Deadmau5 delivers his verdict on AI music production: “It’s scary in the sense of how stupid music already is anyway”

Joel Zimmerman
(Image credit: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

Never one to mince his words, producer Deadmau5 (AKA Joel Zimmerman) has been offering his thoughts on artificial intelligence and the impact that it could have on music production.

Speaking to MusicTech alongside Kx5 collaborator Kaskade (Ryan Raddon), Zimmerman says “It’s pretty scary,” before qualifying that by saying “it’s scary in the sense of how stupid music already is anyway, so it’s not that frightening.”

Warming to his theme, Zimmerman opines: “Like, ‘This thing can make a pop song!’ Have you heard a pop song? Great. Let it go. Unleash the beast, you know - holy shit would that ever open up the niche market for actual musicianship.”

It’s an interesting take - that letting AI expose the derivative nature of today’s hit records could encourage listeners to seek out music created by actual talented humans - but of course the opposite could be true and it could lead to an even more homogenised pop landscape.

Zimmerman certainly seems to be of the view that AI-powered services such as ChatGPT are incapable of innovation. “It’s good. But it’s only as good as what it knows,” he argues. “It’s a huge training model, right? So take the collective stupidity of the world and make a robot fucking barf it out. It’s not gonna be that genius, but it’s gonna get you what you want.”

Nick Cave recently concluded that a ChatGPT-penned song written ‘in the style of Nick Cave’ was “bullshit”. Inevitably, Google has also been investing in creative applications for AIM with its MusicLM model being capable of generating minutes-long tracks based on text prompts.

Elsewhere in the Deadmau5 interview, conducted during a promotional jaunt for Kx5’s upcoming eponymous album, which will be released on 17 March, the producer bemoans the fact that it isn’t always the tracks he enjoys making the most that turn out to be the most successful. 

“For me, fun isn’t struggling on a laptop monitor, trying to find a plugin and doing everything in the box,” he reports. “But then [I’ll] possibly make a great song [that way] and release it and make more money off of that piece of shit than I ever did sitting down behind a Neve desk and applying some of the stuff I’ve been saving up for for 15 years of my life. And [I’m] like, ‘Damn, that really hurts.’”

Ah well - at least his bank balance doesn’t suffer.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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