The Underground Synth Cave Of Deadmau5

deadmau5-analog-synth-cave

Here’s a look at the underground synth cave of Deadmau5, who appears to be single-handedly keeping half the modular synth industry in business. 

Deadmau5 (Joel Zimmerman) says that he is ‘Building an analog modular fort in the basement for the production of the Seven Virtues.’

via Deadmau5

87 thoughts on “The Underground Synth Cave Of Deadmau5

    1. per the Instagram / Facebook post this came from, he had literally just installed this in his new house, and only finished wiring it all up a few days ago

    2. that happens when you’ve just moved into a new house from a previous home in which was a private studio, and therefore had to clear out, organize, package, and move everything, obviously requiring you to unplug them. which is exactly what happened here.

      btw, if you want to see them in action all you need to do is go see his live stream on live.deadmau5.com
      he modulars out on one stream out of three.

      1. Sure, I didn’t say he never did anything with it, just that that picture looks so very very sad.

        Personally, I would have waited to take the photo, not that I have anything like that amount of gear…

        In all fairness, I took an hour or two to reinvestigate Deadmau5 last night, following the links below etc.. and while I have no problem with him per se. it’s not my thing. The modular Youtube below started out alright, but then just went a bit wrong when that beat came in… but I can’t criticise really, I’m not a multi millionaire producer or anything even close… good luck to him!

      1. O.k., he knows how to use it…SO WHAT ! he’s doing NOTHING different than what any kid in his bedroom with some software can do….All Zimm is doing is saying ” Hey look at me, I have more money than I know what to do with so I’m gonna show the world I can do what anybody else can do, but with 1000 x’s the cost. ”

        The ONLY reason this guy has ANY MONEY AT ALL, is because there are so many mind numbed idiots out there that wouldn’t know what TRUE talent is if it was shoved in their face.

        1. Ok then. please go and build a synth and try to get even close to what he’s doing now. Anyone can do this with software. That’s not hard. Doing it analog is hard as hell.

          1. But…I mean, he IS still doing that with software. That is all sequenced from a computer. All he had to do is plug in some MIDI cables to those semi-modular synths, use CV & gate outs from those synths into the rest of the system, and patch together some really kind of silly voices with the modular, and then run it all into a mixer.

            Like…dude has some amazing gear, but to say he’s doing anything more than using the synth as a plugin is just not true. He’s still just doing all of the hard stuff with software. It would be interesting if he would take that amazing equipment and actually learn to play it…like…the way someone learns to play a violin. Or a piano. Not the way that someone programs and presses “play” in Ableton. Clearly he is good at computer-producing dance music. But he is not very good at playing the modular synthesizer.

            No disrespect at all–the guy has a lot of money and can buy what gear he wants–I’d have a lot of the exact same gear if I had the cash. I definitely think he has good taste in equipment, but I think that it’s odd to make the sort of music that he does with these tools at hand.

          2. HAHAHA really that video sucks, that sound is making me want to kill bambi’s mother a second time!

            He’s a fucking retard. If you want to hear someone who can handle a modular, start listening to holden.

            You can throw as much money at it as you like, if you don’t have it in you, it won’t work.

            He should stay with his software and keyboards. fucking poser.
            One does not simply turn into a soccer player just because he buys the best shoes

            1. And who are you again? What’s your label? How many platinum albums on your wall? Who asks for your autograph? Any sold out shows recently? Everyone’s a critic.

              1. Agree, everyone’s a critic and I’m too old and uncool to understand why there’s so much Deadmau5 hate in the world but I gotta agree that this particular song/video was on the someone-else’s-sweaty-balls side of most of his modular video snips.

      2. If Edgar Froese, god rest his soul, has seen this video before, he would surely feel the need to leave us sooner. It is almost embarrassing to see to what mediocrity, almost infantile adolescent mediocrity is reflected in music, those machines are generating in this video. I don’t envy anyone with such abilities.

  1. I stopped reading where it said “…who appears to be single–” and I thought, yeah, only somebody who is single could get away with this. I’ve heard about guys who’s SO makes them promise never to touch modular. That’s just pathetic.

    1. OK, you get an F in reading comprehension gridsleep: “…who appears to be single-handedly keeping half the modular synth industry in business”

  2. Gridsleep makes a good point. Playing any kind of music takes wads of precious TIME. Abstract complexities like your relationships will suffer if unduly dismissed and so will your music. I learned this from dabbling at modular a bit early on and having a wife, heh heh. A Synth Widow isn’t much happier than a Football Widow. We can talk tech all we like, but your music (hopefully) is an amalgam of everything you do. That’s a lot of where you get your personal voice.

    I don’t “hate” dance, but the mainstay material bores me sh*tless a lot of the time. I like a good beat hands-down, but its the counterpoint, harmony and layerings that makes synths bark for me. My idea of “dance” is a piece where there are sudden turns, fresh colors and unique breaks that go far beyond 4-bar drop-outs. I want to hear that vital human layer on top. Deadmau5 brings a lot of heat, but not much real passion. Owning that many modulars says “tax break” to me far more than “bursting with musical ideas.” The truly different, lush sounds a modular can emit are also pretty esoteric to many outside our fanboy realm. The SOURCE is not readily evident and takes added work to get across to a casual listener. If you’re not doing some sort of sound design for that uniqueness, then its a bit poser-like to use one for bass and 8-step TD sequences. You could sit seriously at a fifth or sixth of that rig and be totally immersed for ages. A roomful like that says A) Look at what I can afford B) I own a patchcord company or C) I am Hans Zimmer, who wrote the bulk of his “Interstellar” soundtrack on Cubase and a Hauptwerk pipe organ plug-in, not his Moog IIIP. My synths, hard- and soft-ware, can produce 90% of what I hear from a mid-sized Eurorack. So take a little time to consider why that stack seems impressive when its really just sitting there unpatched. No diss intended either, as I was once a noob who was let down when my MiniMoog wouldn’t play chords. “Its not A.D.D., I’m THINKIN’! This is what it looks like!” ~ Doug Stanhope 😀

  3. Buying modules must be like buying a pack of gum this guy. I don’t hate him for striking it rich, but man, this is just another form hoarding. Think how boring it must be to have everything you even sort of want; nothing would seem special, or hold you attention for very long.

    1. Fully agree with you, I often think I have too much kit these days and I have don’t really have that much compared to most, there’s only so many sounds you can put into one track!

  4. Don’t know anything about deadmau5. Never even heard the name. But it appears he/she/it/they do EDM – i.e. music for mindless robots. If that is the case, this is a TERRIBLE waste of gear. I mean …TWO Buchla 200e systems? For DISCO?

    The world is ending.

    1. I think he has been able to build a cave like this precisely because he makes EDM music for mindless masses. If he did avant-garde experimental stuff that only sells 10 copies he would barely afford one VST synth.

      1. One good VST synth can do as much as all this stuff. In fact, I have a hunch that he uses VST synths more often than all of his modular gear.

      2. LOL! Who says that any of these bro fist pumping DJ’s buy their gear? Avicci and Aoki proved that much to those that pay attention. Got a million in the bank…still pirate plugins.

    2. That is one of the most self entitled, up your own ass comments I have heard on here. I have heard of him, heard a couple of his tunes and it is not to my taste.

      But just because he spends his money that way does not mean the world is ending, I am also unsure of where disco comes into this. Calling people who like a certain style of music instead of whatever you are into “mindless robots” is frankly sad and pathetic.

      I really hope you are about 13 years old with delusions of “I’m so much more intelligent than everyone else because I have never heard of the guy, they are all mindless sheep and I am an undiscovered genius”, then hopefully you will grow out of it. If you are an adult then…well…fuck

  5. I guess many people don’t really know how much time he actually spends behind his modulars. Like honestly, he’s the livestreaming A LOT of jams with these things and let’s not forget he also puts on a lot of this modular stuff on instagram. And for god’s sakes, if you knew deadmau5 a little bit, you knew that he doesn’t only do EDM and that he’s about to leave the scene and make a whole different album this time.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9i5bbadNXtM Listen to this and please judge a little bit less fast next time.

    1. Besides, he also used to have soundcloud but his fans kept complaining about that everything was too experimental or how there were no ‘drops’.

    2. I like his work as Deadmau5 enough, but hot damn! That vibe he had going on in the Buchla test video is wayyyyy more up my alley! Thanks for the share

      1. This one with him and Imogen Heap
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2LFI6abQI4

        grabbed at random from the front page of his youtube…

        … is actually well made pop, and I *think* it sounds quite Buchlaish in the synth track.
        Not at all my cuppa, but it’s pro and has nice emo feel for the kids.
        Mighta could’ve gone into this er… long long time ago.

    3. I will judge…it started off sound rather nice, and was about to comment that I take back every
      negative thing I have ever said about Zimm…but then that F**KED UP BEAT came in and RUINED the entire piece….yes, it was SHITE !

  6. – i only got into euroracks because i did not have buchla monies (o_0)
    looking at the photo i would keep 1/3 or the euroracks
    get 2x the buchla and a Moog System 55 modular

  7. i got to talk to him once at Moog audio in Toronto. he was such a real synth nerd.
    we talked about crappy old 80s synths and how antisocial synth nerd are in general.

    super nice fella. zero ego for all his success really.

    but he is doing what i would be doing if i had $40 million bucks to spend.

  8. Have any of you guys really listened to his most recent album?

    “4×4=12” was pretty cheesy and way popular, and for the most part that’s all anyone recognizes.

    His most recent album “while(1 is less than 2)” is much more experimental. In it you can hear lots of complex sounds made with the modular systems.

    Deadmau5’s music is really something special. With careful repeated listening it is possible to find some of the most intricate sounds and textures subtly hidden inside what may seem to be a rather simple track on the surface.

  9. I hate EDM but Deadmau5 really isn’t EDM. He has just been labeled that way. If you were to actually watch some of his interviews he is extremely scornful of mainstream EDM and dubstep in particular. He has made very thoughtful comments on EDM’s lack of meaningful dynamic content, the lack of original idea’s in mainstream music, and the negative cultural impacts of EDM.

  10. I don’t really like Deadmau5, but on the other day I heard this:

    and now I see this.. I have a feeling that actually he haves a more diverse taste in music than one can realizes. Curious..

    1. Thanks for posting that. If this was NIN, we’d be going bonkers. Good trance music Mr. Deadmau5! (And who is that lovely creature singing the lead?)

      1. How to Destroy Angels is Trent Reznor’s side project with Atticus Ross, Rob Sheridan and Trent’s wife Mariqueen on vocals and synths. The remix is awesome, but it doesn’t deviate too much from the original.

  11. No way would I have ruined a modular patch just for a photo. He ruined a patch *and* it looks like it’s going unused.

    Tho if I had a lot of money from music I’d hire someone to be my patch butler. His/her job would be to remember all my patches and remake them when I command it.

  12. So many haters here.. we get most of you are failed musicians being frustrated when someone actually achieves something with their music. As a music producer you should recognise his talent and appreciate his sound, even though you don’t like it. It’s like Skrillex, I hate his music but I’m baffled by the sound he’s able to create. Just from a sound-design/production standpoint.

    1. I agree, and find it sad when people can’t see past their own limits. Deadmau5 ain’t for me, but that is my problem and not his. And I can’t use my taste, or lack of it, to question his talents or detract from the success that has brought him. He obviously knows what he is doing, which is beyond reproach, and more so than a bunch of quacks can quibble here. It is like someone questioning Max Martin’s song writing skills, you can’t do it, he has more than proven his talents at writing hit pop songs – only Lennon /McCartney have written more number one’s for billboard chart. Again, not my style of music, but I’d be a fool to question his skills based on my own taste.

    2. I’m not a hater, the guy just annoys me. I’ve seen his video’s he put up of himself on youtube and I think he’s an idiot. So what he has gear that make the average modular fanboy drool…so many people are so wrapped up in what someone uses to create sound, I’ve even seen people create annoying bleeps and bloops on a modular and so many people commented how fantastic it was…obviously cos it was created with the almighty modular synth…but then you go to soundcloud, and listen to some of the incredible talent there…artist creating fantastic music using VSTi’s and don’t get a fraction the notice that Zimm does…just because millions of people like his music, doesn’t make it great music….dubstep is even worse and I could NEVER classify that as music…Zimm is a classless idiot that has money…have you seen his lambo ? case closed.

  13. Okay, gotta give TheOtherMau5 credit where its due. THAT’S what I’m looking for: quirk that personalizes your work. Synths really come alive for me when there’s a strong contrast going on, like the great singer or junkyard percussion that adds some Rough to the Sheen. That’s far from the wall of dub-noise that makes me want to kick the knob off. This song may be minimalist, but its still fully formed. Quietly classy.

  14. I don´t believe that with tons of this instrument he knows how really patch it……looks so fake……….Morton Subotnik with only a Buchla makes it really better…………that´s so fake,

  15. Every time i see post of his gear, and it has been a lot of times through the years, from a lot of different angles, also the video shot from IDOW of setting that modcan rig. Not once, i have seen it patched! Now, that should tell you something.

    Edit; i see the video post in the comments, where its patched, first timer. Not that i was ever looking for any of these actively.

  16. I actually like a few of his tracks. However I don’t believe he bought all this gear (and a place to put it in) on those sales….I reckon his grandma passed away and left him a huge wad.

  17. Five figures+ of modular gear bought purely to show off. Not knocking his music, but it’s utterly mainstream. Depressing as fuck.

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