(Every artist has a soundtrack that reveals their musical journey. But what is the one recording that proved to be a transformative moment? In this ongoing series, GRAMMY-winning and -nominated artists will reveal their answer to the deceptively difficult question: What recording changed your life?)
Come To Daddy (1997)
"One album I always think about, for so many reasons, is the EP Come To Daddy, by Aphex Twin.
"At a very young age I discovered music just like anyone else does, through the culture and the scene. When I was super young, I liked Michael Jackson. [His music] was something I always loved. I discovered skateboarding at a young age, when I was 9, and first started listening to a lot of music then. I listened to a lot of punk rock music and hip-hop and metal. It kind of tied into what all the kids were listening to.
"But I remember Aphex Twin's Come To Daddy was the first thing I ever discovered on my own that didn't associate with any scene. It was, in every way, the one [recording] I think about the most because it doesn't fall under a genre; it doesn't really fall under anything. It was just something I found [on my own] and immersed myself into. It was part of what really made me want to make music.
"I think it is important to have a strong scene and a culture — that's part of what music is — but this to me was something that changed me. If you talk to someone who doesn't know much about Aphex Twin, they'll go, 'Oh yeah, that guy with the really creepy videos that has that creepy music.' But Aphex Twin's vocabulary is so wide and deep, and some of it is so ambient. And some of it is just like terror music; it's frightening.
"I feel like I just have a lot of similarities as far as why I connect with him, because my mind naturally wants to go so many different places. So I think that's why that record means the most to me."
(GRAMMY winner Skrillex is currently nominated for Best Dance/Electronica Album for 2012's Bangarang, Best Dance Recording for "Bangarang" and Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical for "Promises [Skrillex & Nero Remix].")
(Paul Zollo is the senior editor of American Songwriter and the author of several books, including Songwriters On Songwriting, Conversations With Tom Petty and Hollywood Remembered. He's also a songwriter and Trough Records artist whose songs have been recorded by many artists, including Art Garfunkel, Severin Browne and Darryl Purpose.)