Who does Richie Hawtin admire most in dance? Deadmau5…
While in Las Vegas for the Electric Daisy Carnival weekender, inthemix attended a panel for Insomniac’s EDM Biz conference that brought a line-up of leading dance artists together: Kaskade, Above & Beyond, Steve Angello, Richie Hawtin and Rebecca & Fiona. We’ll have the full transcript from the panel for you soon. During the section of the panel that took questions from the floor, the conference’s techno guru Hawtin was asked who he admires most in the industry. Earlier he had talked about the early influence of Detroit originals like Blake Baxter and Derrick May, so it seemed likely he’d go for someone of that vintage. Instead, Hawtin gave a nod to Joel Zimmerman, aka Deadmau5, who he had been hanging out with recently in Zimmerman’s hometown of Toronto.
“There are so many answers for that question,” Hawtin replied. “I was in Toronto a couple of weeks ago, and I went over to Deadmau5’s house. He was there setting up his studio, and we hung out and chatted all day. His mum was there. We talked about how he has lived and breathed electronic music for the last 10, 15 years. We were talking about ideas and what he’s trying to do with his show.
“From an outsider’s perspective, it could look like Joel is manufactured, or something like that. But I really respect what he’s doing, because he’s taking it to another level, a level that I never thought possible when I started. And he’s still kept control and is realising his own artistic vision. We play totally different music, but that’s what I respect about our whole scene: we’ve kept control and we’re on our own paths. That’s what I respect.”
Deadmau5 came up earlier in the panel as well, with Above & Beyond’s Jono Grant singling the Canadian out as an example to young artists.
“You look at someone like Deadmau5,” said Grant. “He came about his brand by accident, but he’s fundementally a talented musician. You see kids on the forums saying it’s just hype and bullshit about him, and that kind of annoys me, because there’s a guy who has happened to build a great brand and he’s really talented. With Twitter and Facebook, new artists feel they have to build a following, but actually the core thing they have to focus on is the music.”
When inthemix interviewed Hawtin back in 2010, he mentioned the strangeness of his Plastikman Live show next to Deadmau5’s Rubik’s Cube. “We’ve had a couple of shows playing before or after Deadmau5,” he said. “People were freaking out over his own LED thing; you know, really high energy. And ours was…a little more cerebral at moments.”