On Skrillex

Laying bare my fascination.


When I interviewed for my current job, I was asked to disclose my biggest weakness. My answer: a lack of confidence. It is this lack of confidence that keeps me from speaking my mind in front of strangers, feeling secure about my interests, and comfortably assessing my ambitions.

More recently, it is this lack of confidence that keeps me from explicitly sharing my enthusiasm for Skrillex. I am normally comfortable with my music taste; however, there is an aura of foreboding around the pleasure I find in said artist. I feel the need to disguise my enjoyment as a “fascination” and must provide justification.

After my first listen of his sharp and twisted pieces, I became entranced with his ability to mold samples that had no right to be layered together and other-worldly sounds that had seemingly never been conceived before. And after investigating his past, I had become increasingly intrigued. Below you will find my silly albeit inescapable thoughts on Skrillex:

Post-hardcore Influence

The ethereal movements into chaotic breakdowns (drops) entertain a notion of post-hardcore acts such as At The Drive-In or Refused venturing into EDM. This is no doubt influenced from his time in the post-hardcore scene as frontman for From First To Last. The beauty of Skrillex’s approach is the brilliance in the organization of noise. Where many EDM artists struggle somewhere between cohesion with complex arrangements and repetitive synth drones, Skrillex is able to construct complex puzzles of noise, wrapping atonal samples and jarring pitches with melodic flurries into a compelling capsule.


I seemed to have happened upon a strange coincidence when finding Pogo’s Bangarang, a piece comprised if chopped Hook sound-bites layered over a sine-bass, and the Bangarang EP by Skrillex. After being sucked into the colorful chaos, no sooner was I pleased to find that the brains behind the operation looked fittingly like a Lost Boy himself.

Trading helmets for haircuts, there is something refreshing about the Corey Feldman look-alike’s dark fantasy flair that is a perfect personification of his music. Not to mention an ever-persistent smirk that Peter Pan would be proud of.

Video Game Inspiration

While not overtly apparent, many of Skrillex’s textures and progressions appear to be deeply rooted in the video game culture. With contributions including Bug Hunt on the Wreck-It Ralph soundtrack (plus cameo) along with Reptile’s Theme on the Mortal Kombat reboot to the 8-bit samples included in Kill Everyone make one wonder about the familiarity in Ruffneck‘s string arrangement.

From tritones to jazz to rock ‘n’ roll, arguments on dissonance have raged for ages, generation after generation. I believe that the argument against Skrillex as a brilliant composer of chaos is just that. If not generational, maybe a different brain makeup that tolerates, even craves over-stimulation from nonsensical noise, unpredictability and a barrage of Transformer noises.

If nothing else, I recorded a new personal best jogging pace while listening to my Skrillex playlist.


Recess, the debut LP from Skrillex, was released on March, 17 2014. ( iTunes | Amazon MP3 )


Kyle Starr is the writer of and The State of Gaming. Find Kyle on Twitter at @_kylestarr.

3 thoughts on “On Skrillex

  1. I love Skrillex as well. His music just latches on to me. Right now, I consider Kyoto my theme song.

    There is a small typo I’d like to point out. In the post-hardcore Influence paragraph, I believe you meant scene and not seen.

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