A mainstay at music festivals, the poster boy of dub step, a six-time Grammy Award winner, and to think, he’s only 27! Charging across the battlefields of dance and quickly garnering the status of an icon with his electro house, Sonny John Moore aka Skrillex is all set to Bangarang in Bengaluru this evening.
Having grown up trotting the globe, Sonny John Moore strongly believes that he’s a product of his environment. “My earliest memories of music are full of travels,” he reveals, having left home at 16 and moved to Georgia to meet his first band. He subsequently traveled all over Europe by himself, meeting people online and making music with them. It was at a cluttered home studio in downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District, as he recalls, he wrote Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites — the song that a sold million copies and saw him take to the midi controller, ceaselessly cuing the snare for hours. “I feel like all my musical influences have been people who have done things differently or come from an alternative side,” says the music producer who grew up listening to everything from hip-hop and metal to punk and EDM. With over 300 shows a year including this one by LIVE Viacom 18, he may have collaborated with the likes of Diplo, Ellie Goulding, Justin Bieber, Deadmau5 and Jack U, but his earliest memories of music go way back. “I first heard Aphex Twin when I was really young and I realised that you can do something all by yourself, let your imagination run wild and use a computer or electronics as an instrument. That really inspired me to become a producer,” he says. It was when he first heard Michael Jackson that he wanted to become a singer and after gawking at Metallica for the first time in concert with his dad when he was all of nine that he wanted to take to the guitar.
For Skrillex, people are important and that shows not just in his acceptance speeches but also his thought-provoking videos like First of the Year for instance where a little girl assaults a pedophile. “I guess when you’re in the moment of making music and producing music, for me, I’ve always been into emotion and visceral feelings,” he says, prepping for his debut performance with Vh1 Supersonic in India.
He’s heard great things about the country from his friends and he can’t wait to see it all for himself. “They have shared that it is a very, sort of, spiritual place and there’s a lot of different sensory experiences that you wouldn’t get anywhere else in the world – not to mention, the people, culture and the food!” says the DJ who may be worth an estimated $36 million but still finds the time to skateboard and cook! “I love food. I’m a crazy foodie — Mediterranean, sushi and sometimes, just a good ol’ hamburger,” says Sonny, who can’t wait to start his food ‘trip’! Of course, if you know Skrillex, there’s more to you than meets the eye – like his hair that we all love. “One day, I just decided to shave the side of my head. No real reason, I just looked in the mirror and shaved it,” he smiles. With six Grammy Awards to his credit, winning in the same categories of Best Dance Recording, Best Dance/Electronica Album and Best Remixed Recording — non-classical, twice over, ask him if he has advice for newbies trying to give things a spin and he says, “One hundred percent confident with who you are. That’s the one thing that will make or break someone in anything in their life.”