7 Electronic Artists With Surprising Metal/Hardcore Roots

Most electronic artists — even the really big ones — didn’t start there; in fact, a lot of them have roots in metal and hardcore. Here are a few that you may not have expected.

Let’s start with an obvious one: as everybody knows, Skrillex was the singer of screamo standouts From First To Last back in the mid 2000s.

Before he was a famous DJ, Steve Aoki sang for the hardcore band This Machine Kills, who had a couple releases on Ebullition back in the 90s. He also lived at venue/hardcore flophouse The Pickle Patch in Santa Barbara with a bunch of other notable 90s scene fixtures including Mike Mowery (aka Mike Phyte), who is now CEO of Outerloop Management and works with artists like We Came As Romans, Carnifex and Veil of Maya.

Cameron Argon, aka trap artist Big Chocolate, has his roots in the slam/brutal death metal scene. His main metal project is Disfiguring The Goddess, but he’s done a bunch of them (including Commissioner with the late Mitch Lucker of Suicide Silence).

This one really blew my mind– in researching this article, I found out that Bassnectar was in the 90s Bay Area death metal band Pale Existence! They put out a split 7″ with Exhumed back in 1995 or so on 625 (a label run by my friend Max from Spazz).

The brains behind darkwave/synthpop artists Cold Cave is Wes Eisold, who is another veteran of the 90s hardcore scene. He sang for Bridge 9 band American Nightmare/Give Up The Ghost and Epitaph artists Some Girls (with Justin Pearson of Locust/Swing Kids/etc).

Before Rob Swire was in Pendulum or Knife Party, he had a few rock metal bands, most notabley Xygen.

I was pretty surprised to find out that chart-topping electro/house artist Zedd was not only a fan of Periphery, but actually played drums in a Periphery-like band called Dioramic who wouldn’t really be out of place at all on Sumerian or Rise. Not bad at all!

And last but certainly not least, with perhaps the biggest contrast between then and now, Moby’s old hardcore band Vatican Commandos from way back in 1985. I personally love JFA/MDC/DRI-style thrashy 80s hardcore and highly recommend checking out their 7″ if you’re into that style.

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Finn is the producer of CreativeLive's audio channel. You can email him at finn [dot] mckenty [at] creativelive [dot] com @finn_mckenty