It's no secret that 2010 was a pivotal year for electronic dance music here in the States. With deadmau5 and Swedish House Mafia becoming household names, the genre's momentum shows no signs of slowing down. Using a conduit of collaboration, artists such as deadmau5 (a.k.a. Joel Zimmerman) have paired up with various underground acts to further the rapid expansion of the genre.
Perhaps one of the most notable movers and shakers of the year is now-Grammy-Award-nominated producer and DJ Wolfgang Gartner, who recently sat down to chat with MTV News about deadmau5 and dance music's rise to the top.
"He has a major role in the younger generation to this music," Gartner says, "but there have been certain artists that have been instrumental in helping it cross over and reach the mainstream — which I think is a good thing. I think rap artists using dance beats is a great thing. I think it just brings more people towards this music that we all love."
Thanks to several key moments, such as deadmau5 taking the helm as house DJ (well, technically "House Artist") for the 2010 VMAs, dance music has been thrown into the forefront of America's youth, a key demographic for any genre.
"Everybody knows who he is now and he's kind of exposing the masses to dance music. These little five-, six- and seven-year-old kids latch on to this 'mau5head' logo — they get into the music and he's bringing this tiny young generation into this music that probably wouldn't be exposed to it."
Gartner certainly doesn't mind the exposure either. Unless you were living under a rock for the past six months, you probably heard one of this past summer's hottest anthems, "Animal Rights," a collaborative effort brought forth by deadmau5 and Gartner.
"It was interesting because I kind of had a preconceived notion about how he would be to work [with]," said Gartner. "I think our sounds are really similar, so I figured he would work in a similar way to me, but the way that he writes music is actually completely different to me. But he achieves kind of the same sound through a completely different process."
Recorded in deadmau5's favorite Los Angeles studio — that would be rocker Tommy Lee's House — "Animal Rights" is a thumping progressive house anthem that melds Wolfgang's unmistakable harmonics and funk riffs with the driving bass line and wobbly synths that make deadmau5 one of the unique forces in the dance music world.
"[Deadmau5] writes these rich complex chord progressions and he does it by drawing these little bars on a grid, which is just amazing that you can do that and get that result," Gartner goes on to say. "It just proves you don't have to be able to play keyboards to write amazing music."
The two sound pioneers never cease to stop pushing the limits on what they are able to produce. Using drastically difference production approaches, deadmau5
and Gartner had the ability to play off each other's strengths while recording the track.
"I'd say the biggest thing is that I play everything in on a keyboard, like even my drums," says Gartner. "I play everything in live and he draws it in with notes on a mouse, which blew me away because his music is very musical."
What do you think 2011 will hold for deadmau5 and Gartner? Let us know in the comments below!