With the success of his recent Jack U team-up with Diplo and the non-stop touring, Sonny Moore aka Skrillex took some time to sit down with The Guardian for an exclusive interview.
The Guardian’s resident writer Peter Robinson sat down with Skrillex to discuss his fondest memories from the last year, his focus on production (including Justin Beiber’s new album) and his own music influences.
Hi Sonny, if I’d come up to you five years ago and told you that in 2015 you’ll have produced half a Justin Bieber album, how would you have reacted?
It’s funny you should ask that. I’m always transporting myself to five years ago and asking myself the same questions. I’d have been really excited! I’ve never had an ill thought about that guy, even when he got in trouble for egging someone’s house. I think we all grew up with way worse kids than that. It’s been a turning point for both our careers in that we both did something new together. All the best songs of all time are collaborative: the Beatles, Michael Jackson with Quincy Jones, Tupac and Dr Dre.
I’m trying to think of a decent counter argument.
I mean some of my favourite music pieces of all time are by Aphex Twin, and they’re probably just him sitting in his room in his underwear, but in terms of things that impact on culture there’s almost always a team.
Do you think Aphex Twin could make a good Justin Bieber record?
The real question is: would he? He did that album 26 Mixes For Cash, that had a bunch of more famous songs that he flipped. Although some of them sound as if he didn’t use anything from the song.
When did you last feel victorious?
Well. When we won at the AMAs recently. To be quite honest, I’d never paid attention to the AMAs because it’s the biggest names in pop music; I’d never had that sort of attention before.
Who’s your big musical tip for 2016?
Dej Loaf is really talented, Goldlink is amazing. There’s an artist I just signed called Marshmello, he sounds like nothing else. He’s about to do his first tour and he’s sold out every show; he’s so viral but so organic. He’s just done a great remix of Adele’s Hello. It’s going to be a huge year for Marshmello.
I thought we might get through the interview without mentioning Adele, but here we are.
How can you not, though? Come on! Props to her. She’s the greatest. Talk about feeling victorious; she must be feeling victorious right now.
Does Kanye have good manners?
Yeah! He was great with me. He’s a very passionate person, and he expresses it in a certain way. I’ve been in situations where, years ago … well, to be honest, I stopped doing interviews because of a Guardian interview I once did. It was the one with the headline “The most hated man in dubstep”. It was the beginning of my career and I was definitely a punching bag for purists, but I just wanted to make music.
How’s this Guardian interview going so far?
It’s FINE! If you have an opinion and want to say something negative I’m fine with that, but back then it was different, when all I wanted to do was make people happy and I was looking at a backlash based on things I never wanted to do.
Are you easily embarrassed?
Actually, when I was about eight, I did get pantsed in the schoolyard. I get the “naked at school” dream a lot. I used to have a dream where I’d be wearing a T-shirt that comes up past my belly button, and I’m walking around school with no pants or underwear, just trying to pull my shirt down enough to cover myself.
Does working with Justin mean you’ve been getting lots of collaboration requests from pop acts?
There have been a lot; lots will come from people who’ll text me: “Hey, I’m not sure if you’re into this but would you be into producing the Meghan Trainor song for the new Snoopy movie?” Things like that.
Did you work on that song?
No, no I didn’t.
That’s a relief, it wasn’t very good.
Well, yeah, I wasn’t inspired to go and do it, but I did get to meet Meghan at the AMAs and she was really sweet. I mean I didn’t hear the song, but if kids who watched the movie liked the song, it was good in the sense that it did what it needed to do, right?
But isn’t what you’ve done with Justin Bieber a way of showing you can make music kids will like, but that you can also make it as adventurous as it can possibly be?
I hear what you’re saying: if you can do both, you do both. But things are created for different purposes and everything sits in its own context.
When you were a kid, who was your own Meghan Trainor?
Fuckin’ hell, man! When Hanson’s MMMBop came out … well, I don’t think I’d ever listened to another song that many times. I remember being with my dad in the car, playing it over and over and over again. I loved it. Kids are so much less homophobic now but back then, they’d go: “‘YOU’RE GAY!” “YOU’RE GAY FOR LIKING THAT!” I got older and I was like: “I can’t like that, my peers don’t like it.” But a few years ago I got to play a gig in Amsterdam and Hanson played an earlier show. It was fucking SO COOL to see them. If music can make a positive impact on somebody – even if it’s a child and it was meant just for that – and if you’re spending a lot of money on making people happy, that’s got to be better than spending money on war.
Source – The Guardian