Skrillex takes off his mask to reveal Sonny Moore — and reunites with his early punk band, From First to Last


Before there was Skrillex, Dog Blood or Jack U, the artist Sonny Moore was a screaming hardcore punk vocalist and guitarist from Highland Park who joined a band called From First to Last.

On Sunday, Moore and his original FFTL bandmates announced, seemingly out of the blue, that they had recorded a new song called “Make War.” Issued on Moore’s 29th birthday, it’s the first reunion of the original band since Moore left for a solo career as Skrillex.

Though Moore would make his mark under that pseudonym, it’s hard to imagine the artist’s trajectory had he not hooked up with Florida band From First to Last in the mid-’00s.


The group, which was managed by Tim Smith — who continues to manage Moore and co-owns OWSLA Records with him — was the subject of a bidding war even before Moore joined as lead singer. The brainchild of Matt Good and Travis Richter, the band signed to Epitaph Records and started looking for a guitarist to record an album with them.

As Smith recalled in a 2016 interview, Good took a liking to Moore as they were starting auditions.

“Matt found Sonny on MySpace,” Smith said. “He’s like, ‘I found this kid, he’s 16, he’s from L.A. It sounds like he’s OK and he can play guitar, so we’re going to fly him out and try it out and see how it goes.’”

Within a few days, Moore was hired not just as guitarist, but as From First to Last’s lead singer. At first, Smith was skeptical.

“I thought that was absurd,’ Smith recalled. “They’d just met him, he was 16 and the idea wasn’t to get a new lead singer. The idea was for Matt to be the lead singer.”

Smith’s mind was changed the moment he heard Moore on the demos.

“He reminded me of a combination of Claudio Sanchez from Coheed & Cambria and Anthony [Green] from Saosin and Circa Survive. But it was totally unique — that androgynous, just bad-as-hell voice. I was blown away,” Smith said.

Moore went on to play on two Epitaph-issued From First to Last albums, “Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has a Body Count” (2004) and “Heroine” (2006).

Hoping for mainstream success, the band actually signed to Capitol Records, but flux at the label, combined with increasing tension within the band, prompted Moore to exit. When he did, Smith left too, and committed to managing Skrillex’s solo career.

A decade later, Moore is a hit-making producer, label owner, Chinatown developer and one of the most successful DJs in the world.

Moore teased the new song over the summer during a Skrillex show on Beats 1, and made it a reality over the weekend.

That he would return to his roots is perhaps surprising, but “Make War” presents a pretty good case for From First to Last’s return.

With wailing guitar lines and distorted power chords, it’s got nary a Skrillex-inspired bass drop. Rather, Moore, Good, Richter, drummer Derek Bloom and bassist Matt Manning pump the hardcore punk riffs to maximum volume.

Listen below — but be forewarned: Moore opens cursing and doesn’t mince words throughout.

For tips, records, snapshots and stories on Los Angeles music culture, follow Randall Roberts on Twitter and Instagram: @liledit. Email:


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