Despite the two genres being drastically different, many of our favorite EDM stars got their start in metal. To celebrate this curious trend in dance music history, we collected six of the best examples of metal artists who went on to achieve EDM stardom.
While there are some notable additions, you might be surprised at who you see turn up on this list.
You might be wondering how someone who created some of the biggest pop EDM songs in the history of the genre ended up on this list. Surprisingly enough, Zedd got his start in a metal band called Dioramic before going on to create hits like “Clarity” and “The Middle.” The band was even signed to a record label and released a music video featuring the future EDM superstar.
Before becoming one of the biggest dubstep artists in the game, Bassnectar got his start shredding in his metal band, Pale Existence. Fans can see it for themselves, as he shared footage of himself at age sixteen singing and playing guitar at the band’s first show on his YouTube channel. In a blog post on his website, he explained how he got into music and showed just how big of a metalhead he was.
In his own words: “my friends and I descended into an obsession with the darkest, heaviest music possible. Death metal, Black metal, doom, grindcore… and I mean we became *OBSESSED*…it was all we ever did.”
As some fans might know, before he volleyed cakes at EDM crowds, Steve Aoki‘s Dim Mak label would regularly release non-electronic music. For example, prominent indie bands like Bloc Party and Klaxons had releases on the label in the mid to late 2000s.
Interestingly enough, the rock crossover doesn’t start and end in indie. Aoki himself used to play in a hardcore band called This Machine Kills. Years later, in 2011, Dim Mak released a hardcore compilation album, on which one song from Aoki’s band was included.
You most likely know Adventure Club as the popular melodic dubstep duo, but you probably didn’t know that they started out as a hardcore band. In an old interview, they explained that while working on their own band’s material they started listening to a lot of dubstep, and the rest was history.
Breathe Carolina isn’t just a duo with members inspired by the heaviest rock subgenre – they straight up used to be a metal band. Although they were never metal in the sense that Metallica is, their sound featured metalcore vocals and breakdowns interwoven with a synth-heavy sound. Nowadays, the duo have gone full EDM, with music seemingly created for the main stage rather than a circle pit.
Before becoming one of the most iconic artists in bass music history, Skrillex was the frontman of the post-hardcore band From First to Last. With Skrillex (real name Sonny Moore) leading the charge, they released two albums before he would sustain vocal chord injuries that led to his eventual departure and creation of the Grammy-winning project we see today.
The band would later reunite for a show and two new singles, “Make War” and “Surrender,” released in 2017 and 2018 respectively.