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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.

Great class... Excited to see what comes from it!

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

Love his honesty and the explanation of the processes he uses! It has taught me that I am wasting time and energy on things that don't matter.

I mean its just an intro. Not much to rate here. But I'm super stoked for this course!


Julian D.

that point he made at the end to let the song sit for a few days, and go back in to make any last minute changes was a good point. on the first song I uploaded to my audiomack account, I made the mistake of uploading it as soon as I thought it was done, and after a few hours I realized the impact at the drop was WAY too loud. (I mean seriously, I don't know how I didn't notice that.)

A fellow student

LOL. I'm feeling so much of this. Like damn. So much is just process and finding the innovation and the hook and then building in around it. Love the idea of pulling all the little things you've created into other tracks you're working on. This gives me faith that continuing to innovate once that hook is established leads to some really brilliant stuff. Getting inspired.

James S.

As a Techno producer of 10 years, he definitely left some really good advice in this lesson.

Rachel L.

I love the idea of letting things sit and looking at self-doubt as fuel that moves you in the right direction.

Thomas H.

Good intro lesson. It's happened to me quite a few times where I'll sit down, start a melody and then piece together an intro and then try to piece together the next section when all I really need to do is make that 16 bar track and go from there.

Sean M.

Interesting to hear his process. I have always had a problem getting stuck on an idea or beat and then having no idea where to take it. That's because I was trying to arrange in a linear fashion. I'm anxious to try his method and see if it liberates me to just create and then arrange.

edward C.

The most important clue to understanding what he has to offer us is: he literally went under the needle to get those massive batches of tattoos because he felt that those were crucial to his identity as a human on Earth. Oh dear god.

Velina M.

It was a bit scary to listen to someone like deadmau5 having the same taught process (or lack of it) while making music, like mine. I fully agree with the way he described how the idea is shaping itself and it is a matter of polishing after.


...meaning: it's not Eno...there's a structure beyond ...share and rise ...


this is EDM...wheres the methodÉ...dont dream too much...we all do that ...