Published Oct 22, 2008Recent dance dons have come from hipster-friendly offshoots like blog-house or dubstep, but Niagara Falls native Deadmau5 (aka Joel Zimmerman) has rapidly ascended with a more traditional super-club sound or rather several of them. Not having emerged from the club scene himself, the kid doesnt care much about random genre titles, casually blending elements of euphoric trance, minimal techno, stomp-y electro and several flavours of house. Also, he wears a giant d-lysergic mouse head. Though being groomed to be "the next Moby, his debut album isnt rooted in pop song structure for maximum crossover potential. He doesnt actually consider Random Album Title to be his proper artist album at all; its more of an IOU collection of his proven peak-hour anthems, like "Faxing Berlin (the original plus an acoustic piano version), his Kaskade collaboration "I Remember (the most commercial, and lone vocal track) and the arms-in-the-air floor-filler "Not Exactly, plus some new melodic barnstormers like the minimal-meets-trance "Slip and the enormous emo-synths of "Brazil, alongside chilled out album ender "So There I Was. Though a diverse collection of singles, Random still contains a consistent though line a recognizable aesthetic thats not afraid of accessible melodies or E-friendly build-ups but also ensures some dark edge to Deadmau5s big room epics.
You burst onto the dance music scene in the past year. What sparked that?
Right time, right place. I gave a track to Chris Lake, who gave it to Pete Tong, who played it on Radio One. I was like, "Pete who? Radio what? I dont have a whole lot of club scene experience. I was just a nerd engineer doing sound design; it just hit in a big way. I cant explain it. Like, "dude, where the fuck did you come from? Im just as mystified as everyone else.
Did not coming out of a scene give you a different production perspective?
I think so. I dont have any hard-set, "it has to sound this way or "I have to follow this trend [rules]. I span so many genres that maybe its more acceptable in my case than Tiesto or Van Burrin, where its trance, straight in, straight out. Thats not something I wanted to get pigeonholed into on my productions because I had a good run of those floaty, half-house, half-trance tracks that stuck me in a rut for a while.
Do you think the Mau5head helped you break out?
Stand out, not so much break out. Im more of a sound advocate than, "hey, look at Deadmau5 bouncing around with my big fucking head. To me, the myth gets dispelled because I dont wear it for the duration of my set and I dont hide my identity. Im not [Daft Punk] and props to them because that must be a real fucking bitch to do. (Ultra)