Skrillex has harbored silver-screen visions long before he had the resources to realize them.
The 27-year-old artist — born Sonny Moore — describes making his music against an imagined visual canvas while channeling childhood sci fi and fantasy favorites like The Fifth Element and The NeverEnding Story. Even on his earliest material, and especially on his “craziest” productions.
“All the images I’ve kept in my head as a little kid just have really surreal qualities, but there’s also the human connection as well,” he tells Billboard. “They go through my head a lot when I’m at a computer and have access to all these crazy sounds that I’m making.”
Skrillex has flirted with film throughout his career, scoring Spring Breakers and contributing music to Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph in 2012. Now a six-time Grammy Award winner who achieved crossover success with this year’s Jack U EP, Skrillex finally has the foundation to explore filmmaking on his own terms.
Skrillex sought to do just that by co-writing, co-producing and editing the fantastical new music video for his remix of GTA’s “Red Lips,” which casts Anya Taylor Joy within a swiftly shifting dreamscape populated by inimical entities and parallel universe plot twists.
Funded largely by Apple and directed by Grant Singer (whose credits include The Weeknd‘s “Can’t Feel My Face,” “The Hills,” and “Tell Your Friends”), the high-budget, six-month project represents the first time Moore has been able to be “as hands on” as he wants.
“I can do stuff with nothing. I’ve done that for a long time, and I’m still down to do that,” he says. “But it’s nice to do something like this and enable so many other artists to be a part of it on so many different levels.”
“Red Lips” also reprises Moore’s partnership with Singer, which began with his music video for the Yogi and Pusha T collab “Burial” earlier this year. Both videos feature tense fight sequences and contortionist “bone-breaking” street dance choreography by Brooklyn’s Ringmaster Nugget and his crew.
“When you get us both in the room, our energy is so crazy and it almost shouldn’t work together because we’re both so animated and have too much energy inside us,” Moore says. “He’s probably my favorite director I’ve worked alongside with, because of how freeing it was for us to be able to try everything we want to try, and there was no ego.”
Expect further forays into film for Skrillex, who just directed his first music video for a forthcoming collaboration between his OWSLA label’s Hundred Waters and Chance the Rapper last week.
“I do want to do features at some point, or make lengthier films and do stuff from the ground up at some point in my life,” he says. “I think music will always be the most direct and personal art of communication but you can tie so much more to movies. You can really create visuals and things that stick in people’s heads for a long time. At least that’s what film has always done for me.”
Red Lips Video Credits:
Written by – Grant Singer & Skrillex
Directed by – Grant Singer (The Weeknd “Can’t Feel My Face”, Vic Mensa & Kanye West “U Mad”, Skrillex & Yogi “Burial”)
Executive Produced by – Nina Soriano (The Weeknd “Can’t Feel My Face” & “The Hills”) & Skrillex through Anonymous Content
Line Producer – Nathan Scherrer (The Weeknd “Can’t Feel My Face”, Jack Ü & Justin Bieber “Where Are Ü Now)
Director of Photography – Rob Hardy (Ex Machina, The Invisible Woman)
Art Director – Page Buckner (Django Unchained,Transformers, Iron Man 2)
Costume Design by – Trish Sommerville (The Hunger Games, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
Special FX Makeup by – Barney Burman (Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Trek)
VFX produced by – James Alexander @ Framestore (Guardians of the Galaxy, Gravity, Avatar)
Edited by – Nick Rondeau @ Arcade Edit (Truth Campaign, Jay Z “Picasso Baby”) & Skrillex
Lead Actress – Anya Taylor Joy (Sundance Award-winning film “The Witch”)