The lineup for this year’s Outside Lands festival in San Francisco is stacked with heavy hitters: Metallica, Stevie Wonder, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Jack White and the Foo Fighters. The next two names on the list? Beck, then Skrillex, who is more blown away than anyone by the top billing he’s getting – not just at this fest, but at countless others this summer, from the Hard Summer festival in Los Angeles to New York’s Electric Zoo and San Diego’s I Love This City.
“It’s crazy,” Skrillex tells Rolling Stone by phone from Antwerp, Belgium, where he played a gig last week. “If you would’ve shown me this flier a year ago and took it back from the future, I would’ve never believed it.”
The DJ-producer is particularly excited to headline the Hard fest, which will take place just a week prior to Outside Lands in August. “Even a couple of years ago, I would only hope to be playing a small slot on an early stage at a Hard event,” says Skrillex. “Hard always chooses their lineups tastefully and carefully, and it’s probably the most diverse festival. It’s the first big festival that brought over all the French Ed Banger guys, like Justice and SebastiAn and Busy P.”
Despite his packed live schedule, Skrillex is also focused on creating music this year, albeit mostly remixes. “Until the end of the year, I’m pretty much only focusing on remixes because I just released two EPs,” Skrillex says. “I’m gonna go back to doing remixes because I really love working with some other vocals.” While plenty of DJ-producers have left remixes behind after achieving stardom, Skrillex isn’t one of them. “Some people get over remixes, which I get, but I love doing them,” he says, pointing out that they can often lead to full-fledged collaborations. Take “Make It Bun Dem,” his new track with Damian Marley that came together after Skrillex remixed Marley’s “Welcome To Jamrock” and sent it to the reggae star (listen to it below). “It’s staying true to the Rasta lingo,” says Skrillex. “It’s got a traditional dub vibe, but it’s very dancefloor friendly. It caters to his vocals really well.”
There are more remixes on the way, but Skrillex will only name one of them – “Holdin’ On,” a track by the trio MONSTA, which pairs the production duo Pegasus with singer Bryn Christopher. “The vocalist’s vocals are so raw and so pristine he can just walk up to any mic – you don’t have to have any compression or anything on it – and he just sounds like fucking angels are singing,” says Skrillex, who will release the remix on his own OWSLA label. “They’re my friends and my boys, so not only do I get to release their music, but I also get to tour with them and hang out with them. Labels should be like a band or should be a group of friends. That’s what this feels like.”