“No one was mixing bass music with Synthwave, so I knew that was a niche I could start.”
Interview by Arnold van der Walt
One of the most exciting things about electronic music is how producers are able to perfectly blend different genres together to create a sound that sounds truly unique. More often than not, producers ‘accidentally’ stumble upon their signature sound on pure luck because they were trying to create music they wanted to hear; but couldn’t find anywhere. This is exactly what happened with Orange County newcomer, Skrezz.
Skrezz is a relatively new American producer that finds himself inspired by 80s music but felt like a crossover was needed with the ever-rising bass music scene. Blending these two together, he’s stumbled upon his own version of ‘synthbass’. In his own words, “there’s something nostalgic about that era that’s so captivating and to be fused with today’s modern bass is a thrill of sounds you have to hear.”
Skrezz gained a lot of attention from blogs after remixing a track from the Tron: Legacy soundtrack; Daft Punk’s ‘The Grid’. Quickly gaining traction from bass house fans across the web, the scene became entranced with Skrezz’s mix of hybrid bass and metal riffs.
Skrezz’s latest track, which he chose to premiere via The Playground, is a remix of Porter Robinson’s ‘Shepherdess’. Debuting with a remix of iconic producers Daft Punk only to move on to Porter Robinson is a bold move; a move that has surely paid off. The original is already a hard hitter, but with Skrezz’s 80s injection, the track has turned into a textured powerhouse of bass not soon to be forgotten. With two stellar releases behind his back, Skrezz might be the latest tour de force you have to look out for.
We sat down with Skrezz and spoke about his Porter Robinson remix, writing music for film scenes, and how he plans on bringing the 80s back.
Your music has a synth/bass style to it, but to those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?
I would best describe my sound like a blend of Synthwave and mid-tempo bass. I incorporate a lot of elements, so it’s hard to pinpoint it down to a genre. But let’s just say, if the upside down from Stranger Things had a resident DJ, it might sound something like this.
How did you get into producing music? Especially your signature 80s-inspired style?
I always had a passion for music but it wasn’t until my cousins took to me to see Kaskade for the first time, where my life changed forever. Ever since then, I knew I wanted to be a music producer. I knew I wanted to fuse my love for EDM and the 80s, I just wasn’t sure how to do it. It wasn’t until I discovered a synthwave mix on YouTube where I started getting all these creative ideas. No one was mixing bass music with Synthwave, so I knew that was a niche I could start. My sound definitely has a retro rock element to it.
When you’re not producing music and being Skrezz, how do you spend your days?
When I’m not producing music, you can usually find me surfing at the beach. I actually get a lot of my ideas at the beach, either being in the water on my board or walking around there at night while listening to movie soundtracks.
Your first ever release (a remix of Daft Punk’s ‘The Grid’), gained some traction recently. Why did you decide to remix a track from the TRON: Legacy soundtrack?
The whole Tron soundtrack is such a huge part of my sound. I breathe that movie and everything about it. I decided to remix Tron because it’s my favorite movie and I knew I wanted to one day incorporate it into my sets. You’re stepping into the future with that song and that’s what I want people to experience at my live shows.
Your latest track was just premiered on The Playground. What can you tell us about your remix of Porter Robinson’s ‘Shepherdess’?
Porter Robinson is an amazing artist that I admire so much, so I knew I had to do this remix justice. I wanted to keep some of the melodies the same while adding some Synthwave vibes to the mix. Once you get to the bridge and drop though, its a euphoria of metal riffs and hybrid basses. It’s definitely something you can headbang to.
Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?
I usually start with my midi keyboard. I’ll start with some cool melody and start building around that. I’ll use my guitar sometimes too if I want to make a sick riff. When I write music, I also like to envision what it’d be like in a movie as well. I’d say it has a retro cinematic feel to it.
Gary Numan is quoted as saying: “I have always been far more interested in sound than technique, and how sounds work together, how they can be layered. I think electronic music, (in its infancy anyway) allowed us to create music in a way that hadn’t really been possible before. It created a new kind of musician.” What are your thoughts on this statement?
I totally agree with that statement. Before, music was pretty much created with the same instruments and elements. With electronic music, there is so much more you can do with sounds. You can create music with sounds you created from nothing. That’s what so captivating about this scene.
What are some of your key influences in your music? Whether it be the sound created by others, imagery, films or any kind of art form.
For films, it’d definitely be Stranger Things and Tron. That world they’ve created with those soundtracks have inspired me so much when I write. I listen to a lot of different music but I’d say the key influencers in my music would be Skrillex, Porter Robinson, Rezz, and 1788-L.
What is one sub-genre you think doesn’t get the attention it deserves?
I honestly would love to see more Synthwave come into the limelight. I love everything about the whole 80s era and I’m glad the scene is slowly coming back. So that’s something I’m striving to do with my music.
If you could collaborate with, or perform alongside any artist, who would it be? And why?
I would love to collaborate or perform alongside Skrillex. To me, he’s such a pioneer when it comes to music and everything he writes always sounds so innovative. He has great taste in music and everything on his label, Owsla, is always top notch. He’s a creative genius.
Any new artists on your radar? Also, what songs do you currently have in high rotation?
I just discovered Blanke and the dude’s killin it right now. I’m always listening to Skrillex, Rezz and 80s hair metal, but I also visit my old screamo days. So Underoath and A Day to Remember. The bangers before the electronic bangers lol.
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us, Skrezz; before you go, do you have any exciting plans for the near future?
I have a Madeon remix I’m working on, as well as an EP right now. My dream would definitely to be to start touring. But until that day comes, I’ll just be cranking out as many songs as I can.
Famous last words…
Heroes get remembered, but legends never die!