deadmau5 gets personal in ‘Rolling Stone’ interview
While deadmau5 never fully disappears from the public eye, the producer has been particularly ubiquitous in the past week. Yesterday, December 6, BBC Radio 1 announced that Joel Zimmerman would assume a residency on the station in 2017 – just days after Zimmerman announced that he would release a 20-track compilation on iTunes. All of this news follows the release of Zimmerman’s newest album, W:/2016ALBUM/, just five days ago.
Though deadmau5 has previously been critical of his newest LP the 12-track effort has a number of stunning moments, earning it an honorable mention in our Top 10 Albums of 2016 list. Commenting on the album in a new interview with Rolling Stone, however, it seems that Zimmerman himself has warmed up to the album that is currently setting the dance music world ablaze. The artist told Rolling Stone:
“Having listened to it again, I’m now getting comfortable with it. There are some great songs – like, I really like “Snowcone” and “Whelk Then” and “No Problem.” I think I’m dissatisfied that it’s not written from start to finish; it’s over a year’s worth of work that doesn’t correlate. It’s not The fucking Wall! I wanted the blowout, and I’m disappointed that I didn’t do that.”
Zimmerman’s comments on his album are reflective of any great artist – Pink Floyd certainly must have lamented that certain works in their own later catalogue weren’t “The fucking Wall.” The best is the enemy of the good, after all.
As the interview continues, deadmau5 further discusses his feelings on his own work, likening his vacillating self-opinion to the “waxing and waning of the Caribou population in fucking Alaska,” while also admitting, “I’m just really too critical of my own shit.” In discussing the aspects of his work which satisfy him, specifically rooting from his adulation for his own track, “Whelk Then,” Zimmerman briefly discusses his influences in a uniquely personal way:
“I really like the grittiness of early Amon Tobin – I’m a huge fan of his old music and I tried to borrow from it, not emulate it. I don’t love my own original work. … Like, I don’t sit there jerking off to “I Remember” every night. But I jerk off to “Sordid” by Amon Tobin.”
One can’t help but laugh at the fact that deadmau5 willingly divulged his musical masturbatory predilections, yet responded to the following question about what other music he listens to with a curt, “That’s none of the world’s fucking business.”
After speaking to the virtues of isolation and his fears of being murdered onstage, interviewer Ashley Zlatopolsky asked deadmau5 his opinion of “artists like marshmello” appropriating his “helmet” concept. Zimmerman’s reply was as delightfully sardonic as one would expect:
“Wait, did you say artists like Marshmello? You mean people like Marshmello? Let’s fucking clear the air on this one. I don’t care if you’re wearing a fucking helmet, I don’t give a shit – with that logic, I ripped off Daft Punk. The thing that pissed me off after awhile was the constant dick riding [on Twitter]. “You trolled me, I trolled you” – whatever. Don’t pass it off as a marketing technique. According to social media, all I do is sit around and burn pictures of this guy.”
To conclude the interview, deadmau5 offered a couple salient, sobering comments on the current state and future trajectory of dance music. Zimmerman’s respective response to Zlatopolsky’s (partially interrupted) questions, “You said in 2014 that EDM was going to fuck itself – ” and “Do you think it’ll come back around or do you think it’s run its course?” is provided below:
“[EDM] already did [fuck itself] in 2015. Where have you been? 85 percent crossed over. It’s fucked. It’s out of the innovators’ hands; it’s not really grassroots anymore. I’m partially responsible – I’ve done my part to commercialize shit. Oversaturation.”
“Shit can go, and nothing really ever comes back. Disco evolved into Chicago warehouse, then there was techno; eventually it evolved into EDM. I’m hard-pressed to think about a genre [that’s as popular as it always was]. Nothing goes full-circle with music.”
Whether or not one agrees with Zimmerman’s assertion that music culture is linear rather than cyclical, it’s valuable to hear one of dance music’s largest, most hyper-analytical figures give a candid perspective on the matter.
Read the full interview here.