Joel Zimmerman, the Canadian DJ and electronic-music superstar who wears a fancy mouse helmet and calls himself deadmau5 (pronounced “dead mouse”), is up for three Grammys this weekend. He spoke to The Globe and Mail from Los Angeles.
Looking at the Grammy contenders, what’s your take on the songs – and the remix ideas you might have for them?
That pretty much pigeonholes me as a DJ guy, doesn’t it? Well, that’s not what I’m all about.
Okay. What are you all about, then?
I’d like to be considered as any other artist. I’m doing my own material and my own work. Just to be the remix guy would be, like, five years ago.
You’ll be a performer at Sunday’s Grammys, where electronic music will be spotlighted for the first time. How does it feel to be at the front of something?
It’s really cool, but I never find out I’m the first to do this or the first to do that until way later. I’m more focused on getting things done and putting on the best show humanly possible.
You must have ideas about where your career might be heading, though. What’s next?
Whatever comes up that I’m interested in. I’m Mister Right Now. So, maybe a film score might come up. Or producing other artists. The sky’s the limit.
More and more, electronic music is being recognized. Is the music better now, or is the mainstream just catching up to it?
I don’t think the music is coming of age. I think the understanding of it is coming of age. Not much has changed. I mean, a pulsating 4/4 beat anywhere between 125 to 130 beats per minute: It’s not new.
Dubstep is relatively new, isn’t it?
Yeah, dubstep was this little niche, hippy thing. And all of a sudden it just blew out.
Same with you. Did you see that coming?
Nope. But, really, the Grammys and the Junos, it’s just another day. It’s no different than going to Miami for the Winter Music Conference. It’s a break from being you for a minute, in order to let the world know what you’re all about.