Love it or hate it, Skrillex‘s Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites is iconic.
The EP is iconic for how it inspired the genesis of sound sampling culture. Everyone can remember the famous vocal sample Sonny Moore ripped from YouTube, specifically speedstackinggirl‘s Rachael Nedrow. It’s iconic not just because the EP won Skrillex several Grammys, which helped pave the way for the Academy to include a Dance Music category. Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites is significant mostly because it helped spark a worldwide dubstep revival that would ultimately lead to EDM’s 2012 financial boom. The legendary Skrillex EP now celebrates its ten year anniversary today, October 22, 2020.
Named after David Bowie’s 1980 album Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), the EP was composed of nine tracks: six originals and three remixes. While Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites would break the Top 50 on the Billboard 200 charts, it took some time for the EP to arrive there—nearly 15 months, to be exact.
The EP’s gradual ascendance would earn Skrillex five Grammy nods in 2012, including Best New Artist, Best Dance Recording, Best Music Video, Best Remixed Recording (Non-classical), and Best Dance/Electronic Album. His win would later be seen as the global music industry’s approval for a brand new generation of professional “bedroom producers.” Skrillex effectively became the face and voice of the movement.
Everyone in the EDM community man, this means a lot to us. I know it’s been a crazy year for all of us,” Moore said in his speech. “There’s a lot of people who have been here before us doing what we’re doing. I think Justice † should have won a Grammy. I think Daft Punk should have won Grammys but it’s cool that now this year it’s going to open doors for everyone.”Skrillex, 2012 Grammy Acceptance Speech
Besides Daft Punk and The Chemical Brothers, Skrillex was the first dance music artist in the newly-conceived world of “EDM” to win a Grammy. That same year, the now-late media mogul Robert Sillerman famously invested $1 billion into the “EDM” markets via his now-defunct company SFX Entertainment. Value in this new stock soon skyrocketed, leading to a worldwide cultural explosion that can be traced back to Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites.
Suffice it to say, the EP’s title track has become a generational classic. The song became a poster boy anthem for the then-emergent US-dubstep scene with its high-pitched synth melodies, signature bass lines, and gut-wrenching wobbles. Since being certified double platinum over the years, “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” would lead to the penning of the commercial “brostep” genre with its catchy hook and assertive melodic breaks. So when a landmark like a ten year anniversary passes, every dance music fan ought to turn their attention to the groundbreaking Skrillex project.