‘Quest for Fire’ by Skrillex – Flawless mixing, versatility and UK scene influences

The dubstep king, Skrillex, has returned with his first solo album since 2014 with ‘Quest For Fire’, an album that really embodies the versatility of the EDM genre!

Perhaps Sonny’s newly formed friendship with the two Brits, Fred Gibson (Fred Again..) and Kieran (Four Tet) has not only effected his popularity but his music too. The first of 2 albums to be released in 2023 feels heavily influenced by UK garage culture as well as drum and bass. This is emphasised by the choice of features for example grime rapper Flowdan on both ‘Rumble‘ and ‘Hydrate‘.  Similarly, third track ‘Tears‘ features the underground British grime and dubstep producer Joker, an odd but fitting choice that highlights the array of different sub-genre influences Skrillex wanted on the album.

The 15 song album is very well-curated and the mix of genres keeps the listener guessing. The majority of songs are either 2 or 3 minutes and in such a short time they all manage to pack a punch.

Despite ‘Quest For Fire‘ being extremely energetic and almost hectic, the tracks themselves are not overproduced. In an interview with Radio 1’s Jack Saunders, Skrillex said that when first producing fan favourite ‘Rumble‘ with Fred Again.. he nearly did too much and overproduced it. The pair joked about kicking fellow producer and friend Kieran (Four Tet) off the track and him being an honorary producer, “his biggest role in ‘Rumble‘ was the most important role, which was to make sure we didn’t overproduce it and fuck it up”. I think it is clear that Skrillex has carried this advice when finishing the production of the album.

Personally, I very much enjoyed the lack of major pop star features on this project in comparison to some of his previous work that featured the likes of Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran. This adds to the authenticity as each feature seems specially chosen, which brings something unique to the song.


Standout Tracks

  • RATATA‘ is one of the more commercial and mainstream tracks that definitely belongs to the dance pop category. It features the iconic Hip Hop artist Missy Elliott‘s great vocals that mix perfectly alongside the sample of ‘Positif‘ by Mr Oizo to create a high-energy feel-good tune.


  • Hydrate‘, the brother of viral track, ‘Rumble‘ is in my opinion just as good if not better. UK grime MC Flowdan appears for the second time on the album with an excellent verse that really catches the listeners attention. Flowdan himself sums up the clean production of this track: “it’s simple, not complicated”.


  • Supersonic (my existence)‘ was already a fan favourite when Skrillex released it in 2021. This is probably due to its nostalgic feel as it’s very old school Skrillex with a dubstep-led sound. The slow atmospheric intro paired with eery vocals really helps to build the song up to the hard and bassy beat drop.
    Skrillex and Porter Robinson at Sky Fest (2019)


  • The final track ‘Still Here (with the ones that I came with)‘ is the perfect close to an emotional journey of an album. The title is pretty self explanatory with Sonny reaching out to those in the music industry he started out with, perhaps trying to reassure fans he has not changed despite over a decade of fame. This is illuminated by the collaboration with Porter Robinson a producer he has had many years of friendship with.


The album as a whole shows off Skrillex‘s flawless mixing and creativity with an unbelievable blend of tracks with a fitting list of guest features. Although I can see why people may find it too chaotic and lacking a clear narrative, personally I enjoyed the experimental element of the project. I think the multiple sub-genres included especially from the UK scene were used successfully and highlighted his innovativeness and versatility as an artist.

TikTok – Is it a blessing or curse to the music industry?

Without doubt TikTok is the biggest influence on music right now! From launching ‘nobody’s’ to stardom, to controlling the charts to reviving old songs from the grave, TikTok has complete power over the music industry and what is popular.

TikTok has retained its spot as the most downloaded app in 2021 with now over 1 billion users. So, it is no surprise that the content creating app is hugely influential on the music business. The power of TikTok makes it easier than ever to propel artists to fame overnight, simply with a viral video or trending sound that gets reused and becomes popular. The app released a report revealing that 75% of it’s users say they have discovered new artists via the platform.

An example of this incredible sudden popularity is 20-year-old BENEE. The indie pop singer from New Zealand shot to fame after the most followed TikToker (with over 100 million followers) Charli D’Amelio danced to her song “Superlonely”. The song is still the 17th most streamed song in the world! In my eyes it defines TikTok culture during the lockdown period of summer 2020 and the sound will always instantly remind me of sunbathing in our gardens with homemade banana bread and Greek iced coffee.

An obvious advantage of TikTok’s influence is how quick it can help small artists gain listeners, as before many aspiring singers would take years to gain a following and even then, only the lucky persevering few. Also, TikTok has made advertising easier than ever, the short videos and algorithms can be more influential than thousand-dollar marketing campaigns.

Satan Dave’s Viral TikTok sound “Starlight”

In terms of charting, it is astonishingly obvious that popular TikToks affects the charts. When I check the current Official Top 40, I find that the first 5 songs are all huge sounds on the app! UK rapper Dave was reluctant to use the app at first, but his single “Starlight” reached number 1 and now has over 300,000 videos after a trend displaying pictures went viral.

Although some people criticise the changing state of the music industry suggesting it is “ruining the charts” and claiming artists purposefully make “catchy” songs to go viral. In my opinion, Drake’s hit song “Toosie slide” was made deliberately to be a viral TikTok dance as it includes the lyrics, “Left foot up, right foot slide” and it was successful as it became the fastest trend to hit a billion views. Although I understand why artists are going down this route, it is clearly damaging to the industry and making lots of music feel meaningless and less authentic.

I know at one time we have all been guilty of wanting to gatekeep our favourite underrated artists and songs, and as much as it infuriates me to hear “this is a TikTok song” while listening an old favourite, I understand that this is inevitable as the app is so big.