EDM legend Skrillex has always been a step or two ahead of what's going on in music, and that's always been part of what makes his music so special. From his time as the lead singer of screamo band From First To Last, to starting his solo career and beyond, he's always trying new things and nailing them every time.
Following the release of a pair of singles, Butterflies and Too Bizarre, he's just teamed up with Noisia, Josh Pan and Dylan Brady to release his new track, Supersonic (My Existence). It's a little bit more subdued than you might expect from a Skrillex track, but that's what he does best - he's always subverting expectations.
To celebrate the new track, we've taken a look at how Skrillex continues to influence electronic music. Skrillex is one of the biggest names in EDM, and that's not by chance - he's always been involved in taking the genre further.
He's not afraid to collaborate
Skrillex has always enjoyed working with other artists, both in EDM and beyond. He released projects with Diplo and Boyz Noise as Jack Ü and Dog Blood respectively, and both projects were departures from Skrillex's solo sound. Jack Ü saw Skrillex and Diplo combining pop staples with EDM, and they worked with artists like Justin Bieber to create tracks like Where Are U Now that still sound ahead of their time today.
Some of his more surprising collaborations include working with Damian Marley and The Doors, two artists that don't exactly come to mind when you're thinking of a feature for a huge EDM track. That's part of Skrillex's charm, though - he trusts himself to make any collaboration work, and surprises his audience in the process.
He blurred the line between EDM and other genres
In 2021, it's a pretty common sight to see hardcore/punk artists work with electronic producers. Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump recently featured on a remix of 100 Gecs' hand crushed by a mallet alongside post-hardcore band Chiodos' Craig Owens, while Travis Barker has worked with Steve Aoki - and these are just two standout examples. However, before Skrillex, that crossover was almost unheard of. Skrillex's love of music started by singing in From First To Last, and his roots in hardcore went a long way to legitimising EDM's status in the mind of non-EDM fans.
It's clear that Skrillex still loves singing, and in 2017 he reunited with From First To Last to perform at Emo Night in Los Angeles. You can check out footage from the show below, and it's further proof that Skrillex just loves music, no matter what genre.
He showed people the power of EDM music
When Skrillex founded his label, OWSLA, back in 2011, it would have been impossible to predict the influence it would have on electronic music over the next generation. The label's first release was Porter Robinson's Spitfire, and they've gone on to work with artists like Dillon Francis, Anna Lunoe, Zedd and many, many more.
Speaking to Dazed, Skrillex says that the label was an extension of his work ethic. He says, "In 2011, I did, what, three-hundred-and-forty-something shows? Just crazy, insane. I was going, going, going, going. The thing in my head I kept telling myself was like, I never went to college, I came from a band where we were driving across the United States making no money, and now I get a couple thousand dollars and a plane flight to go DJ music that I love and that I made – I’m gonna take every opportunity, and I’m not gonna bat an eye."
He's got his ear to the ground
When you become as big as Skrillex, the temptation can be to isolate yourself from the music around you. That's never been the case for Skrillex. Speaking to FACT Magazine back in 2015, he spoke about wanting to sign PC Music to OWSLA. PC Music are making some of the most forward-thinking pop music at the moment, helmed by A. G Cook.
He says, "I’m so happy to see them blowing up. That music is so fun. It’s some of the most freshest, some of the most pure forms of music coming out right now, in terms of the melody and the fun. It’s not meant to be pretentious and it’s super forward-thinking and really tapped into youth culture and Internet culture which I find really awesome." Skrillex's always been predicting trends, and that love of music fuels his desire to innovate.
Ok, it might not be strictly related to music, but Skrillex's haircut is as iconic as any track he's released. It's his way of staying connected to his hardcore background, and he's always enjoyed having long hair. It's part of who he is.
Speaking to Dazed, he says, "I had long hair since I was a teenager, the only difference is I shaved my head and got prescription glasses, although now I wear contacts. It was just me being an emo kid. I still am, in lots of ways." He might not think he's a style icon, but it's hard to deny that his haircut has become a staple for many music lovers worldwide.