By Lauren Wise
By New Times
By Amanda Savage
By Jason P. Woodbury
By Troy Farah
By New Times
By Derek Askey
Best met Skrillex after booking him at an edition of SMOG last summer, months before Skrillex's explosion of popularity. Moore had left From First to Last to pursue his own projects in 2006. He tried a solo rock career, but found his way to EDM, first as Twipz and later Skrillex.
A longtime dance music fan, Moore was a regular visitor to EDM nights around L.A. before he hooked up with eventual mentors John Dadzie (better known as influential dubstep DJ 12th Planet) and Deadmau5.
"I've been a friend of Sonny's for a long time," Dadzie says. "Even when he was in bands, he kept making electronic music and visiting dubstep parties . . . He didn't just come outta nowhere; he was around for a while."
The sick and brutal grindings of Skrillex-style dubstep are like the audio equivalent of a gory car crash. His most popular tracks — "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites," "Kill Everybody," and "First of the Year (Equinox)" — feature all the hallmarks of his sound: a melodic, quasi-ambient intro followed by a vocal sample (typically ganked from YouTube) and a killer "drop" into a face-melting bass grind.
Dadzie and Deadmau5 both helped get Moore noticed, pimped him on social media, and influenced his sound. Drew, who says he isn't necessarily a fan of the heavier sound, remembers getting a Skrillex pitch from Dadzie.
"After 12th Planet was playing his sort of music, [he] said we should sign [him]. And I was like, 'I don't know if it's the sort of sound we want to be identified with.' But we didn't sign him and Deadmau5 did, and they ran with it," Drew says.
His second EP, Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites, was co-released by Deadmau5's label and Atlantic Records imprint Big Beat. With each tour, he's performed in front of increasingly bigger crowds, like going from a packed house of around 300 at Tempe's 910 Live last December to more than 1,000 at the Venue Scottsdale in June.
Drew is happy that these same fans are getting exposed to dubstep through Skrillex.
"That's where I feel like Skrillex could do really good things for dubstep right now. But I hope [kids] also [will] take the time to dig a bit deeper and see who else is out there," he says. "They're like, 'Yeah, I love dubstep; Skrillex is great.' I was in London, and no one plays that stuff. It's people like Yungsta playing, like, really dark, heavy stuff. He's huge over there, but if we brought him over here, I don't think the kids would respond the same way. They'd be like, 'This is boring. When's it gonna get crazy?'"