: What electronic artists have influenced your unique sound?
Skrillex: When I was younger, the Warp Records label was very influential — Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Autechre. Prodigy's Fat of the Land was important, too. When Justice's album, Cross, came out, it started feeling more applicable to do stuff that's really rock-based in electronic music.
Which do you think is a tougher challenge — producing or performing live?
Producing. DJs can bang a set out in a hour, but a track can take days.
What first attracted you to the dubstep sound?
People recommend tracks on the Internet to me, and I try to include anything that I'm listening to in my productions. The cool thing about dubstep is that the sounds are almost vocal. The "monster" theme on the EP comes from how the bass sounds — like monsters are talking, with breathing, moving skin and scales.
From the tracks you've released so far, which one stands out as your favorite and why?
"With Your Friends, Long Drive" is one; it's very different and melodic. It sounds like the track is speaking to you even though there aren't any words used. I'm very proud of it.
Given your numerous remixes, what artist or song would you love to remix?
I'd love to work with Imogen Heap; she has incredible vocals. However, remixing for a producer is like commercials for a director; most directors you talk to aren't in it to be career commercial directors. It's a great way to introduce people to your own productions, but my main focus is my originals.
Any upcoming remixes/collaborations you can tell us about?
One amazing track for Benny Benassi — "Cinema." I'm not sure when it will be released.
How did you pick the name "Skrillex"?
It was a stupid old online AOL screen name. There really isn't a meaning behind it.