Opinion: deadmau5 Makes Us Ask ‘What’s an Album Without Passion?’

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily represent the views of Dance Music Northwest or its leadership.

The internet seems to be buzzing with Deadmau5 news this week. First he announced that he’ll be teaching a MasterClass on production. Now he has publicly announced that he’s less than in love with his latest album, which as of this publishing hasn’t even been officially released.

It’s not exactly ideal for an artist to come out and say they don’t really like their own work, and that they haven’t for the past 10 years. What’s even less ideal is that everyone takes the spiciest parts of the story and runs with them, like Joel Zimmerman is the worst human on earth because he’s honest with his feelings about his own work. Maybe there’s more to it than just not liking it, and maybe there’s a reason why.

Late last year, the mau5 admitted that he’d been struggling with depression and was taking some time to relax before the new year. Taking a bit of a breather from social media and music for the sake of gaining some emotional stability sounded like a great plan before diving into the studio again. Since then we’ve had no concrete update on his mental health. However, we do hope that he found some peace in that time, and was able to do what was needed to get his depression in check.

Come 2016, he got back to work in his new studio, and in May he released his single Snowcone which he actually does like, and it looked like he may be coming out of the darkness. He also released Beneath With Me (ft. Skylar Grey) with Kaskade this year, a track long in the making, which had fans reminiscing of Move For Me. Now here we are in November with less than 10 days to the release of W:/2016ALBUM/ and Joel hits the Twittersphere to bash his own work. Why even bother releasing something if you don’t even like it?

“COZ I GOT FUCKIN MAD BILLS.”

We can’t say what Deadmau5’s state of mind is or was at any moment, past or present, but a lot of people seem to miss the depression factor in this story. Reading through his tweets about the album, it’s clear that he doesn’t like it, it’s clear that he hasn’t liked most of his music for the last decade, and it’s clear that he wants to make something he does like. He points out that it was “so fucking rushed / slapped together,” which most would agree is no way to create art.

For anyone who’s struggled with depression or getting back into a creative flow, you may know exactly what he means here. Sometimes it’s really hard to do even the things you love, so the fact that he did anything at all is a step in the right direction. We only hope his next step includes making the album he’s always wanted.

The tough part here is that it’s been two years since his last album, which in EDM time is basically five years. The pressure was on, and it was coming from more than just the man himself. Now that he’s fulfilled his obligation of giving fans some new music, he can take his time to create something he’s really passionate about. Fans seem to be pleased with just about whatever he puts out, but the artist needs to be pleased with the end-product too. With a new studio and a desire to do it right, maybe the next album will be exactly what he’s been waiting for.

We’re rooting for you, Joel!

From what we’ve heard so far, do you like the latest from Deadmau5? Do you think he’s being too hard on himself?

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily represent the views of Dance Music Northwest or its leadership.

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