Musically speaking, Skrillex is the bane of my existence. I am a huge fan of dubstep and this former “hardcore” emo has turned a genre with a rich history and tradition into a glittery bastardization designed to excite 15 year olds into a moshing frenzy.
Dubstep came about around the turn of the millenium as a mixture of (among others) UK garage and two-step. It was meant to be a darker, grittier alternative to the ever cheerful reggae and dub. The first dubstep tracks, produced by the likes of Mala, Coki, Loefah, Tempa, Digital Mystikz, Skream and Benga, were minimal. They painted a haunting mood rather than creating an assault of sound, the beats were few and far between. Importantly, dubstep kept the structure of drum n’ bass and grime, allowing MCs to remain a central part of the scene.
Over the past year or so, the success and popularity of American dubstep, aka “Bro-step” has greatly eclipsed that of UK dubstep. Young American producers like Skrillex have taken what was only superficially the center of dubstep – the modulating sub-base and synthesized electronic sounds – and forsaken the very genres from which dubstep was first born. Bro-step seems to be a competition of how many grinding machine sounds a producer can jam in per second and then layer over cheesy, generic electro-pop. “Quality” is now judged by how many kids you can get to come and worship at the altar of bass or perhaps a more suiting comparison, how many naïve moths you can get to flock to the cultural inferno.
And in the game of monetizing rave music and culture, Skrillex is a rapidly growing star. His estimated net worth is $2.5 million, not surprising considering young concert goers are willing to shell out upwards of $70 per ticket to see him “perform”. This year, dubstep officially becomes mainstream, with Skrillex earning 5 Grammy nominations including Best New Artist and Best Dance Recording.
So you may be asking: if you hate Skrillex so much, why do you want him to win a Grammy Award? Well, my reasoning is simple: there is no better proponent of the soul-sucking, mass industrialization of previously good genres of music than the Grammy Awards. I consider it a match made in heaven.