From deadmau5's MasterClass

The deadmau5 Process: Practice

Get in the studio and watch how deadmau5 music takes shape in real time: from an empty project to beginnings of a track.

Topics include: Starting a Track From Scratch


Get in the studio and watch how deadmau5 music takes shape in real time: from an empty project to beginnings of a track.

Topics include: Starting a Track From Scratch


Teaches Electronic Music Production

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I don't have the ability-- like, I'm not a pianist. So I can't just sit down at a piano or a MIDI keyboard, and wire it up to my workstation, and then play the chord, and then the next chord, then the next chord, and that chord. I can't even do that. The way I work on songs, from start to finish, in their entirety, are always in little pieces here and there. It just doesn't go ABCDEFG, ABCDEFG. What happens is, I'll draw a root note. And then another note, and then just have the bass notes, right? And then I'll layer on some counter-melody notes with it. And then and then go from the last chord to the second chord, to the first chord, and then to the third chord. And then just keep juggling around until it's complete. You can go in here, and then just start plotting away your melody. So here's where you would either hook up a MIDI controller, and go in and play the notes that you know how to play. Or you can simply just draw them in. [SYNTHESIZER] So there I've got a root set up. [SYNTHESIZER] But I'm way out of sync here. So I'm just going to dodge some stuff around. And then-- I do this pretty quick, now. But before, it was a little cumbersome, using a mouse and keyboard and all that stuff. But it's just becoming familiar with your DAW, and knowing that, oh, you want that up an octave? Well, I could sit here and then [MAKES SOUND] and then go up an octave. Or if you know the shortcut, you just hit Shift, and then one of these arrows. And now you're just going in intervals. So it's really handy to become super familiar with the tools that you're using. Because they're all designed to save time and do all this stuff. And then once I kind of have a bass structure set in, I'll change the patch to something stupid. And then increase the polyphony on that. [SYNTHESIZER] And then just start doing some-- that's not right. And then-- [SYNTHESIZER] You know. So then that's how I kind of come up with my chord structures here. [SYNTHESIZER] Oh, but then I want a major there. Sure, why not? And then drop that down a seventh. Oh, wait. Hang on. [SYNTHESIZER] So I have three chords, right? And no particular time or anything. And I shut that metronome off, 'cause it drives me crazy, more often than not. [SYNTHESIZER] OK, so that's kind of like-- this is how I would start a song. So there you have your root chord there. I wouldn't begin shaping any kind of sound or style out of it. I'd just-- so I kind of like the way that those notes go together. Then it comes about phrasing, right? So what you actually can do-- and this is what I find these most useful for, is going into a sound library, like those Vengeance guys. This is all they do, is they shit out these music libraries, or drum loop libraries. So they just-- [BEATS] Stuff like that, that I just basically use as temporary metronomes,...

Make better music

Before he was deadmau5, all Joel Zimmerman wanted for Christmas was old toasters to take apart. Now, you can watch him take his music apart. In his first-ever online class, Joel teaches you how he approaches melodies, mixing and mastering to make unique sounds you can't find in a cookie cutter sample pack. You'll not only get his lessons, you'll learn how to create your own music without spending money on million dollar gear.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I've gotten a lot of good tips and advice from this. Really enjoyed watching Joel talk and be brutally honest about things.

this course was amazing I love joel the way he is swears and all I find were quite a lot alike

I did love the class and it was very informative on what to do when it comes to EDM music. I will try to build the skills I need to progress in this field. Thank you!

Some usefull stuff I have learnt on the course



My first time viewing this course my theory knowledge was lacking and needed to thought out a bit, which really resonated with what you said at the end of the lesson, none of the coolest equipment will ever help with terrible harmony. I know you meant it in a different context, which I also can relate as my artists shaped the sound that I will make. You do this format in such an honest way I love it. The annoying metronome with a nice drum beat helps you stay sane and sound a little more original.

Arjun M.

I love how this lesson. I love that it’s just raw allowing you to see a perspective of the creative process. Great for inspiration or even reinforcement that it’s really about DOING and experimenting until you find something that clicks with you. Over time you build up experience for adding new layers...

Alexsandro M.

Does anyone know what is the synthesizer he is using in Chapter 3? How can we get it?

Kori C.

This is exactly the example I was hoping for. Having Joel show us the way he works!

J. Z.

Had some experience with DAW, but after this video, I figure I should learn more about music (How notes go together and stuff) before I get to the harder parts.

Orange T.

Could anyone help me? I am very confused and overwhelmed. I understood everything in this lesson, I just cant find chords that our original that sound good. He can just place some notes and make some amazing EDM chords out of them, but I have been trying for hours and cant get crap.


Great Advice I love this Sh#t! Watching Joel create music makes me feel like I'm actually doing something right. Thank you Joel! Maybe I'll make it after all. :) Peace & Love


This chapter could be really overwhelming to anyone who's never used or is not VERY familiar with a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation...or "music making software"). Best advice, do your research on the different DAW's out there based on your level of skill and what you want to accomplish (Garage Band is awesome for beginners and dabblers, Ableton Live is pro level, etc.). Biggest takeaway from this chapter is that there is no "right/wrong" way to create music. From scratch, he created a basic EDM track using software and hardly any skills as a live performing acoustic musician. Tap into your own unique creativity and learn the skills to express them.


anybody in here working with FL studio? i haven't tried Ableton much because it seems more confusing than FL if anyone has any advice on what they find more comfortable. also on a side note was that polaris the song he said he was working on when this was made.

A fellow student

Started playing with GarageBand and Logic Pro. Although I okay acoustic and electric guitar, I found that I work better with a computer keyboard than a piano. So now I don’t feel so bad. You can be creative with the tools and skill set you have