A collective sigh of relief could be felt from the Electronic Dance Music community as Skrillex took home the GRAMMY for Best Dance Recording for “Bangarang” featuring fellow Los Angeleno, Sirah. EDM fans hoped the award would not go to newcomer Al Walser.
Skrillex has won three GRAMMYs this evening, tying himself from last year’s awards. He also walked away with Best Dance/Electronica Album, for Bangarang and Best Remixed Recording for his work with Nero on the single “Promises.”
Skrillex, out of breath from running from the red carpet to the podium, shook visibly with excitement. “I’ve known Sirah for about five years now, and we’ve probably been making music in my bed rooms and lofts in Downtown L.A. ever since. And back when I was giving out records for free we were just doing it for the fun.”
Explaining the “Bangarang” concept, Skrillex said “The whole premise of it is just like in Peter Pan, never growing up and that Lost Boys attitude.”
“It’s awesome to be part of electronic music and I’m so proud to be here today.”
When GRAMMY nominations were announced last December, dance music fans, artists and experts found an unfamiliar name competing in the Best Dance Recording category.
Who is Al Walser and how did the relatively unknown producer from Liechtenstein get nominated up against hit machines like Skrillex, Calvin Harris, Avicii and Swedish House Mafia? The four platinum-selling acts had packed stadiums in 2012 while Walser had posted a low-budget video for “I Can’t Live Without You,” which displayed a scant 7,000 views at the time of his nomination.
Talk of conspiracy quickly ensued. After some fancy footwork by Phillip Sherburne, Spin’s dance music expert, it was uncovered that Walser, although unknown in the U.S., had a history in the music industry. He’d been part of a mildly successful band in the 90’s, produced solo songs and even wrote a book offering tips on breaking into the music industry. In fact, it was Walser’s book that offered insight as to how he may have pulled off what pundits were calling a hoax.
Walser, a GRAMMY voter himself, explained to Vice that he nurtured relationships with other voters, many of whom were unfamiliar with the dance music genre. These votes he generated were likely responsible for his nomination.
Despite the EDM community’s unrest, two nominees have displayed support for Walser; Calvin Harris and Diplo. Telling Spinner “I love everything about him,” Diplo’s approval stems from Walser’s hacking of the system.
With the legend al walser http://t.co/jq3DT7F2— wes (@diplo) February 7, 2013
With Skrillex’s GRAMMY win, EDM Armageddon has been avoided.
— Jay Tilles, CBS Local