Skrillex Interviewed – 10 Things To Know About ‘Recess’

Skrillex dropped his debut album ‘Recess’ yesterday with little notice. It was written and recorded in Los Angeles, Seattle, Seoul, London, Stockholm, San Francisco & Brooklyn and features guests including Ragga Twins, Chance The Rapper, Diplo, Passion Pit vocalist Michael Angelakos, OWSLA stars Kill The Noise, Alvin Risk and Milo & Otis. NME spoke to him last night to get the skinny on his first proper record. Here’s 10 things we learned, in Skrillex’s own words.

He wasn’t trying to ‘do a Beyoncé’
“A lot of people have compared it to that, but none of my records have ever had any marketing. They were all announced the day of release, just like this one was. I just wanted to get it out rather than have all the speculation that can come with albums first. It’s great to see the effect it has on people and the positivity you can create, too. Thousands and thousands of people downloaded the free app, like, 30,000 in the same day. So people who got the record first are the people who actually care.”

The brostep song is supposed to be a joke
“I didn’t think so many people would take [the title, ‘All Is Fair In Love And Brostep’] so literally and not get that it’s totally tongue-in-cheek. It’s more of a statement that I don’t care – you can take it any way you want. Haters will use that [song] name and do what they want with it. But other people will get the humour. The idea was just to open the record with something super in-your-face. It’s a wake-up call.”


Selling loads of copies isn’t high on his agenda
“I guess what it comes down to is crowd size. A couple of my tracks, like the Chance the Rapper song [which was recorded at a Skrillex show on a mobile phone], got like 80,000 hits in a week. By the next day, kids were already singing along. So that’s the measure of my success, if everyone is singing along and having a good time, that’s dope. The record sales are trivial.”

‘Recess’ underlines that he’s actually always been eclectic
“In the last couple of years I’ve done rap records and pop records for other people, some that my name isn’t even on the title of. The work I did with Cliff Martinez for the Harmony Korine film [Spring Breakers] was some of my favourite work I’ve ever done and I could never play that out live. It maybe hasn’t always been in the public eye but I’ve always made different stuff. But this is the first time I’ve made so many different styles under one roof, on a record.”

And it’s another album trying to capture ‘that nostalgic feeling’
“It is about innocence and fun. I do try to achieve that. Maybe that’s why there is cheesiness in my music; I love that feeling you get when you feel like a kid. And that’s why people tend to hate me because [my music] makes you feel something no matter what.”


He’s bessies with everyone who featured on ‘Recess’
“There’s so much friendship that goes on behind the scenes. Chance The Rapper has actually been a friend of mine for years. He was staying on our couch every time he came to LA, this was before ‘Acid Rap’ or any of that came out. So he was in Seattle and we were kicking it and we made ‘Coast Is Clear’ after his show.”


It was made in the moment around the world
“Everything was spontaneous, as I was travelling anyway and playing shows and touring, rather than over-thinking things. G-Dragon and I met years ago and said we should do something. It just happened that we were in Seoul one night and Diplo was there too and we made a track. Music should be fun, and an expression of the people who are making it. Ten years ago, if you wanted to do that, your manager would have to meet their manager and you’d schedule a time and they’d talk about money and bullshit. But now you can just make it happen yourselves.”

The track with Diplo, ‘Dirty Vibe’, is the first of many this year
“We probably have like five other tracks that we haven’t released that we’re going to release together on each other’s record labels or as collaborations. We bring the best out in each other, I think. We’re not releasing anything under a name. I’ll probably have a collaboration on the Major Lazer album. And we might release a single together as Diplo and Skrillex.”

He wants to bring different music fans together under one roof, like Noah’s Ark
“I remember the first and only time I saw Daft Punk in 2007, when they had the pyramid. And the first thing I noticed was, yeah, there’s black people, white people, Asian kids, rappers, rockers, hipsters, mainstream people, all coming together to watch Daft Punk. I get to see so many different types of people at my shows, too. I like that my music can draw so many different colours. I thought it would be fun to make something that rock people, hip-hop people, everyone, could enjoy.”


The album is the modern equivalent of The Grateful Dead’s Festival Express
“The movie is where we got our idea for our Full Flex train tour two years ago, where I took out Grimes, Diplo, Pretty Lights and more across Canada. There are these dope scenes with Janis Joplin and Grateful Dead playing guitar and having fun. My record is a testament to that, too; every single track was created with that same atmosphere. I created amazing relationships throughout this whole record and that energy can only lead to good things. And it’s about putting that energy back into the music industry. It’s not about politics, it’s not about major labels; it’s about artists getting together and creating something and being free.”

Read a track-by-track first listen on NME Blogs and pick up the magazine for a full-length interview next week

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