Skrillex is accustomed to playing on the largest stages, in front of thousands of cellphone-wielding fans, but he took everything down on a notch over the past few weeks, playing a series of intimate venues for his Takeover shows, and posing for just one camera — ours — for his new Rolling Stone cover story. "Mostly, even when I'm playing bigger shows, my sets change every night, but it's really fun to go to smaller clubs and be really spontaneous, and not really give a fuck what you're playing," he told us on the set of the shoot.
"I'm inspired by, honestly, keeping a personal feeling even on a big level," Skrillex tells us of his massive stage shows. "That's the main thing. It's not all smoke and mirrors."
"Everything has a drop," Skrillex says. "When you listen to funk, and it starts out with the drums, and then the bass line comes in, that's just a kind of dynamic. When something cuts out and the anticipation of something else builds, and the surprise of what it could be. I think all dance music has that in that sense. Even something like techno, even if it's just a kick drum, it's still part of the dynamic."
"Usually, with big arenas and festivals, you have a big space between you and the audience for the most part. To compensate, you would bring a lot of extra stuff — even the IMEG, where I'll have a Go Pro camera right next to the booth and I can interact with a crowd. When you're at a club like Output in Brooklyn, we don't bring anything. We basically are there with the audience. I wouldn't even say audience, you're there with friends."
"I usually have some decks in my dressing room, so I'm always playing, warming up," Skrillex says. "I'm always making new records on the road too, so it gives me a chance to try things out and warm up and get into the vibe."
"My first big show in electronic music — and I've said this a million times — the one that really spoke to me was seeing Daft Punk with the pyramid. At that moment, that's when like, the melody, and the show, and all the music and how they put it together really created something on its own — a DJ set. It was something that I could imagine living in for years."
"I feel like my stage show is a representation of my music," Skrillex says. "A lot of my music has really tech-y elements — and I don't mean techno, I mean future elements. So, we have the spaceship, and it really fits with the music when you see it, and like, the sort of simple movements the spaceship does, it has the same feeling as my movement. So that's really where my inspiration comes from, the music first."
"Last year, I was just moving into my own home for the first time in a long time in L.A. Two years prior to that I was living in hotels and traveling. It was just kind of a really crazy time," Skrillex says, explaining his new album Recess was "inspired by the moment as much as possible and not trying to get caught up in all the noise. It's just a lot of pieces from a lot of different places as well."
"There's always gonna be people that are gonna be surprised, there's always gonna be people that are gonna like it, and I think some people will like it," Skrillex says of his new album. "Who knows. I mean, I don't really think about that too much."