Last year’s Bonnaroo featured headlining performances from Kanye West, Lionel Ritchie, Jack White and Elton John, but one of the festival’s big highlights came when Skrillex led an unlikely group of artists through a hit-filled “Superjam.” Now an eight-part series is tracking how this came together, opening with the show’s conception and moving through the moment the crew left the stage.
In the episode above – episode one – watch the event begin to coalesce, with Skrillex explaining the cold calls he would make to possible guests. “Hey, I don’t really know you,” he says, offering a sample greeting. “My name is Skrillex, and I’m doing this thing called the Superjam. And I want you to cover James Brown, ‘I Feel Good’. . .please.”
We then see Skrillex conducting rehearsals, and a few of those who responded to that request attempt to describe the DJ’s appeal. “It’s something different,” Fatman Scoop says of his music. “I felt like he took dubstep, EDM and other musical genres, mixed them up, put angst in there – and there you go, that’s Skrillex.”
Later, Cage the Elephant’s Matt Shultz discusses his innovations: “You might think of it like when the piano was invented, and you have the harpsichord. At first it’s kind of scary for people to adjust, but with the piano you could sustain notes and there was a wider range.”
Doors guitarist Robby Krieger, sitting next to Schultz, jumps in to mock those who might have once feared this earlier musical shift: “When the piano came out, ‘Oh that’s no good. The notes hang on too long!'”