What’s your proudest moment of the past year?
I had just come from South America with Diplo, where we had one of the best shows we’ve ever had, at Lollapalooza in Rio de Janeiro. We left to fly to Miami for Ultra. All of a sudden it was me, Diplo, CL, Bieber -- the whole crew in this hotel suite overlooking the festival and gearing up to play that headlining show. It was a surprise, and it was a big show, so there were some nerves. None of us were sure how it would all play out. The show ended up having this spontaneous energy, and the crowd embraced it wholeheartedly. I was on the highest platform with the opportunity to do whatever I wanted -- but when you decide to just have fun and wing it, it almost always yields the best stuff.
Justin Bieber's Reclamation Project Begins with 'Where Are U Now'
You’ve been hanging with Bieber a lot lately. What’s something the world doesn’t know about him?
Justin is a f---ing virtuoso. He’ll school you at every-thing: Ping-Pong, basketball, freestyle rapping. The kid is so competitive. Whatever he does he’s super good at, so you don’t stand a chance. It’s not even fair.
With Jack U blowing up, you and Diplo have been pretty inseparable too.
I mean, he’ll FaceTime me in the middle of a show. I’ll be sitting in bed, staring into the phone at this crazy crowd losing their minds, and they’ll be looking back at me in bed like, “Hm... OK.”
There are entire Reddit threads dedicated to theories about the meaning behind the name Jack U. What’s the real story?
It’s going to disappoint all of them. Basically, Diplo and I were in a phase where we were obsessed with footwork -- a spinoff of Chicago house where the whole jacking scene comes from. Jacking became this word that we used more and more, to the point where we started using it to describe things, like, “Oh, that’s jacking.” It’s just really high-energy music -- it jacks you up, you know?
Justin Bieber, Skrillex and Diplo Unveil 'Where Are U Now' Music Video: Watch
What do you make of the current state of EDM?
No other genre can connect with hundreds of thousands of fans without selling records and yet still pack stadiums. That’s the cult of electronic music. It’s online but it’s also live -- it’s a connector.
There have been rumors that you’re working on another solo album. Is that true?
No. I got to squash this right now. I’ve been holding off, but it’s time to set this straight. I have no idea how that rumor started; it’s like people just say whatever they want and it catches on. I’m always working on music, but there are no formal album plans right now.
Meet Mark Johns: The Newest Member of Skrillex's OWSLA Imprint
Do you ever think about taking a break?
I don’t. I’ve got good people around me, and we’re all working toward the same thing -- the label, the music and the culture around it. It’s fun, it’s not really work. How could I ever complain?
Listen to music from Skrillex (as well as more from this week's issue) in the Spotify playlist below:
This story originally appeared in the July 25th issue of Billboard.