LOS ANGELES, April 3, (RTRS): This past Friday, electronic music superstar Deadmau5 (real name Joel Zimmerman) released an exclusive orchestral rendition of his work. “Where’s The Drop,” featuring Deadmau5 tracks like “Imaginary Friends,” “Ira,” “Superbia” and more, composed and arranged by Greg Reveret, is the fulfillment of a years-long dream for Zimmerman.
The response to the album, which he brought to the stage this past weekend for two triumphant sold-out shows at Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theater, has been mostly positive — with the exception of his chosen release method: as an exclusive on upstart streaming service Tidal.
“They’ve got such a bad rap on social media in terms of a service,” Zimmerman tells Variety. “When I announced the record is on Tidal, everyone was, like, ‘Ugh, Tidal.’”
But Zimmerman, who as Deadmau5 was one of the first artists to sign on with Tidal as part of a much-hyped launch in 2015, says, “It’s been nothing but fine. We’ve got a good relationship with the company. They’ve helped us and they’ve been quick with their turnaround and delivery. So no qualms there.”
Never one to bow to public opinion or pressure, the always outspoken and fiercely independent Zimmerman offers no apologies for choosing to work with the Jay-Z owned company on the project. “Don’t come at me with your dissent towards whatever streaming service you want,” he snaps. “I chose this because it’s my music and it’s my work and my IP and I will do as I see fit. I want to put it out lossless, and that’s not something Spotify is gonna give me. Spotify sure as hell didn’t co-produce this, so why would I just go ahead and give it out? But nothing is permanent. You’re not never gonna hear it because it’s exclusively on Tidal. I’m just giving it what I felt it deserved and if that makes me a weird, horrible person who doesn’t give their shit out to Apple and Spotify fans, whatever, that’s cool.”
Ultimately, the record wouldn’t have happened without Tidal, who he thanks in the tour program for, “Paying for everything and making this happen.” Adds Zimmerman: “Matter of fact, this album wouldn’t even be if it weren’t for them. This is what enabled me to do it. So I’m just doing what a normal human being would do, which is give back and give them a bit of exclusivity on the album. Common sense 101.”
For Zimmerman and Reveret, the delivery method of the album is far less important than the content, which is something both of them are immensely proud of, especially, since from a collaborative standpoint, they both get to hear the record as fans of the other’s work.
“I get to listen and enjoy music that is partially mine,” Zimmerman says. “Maybe influenced and guided, I created some simple outlines, but ultimately I’m hearing a derivative work.”
“Same. I listen to it and I’m like, ‘Wow, this is crazy,’” Reveret adds. “There’s obviously another brain that was involved in getting there and that’s why I keep listening to it. Just listening to how the arc develops from start to end, it’s a collection.”
Speaking ahead of the L.A. performances this past weekend, Zimmerman expressed some nervousness at taking the stage in front of an orchestra rather than behind the decks. “I no longer get nervous walking up on 18-foot tall cubes, but now I’m going into a playground with a whole bunch of different pieces to the mix. I’ve never done that. I’ve never performed with an orchestra. I’ve never heard my stuff being played back with a whole orchestra. It’s gonna be different having taken on one pass, one play, that’ll be the piece. So that’ll be nerve-wracking, but satisfying.”
LOS ANGELES: Ever wondered what a Jimmy Buffett and “Oklahoma!” mashup would sound like? Well, wonder no more.
During this weekend’s performance of Jimmy Buffet’s new Broadway show “Escape to Margaritaville,” the iconic singer appeared in the show’s closing number for a rendition of “Surry with the Fringe on Top” in honor of the 75th anniversary of “Oklahoma!.” Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical had its original opening night on March 31, 1943, and Buffett, outfitted in one of his famed Hawaiian shirts and Easter bunny ears, gave his own spin on the tune along with the show’s cast.
“I grew up on Rodgers and Hammerstein and I wish my mother were here to see this!,” Buffett said following the performance. “Oklahoma!” ran for more than 2000 performances between 1943 and 1948 and has had four Broadway revivals since its original production, in 1951, 1953, 1979 and 2002. As part of a yearlong 75th anniversary celebration, other shows including “The King and I,” “Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella” and “The Sound of Music” also celebrated “Oklahoma!” over the weekend.
LOS ANGELES: DJ, producer, and songwriter Mark Ronson will be honored with the BMI Champion Award at the 66th annual BMI Pop Awards, to be held in Beverly Hills, Calif, on May 8. The multiple Grammy winner, who has worked with such artists as Bruno Mars, Amy Winehouse, Adele, and Lady Gaga, has released four albums as a solo artist. His 2015 “Uptown Special” collection included the massive hit “Uptown Funk,” which was named BMI’s song of the year in 2015. The track spent 14 consecutive weeks at No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Said BMI VP of Worldwide Creative Barbara Cane: “Transformative, tastemaker and trendsetter are just a few words that describe the incomparable Mark Ronson. Through his craft, he has become a global influence and a defining voice in music, art and style. The BMI Champion Award honors his diverse artistic accomplishments which have left a lasting impression on fans around the world, and recognizes his dedication to making the world a better place through his humanitarian efforts.”
LOS ANGELES: If hip-hop fans needed any further incentive to watch Jay-Z’s appearance on David Letterman’s new Netflix show, “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman,” how about hearing him imitate rappers like Eminem and Snoop Dogg. In a first excerpt from the episode, we see Jay talking with the heavily bearded host about the different factors that make a great rapper: In Snoop’s case it’s his voice, and in Em’s it’s his syncopation — and Jay delivers spot-on imitations of both.
Launched in January with special guest Barack Obama, the show has proven to be a way for Letterman to have things both ways: Still doing a talk show, but just once a month instead of 20 times.
Jay-Z and wife Beyonce will spend several months on their “On the Run II” tour this year, which launches June 6 in the UK, heads across Europe before moving to North America on July 25, and continuing across the continent before wrapping in Seattle on Oct 4. While neither artist is necessarily expected to release new material before the tour — Jay dropped an album last summer, Beyonce just under two years ago — and both tour more or less independently of their release schedules, you never know.