Joel Zimmerman, otherwise known as Deadmau5, is not known for frequent public appearances outside of his eye-popping live performances. The trend was bucked yesterday, however, when the prolific producer showed up to deliver a Keynote Q&A session at Billboard’s FutureSound, an annual music technology conference held in San Francisco, CA.
As the attendees expected, Joel (pictured with Billboard editorial director Bill Werde) was full of one-liners that begged rapid Twitter proliferation. The mau5 referred to EDM as “event-driven marketing,” stating that unlike other genres, the scene is often “minimal work for maximum profit.” “It’s very interesting to see that not too many people are forward-thinking about electronic music currently–they’re very focused on the ‘now,'” he also stated.
Deadmau5 cited performers like Carl Cox and Roger Sanchez as DJs who are part of a fading school of thought in electronic music: “People are more hailed for their production now than their track selection. This is something that has changed a lot in recent years. It’s no longer a technological feat to know how to play a song at the same speed as another.” When asked further about the recent culture shift in the scene and in DJ performance techniques, Joel stated, “scenes don’t evolve. They’re there, then they’re not. You can’t superimpose how a scene used to be on new scenes. You go down to the river and beat your clothes on a rock and you’re going to hate on me because I use a washer?”
Joel also took the “free content” route when asked about the perpetual piracy debate. “I don’t care about a kid sending a zip file of my whole catalog,” Joel stated, as the majority of his revenue comes from touring, though his earnings have not been reflected accurately by media outlets. “After I saw the Forbes article, I called my manager and said, ‘Yo, what the f—? I’m $9 million short, dude. We gotta talk,'” he joked.
Zimmerman wound the conversation down with some tips for aspiring producers: “It’s good to conquer small scenes first,” Joel stated. “I joined a lot of niche forums to share my early demos. Don’t mail your demo to Interscope unless you can prove to them that you can sell out shows.” Ladyfriend Kat Von D was also in attendance, confirming that all is not over between the couple as had been previously stated by outlets such as USA Today and Perez Hilton.