REVIEW: Aspiring Producer Gives Deadmau5's MasterClass 4 Stars
A total of forty-two award nominations under his belt for awards ranging from gilded Grammys to World Music Awards, a survey of Canadian producer, deadmau5’s, record of award nominations requires its own Wikipedia page, the extensive list too dense not to stand independently. With fifteen of his forty-two nominations resulting in award wins, deadmau5’s status as a “big cheese” within the electronic dance music sphere is not only comically relevant given the DJ’s alias, but exceedingly well deserved.
A muse for aspiring DJs and producers in both national and international climates, it is hardly any wonder that the “Strobe” visionary has sold out the majority of the dates for his dual spring tour and debut of the Cube 2.1, “lots of shows in a row.” When it comes to instruction, those seeking to be the best in a given industry not surprisingly train their eyes on the figures most prominent in that atmosphere, studying the strategies and techniques of the adept to inform their own advances. As deadmau5 dominates the spring dance music calendar via lots of shows in a row, he emerges as such a figure observed by novice DJs and producers around the world. Larger than life behind the Cube, deadmau5 grounds his practice of production in his MasterClass, an online course intended to “teach electronic music production” over a series of lesson plans designed to familiarize introductory level producers with the tricks of the trade.
In an effort to learn a little more about the course’s format and overall benefits, we interviewed aspiring producer, George Stavrianidis, Q&A style.
Q1: What is the general arrangement of the class? We know that the course is self paced, but tell us a little bit more about it
A: The class is comprised of 23 lessons, each covering a different topic. Topics include studio setup, arrangements, synths, beats, mixdowns, remixes, even marketing yourself as an artist. Each lesson comes with a video and homework assignments to review what was said in the video. There are also links to other sources included for those looking to learn more about the topic of a given video.
Q2: Did you consider it difficult to learn from a web based class?
A: Considering that I learned everything I know about producing from the internet, the class was not difficult at all to learn from. If anything, it was 10x better than some of the extremely dry stuff I've sat through in the past. I enjoy Joel's sarcastic personality, so I found it very easy to follow along.
Q3: How much did the class cost overall?
A: It cost $100 altogether. I torrented all of my music software, so I didn't spend a penny on that. The class also provides a promo code to get a big discount off of Ableton in case you want to buy it. I use Logic X, so I didn't see a need in using it.
Q4: Was there anything that surprised you about the class?
A: Nothing really. It was all pretty much what I expected. I guess if I could pick something, it would be that I was totally not expecting so many people from around the world to be so engaged with it. There's over a thousand people who are in the course in a Facebook group where we share music and talk about our progress in the class. If you have a general question, there's always someone there to provide their help.
Q5: Did you feel this made you a better producer than you were at the course’s start?
A: It definitely made me take a different approach when making music. However I wouldn't say I'm ready to be signed to a record label after taking the class. No class, software, or sample pack will turn you into a producer in my opinion. Becoming a better producer only comes with continuous practice and hard work. Joel gave me a few ideas, but I wouldn't say I'm a totally different producer than when I started the class.
Q6: If you were to give the class a rating out of 5 stars, what would you rate it and why?
A: I'll rate it a 4 since it was very interesting and fun to take, however most of the stuff I learned from Joel led me to make music that was very similar to his own. At the same time, it opened me up to using a different creative process when making music, which is always good.