Quest For Fire gained initial traction with a carefully-structured waterfall release strategy, drip-feeding the public. In fact, lead single Rumble was teased at various raves over the last five years – most recently with Skrillex’s close companions and collaborators, Fred Again.. and Fourtet. Last month, the newly-formed trio decided to play a ‘casual’ three-hour set in one of the most renowned music venues in the world: New York’s Madison Square Garden. Skrillex saw this as a perfect moment to reveal his second album by releasing it at the end of their set. Within 48 hours, the industry was shaken.
Even more importantly, both records showcase the talents of a wide range of artists. ‘Coming from the cracks and the crevices’ (as Trippie Redd sings on their song Way Back), Skrillex has always been entrenched deep within the scene, consistently paving the way for others and sharing his love for the underground. “A lot of that ‘figurehead’ stuff came with controversy,” he recalled to Dazed in 2019. “A lot of the ways journalists framed it was… that I was coming in and taking something and mainstreaming it – like it was this plan, this conspiracy, or something like that. For me, it was only about the underground.”
Hamdi is a great example of an artist that Skrillex supports, whose dubstep track Skanka was played at the MSG show, giving a voice to an emerging artist who is now signed to Earth Agency. Teen prodigy Prentiss and breakout pop star PinkPantheress, meanwhile, were amongst the fresh creatives featured on Don’t Get Too Close.
Alongside newcomers, both albums were also speckled with famous names giving Skrillex opportunity to tap into wider fanbases – collaborations with Justin Bieber and Missy Elliot to name but two have shown his ability to gain respect from individuals who are hugely famous in their own right. This year’s Don’t Go with JB is reminiscent of the legendary Where Are Ü Now with Diplo, which surpassed one billion plays since its release in 2015. And then, of course, there’s Warped Tour ’05 with pete WENTZ, a snippet of an old interview with Sonny and the Fall Out Boy bassist/lyricist. While it may just seem like a 48-second interlude, the line ‘This is a culmination of all your hard work’ feels apt, not to mention gladly nodding back to the pair’s respective emo pasts on an otherwise forward-thinking release.