Music & Entertainment

The deadmau5 Process: Theory


Lesson time 13:16 min

It's all about experimentation. Learn Joel's unique approach to the music creation process and how to get the most out of your time in the studio.

Teaches Electronic Music Production
6 hours of instructions, 23 video lessons, and a downloadable course workbook.
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My creation process is I like to deprive myself of sleep. I like to work from 9:00 PM to 7:00 AM. And the idea sometimes doesn't hit me-- or more often than not-- actually does hit me around 3:00 to 4:00 AM. And then it's just weird. It's like, because my brain is in this weird, euphoric state, I guess, of no sleep that I start thinking-- or not thinking-- and start getting more experimental things done and writing melodies and just becoming more efficient at being not so critical. Because I guess that's why you're not supposed to drive at 3:00, 4:00 in the morning, after having been up 24 hours prior, because your judgment's not there. And you're not critically thinking about driving. So you might doze off. Or you might just kind of fuzz out and do a thing. So when you apply that to making music, you're not inhibited by some kind of stress that's going on that day or something like that, or the stress of why this track isn't really working. And you're just doing it and not contriving anything. And then sometimes it's just like the floodgate opens, and ideas come out. And you get them down. And you're like, wow, now that's cool. And then you get excited about that. And you start working on it. Now whether it's going to turn into one of those things where you're banging your head off the desk trying to get it finished, but that doesn't matter. It's just so rewarding to have come up with something that doesn't sound like the same punching your head off the desk, EDM kind of stuff. I disassociate music from almost everything, which is kind of strange. Because a lot of people are like-- a lot of other artists I know is, music is a feeling, and it's this and that. And to me, it's not. It's so disassociated from scenes. It's so disassociated from people's personal habits. And it's disassociated from body movement. I disassociate it from everything. I just emotionally cut the head off of music and then go at it from a let's just do it kind of vibe. But that's just me. Other guys need that connection. They need the personal connection. And I don't even think about shit like that. I get asked that question a lot. It's like, well, when you were making this, how did you feel? Or how do you expect people to feel? And it's like, dude, that wasn't even in the neighborhood-- wasn't even on the planet. I don't think songs, unless you're Neil Young-- yeah, sure, that's storytelling within music and stuff like that. But EDM-- I think it's pretty subjective. I mean, I could say that it was telling a story, and then I could impose that story on everyone. And then that would be the global opinion of the thing. But I like that people can take away different things from the same body of work. So that's the way I go about making music, because I'm just completely like-- I've never found myself humming a tune on the c...

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.

This class brings clarity to the overwhelmingly complex nature of music both in it's purest forms and as it presents in the digital world.

Outstanding. I have learned so much from this course.

Fantastic class. New to music and EDM especially. A whole new world opened up, I learned a lot and am inspired to play more, Joel is awesome!

gotta get back here at some time, though the initial 8 beat start of snowflake music expand as well as original sound a must



Really useful stuff said in this masterclass. Re watching it right now lol.

RJane @.

I just finished listening to his song, FML. Last week, I listened to his latest 2019 album, here’s the drop!


Sorry. I found his theory class is pretty meandering with just a few useful tidbits and I'm tired of him saying "I already did this so don't you do it." I'm guessing theory isn't his strong suit so reserving judgement until I see the practice bit and please realize it matters nothing how good he is if he can't teach it.

Robert F.

I disagree with sleep deprivation - health is not worth risking for a song and insomnia is not equated to genius. I do like deadmou5's work though and even if he has sleep issues, I think his ideas can be utilized for more powerful sound creation techniques.

A fellow student

Awesome. Very similar to what I feel. The music just evolves itself, no need to have a "plan" or something. It can help, sure, but mostly it is just taking some random walk from the original sketch.


what I appreciate most is his complete dedication to work - and not the magic of inspiration. He is a skilled and pragmatic artist-craftsman


He gives himself a lot of freedom to experiment. He's really driven by the work...quite inspirational.

Buck B.

I liked how he said that it isn't time wasted, but time experienced so that on the next session you'll avoid certain mistakes.

Christopher B.

His unique approach to music is interesting. I am one of those guys that need a connection to music. Whenever I listen to Slushii, or San Holo, or Illenium, or any of those guys something inside just kicks off, lights a spark, and vitalizes my soul.

Sonia D D.

The thing that sticks out the most for me in this is how nothing is really "negative". You may not like it may feel like a waste of time now...but it's part of learning and growing...and in the end, it's something positive for the future because you never know when you're going to need or want that special extra "oomph" to it that you created weeks, months or even years before that didn't work then.