Deadmau5 - Another Witty Headline
Deadmau5 has come of age in the past two years to become one of the most in demand producers, whether it be for his remixes or original productions. 3D’s Cyclone chats to the Canadian, heading to OZ for Good Vibrations next year.
Toronto’s Deadmau5 doesn’t fit into any electronic subculture. Is he minimal- Is he house- Or is he progressive- Tech-trance perhaps- Don’t ask Deadmau5 – he doesn’t know.
Deadmau5 has a laconic, even perverse, outlook on his career, as that handle suggests. (He requests that this interviewer call him ‘Frank’, although his real name is Joel Zimmerman.)
The Canadian, anticipating rocking Aussie “mau5keteers” when he plays Good Vibrations, enjoys cultivating mystique. The dude wears a giant mouse’s head, Daft Punk robot-style. “I’ve never really considered myself much of a scenester,” he drawls.
Already this year Deadmau5 has spawned a surprise hit with the West Coast houser Kaskade in the “soft-trance” Move For Me. Their dealings with each other were minimal. “I think we’ve only ever exchanged maybe about seven words in total in person.” Kaskade (Ryan Raddon) sent Zimmerman an instant message and they worked together online.
“I like people who just get on with it,” he laughs. “I don’t like sitting there planning shit out and scheming and overcomplicating something that’s very simple.” In fact, Zimmerman hasn’t heard from Raddon in ages, joking that he’s probably switched to other producers.
The Mau5trap label boss has now dropped his first – and typically irreverent – LP, Random Album Title. (It’s out through Ministry of Sound in the UK but Stomp here.)
Deadmau5 may be a Beatport megastar but, recognising the ephemerality of the digital world, he wanted to deliver a “tangible” product. “I would like to say that 99.9 percent of Beatport’s customer base is DJs – and, as much as you think it sometimes, not everybody is a DJ!”
Deadmau5 touts Random as a compilation of recent tracks, including Not Exactly, rather than an ‘artist’ album, per se. “In my eyes, an album would consist of 100 per cent new material that nobody’s even heard of – which is definitely something I’m looking forward to doing in the future.”
While Deadmau5 is no traditional DJ, deploying Ableton for ‘live’ shows,
Random is mixed.
So what of the pesky genre question- Zimmerman is still resolving that himself. Quiz him on his musical background and he doesn’t start reminiscing about old rave. “It’s not as clubby as you’d think – I’ve only recently discovered the joys of techno.” Instead he grew up on a diet of rock (“Nine Inch Nails was a big one for me”), which also accounts for his involvement in Tommy Lee’s WTF- dance project.
Indeed, Zimmerman is intrigued by “too-cool-for-school” techno – James Holden, Richie Hawtin and M-nus – and that’s the music he aimed to make. “It was something that hypnotised me for a while, [and] that I aspired to do, but everything I did would just come out so poundingly commercial-sounding! It didn’t hurt – but I aspired to be something much different than [what] I’ve become, that’s for sure.”
Is that exasperating- “It is very frustrating, but it’s good in a way, ’cause I’m not stopping any time soon to achieve a certain sound. If I’m doing it wrong, then all the more reason to keep doing it until I’m satisfied with something – which will hopefully be never.”
WHAT: Random Album Title through Ministry of Sound UK / Stomp / Plays Good Vibrations at Centennial Park
WHEN: Out now / Saturday 14 February