October 22, 2015: Exactly five years ago to this day, Sonny Moore dropped his second EP as Skrillex – Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites.
His life changed from that moment on…
Technically Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites was Skrillex’s debut official release. His first EP – Hello My Name Is Skrillex – was given away on his MySpace page. Mau5trap were the first label to snap up his skills and create an proper label release. Within a week it had dominated the Beatport Top 10. Within four months it scored Skrillex two Grammy Awards: Best Dance Recording and Best Dance Album
Few, if any, electronic music artists have ever experienced such a meteoric rise. We searched for some early Skrillex interviews to catch this unique moment in his career. Madly, the SpeedStackingGirl-sampling title track (or the rest of the EP for that matter) was written barely a month before the release. He explains in an old interview with Artist Direct:
“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!”
This explains the variety at play throughout the six original tracks. Besides the iconic growls and vibrant synths of the title track there was the stomping 4/4 squelch hybrid of Kill Everybody, the dreamy rainbow vibrancy of With You, Friends, the unashamed bashment of the Foreign Beggars/Bare Noize collaboration Scatta. And that’s before we even talk about the obscene Noisia remix.
A free-for-all, fervently focussed on the future, it’s a lesson in not overthinking and just going with instinct and inspiration that, in hindsight, acts as a mission statement for everything that’s followed from Skrillex himself and his label OWSLA. The EP wasn’t to everyone’s liking, though…
“Scary Monsters was not a commercial release,” Skrillex stated when discussing the divisive opinions he often attracts in an interview with music tech company IzoTope. “There wasn’t anything commercial about it. There’s no three-and-a-half-minutes pop song, and it was never played on radio. So it can be called commercial depending on what your definition is, but it’s not on radio, and nothing else came off it on MTV or anything.
“There’s this illusion that I’m riding this wave, but when I made Scary Monsters, there was no wave. There was Dubstep Patio once a month at Cinespace [in Hollywood] on Sundays, and we played the smoking patio, you know? To me, I wasn’t doing anything that was gonna blow up. I was just making music that sounded like—whatever. So for me, I don’t like to think about any of that, except for making good music that I’m happy with.”
From playing smoking patios to non-stop touring and selling out the largest possible venues, launching the careers of many premiership artists we love today, working with acts as varied as Korn, The Doors and The Game, and dominating the charts the world over with Jack U… All in the space of half a decade.
You have to wonder what Sonny will achieve in the next five years….