Mau5 and me: An interview with Deadmau5

Photo: Spiros Politis

Back in the days before Deadmau5 was rocking the VMAs and being recognized throughout the world, he was slated to play New Year’s Eve at the now-defunct Empire Ballroom. His tracks on Beatport, plus that mau5head in press shots caught my attention. This guy seemed like he was going places and would be perfect for our New Year’s issue.

Calling Deadmau5 (a.k.a. Joel Zimmerman) directly to coordinate a day and time for the full phone interview, he sounded as if he was just waking up, though he was in Los Angeles and it was approximately 4 p.m. Hey, we’ve all been there. We scheduled a time to chat the following afternoon.

Yet, he didn’t answer the next day. Perhaps he was still sleeping. I tried back in a bit, but the call went straight to voicemail. Panic set in as my deadline was looming and I hadn’t been writing for the Weekly very long. Phoning New York to see what was up, I spoke with Joel Zimmerman, but this is the other Joel Zimmerman (yes, his management has the same name, though for a minute I was concerned Deadmau5 has split personalities). Zimmerman #2 informed me that Zimmerman #1 was on a plane en route to a gig, so he obviously was unavailable.

The mau5hunt was on. But as soon as Deadmau5’s plane landed in... Chicago I believe is where he was flying to... he called to apologize and said we’d chat as soon as he got to the club, but before his set.

I’m not familiar with the memory-span of mice, but I didn’t hear from Deadmau5 again that evening and was really stressing about the potential hole in the magazine. I ended up swapping the longer Deadmau5 piece with an Afrika Bambaataa interview. Deadmau5 and I were in touch via e-mail over the next few days, but couldn’t line up our schedules for a phone call. In a last-ditch effort, we decided to do the interview via, of all things, MySpace, since he was on it all the time anyway.


The Details
Deadmau5 at Body English
October 15, doors at 11 p.m., $100 and up
Related Story
Examining the menagerie of Mau5heads (10/14/10)

From the archives of my social networking account, check out the full December 23, 2007 exchange with Deadmau5 (and my rudimentary interview skills):

How would you describe the type of set you will be spinning on December 30th at Empire Ballroom in Las Vegas?

Music of the electronic variety :) It’s pretty all over, but I think I've got a good niche for selection to keep everyone happy as I suppose I span across a few genres.

Have you been to Vegas before?

No. But I saw it on TV once.

Now that it’s the end of 2007, how have you been affected by your rise from virtual anonymity at the beginning of the year to becoming Beatport’s #1 selling artist?

Well things have certainly changed. I’ve just been way more busy than usual. I need to learn to start sleeping at night.

Do you ever actually perform with your giant custom mouse head on? If so, how does that work out? (It seems like it would be difficult.)

Yeah usually roll up in it. Muck about for about 30 minutes or so. It only weighs three pounds, but after 40 minutes, it feels like 100 to me....

In regards to your rising success and your music, one review stated, “One can certainly question how much gas is left in the tank.” What is your response to that or similar negative feedback from critics, while many DJs are praising your work?

Well, there’s no gas tank. I don’t believe there’s a cap on creativity and passion. I’m just gonna keep on doing what I do until I either go deaf or [get] married.

The man behind the mau5: Joel Zimmerman, sans head

Since it’s the end of the year, do you have a New Year’s resolution?

Yeah, I gotta curb the smoking habit I think.

I’ll be talking to Tommy Lee in February about his appearance with DJ Aero*. How would you say he’s influenced you as far as the “rock and roll” lifestyle?

Well, me, Tommy and Aero get on great. He definitely gave me a look into the rock-and-roll lifestyle window. And well, maybe it’s not 100 percent for me, but it’s def funny to watch and experience sometimes. As for how it affects my lifestyle, not so much. He does his thing and I do mine, and when were hanging out it’s kind of a "WTF" thing. You'll see.

Do you still have the dead mouse you found in your computer?

Yes. He's quite charming.

He added: Sorry things just get so fucked up and hectic on tour. Easier to do these things when I’m at home and not dying over flights etc. :) See you in Vegas soon. :)

*That scheduled interview with Tommy Lee never happened, by the way.

Want more of the Mau5? Click here to read about his menagerie of Mau5heads

Photo of Deanna  Rilling

Deanna Rilling

Get more Deanna Rilling

Previous Discussion:

  • 2010 was a very good year—for Max Vangeli.

  • We talk to the drum and bass heavyweight about porn music!

  • Chew on this! Fu the “refixer” bring his future-perfect music to Vegas for the first time.

  • Get More Nocturnal Admissions Stories
Top of Story