Thoughts on Skrillex


Before I begin this post, a quick disclaimer: the point of this post is not to bash on a music artist – it’s to look into an interesting phenomenon that I’ve seen not just in dubstep, but in many music genres as well.

Every once in a while, an artist will enter the scene and completely alter the musical landscape, mixing genres and turning musical traditions on its head. Skrillex is one such example. After dropping his Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites EP back in 2010, he pretty much shot into stardom overnight. No one had ever heard of such sounds – full of random effects, liberal use of wobble bass, and heavy in-your-face beats.

Fast-forward a couple of years, and over this period of time, I’ve observed many people exhibit a love-it or hate-it response to his music, which is often derisively called “brostep” for completely debasing the dubstep genre. At the same time, his music basically changed the mainstream music landscape today. Turn on the radio, and it’s hard not to hear pop songs with Skrillex-influenced sounds.

But here’s the thing: Skrillex’s crazy, in-your-face style of dubstep is completely different from original dubstep – which originated in South London, is much more understated in sound, and is also heavily influenced by reggae music. After listening to Skrillex, my interest was piqued and I went on to find a lot more “classical” dubstep producers and discover an entire genre of music that I could enjoy.

All this leads to my point: If music artists completely turn a genre on its head, should they be blamed or lauded? Because while they could easily be vilified for destroying a genre, they could equally be praised for opening the door for many to discover the original genre and great artists.

Another example I can think of: Musicians such as Jack White of the White Stripes and John Mayer introducing me to blues and getting me interested in older blues/rock greats such as Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Jimi Hendrix. Ironically, Eric Clapton didn’t like Jack White’s fast-paced and heavily-distorted interpretation of old blues songs.

Just some food for thought.

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One Response
  1. February 11, 2016

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