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'My Name Is Skrillex' Turns 8 Today & It's Even Better Than You Remember

Skrillex
C Flanigan/FilmMagic

Skrillex poses backstage during day 4 of the 2011 Sasquatch Music Festival at the Gorge Amphitheater on May 30, 2011 in George, Wash.

June 7, 2010, was, to most people, an unremarkable day. It was a Monday, and many surely begrudged themselves into another work week. Meanwhile, a nervous 22-year-old with a funny haircut must have celebrated. He'd just uploaded his debut EP to his MySpace as a free download. That alone is something to be excited about, although he couldn't have seen the wildly successful career it served to incite.

Today, that man owns six Grammy Awards with a total of nine nominations. He's worked with Justin Bieber and Pusha T, Rick Ross and even Disney. He's helped launch careers for up-and-comers and inspired millions of young producers, all while crafting an unforgettable style all his own. His is a name and a look ubiquitous with the success of dance music in the United States, and it all started that day with the perfect introduction, an EP so slyly titled, hindsight finds it humorous.

Simply stated, My Name Is Skrillex changed things.

My Name is Skrillex is still a free download. It's not even on Spotify. You have to go to SoundCloud to hear it. It opens with digital static. A pitched-up, demonically cute robotic voice worms its way out of white noise, introducing a new unknown to the world -- and yet, he wasn't truly an unknown. He was a former band star, frontman for beloved Florida emo outfit From First to Last. Back then, fans knew him as Sonny Moore.

He'd always expressed an interested in electronic music, and his need to be creative in new ways eventually saw him leave the microphone stand. He moved to Los Angeles, low on funds, living on his friend's couch. That friend was 12th Planet, a former drum'n'bass DJ who'd come back from the U.K. scene armed with the new exciting sound of a bass-heavy genre called "dubstep." This new sound and its contemporary punk-and-dance-fueled electro mixed in Moore's mind, alongside the influence of longtime favorite experimenters like Aphex Twin. He exercised these inputs on his own laptop music-writing programs, a new moniker giving him the freedom to be wildly exploratory and just have some fun.

The result is a timeless classic that still gives listeners goosebumps. Its ominous intro erupts into synthesized discord, finding a groove in the kind of electric guitar melody that's all kinetic energy about to explode. It was the thrilling, unbridled sound of something new and indescribable. Glitchy but hook-ridden, My Name Is Skrillex is a sophisticated mess. The titular opening track alone weaves funk, disco, metal and electro into one. Its single "WEEKENDS!!!" become a club-DJ favorite at underground clubs subscribed to what are now called "bloghouse" vibes and also marked the first collaboration with vocalist Sirah, with whom he's worked again on "Kyoto" and "Bangarang."

It's trudging and cinematic on "Fucking Die 1," a haunting half-time tune in the style of dubstep made brighter with Moore's own vocal samples that have been wildly chopped and filtered, a technique he famously employed with Bieber on the top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hit "Where Are U Now." "Fucking Die 2" is even glitchier, giving away influences from SebastiAn and Wolfgang Gartner, the latter of which he'd go on to collaborate with a year later on "The Devil's Den."

"Da Da Oliphant" is shockingly aggressive but still has this nugget of melodic brightness and undeniable funk that tempers its combative edge, while the final track "With You Friends" is downright emotional, putting to great use the same synthetic-guitar melody practiced by Daft Punk on "Aerodynamic," while finding new sonic themes that predate signature sounds that now characterize other influential producers from Porter Robinson to Wave Racer.

Listening to its six tracks these eight years later, My Name Is Skrillex plays like a perfect specimen of its time and a mind-blowing map of the future it set in motion. The music that shaped it is clear, yet Moore's mastery of his tools and progressive ability to put them to new and exciting use is obvious. It's as impressive a debut as is imaginable. Honestly, it's better than you probably remember. Here's to re-listening to it for another eight years to come. 


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