In our first interview with Deadmau5, we refrained from asking him “how he got his DJ name” or “how much PLUR does it take turn on a light bulb” and instead chose to focus on specific topics that relate directly to his craft. Being at the forefront of music technology, Deadmau5 has witnessed firsthand the dramatic evolution of technology over the last decade and how these changes have affected music production. His knowledge on the evolution of music technology provides insight into where we have been, and what’s to come.
From crawling out of EDM hell to his intimate relationship with his laptop, Deadmau5 tells all:
There are many apps out there that allow users to produce music. In your opinion, will the role of mobile someday drastically impact or change music production, or will it always be secondary to desktop, as a complement rather than an independent tool?
I think there will always be cool little gadgets and apps for the music / production enthusiast… but to be fair, i think it holds as much weight to music production in a studio as google maps does to rally drivers. Moog has made some interesting iOS apps of course, but i don’t think i’d be plugging my phone into a line in on a pre-amp over it… but sure is great fun on the plane!
You’ve made it known that you have a good relationship with Microsoft. Are you currently working on any specific projects with them? If so, can you tell us more?
Nothing to really announce yet, i’ve been working with their Perspective Pixel team on some touchscreen software / interfacing. That’s about all i can disclose at the moment… but of course when the time is right, ill unleash some goodies!
Your upcoming live tour Entropy is centered on 360-arena performances. Can you tell us more about the kind of technology and stage set-up you’ll be bringing to this tour, and what specifically will set these shows apart from the rest?
There’s not really a lot to touch on in terms of “Entropy” just yet… its still in its infancy, but! production has begun and is underway… However, it’s that time for me again to step up my own game and get something new on the road that strays just far enough away from the LED backdrop screen and picnic table with CDJ’s on it. Which was the whole thought behind the cube shows… but, its been a good 5 years stretch now with them cubes… time to move on and evolve!
You have made your love for the analog synth over digital abundantly clear. How do you feel that using analog over digital impacts your sound design and production?
I rarely find myself comparing the 2. They’re 2 different animals. Each offers its own benefits and pitfalls… but to answer the question fairly, Analog gear does add a little more human element to a sound than a digital synth with a preset in most cases.
Out of all the innovations in music production technology in recent years, which one has impacted you the most, if any? Which new developments are you most excited about?
I could never live without my PC / DAW… and UAD… which has funnily enough replaced a lot of the same outboard gear ive been using, such as the THermionic Culture Vulture, or the Shadow Hils mastering compressor…. the onboard dedicated CPU’s of the UAD stuff has been a sheer delight to work with… using VERY cpu intensive plugin without the need to use… CPU, as it were. Thats been a massive help for me. I’ve been kinda getting on the Bitwig hype train as of late…. opening and diving in the DAW from time to time… i see many great fatures inside the app that i found lacking in Ableton, but because the application itself is still young, theres still a few digital quirks to be ironed out… PDC and midi latency / correction is always a massive concern for me in both the studio and live environments… bitwig needs a little bit more help in that depantment.
You’ve publicized some of your interests outside of music such as photography, drone piloting, and racing cars. Have you incorporated some elements from your other interests into your music or performances? If so, what are some examples?
Well… i try not to intermingle EVERYTHING in my life… sometimes my extra curricular hobbies are just that. but if you do listen closely, or not so closely, you should probably hear a Ferrari flyby in “infra turbo pigcart racer”… and perhaps some content to be shown during the Entropy show produced by yours truly 😉
How have you grown as an artist over the years, and how has that impacted your musical self-expression?
Funnily enough, the act of being dredged through the nameless depths of EDM hell has certainly showed me plenty of how NOT to sound. God knows i love being another face in the same same crowd. But with that aside, i just like to kinda, zone out in the studio, find melodies that resonate with me, and fill in the blanks to make it resonate with others.
How has live.deadmau5.com changed the way you interact with fans? Has it helped you establish a better relationship with them compared to twitter? Do you plan on adding any new features to the platform?
The live site has been growing… its a pretty cool anomaly to watch… even from an outsiders perspective, you can see people meeting up in the chat on a regular basis, talking about all sorts of things… not so much a deadmau5 circle jerk” ive chimed in from time to time, or even sat back and watched silently, and its just cool to sit back and see the other connections you’ve made happen by bringing people together who at least had one common interest. As far as adding stuff… well were always fucking around with it… but the thing we make sure, is that at least the site stays organic in the sense that we don’t fuckin get stupid with it. start advertising other shit, pandering bullshit, or just making it look like “yet another fan site” …. so… i just like it as my own little personal stomping grounds with the benefits of being able to post and control my own music and or ideas from there without being at the mercy of some other “free service” who shalnt be named.
We’d like to personally extend our gratitude to Mr. Zimmerman for taking the time to talk and open up to us.