What makes Skrillex particularly exciting is his willingness to try new things, much as he did when collaborating with Benny Benassi and Gary Go on their "Cinema" remix, with the remaining members of the Doors on their track "Breaking a Sweat" and with "Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley on the upcoming single "Make It Bun Dem."
His label, OWSLA, has shed light on a versatile collection of non-cookie-cutter EDM rock stars like Porter Robinson, Zedd and Dillon Francis. So when Skrillex recently offered to introduce MTV News to two underground acts, we jumped at the opportunity.
First up was Jake Stanczak (stage name Kill the Noise). "He's been DJing for a while now and been in so many different projects in the drum-and-bass scene. I feel like he's finally found this really incredible sound that's his own. Not to say that he hasn't had his sound before."
Kill the Noise has heater remixes for Kanye West and Estelle, Rye Rye, and Yelawolf, and collaborated with Skrillex, 12th Planet, Datsik and Korn, in addition to his own series of successful bass singles. Throughout their friendship, Skrillex has been an ardent supporter of KTN, with OWSLA putting out his last EP, Kill Kill Kill, among other remixes.
"We've been working hard," KTN said. "I started sending him demos and then that's really kind of been my inspiration, is getting feedback from him, and obviously the rest of these guys too," he said, pointing to Koan Sound beside him. "But Sonny [Skrillex] has really kind of pushed me along."
"And this is Koan Sound," Skrillex said, indicating Jim Bastow and Will Weeks, a pair of Bristol, U.K., DJ/producers. "Theirs is an exciting, novel form of EDM: It's funky. It's hype. And it's slow. Like, 100bpm-slower-than-Moombahton slow, but in an exceptional way.
"They are just so incredibly talented," Skrillex said. "They come from Bristol. It's a really musical, kind of artistic city in the U.K., and the tempo and vibe they are coming from is unlike anything else that is happening in bass music right now. ... It's like hip-hop, and it's slow and it's got this really fresh vibe, where you can rock a rager and a pool party."
"This is our first real tour in America," Weeks said of their recent trip to Miami Music Week. "The reception we've been getting is pretty amazing. The stuff we released on OWSLA [Funk Blaster EP] just goes off!"
"It's kind of mind-blowing," Bastow said. "People recognize it instantly. That always encourages you, when you go to places that you've never been before and play to crowds that you've never played to before and they already know you're music."
Fans can expect Skrillex and Damian Marley to release "Make It Bun Dem" soon, and new EPs for both Kill the Noise and Koan Sound will likely be served up by OWSLA this summer. And Skrillex will leave the music completely in the hands of its creators.
"I do nothing but make sure their vision is exactly what their vision is," Skrillex said, "because as soon as you f--- with that, [that's] the minute it's not what you want them for. Both of these guys, I love them because they are making the tunes they make."
"Honestly, that's what I love about OWSLA," Weeks confessed. "Anything I send these guys, they take on board, and they just love anything I send them. I can be as creative as I want to be, which is perfect for being a producer."