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MusicTech, Video Games, & Education, Producer: deadmau5

One of the world’s most respected electronic music producers of modern times leads artists and musicians by example, supporting new talent and crossing over as is critical in media today, as a brand, advisor, and innovator in gaming, esports, and other collaborations.

deadmau5 is on connecTed, with Ted Cohen, Wednesday, and in anticipation, I was curious about all keeps Joel Zimmerman busy.

Known professionally as deadmau5, Canadian electronic music producer and DJ, Zimmerman is celebrated for his progressive house music and techno (often under the alias Testpilot). He’s received six Grammy Award nominations for his work.

“Wearing masks and/or headgear is one way that DJs and performers have long adopted the guise of anonymity throughout dance music history. Consciously or not, any time an act like Daft Punk, Deadmau5, or Marshmello takes the stage dressed as robots, an LED screen-equipped rodent, or a spongy white gelatin puff, they pay tribute to the cunning disguises that have cloaked so many house and techno artists in the decades before them.”

Michaelangelo Matos; Vice

Born in Ontario, Canada, Zimmerman received his first first keyboard as a teenage Christmas gift. He then worked with an online music licensing company and as a programmer before adopting deadmau5, referring to a dead mouse he found in his computer (the unique spelling, a result of character limitations). His masked performances are known the world over and the story of “mau5head” reminds of how our experiences with the Arts AND Technology help us thrive; while learning how to use 3D modelling software.

The multiple JUNO Award-winning and GRAMMY-nominated artist’s ability to push the boundaries of his talent grows as much as his fan base (which counts 15 million and more over his combined social media channels).

His latest music offerings include original productions, remixes, and collaborations with featured guests like Rob Swire (“Monophobia”), Lights (“Drama Free”), Shotty Horroh, and Scene of Action. In 2019 deadmau5 completed his first ever film score for the Jonas Akerlund-directed spy thriller Polar available worldwide now via Netflix with its soundtrack released on mau5trap as well as celebrated the release of here’s the drop!, an album of remixes of material from his 2018 orchestral album where’s the drop? For it, plenty of revered tastemakers such as Morgan Page, Matt Lange, PEEKABOO, Mr. Bill and more have been tapped for their talents to make this remix album a cerebral journey through sound.

In an interview with CBC Television, Zimmerman said that he wants his logo to be an “icon”. Fans often attend Deadmau5 concerts sporting their own copy or alteration of the mau5head.

Virtual versions of his helmet are also an available accessory as a topper and antenna in Rocket League.

Music in Video Games

“Gamers today no longer consist of geeky boys camped out in their basements. It is a healthy hobby that many professionals—from elite athletes to internationally-acclaimed musicians such as Joel—now enjoy. We want to be part of the movement to educate the public on this and that’s why we co-created the world’s first deadmau5 gaming product with Joel. From now on, whether Joel is dropping award-winning beats or demolishing his gaming opponents, our award-winning chairs will comfortably have his back.

Ian Alexander Ang; Secretlab‘s Co-Founder and CEO
deadmau5 Edition

Back in 2010, music and gaming were well into finding their place together. Zimmerman is a playable avatar in DJ Hero 2, a game featuring several tracks by the artist, including a mix of “Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff” with Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance.”  He’s featured as an unlockable (secret) character Goat Simulator  (yes, Goat Simulator) as “deadgoa7” and his music is found throughout games such as the custom soundtrack for Dota 2 and a mixable track on FUSER.

As a teacher (I mentioned Education in the headline), he can be found among the MasterClass roster of incredible artists. Joel teaches how he uncovers unique sounds and approaches melodies, as well as the mixing and mastering for which he is so well known.

Have you ever dreamt of building your own touch control surface? This new software, road-tested by one of the world’s foremost live innovators, can make that a reality.

That, a headline in BandLab Technologies‘ MusicTech publication, tee’s off where Joel’s work circles back, from software to music, back to software.

OSC Tablet Mockup

Open Sound Control (OSC) is a protocol among computers, sound synthesizers, and other multimedia devices that is optimized for modern networking technology. It’s the connectivity between devices that enables the in and out of content (music) as it’s produced and mixed in real time – or to your recording devices.

deadmau5 is the evangelist for OSC/PILOT, a bi-directional control surface application originally built as a performance tool for digital artists and musicians.

“OSC/PILOT has been in development since October 2013 and I’ve been field testing and using it in shows since that time. It’s a vital component to our live production, both on stage and front of house.” 

deadmau5 with OSC/PILOT

This production tech enables performers put their most-needed functions in customized widgets at their fingertips: dials for panning, faders for tracks, controllers to trigger samples or video clips…. it’s what deadmau5 uses for for pity’s sake, take a look.

deadmau5 joins Ted Cohen on Wednesday, this week, at 2 pm CT for connecTed

Grab a Calendar Reminder or catch the show live here

Paul O'Brien

Silicon Valley technology and startup veteran, Paul O'Brien is affectionately known as SEO'Brien for an extensive past in the search industry. Today as CEO and Founder of MediaTech Ventures, O'Brien works in Venture Capital Economic Development, serving the investment and venture capital economies directly, through thought leadership, consulting, and startup development. More, a regional Director of the Founder Institute incubator and mentor in DivInc, Galvanize, and various startup Accelerators.

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  1. There’s no denying that deadmau5 is iconic- and winning that lawsuit with Disney let’s him leverage one of the most iconic branding symbols out there – his signature mouse head silhouette!!

    We loved working with him on our studio’s first branded real money slot game. Game on 🙂

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