A virtual unknown two years ago, former From First To Last frontman Sonny Moore has since become dubstep’s first-ever superstar under the moniker Skrillex, picking up three Grammy Awards, courting the attention of everyone from nu-metal pioneers Korn to rock legends The Doors, and even bagging himself a celebrity girlfriend in the shape of Ellie Goulding.
Continuing his remarkably rapid rise to fame, it was announced this week that Skrillex will score both Spring Breakers, a new comedy starring James Franco and Selena Gomez, and Disney film Wreck-It-Ralph. Tween sensations and 3D animations don’t seem the most likely fits for Skrillex’s demonic bass wobbles and thunderous beats, but perhaps this is his chance to prove that he’s not the one-trick pony his army of detractors have labelled him.
Indeed, the hipster-haired DJ and producer might not yet have released a full-length album, but there are already criticisms that his bombastic Transformer-aping style of dubstep is beginning to sound tired. With their array of inventive samples, robotic grooves and sinister basslines, 2010 debut E.P. My Name Is Skrillex and follow-up Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites may not exactly have been subtle, but they were an assault on the senses which suggested that if anyone was going to push dubstep to its limits, it would be Skrillex.
Unfortunately, 2011’s Bangarang’s continued reliance on the same overblown tricks and techniques infer that the 24-year-old has peaked way too soon. It may have been lapped up by the majority of his one million Twitter followers, but apart from a couple of ventures into old-school techno, it was a repetitive and unimaginative affair completely devoid of any new ideas, a sound hardly worthy of the revolutionary figure status to which he’s been elevated by his fratboy crowd.
Of course, not everyone idolises Skrilex to that extent. James Blake, whose spacious minimal brand of dubstep couldn’t be his more polar opposite, recently compared his filthy bass-heavy sound to a p*ssing competition; his former label boss, Deadmau5, recently bitched about his lack of technical on-stage activity; while the blogosphere is awash with declarations of hate for the ‘brostep’ scene’s ultimate poster boy.
Skrillex has claimed that he doesn’t pay attention to his ‘haters,’ but if he’s ever to fulfil the pioneering potential of his earlier work, he might be best advised to start listening.