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.
- ‘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.
- 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.