DJ Skidrow mixes school, music

Like everyone else, he went to see the post-hardcore band Chiodos, but it was Sunny Moore’s music that inspired sophomore communication major Daniel Robles to pursue a career as a producer and disc jockey.

Sophomore communication major Daniel Robles goes as Skidrow behind his mix pad. Jesse Malina/The Bells

Sophomore communication major Daniel Robles goes as Skidrow behind his mix pad. Jesse Malina/The Bells

Robles said of Moore, “He showed up with a table and a laptop, and he was just jammin’ out.”

Moore had been showcasing his music underground in Los Angeles; he eventually became known as Skrillex, popularizing dubstep, a genre of electronic dance music, or EDM. A year later, Robles saw Moore again, this time as Skrillex, at the Never Say Never Music and Arts Festival in Mission, Texas. It affirmed to a middle school aged Robles EDM would be his future.

He grew up in San Benito, Texas, located off I-69 in the Rio Grande Valley.

He said, “Where I’m from, it’s all Tejano music.”

But that wasn’t the music making up the majority of his playlists. He listened to groups like Daft Punk and The Crystal Method — “the old school guys,” as he refers to them.

Robles does more than listen now. Predominately, the music he makes is classified as Glitch Hop. It’s a variant of the larger EDM scene.

“The real focus behind Glitch Hop is that you make electronic glitch music, which is the little beeps, and twerks, and all that kind of stuff, but you have to have it at a tempo from 104 to like 114 … to keep a steady beat.”

A lot of EDM is done live by DJs at clubs and festivals. Whereas DJ’s “scratching” a vinyl record in the 1970s and ’80s rocked the nation, EDM is now pushing to the forefront.

Junior Christian ministries major Jesse Malina said, “It’s the new movement of music.”

He went to a festival last year with Robles and won’t soon forget the experience.

“Electronic music really creates a lot of energy,” Malina said. “Everybody’s just feeling that same energy.”

And Robles, e-e-ex-xxxx-cu-cu-u-uu-uuu-se me, Skidrow, Robles’ DJ/producer name, creates g-g-litch beats that have some sending praise his way. The introduction song to his upcoming EP Kiss Kiss … Bang Bang, which is set to drop in January, has been well received.

His fiancee, Bonnibel Rodriguez, came up with the name for the EP. She told Robles that it starts out like kisses—soft and smooth, and after a heavy drop explodes — “Bang! Bang!”

People are talking about his music, but they might also be asking “What’s up with the name Skidrow?”

First off, the name should not be confused with “the old school band Skid Row,” Robles said.  The name was given to him as the result of his behavior in middle school.

“I went through that rebel phase,” he said.

It was a stage of his life that harbored his passion for something different musically but at the same time landed him with in-school suspension on more than one occasion.

A juvenile delinquent officer told Robles, “You better watch it, son, or you’ll end up on Skid Row.”

Other students picked up on the comment and nicknamed Robles Skidrow.

Today the name has a positive connotation for Robles. As a Christian, it’s a reminder of why Christ has gifted him with the skills to produce electronic music. “Jesus would go and talk to the people in the worst parts of town, on the skid rows. That’s what I like to do.”

He sees his music as a chance to engage a music scene that often times involves a culture of corruption. Robles doesn’t stand alone, though. His dad, who once EDM as “fart music,” Robles said. Now he said his dad is one of his biggest encouragers. And then there’s Rodriguez, Robles’ fiancée.

Daniel Robles, known as Skidrow, mixes music in his living room in the Tryon apartments. Tyler Agnew/The Bells

Daniel Robles, known as Skidrow, mixes music in his living room in the Tryon apartments. Tyler Agnew/The Bells

She said, “It means a lot to him, therefore, it means a lot to me. I’ll be there for him.”

With God-given abilities, a love for EDM, and a strong support base, Skidrow has a good setup.

He said, “There’s no limit to what you can make.”

Author: Tyler Agnew

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