Deadmau5 Talks Video Game Obsession, Lazy DJs
“I’m no coach and I’m no pro myself,” Deadmau5 says of his relationship with video games. “I love watching professionals play more than I love sitting there 20 hours a day trying be a pro myself.” On Sunday afternoon, the DJ and Twitter provocateur found time for both, challenging a few professionals at a Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 event in New York City. An hour-long livestream captured every frag, frenzy and headshot. When the competition ended, Deadmau5 spoke to Rolling Stone about selling out, his place in music history and the connection between gaming and EDM.
Why did you get involved with the Call of Duty game?
I’m a video game enthusiast. I love video games! They were a huge part of my upbringing in their early form, when I was all about Dig Dug and River Raid. As they evolved, so did my music-making, and we just kind of grew up together like cool friends. It’s something I do still to this day. When I’m working on something and need to take a little break, I’ll go down and play some video games. It’s just a good time-sink to take your mind off shit.
Do you think your love for video games has influenced your music-making, besides being a distraction?
You know what? In terms of sound, yeah, absolutely. The first video games that I ever played didn’t even have soundtracks. It was just a bunch of blips and bloops, and then as the technology evolved we started hearing soundtracks to early NES titles and Super Nintendo titles. I was actually really taken by the – if you will – soundtrack for Castlevania and Super Castlevania for Super Nintendo. That was like, “Holy shit! These are cool songs!” Now you can just take professional-level recordings as is – sometimes better – and just throw them in games.
So I was like, “Wow! This totally caught up.” And it runs parallel to me. I love making music, and some of mine lends itself to video-game-soundtrack-type stuff. We’ve been back and forth, of course, in and out of each other’s industries, kind of playing off each other. We’re just cool buddies, me and video games. Back in the day we even did a thing for DJ Hero where we went in a mo-cap studio and recorded me “DJ’ing” or whatever.
Another part of video games – and this event in particular – is competition. Does your competitive side show up in the way you approach music?
Nah. Music is 80 percent fun and 20 percent work. Video games for me is all fun.
I think that would surprise some people who associate you with calling other artists out on social media.
Well, with gaming, I’m more into hosting competitions, like the guy who owns the football team. It wouldn’t shock me to see myself in a position where we sponsor some talented young gamers to come and fight the good fight.
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