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deadmau5 Talks Creating Live on Twitch

Despite an elaborate studio setup, electronic music producer and DJ deadmau5 doesn’t often like to get too extravagant with his live Twitch productions. In this exclusive interview from Streaming Media Connect 2023, Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen, Chair, Streaming Media Conferences, and CMO, id3as, talks with deadmau5, who is also a Stream Voodoo equity partner, about his preferences and approaches to producing live events on Twitch.

Displaying a screenshot of deadmau5’s live Twitch feed, Schumacher-Rasmussen says, “I don't want you to necessarily go in and describe what every piece of equipment is around that room, but you know, your Twitch streams are three, four hours…” He mentions how earlier in their talk, deadmau5 enthusiastically discussed the wild multi-tech shenanigans of Twitch star The Sushi Dragon, who uses a lot of “bells and whistles and peripherals” for his live streams, whereas deadmau5 eschews that and takes a simpler approach, often just displaying a static shot of himself working at his production desk while the comments of his fans flow along the right-hand side of the screen. “What led you to that decision, to not use multi-cam and PTZ and all that stuff?” Schumacher-Rasmussen asks.

“Oh, I kind of do have multi-cam and PTZ,” deadmau5 says. “I just don't want to ‘video up’ my own thing while I'm trying to do something completely different, you know what I mean?” For deadmau5, it comes down to a question of identity and integrity. “Otherwise, what am I?” he says. “Am I a showman right now or am I there on a mission to just kind of do my own stuff, but here's a window into that so you can look in and watch the process. For me, that's just kind of a unique thing, and you know [it’s] my own personal kind of vendetta towards electronic music and music production. It's just kind of like, ‘Well, he’s got 20 nerds doing all this for him and he just puts on a mouse head and shows up,’ and I'm like…not quite. I kind of do it all myself, and here all the synths and sometimes I do a talk over about how I do that. [But] sometimes I just don't even shut the mic on. It's like having a friend in the studio, but a cool friend that doesn't talk and make noise and get all up in your face…and I think people enjoy that, just as much as they enjoy watching some kid play a video game.”

“Right,” Schumacher-Rasmussen says. “And that's not a concert. That's just you creating, and you're giving people a window into that as you're making stuff up.”

“Because that's something I can control myself,” deadmau5 says. “I have all authority over all the tech that's happening. In a live setting, it's like, ‘Hey, I have to go play a show…take the wheel, and I hope you guys do a really good job with this. I can't help you!' But you know, more often than not, they get it and they do it.”

Schumacher-Rasmussen says, “Do you feel at all when you've got that stream running, and you've got people commenting on the side, [with] people giving you advice…does it feel vulnerable at all to you to be creating with people watching?”

“Not really,” deadmau5 says. “You know, some little ninja comments get in your ear. And then you're like, ‘Nah, I'm the pro…oh, maybe they're kind of right.’ And then you’re like ‘nahhh.’ But does it affect my overall output so dramatically that it's no longer mine and it's a culmination of all these viewers' ideas? No. But that’s just the way it is.”

Learn more about live streaming production at Streaming Media East 2023.

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