Skrillex Talks "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites," Favorite Films, Kanye West and More
Thu, 10 Mar 2011 09:02:08
Skrillex is the future of electronic music.
On his latest EP, Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites, Skrillex brings dubstep into a new realm. He brews propulsive, powerful, and pulsating music that's so focused and fiery it could ignite any dance floor or moshpit in the world. Skrillex approaches music with the same kind of hybrid mindset that Trent Reznor did on Nine Inch Nails' classic Pretty Hate Machine; there's an undeniable heaviness to it, but it's also sexy, sleek, and so danceable. He's got everyone from Mötley Crüe's Tommy Lee to Korn's Jonathan Davis singing his praises, but he's still hellbent on pushing the envelope and making the most hypnotically harmonious dance tunes that he can…
Skrillex sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino about Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites, some of his favorite movies, the live show, and so much more in this exclusive interview.
Do you feel like there's a heavy undercurrent to Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites?
Yeah! Synthesis is interesting because you're building a sound from scratch. I'm actually building these "Monster Sounds" from scratch. When you get a guitar, you've got clean and you've got heavy. With the synthesizers, I'm going through trial and error making these sounds and patches that I'm building. I'm like, "Oh wow, that sounds cool! Let me try it!" There's a lot of experimentation. It's what happens naturally, and I think that's the beautiful thing about it.
Did you have a whole vision for Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites or did it come together song by song?
I definitely had a vision. It had to have peaks and valleys. It needed to be dynamic. It had to have a, "Hello." It had to have a, "Bye bye." I just didn't want dance songs to come in one after another at the same tempo. That was about as much of a vision as I had. The record was thrown together so quickly. It was two weeks before the first of October, and my manager called me and said, "I just got off the phone with Deadmau5's manager. They want to release an EP and take you on tour in October." My jaw just dropped. I was like, "Fuck man, I have half of a song done and bits and pieces of stuff that I wasn't even planning on making a record out of." I pulled 18-hour days over the course of two weeks and made that EP. It was crazy how it worked!
What's the story behind "Kill Everybody?"
It's funny because the voice feels so innocent and nice. It's actually my voice that I changed. It's fun to hear a voice like that and picture who could be saying these really evil things, but it's such a small, little guy. You can imagine whatever it is sitting in your hand and petting him on the head as he's saying, "I want to kill everybody in the world" and "I want to eat your heart" [Laughs]. It just felt right, and it felt fun.
Do you enjoy implementing other voices like Penny's in "All I Ask?"
I absolutely love that! To be honest, singing's not my real passion. Music in general is my passion. I like to sit back and create something as a whole and collaborate. It makes me happy to say, "This is my album, but I have so many different voices and characters and peaks and valleys that make it a record."
Did you always know "With You" would be the last song?
That song is a very special song to me for a lot of reasons. I had released it on my free EP that I did, My Name Is Skrillex, about six months before. However, it was a way different version. It's more straightforward, house-y, and electro. I went back, ripped it apart, reconstructed it, and made it this "Bye bye" song. It's a, "Thanks for listening, I appreciate it" song. I'm with you friends. It's that feeling where we went through something together, and it's kind of the end, but it's not the end. It's like the end credits, but it still feels like there's something lingering. My favorite records have a "With You" on them.
If you were to compare Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites to a movie or a combination of movies what would you compare it to?
Visually and sonically, maybe Transformers meets Final Fantasy; Squaresoft meets The Warriors punk rock. It's human. It's got flesh and blood somehow. It's got that really human imperfection of something like The Warriors, but Final Fantasy is so pure, perfect, and beautiful. The way Square designs people is incredible like how Cloud and Tifa look. They're so perfect, but then there's the robot and monster part. That's the alien element. It's all of that.
What are some of your favorite movies?
I love all types of movies. As far as some of the more obscure stuff, I'm into all of the Hayao Miyazaki catalog. That's a super influence on my life in general. Then there's the Square stuff. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is one of my favorite movies ever as well. Children of Men is one of my favorite movies of all time. That's such a great film. I'm into a lot of alien documentaries too.
What have you been listening to lately?
Lately, I've been listening to a lot of dance music because I've been touring. I'm listening to my own stuf because I've been writing and making music for different projects. The Kanye West record (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy) is absolutely brilliant. It really deserves all of the hype and credibility it's been given. I love everything he does. Nicki Minaj is pretty badass too. I've been really into her as well.
How does it all come together live for you?
The beauty of a live show is the synergy of the room kind of fuels everything. Everybody is one at one point. It's all about what everybody is doing at the same time. I don't how it happens, but it does. It's like a flying v of birds or geese or a school of fish. With the intensity of the room sometimes, I get intense and everybody else gets intense naturally.
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