6 Deadmau5 music-making secrets

Inside the mind of the controversial producer

Canadian house producer Deadmau5 has been in the news a lot recently, and not just because of his music.

Late last year, the bundling of some of his loops with FL Studio sparked controversy, and he also had some disparaging things to say about DJs. Then, earlier this week, it was revealed that he's endorsed a new iPhone mixing app.

When our sister magazine Future Music spoke to him, though, it was Deadmau5's day job that was on the agenda. The rascally rodent was full of advice and opinions – here are five of his suggestions for budding producers.

Don't try to be cool

"Don't worry about being cool, I mean, who the fuck cares? I've never heard one producer saying to another 'Do you think that's a real Moog?' If it sounds good, then use it. If it sounds shit, then maybe put a plug-in over it or something."

Don't rely on soft synths

"You have to have a certain amount of grit in your sound and having real synths and talking certain elements outside your computer can help with this. A truly all-digital production using soft synths and plug-ins just sounds like a MIDI file or something."

Don't worry about signing a record contract

"We didn't even get approached too hard for big deals really and I wasn't interested in signing for a major. It was all very Beatport-orientated, as I really wanted to sustain my own business rather than being owned by a label. I was just trickling releases out slowly and building the Deadmau5 brand slowly. There was never this big marketing machine behind it, or anything like that."

Don't rely on image

"[The mouse head] is not the most vital thing. I mean, I think the music should speak for itself. I'd like to think I wouldn't get booed off stage if I chose not to wear the head – I did gigs prior to having the head made and never had any problems. I'm aware though that, as a gimmick, it can create its own little monster as a brand."

Don't limit yourself

"I like to consider myself an all-rounder and I'm not trying to be King of the Scene or anything. I'd like to do everything from writing film scores to producing pop albums."

Don't over-egg the pudding

"I'll make these cool as fuck sounds that don't ever work in the context of a track. I think Native Instruments built Absynth on that basis [laughs] – it's easy to get lost in these huge sounds, but so hard to make them actually work on any of my records."

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