Sonny John Moore (born January 15, 1988), better known as Skrillex, is an electronic music producer best known for being the poster boy of dubstep. He's also a great name to drop if you want to send someone off on an angry tangent or make a new best friend.
Formerly the lead singer of screamo/metalcore group From First to Last, Moore quit the band in 2007 in order to pursue a solo career. In 2008, he began making music and deejaying under his current aliasnote . In 2010, he was picked up by Mau5trap Records and began making a splash by touring with established electronic music producer deadmau5. Skrillex has been the buzz name in electronic dance music ever since, having picked up eight Grammy Awards along the way. He reunited with From First to Last with 2017.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Moore was raised by two adoptive parents, Scott and Francis Moore. He began writing music when he was 9, after receiving a guitar from his father a a gift. At age 12, he started attending local concerts, primarily as a way to make friends and socialize, as he was home schooled. Moore started several bands around this time before joining From First to Last when he was 16. He was originally slated to play guitar for the band but was changed to lead singer after he was heard singing by studio producers.
In June 2004, Epitaph Records released the band's first full-length record with their new bandmate, Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has a Body Count. After performing on several successful tours (two of which being the Vans Warped Tour and Dead By Dawn tour), they began recording their second album (with former Limp Bizkit guitarist Wes Borland playing bass), Heroine, released in March 2006. The album garnered high sales and, once again, the band found themselves in another slew of tours.
Unfortunately, Moore started suffering vocal problems, causing FFTL to resign from touring. After going through a successful surgical procedure, Moore informed the band he would be permanently resigning to work on a solo career. He returned to the band in 2017.
Moore would spend the next few months releasing demos via MySpace. He toured with a few bands and contributed to Wes Borland's Black Light Burns project, but never really made it big under his Sonny Moore solo work, though he continued to make music with various bands as Sonny Moore into 2009.
In 2008, Moore began deejaying under the name Skrillex at clubs in the Los Angeles area, and in 2010 he released his official debut EP under the name, My Name is Skrillex, as a free download. Later in the year, Sonny began a nationwide tour with deadmau5 after being signed to Mau5trap Recordings and released his second EP, Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites. His first full album as Skrillex dropped in 2014, called Recess. He's also been working on side projects Dog Blood (with fellow producer Boys Noize) and Jack Ü (with another fellow producer, Diplo).
He also composed the opening song for Kingdom Hearts III, "Face My Fears".
His current music tends to have a very light-versus-dark vibe to it, bright melodies contrasted with harsh bass drops, and spans many sub-genres of electronic music. Some hail him as a new wave of electronic music, bringing in fresh fans and faces, while others claim that he changed it and now it sucks, especially in regards to his dubstep material. Has Skrillex simply altered the landscape of EDM, or has he destroyed it? Only time will tell.
- Gypsyhook (As Sonny Moore) (2009)
- Bells (Leaked - no official release)
- My Name is Skrillex EP (2010)
- Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites EP (2010)
- More Monsters and Sprites EP (2010)
- Bangarang EP (2011)
- Make It Bun Dem After Hours EP (2012)
- Leaving EP (2013)
- Recess (2014)
Tropes Related to Skrillex:
- Album Title Drop: My Name is Skrillex. There is a song with that title on the EP, and the phrase itself is said many times.
- Animal Motif: More than not, he's compared to a koala by fans.
- Ascended Meme: He's mentioned Grillex on twitter.
- The Atoner: In the music video for "Bangarang", the boy who chopped off the gluttonous ice cream vendor's hand during a heist on his van couldn't enjoy his red-topped ice cream, reminding him of that act. Years later, as an adult, he gives the same man one of the stolen cases of cash, which he and his Childhood Friends (who were also involved in that heist years ago) stole from professional thieves, and is seen finally being able to enjoy the same red-topped ice cream.
- Audience Participation Song: Often Skrillex will turn down his music and have the crowd sing a phrase or word (usually "My Name is Skrillex" and the ending of "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites".)
- His remix of "Cinema" really seems to be a fan favorite.
- Auto-Tune: Uses the software for a more obvious electronic voice-warping sound.
- Blind Without 'Em: Those glasses aren't just a fashion statement.
- Brown Note: "Ruffneck (FULL Flex)" has some extremely loud and polarizingly high and low synths repeated and played at the same time. This may be the intent based on the music video.
- Butt-Monkey: To Deadmau5.
- Cluster F-Bomb: "#### That".
- Creator Cameo: He contributed to Wreck-It Ralph's soundtrack, and briefly appeared at a party as the DJ.
- Covered with Scars: Because of a hormone imbalance and medication taken to counteract it, Skrillex has a lot of acne scars on his face. This has contributed a lot to low self-esteem and is also the reason he got an undercut: he was trying to wean himself off of hiding his face with his hair.
- Electronic Music: Including, but not limited to:
- Emo: Due to his raccoon-eyed and long-fringed past, he's occasionally the target of good-natured Emo Kid jokes from his fellow producers (especially deadmau5)
- Emo Teen: Boy, was he ever.
- Enfant Terrible: The little girl in the "First of the Year (Equinox)" video is either Guardian Entity or A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing.
- Expecting Someone Taller: He's 5'4".
- Fake-Out Fade-Out: During "Summit". It goes on for about two more minutes after this.
- Fan Verse: A popular fan consensus is that Skrillex is actually an alien. Skrillex knows about this and — to an extent — encourages it, since he thinks aliens are really cool. Likely lampshaded by the name of one of his tours - the Mothership tour.
- Genre-Busting: He is his own genre. Or his own 4 or 5 genres.
- Genre Roulette: Recess bounces all over the place, moreso than anything else he's put out before.
- Gratuitous Japanese: Under the name Sonny Moore he released "海水" (Kai Sui), a Japanese version of "Mora". A couple of times he has also said "Moshi Moshi" on Twitter.
- Helium Speech: His natural singing voice sounds like this. It's very distinct.
- "I Am" Song: "My Name Is Skrillex".
- Iconic Outfit: Long sleeve black shirts, black pants, black everything else, giant hipster glasses. Also, this outfit.
- Important Haircut: Sonny gave himself his signature undercut at about the same time he started to release EPs as Skrillex.
- Keet: He's like this sometimes.
- Laser-Guided Karma: The gluttonous ice cream truck driver that ate his own merchandise in the video for "Bangarang" loses his hand near the end of the "boys" part of it.
- Leitmotif: The opening note of "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" (wananana, nananana) is very distinctive, and prominently featured on all the song's official remixes and Varien's "Skrillex Orchestral Suite" medley.
- Lighter and Softer: "With You, Friends (Long Drive)" and "All I Ask of You" from Scary Monsters, and "Summit" from Bangarang.
- Limited Wardrobe: Or so you'd think. He seems to own about four plaid shirts (either gray or black), a few black t-shirts, and one white shirt that throws fans into a tizzy any time it appears, just because it's different. Of course, all of his pants are black.
- Little Miss Badass: The young girl in his "First of the Year (Equinox)" music video.
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: He definitely has long hair...on most of his head.
- Looped Lyrics: "Rock N' Roll (Will Take You to the Mountains)" and "WEEKENDS!!!", as well as a few more.
- MY. NAME. IS. SKRILLEX.
- Loudness War
- Mind over Matter: The music video for "First of the Year".
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Some of his material has crept up into the 9-10 ranges of the scale, due to the significant Heavy Metal influence that can be heard in his sound.
- "Scatta" is a borderline 11, however.
- Mood Whiplash: This is basically his musical style, juxtaposing lighter melodies with "gritty" bass lines.
- Mondegreen: "You can't hide from my cameltoe/You know me too high my friend, though I am just like you!"note
- Nerd Glasses: The hipster glasses aren't just for show. Poor guy really is Blind Without Them.
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Many of his songs. Two in particular stand out: "Breakn' a Sweat," a mix of rock and his typical music, which he did with The Doors, and "Make it Bun Dem," a combination of dubstep and reggae, complete with one of Bob Marley's sons on vocals.
- New Sound Album: Recess proved to be this. Of the tracks on the album, only two of them were definitively Skrillex-esque, Try It Out (which was released the year before) and All Is Fair In Love And Brostep (which is classic.) The rest are experimental or Pop. Most certainly Doompy Poomp, which is pretty much a more cartoonish glitch hop track then any of his usual combinations of genres. This hasn't stopped this album from being well received though.
- Nice Guy: Ridiculously nice.
- Omnicidal Maniac: The main subject of "Kill Everybody" is a guy who wants to kill everybody in the world.
- Pædo Hunt: Whatever the little girl thing in the video for "First of The Year" is, she's on one. A highly successful one, judging by the tally marks.
- Producers Smash MacBooks: When Skrillex's gear stops working mid-show, things get... theatrical.
- Rap Rock: "Kyoto" is a foray into it.
- Sampling: Though he more often uses random sound clips from YouTube videos and his own mixed up vocals than other songs.
- Sensory Abuse:
- "Born This Way (Died This Way)". It includes a lead melody formed by pure screaming from hell.
- "Ruffneck (Full Flex)", while not as unsettling, may be even worse due to the extremely high synths contrasted with extremely deep bass at the same time.
- The horrific-sounding guttural bass in "Scatta".
- Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites is a reference to Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps).
- "Bangarang" has the lyric "Shout out to all my lost boys, we rowdy", sung by Sirah. In the film Hook, the Lost Boys' Battle Cry was "bangarang". The music video is littered with hidden references to Peter Pan in general.
- Breakin' a Sweat has the singer shouting "Come on baby, light my fire." Guess which band is featured on the song?
- The summoned monster in the "First of the Year" video looks quite a lot like the Slender Man.
- From First to Last's debut album (Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has a Body Count) comes from a line in the film Heathers.
- Sleep Cute: With Zedd and Steve Aoki.
- Smoking Is Cool: Played up by some of his publicity photos.
- Stage Names: Skrillex being his stage name and his real name being Sonny Moore, as stated above.
- Stealth Pun: See Shout-Out example above.
- Also, in the music video for "First Of The Year (Equinox)", the little girl who appears to be channeling/possessed by Slenderman is shown, while already on a (toy) phone, screaming at the person on the other end to "Call 911 now!". If she's on the phone and telling somebody to call a number for her, that means she's talking to the operator.
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: "All I Ask Of You", "Summit", "Leaving", and "With You, Friends (Long Drive)". Pretty much once per EP.
- Take That!: "Rock n' Roll (Will Take You to the Mountain)" seems to be one towards those who think that electronica isn't "real" music, or possibly just towards rock music altogether.
- Trope Codifier: For "brostep" (also known as "filthstep") a subset of Dubstep which specializes in gratuitous, distorted basslines, cacophonous electronics and climatic "drops."
- Truck Driver's Gear Change: Inverted in "Scatta". The bridge actually shifts down a whole step. The effect is awesome.