I’ll go ahead and say it: I’m not really a Deadmau5 fan. Late last month I was invited to Where’s the Drop?, a mysterious sold-out orchestral concert at Los Angeles’ iconic Wiltern with Joel Zimmerman (Deadmau5) and South African composer Gregory Reveret. While his mainstream stuff has never fully caught my ear, I was intrigued by a classical, more sophisticated sound that was promised that night. “My wife is making me wear a suit,” Zimmerman told Rolling Stone before the show. Earlier in the morning, ticketholders were sent an email telling attendees to wear cocktail attire – and confusion started spreading across the land.
Standing there, drink in hand in the GA section, I realized just how mixed up and disorganized TIDAL’s (Zimmerman’s label for this project) promotion of the event was. Before coming I went online. I did my research. I knew it was going to be (basically) classical music and nothing electronic. It was surprising how many attendees didn’t know that. As swells of Deadmau5’s reimagined best-known tracks filled the theater I knew both I, and Zimmerman, were doomed. From where I stood near the bar the cliché fraternity-types were getting bored. And drunk.
“It might not go down with EDM bros, but I’m not exclusively catering to EDM bros,” said Zimmerman.
The night wasn’t so mysterious, actually. We were all there to listen to Deadmau5’s new album, Where’s the Drop? to the tune of strings, woodwinds, horns, Zimmerman at a computer console and a live conductor (John Beal). It’s not the first time we experienced his dabbling in classical forms. Four years ago he released an EP (7) with seven ambient piano songs that each represented one of the seven deadly sins. “It might not go down with EDM bros, but I’m not exclusively catering to EDM bros,” said Zimmerman of his interest in the depths of a symphony orchestra. I don’t think any of the drunk EDM bros near the bar heard that sentiment.
Reveret’s involvement in the project is ambitious and exciting. “Giving it a level of sophistication was very important,” he said. “Not being snooty and highbrow – but something beautiful that still translates to his fans.” Both were concerned how it would be received by the classical world, and to be honest, Zimmerman should be concerned where he fits in the mix. If the drunken bros in the back are any indication, the more bored they got, the louder they talked over the music. Yes, over! Over it is an understatement.
Zimmerman’s mouse head sat next to a grand piano on stage, darkened and far from his grasp. The minimal theatrics lent to a different, slight tease of the night. A part of me wanted him to put on the mouse head and point at the rowdy frat boys in the back, dedicating the final song to them and no longer causing us to ask: Where’s the Drop? But instead, we all stood in a polite standing ovation (bromances and all) and quietly went to our cars. Back to our corners.
The bros probably went to the club.
[Featured image via Rolling Stone]