Sonny Moore made history last night. As Skrillex, he became the first-ever dance artist to be nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy. To boot, he raked in four additional awards at the nominations show: Best Dance Recording; Best Dance/Electronica Album; Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical; and Best Short-Form Music Video.
But the controversial electronic/dubstep DJ couldn't be more calm about it. At the end of what must have been one of his longest days of interviews ever, Moore chatted nonchalantly with Billboard.biz about the value of a loyal team, collaborating with members of the Doors, and why he doesn't give two thoughts to his myriad haters.
Billboard: You must be feeling pretty great about what happened last night.
Skrillex: I'm happy. I worked really hard with my team. I'm proud of them.
It's a huge deal. You've had a hell of a year. How did you celebrate?
I was already sleeping! My tour manager, this crazy-looking guy with a beard, started screaming at me in my bunk. I just went back to sleep and woke up today. I'm in Manchester with a lot of my team and roadies; celebrating together has been cool. It means a lot to the whole community [out here, as well].
This year has gone by so fast! You must be exhausted.
We don't reach R.E.M. [sleep]… (laughs) If we slept that long we'd probably be more tired than we are… It's when you get the eight hours few and far and far between--that's when you wake up groggy. I can't sleep; I'm trying to do 322 shows this year.
That's a monster touring schedule. Would you attribute the touring to a lot of your success? For the nominations?
Perhaps, I'm not as far as mainstream music goes. I don't have all those mainstream outlets like daytime radio and constant TV, Billboard things. We didn't have any marketing campaigns for any of my records. There's definitely something to be said about how we've done what we've done; that is, me and other [artists] doing what I'm doing. We've built this organically, by word of mouth, with people coming to shows and experiencing it live and having a good time.
You've been doing the dance thing for a little while now, but you originally started out in a completely different genre. How has that part of your career, with From First to Last, affected how you operate now, as Skrillex?
I don't think about it. I just think about now and making the next song that I'll be able to be really proud of.
The nominees list this year is full of artists that have come about in that organic fashion. For you, in particular, this is the first time you've been on such a scale where people have really been taking notice. You were on the cover of SPIN magazine earlier this year, for instance. Can you talk about how that scene is growing and receiving more recognition?
I don't really think about recognition; I'm not really involved. The people who I grew up making music with, we've all grown up and become successful in different ways. My manager supported me since I was 16 and believed in me as a musician. He's been there since Day 1, and there's so much to be said about doing something with people that you love. To come this far, that's the coolest part about it.
So what are your plans leading up to the awards on Feb. 12?
I'm on tour till the end of 2012, but I'm gonna be making music, playing shows and trying to become a better artist.
In a couple weeks I'll probably release another EP. It's all about what I feel and whether it's right…I want to put that EP out on the Internet in a couple weeks. I'm going to do a track that's a collaboration with members of the Doors. It's gonna be pretty cool; we're excited about it.
That should be an unbelievable experience for you.
It's awesome. I can't complain about working hard and releasing music that I like.
Coming back to this supportive scene you spoke of, these dance and dubstep communities. A lot of people like to hate on you and say you're not a dubstep artist. You've said in interviews that you don't want to be boxed into a genre, specifically that of dubstep.
I'm not really trying to be anything, I understand that people not in a negative way…. What dubstep is and what I do. I wouldn't call myself a dubstep artist.
That must get frustrating, when that people lambast you for being that dubstep poster child when you don't identify as such.
Totally. It doesn't bother me when I play my shows; I'm playing the music I want and all these fans are excited about it. That's cool, and I don't really think about anything else. People can call me anything they want. The truth is, it's all talk. If you took the ratio of what people say and compare that to 100,000 people at [Electric Daisy Carnival] dancing to every song that you play…that's what matters. No one worries about genre when they're dancing. They're not asking themselves, "Is this song a dubstep song?'
The dance scene has really seen a revival since rave culture was big in the 1990s, and your fanbase is pretty zealous. Now you've been nominated for 5 Grammys! How do you see your career evolving from this point? What do you want to be when you grow up?
That's a good question. If something gets too easy…I want to do something else. But every album is going to be me, no matter what. I'm getting into film scores next year and we're mixing dance music…and collaborations like the one I mentioned…I have my record label [OWSLA] as well. I can't stay idle for more than a couple seconds; then everything gets too easy!
Is that part of the whole no R.E.M. thing?
Exactly, no R.E.M.!
One final question…What are you going to wear to the show?
I don't know what I'm going to wear! I've never dressed up in my life. (Laughs) I was forced to ride in a limo to a wedding once, and I hated it. But I'm actually really excited for it this time. Maybe a tux!