From corporate jingles to Grammy nod, Toronto's Deadmau5 keeps scoring hits
Maurice Cacho, cp24.com
Published Saturday, February 7, 2009 10:41AM EST
A few years ago, Joel Zimmerman was designing software that helped tailors make custom-fit suits.
Friday, the 28-year-old was in Los Angeles, about to go and get himself fitted for a suit to wear at the Grammys, where the Toronto-based DJ/Producer is nominated for an award for best remixed recording, non-classical.
Under the artist name Deadmau5 (pronounced dead mouse), the Canadian has exploded onto the world's electronic music scene with an arsenal of hit tracks and remixes.
"It's wicked," says Zimmerman. "It's so good to put (Toronto) on the map."
Zimmerman's remix of Morgan Page's The Longest Road is up for a Grammy, and he's also received two nods for a Juno this year after winning one in 2008.
His album, Random Album Title, is up for Best Dance Recording of the Year at the Junos, as is a track produced with Kaskade, titled Move for Me.
"I'm not going to go home crying if I don't win," he says of his Grammy nomination, which is up against remixes from Justice, Junkie XL, StoneBridge and Moto Blanco.
Needless to say, the artist says all the success has been a little crazy.
"I'm a little overwhelmed by it," Zimmerman told CP24.COM from L.A.
He was also online music retailer Beatport's Producer of the Year in '08 and placed #11 on DJ Magazine's Top 100 of 2008.
But the success has been fairly recent. Growing up, Zimmerman admits to listening to Tears to Fears, the Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead.
"I really didn't grow up in a DJ world or the dance music scene," he says.
In his early 20s, Zimmerman produced stock music for corporations, pushing the Niagara Falls-born producer to create a range of tracks including metal, contemporary, dance and hip-hop songs. Not exactly the floor-filling house tracks he churns out now.
"That was a bit of a cool experience for me, and it helped big time," he recalls. "That was a good exercise."
Some of his recent hits under the Deadmau5 moniker include Not Exactly, Slip and Hi Friend, the last one being a collaboration featuring the vocals of local MC Flipside.
And while he says Random Album Title was "pretty OK," he hopes to release another album that won't just contain a culmination of a years' work of tracks that were, for the most part, already released.
"I'd rather just make everyone's head turn as opposed to have people say 'Yeah, I've already heard this track,'" he says.
Known for shows where he mixes music while wearing a giant mouse head with lights that are synchronized to the music, Deadmau5 is embarking on a world tour that will take him across North America, Australia and Asia.
Without releasing too many details, he says production on the tour will be "amazing" and a step up from previous shows.
With such a busy schedule, Zimmerman admits he hardly has a chance to spend time in Toronto. But when he does touch down, he'll look to spend some time in the studio producing new tracks.
Deadmau5's next tour stop in Toronto is on April 10, 2009. A venue is yet to be announced.
Deadmau5 did not win the Grammy for best remixed recording, non-classical.