Deadmau5: The Master Of Unconventional Sound Production

By Adam Stewart

It’s no secret that deadmau5 (born Joel Zimmerman) has completely changed the game for electronic music. A true master of his craft, mau5 has set out to move away from the norm to invent new methods of obtaining that perfect harmonious blend that has made his distinct sound popular. But what are some of the more organic approaches that Zimmerman uses to spice up his sets?

“One thing I strive to do when I’m producing something original is to do a lot of field and line recording with synths and Casios and stuff,” deadmau5 told us during the annual Winter Music Conference in Miami. “Lord knows there’s enough sample libraries to get a clap sound, but you can take an SM57 [microphone] and slap your ass and record it and then put that on the track. It sounds like a normal clap!”


With awesomely organic approaches to a world full of samples auto generated in Ableton and Logic, mau5’s approach has set him aside from the pack, and has inspired a new wave of bedroom DJs to follow in his footsteps.

“Some of these bedroom DJs and producers are some of the biggest producers now,” Steve Aoki told us before the second day of the Ultra Music Festival. “Deadmau5, he’s a sound designer, he knows his sounds. [He’s] beyond a producer. [He’s] on the next level of production.” With his recent collaboration with likes of Kaskade and Tommy Lee, Deadmau5 has made it clear that he’s diving even further into unconventional approaches for his upcoming album.

“There’s a project called the Public Record. It’s actually Tommy’s studio engineer Scott Humphrey’s site. It’s this massive online community collaboration project,” Mau5 told MTV News. “So you have people all over the world sending in really cool guitar parts and all of that stuff, and he makes a whole album out of it. I hopped on with Scott and said, ’We’ve got to do this! Maybe not for the whole album, but we’ll at least get one track in and see how it goes.’ The results have been insane. We’ve broken the site twice. To go through all of that is going to be a nightmare, but I had a sneak peak of some of it, and it’s like every one of these is a track, so its fun!”

Outside-the-box approaches to electronic music production have again set Zimmerman far ahead of the pack, and again this year took home several coveted awards from this years IDMAs, including Best Solo Artist, Best Electro Track (“Ghosts N Stuff”) and Best American Artist (ironic, considering he comes from our neighbor to the north).”It was so funny, because I get up there and I go, ’Um, you know what guys? Thanks, I love you, but I got something to tell you: I’m Canadian.'”

Congratulations anyway to deadmau5. Hopefully next year, the IDMA folks will have a map.

Check out more of Deadmau5’s track-ography on the beatport player below and keep stopping by MTV News for more dance week action!

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