"Look at that crowd!" says a beaming Skrillex. "They are so pumped up, it's amazing." He's watching from the side of the stage as thousands of kids jump and scream at HARD Day of the Dead in L.A. last weekend. They're dancing to Kill the Noise, who records for Skrillex's label, OWSLA.
Between touring with Knife Party and his OWSLA labelmates, Kill the Noise (real name Jake Stanczak) is becoming accustomed to the growing live fan base. But he is quick to deflect the credit to his boss. "Sonny [Moore, Skrillex's given name] spent a lot of time helping the scene in a lot of ways, and helping us, so I feel like I owe a bit of that to him," Stanczak tells us in his trailer a few minutes after handing the decks over to Knife Party.
Skrillex influenced his work ethic, he says. "I spent a lot of time expecting something to come, and once I met that guy, it's like, 'Man, if you just work hard enough for long enough, the opportunities kind of align and happen when they're supposed to,'" he says. "It feels like for a lot of people, the time is now."
Making sure the momentum continues, Kill the Noise has just released a new EP, Black Magic, featuring collaborations with Feed Me (one of the artists on Deadmau5's Mouse Trap label) and a new artist by the name of Brillz from whom Stanczak expects big things.
"I guarantee this year people are gonna hear a lot from him," he says.
Another collaborator is a composer named Evan Duffy, who contributed a piano piece. Kill the Noise knows that might surprise some people. "A lot of the stuff I do is really aggressive electro and dubstep and drum-and-bass, [but] it's a little bit of everything on there, tempo-wise," he says of Black Magic.
With the seven-song EP, he intended to push himself out of his comfort zone. "I tried to explore my ability out of my specialty, which is more aggressive stuff," he says. "The past few years I've really been working on the melodic stuff, so that was the point on this one – to try to show that I can do that."
One of the perks of the growing scene is the ability to mix it up, he says. "I just feel like now it isn't necessarily so much about beating people over the head with the big drops and the loudness war," he says. "[With] some true fans, now you can kind of tell a story."
And that storytelling takes him back to his youthful tastes. "I think back to what was the most influential time for me listening to music. I'm 32 now – I grew up listening to Nine Inch Nails and Nirvana, and before that, Metallica," he says. "They would have the really crazy thing they were known for, but they would have a ballad and the weird electronic [stuff] produced by Butch Vig. So that's kind of what I want to do – get back to when I was a kid."