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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Track of the Moment: Note to Self by From First to Last

So everyone knows and (probably) hates Skrillex. If not, you should climb out from under that rock you’ve living under, invest in some subwoofers and go to Youtube. But, as I promised last Wednesday (as I’m sure all of you read and remember), I was going to talk about Skrillex, aka Sonny Moore, before he went into “dubstep”.

Now, this would usually be something reserved for NJWB, because it’ll provide some of my amateur controversy-stirring psychology, but I promise I’ll try to keep it short. Prior to “ruining” dubstep and becoming a meme of how much people hate him (each one of those words is a different picture; feel free to click and laugh), he was the lead singer a screamo band called From First to Last.

From First to Last gained a good amount of popularity in the mid-2000’s (at least, as much as a screamo band could) with original and creative song writing, and a lot of interesting guitar solos and bridges. However, towards the end of the decade, the screamo market became a bit over-saturated, and the genre as a whole began to lose popularity. So in 2007, Sonny Moore left the band, of to pursue his own solo career. He stayed in the alt-rock genre for about a year or so, going on the Alternative Press Tour in 2008, playing with Team Sleep (which has Zach Hill from Death Grips, and Chino Moreno from Deftones), and opened for Chiodos. If you know your alt rock/screamo/emo music, that’s some pretty big stuff.

However, in 2008, he also began DJing as Skrillex at some clubs around LA, and eventually released My Name is Skrillex in 2010, and got signed on Deadmau5’s record label. And from there, it was history. Bad history, in my opinion, but history nonetheless.

Now, why would I have an opinion with some pseudo-psychology about this? Simple. Moore first joined From First to Last right as screamo was becoming really popular (2004). The early-to-mid 2000’s saw a huge rise in bands putting out this hard rock instrumentals to gutturally screamed vocals, fueled by the success of acts like Linkin Park. But that success was pretty short lived, and within 10 years of Hybrid Theory’s release, screamo went the way of disco, grudge, and hair metal; mostly reserved to the few hardcore fans from that era. Even Linkin Park went to a different sound with A Thousand Suns, which was worked on 2008 until it’s in release in 2010.

Right around the same time screamo was dying out, dubstep was coming in (as I so eloquently explain in this article). So now we find ourselves with the crux of my argument; Sunny Moore loves riding musical trends. You can claim some similarities between FFtL and dubstep, but it’s hard and most evidence is a tad shaky. Which is why I believe that Sunny Moore is just a fame monger who wants to attach himself to the next big thing in music, regardless of what it is.

I'm apparently not alone in my opinion
Does Moore believe in the music he’s making and has made in the past? I’m sure he does. But that does change the fact that in a few years, once the novelty of, and interest in, dubstep wears down, we may see Moore running to the next big thing, leaving the people who got Skrillex tattooed on their knuckles or carved into their arm wondering what they hell they were thinking (well, they should think that anyway, but moreso).

Anyway, FFtL played a role in my late middle school, early high school years, and it’s just such a nice, nostalgic feeling to revisit some of my favorite songs off the 2 albums with Moore at vocals. It’s still interesting and original, especially given the direction screamo has gone to keep up with the trends. Enjoy “Note to Self”, one of my favorite tracks.

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