LessThan3: Where’d the name “Skrillex” come from?
Sonny: It was a screenname that I had for a long time for online handles. I used to have it tattooed on my lip, but it faded away. It was free, though; so that’s okay.
LessThan3: You started out on Fruity Loops around the age of thirteen. Talk to us about the progression from FL Studios into what you use now, Ableton. What do you think about the progression to controllerism?
Sonny: Much more controllerism and performance is what we see now. As long as I am challenged live, I’m happy. I use it to my advantage—I’m challenged with the capabilities of [Ableton] Live, and I want to take it to my live shows. On the production front, we have some cutting edge stuff being designed for me right now that no one has ever seen before. Crazy sh*t like motion sensors—imagine monster holograms battling each other onstage. It’s going to be crazy.
LessThan3: You clearly draw from a wide variety of influences; can you name a few of them for us?
Sonny: In the beginning it was all Warp records stuff, like Aphex Twin and Squarepusher. Even though it wasn’t club music, it was melodic and heavy and experimental, and that led to me making the club tracks I’m making now.
LessThan3: Today, people hear the name Skrillex and immediately think of electro, dubstep, and multiple types of house. Are you planning to stay such a varied artist or will we see you settling down in a genre or two anytime soon?
Sonny: Definitely not; it’s going to get more broad and the next release is going to be an LP, so there will be even more room on there for more sounds.
LessThan3: Is it going to be released through Atlantic or mau5trap?
Sonny: Atlantic/Big Beat. Atlantic came to me first, and mau5trap came afterwards wanting to help with the first release, to give it more of an indie audience and blow it up, along with online releases on Beatport. What better label is there than mau5trap for online releases?
LessThan3: What are your favorite brands of clothing to wear?
Sonny: Creative Recreation for shoes, and G-Star Raw. I have a ton of both of those brands.
LessThan3: If you could sum up your sound into a few words, what would it be?
Sonny: Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites.
LessThan3: After being the singer of several bands, do you have any plans to produce a track with your own vocals in it?
Sonny: All of the vocals on my tracks are me; with the release of the LP, I will have more room to do more niche-y stuff and more poppy stuff as well with my voice.
LessThan3: We can’t help wondering what some of the incoherent vocals in your tracks would sound in reverse. Are you sending us subliminal messages?
Sonny: They are actually lyrics from other songs that I have recorded previously, so if you reverse them sometimes you can hear old songs of mine.
LessThan3: You’ve gotten to where you are astonishingly fast, how long before you’re where you want to be in this industry?
Sonny: Right now when I come back from a show and get off the airplane, the first thing I get to go back to doing is making music, which is fantastic. I have dreams of doing more stuff with films and video games, and various collaborations. I don’t know exactly, but I have a feeling that I will be able to do these things. I’m on a great path now.
LessThan3: Do you find it difficult to you artistically to release things more quickly and in smaller amounts, which is how the industry is currently moving?
Sonny: No, because I work TOO fast. I have three albums full of songs that I can release right now; I can just pick and choose and release them. I’m used to being in a band where you release twelve songs then nothing for three years, but now I just tour more and when I’m home I work all the time, and I’m able to release stuff very quickly.
LessThan3: Clearly you’ve worked very hard to get to where you are. What advice can you give to artists who are “on the cusp” of greatness and recognition? Was there something you did differently aside from your musical decisions that helped you break through this time?
Sonny: What really helped was releasing my EP for free, and creating an album that was not just club music, but an album you can take home and enjoy for yourself; something you can listen to that lasts forever. Give something away that is very special to you—that shows where your heart is.