A major figure of the dance music landscape of the early 2010s, Skrillex enjoyed a meteoric rise from relative obscurity on the Los Angeles club scene to the top of the electronica charts with such hi...
Born Sonny John Moore on Jan. 15, 1988 in the Highland Park neighborhood of northeast Los Angeles, he was the son of an insurance claims officer who relocated the family to San Francisco and the Mojave Desert during his son's early adolescence. At the age of 12, Skrillex returned to Los Angeles, where he enrolled in a private school specializing in the arts. He also began frequenting punk and dance clubs in the city's downtown neighborhoods, which led to early stints in a variety of obscure punk groups. Upon discovering that he was adopted, the 16-year-old Moore became estranged from his family and headed for Georgia, where he became the singer for the band From First to Last. He recorded two albums with them between 2004 and 2005 before vocal problems forced him to leave the band in 2007.
The following year, he released a solo EP, Gypsyhook (2009), through Atlantic Records, but he soon shifted allegiances to dance music, performing under the alias Skrillex on the Los Angeles club scene. High-profile remixes for the likes of Lady Gaga, Snoop Dogg/Lion, Bruno Mars, and the Black Eyed Peas substantially increased his profile, which led to a debut EP, My Name is Skrillex, which was released as a free download from his Myspace page in 2010. The EP cemented his particular style of dance music, which blended elements of electronica, dubstep and house with the aggression of post-punk rock-n-roll in a sound earmarked by sudden and alarming bass drops which left the melody and beat unmoored in bursts of chaotic noise.
The critical acclaim earned by the EP brought Skrillex to the attention of fellow electronic music iconoclast Deadmau5, who signed him to his mau5trap recordings label. A second EP, Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites (2010), solidified Skrillex's position at the forefront of the dance music scene by reaching No. 49 on the Billboard albums chart, while breaking into the Top 5 on the Dance/Electronic albums chart. A follow-up, More Monsters and Sprites (2011), featured remixes of the previous album's title track, as well as the song "First of the Year (Equinox)," which reached No. 85 on the Billboard singes chart. That same year, Skrillex was nominated for five awards at the 54th Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist, and won three, including Best Dance/Electronica Album for Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites and Best Dance Recording for the title track. Collaborations with mainstream artists like Korn on the single "Get Up" (2011) soon followed, as did his soundtracks for television ad spots for Playstation, 3, among others. The year was rounded out by the launch of Skrillex's own label, OWSLA.
Skrillex expanded upon his established sound with his fourth EP, Bangarang (2012), which incorporated elements of progressive rock, ska and even classic rock, as evidenced by a collaboration with the surviving members of the Doors on "Breakn' a Sweat." The EP became his most successful release to date, reaching No. 14 on the Billboard albums chart while topping the Dance/Electronic chart. He subsequently teamed with Bob Marley's son, singer Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley on the single "Make It Bun Dem," that same year, then partnered with German music producer/DJ Boys Noize for a side project called Dog Blood, which released a debut EP, Next Order/Middle Finger (2012).
By Paul Gaita
From classic movie palaces to the state-of-the-art IMAX screens.