His name is Skrillex

I offer you, the reader, the following unsolicited anecdote to describe Skrillex’s music: I’m a DJ. I play at clubs and stuff. During my NYE gig, I played a Skrillex song.

I offer you, the reader, the following unsolicited anecdote to describe Skrillex’s music: I’m a DJ. I play at clubs and stuff. During my NYE gig, I played a Skrillex song. Seconds into it, a subwoofer literally caught on fire. A fire extinguisher had to be employed. If you were there, that was Skrillex playing. And now I’m here to tell you to go and bask in his subwoofer-igniting aura on Jan. 15 at the Roseland Theater.

Warning: if you like electronic music of any kind and are under—say—35 years old, you are going to enjoy Skrillex. A lot. This is a fact. But before all your friends start to make fun of you, let’s just get Skrillex’s skeletons out of the closet: Yes, Skrillex is also known as Sonny Moore of eyeliner-wearing, girl-jeans-sporting emo rock band From First to Last. However, the Skrillex name is responsible for releasing some of the most contemporary-sounding electronic music—both in the fields of EBM/electro and dubstep—in a decade. You’ll likely find nothing else around right now that sounds as “now” as Skrillex does.

It is due to this sound—a lightning-fast chaotic parfait of electronic scraps spanning three decades—that Skrillex has made a name for himself. And it is also due to this sound that Skrillex has managed to be headlining a tour at the Roseland Theater despite releasing his very first song under the Skrillex moniker in June of 2009. What’s more, the song is in no way reminiscent of his more recent offerings. In fact, they sound nothing alike.

Even I, “the music guy” was until recently very underestimating of Skrillex’s popularity. When I heard that he was headlining the Roseland, the first thought that popped into my head was, “Is Skrillex really big enough to be playing the Roseland?”

Yes, he is, and then some. He has close to 100,000 “fans” on Facebook, and even that is a gross underestimation of his popularity, as not everyone cares about Facebook—or on a more realistic note—cares enough to seek out Skrillex on Facebook and go through the process of adding him to their profile, et al.

Skrillex’s first EP, the aptly titled “My Name is Skrillex EP” was released in June of 2010 and contained seven songs, including the gigantic club banger “My Name is Skrillex (Skrillex remix).” And while that is more than enough for a full album, an EP it was, nevertheless. However, just four months later in October, Skrillex released “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” under Deadmau5’s Mau5trap record label. It was clear that things were looking up for Skrillex, as Deadmau5, arguably the biggest name in the EBM/electro scene, had taken Skrillex under his wing. However, in just two and a half short months, at New Year’s Eve Deadmau5 opened for Skrillex. If Deadmau5 is opening for you, you’ve succeeded.

“Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” is quite an exercise to listen to. You may find yourself taking frequent breaks because the sheer density of Skrillex’s craft can take its toll on the mind. As a matter of fact, the song I played that torched a gigantic subwoofer is contained within the confines of this record. It also contains six originals and three remixes, which is in itself an accomplishment, given the short time between releases. However, the real treat on the record is just how far the production and sonic palette has advanced since the “My Name is Skrillex” days. The remixes are exceptional too, and Noisia’s remix of the title track is one of the heaviest electronic pieces of any recent memory. Some might say this particular track is “fire,” if you know what I mean, but don’t quote me on that.

A spell ago I wrote a preview for Designer Drugs’ show at the TA Center. In it, I included the line “Portland doesn’t get the chance too often.” It’s still true. But if you want to see how the pros make you get down, don’t you dare miss it. ?