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Deadmau5 on his new Toronto Maple Leafs anthem
By
Jon Dekel

Published

October 14, 2016

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Deadmau5's anthem for the Toronto Maple Leafs 

Listen to the new song.

Audio

This Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada, electronic artist and producer Deadmau5 (a.k.a. Niagara Falls, Ont., native Joel Zimmerman) will debut a song he composed for the Toronto Maple Leafs' centennial celebrations.

CBC Music caught up with Zimmerman over Skype to discuss the track, Don Cherry’s admiration and the dangers of riding a Zamboni.

I guess we should start with this Leafs track. How'd that come together?

To be honest it was a bit of a struggle at first, I felt that it would be something with a good bit of drive to it, and a recognizable melody that stood out. I invited a friend over, Phil Waring [Black Lungs], to come lay down some bass jams to at least force me to stop doing my usual self-routines when it comes to coming up with compositions — maybe get a few outside options, since he's by no stretch an "EDM" guy. So I told him what the project was for, and how it had to be something not too "out there" and perhaps even something the audience could partake in with a few bits, something recognizable/anthem-y, but I still felt like I should keep in some of my own signature style, which more often than not doesn't really lend itself to, uh, audience participation.

Like Jock Jams

It was hard to avoid the Jock Rock 95' anthems. "Na na na na na .... HEY! na na na na na na." No wonder they keep playing that, it's f--king infectious.

Do you feel you found the balance in the end? 

Well, like I said, it was a huge struggle for me. It's just not something I force myself to do. It felt a little contrived to be honest, so, with a little bit of insight from a pal, I managed to force myself on the rails of getting something done that was at least in the right ballpark, so to speak. Then I was somehow able to merge in my kind of weird melody into the mix, and all was right in the world again.

You wrote the song for the Leafs' centennial. Are you worried some of their older fans might not "get" it?

I sort of grew up with "EDM" as it were. I'm 35. Fully grown-ass adult! I can imagine so are the players, and most new fans.

How did the idea for the song/partnership come about? Did the Maple Leafs people approach you or did you reach out to them?

I don't really know to be honest, it could have been management reaching out to them or vice versa. I just saw an email come down the pipe and replied with "Hell yeah, I'm down."

Are you a big Leafs fan? Did you see that Auston Matthews debut?

I don't really follow hockey. I wish I had the time, but hey, I can get behind it and enjoy a jumbo-sized beer and cheer on the team.

You grew up in the area. Were you a hockey fan as a kid?

I was, actually. Not to the point of knowing all the players and stats and following games, but my childhood pals and I would always round up a couple of nets and take it into the street.

Was writing a "Toronto" anthem important to you?

I hadn't been seeking it out, to be honest, but when the opportunity arose I felt I had to apply myself as best I could to do something for the home team.

Don Cherry is a big fan of yours. Has he reached out to you?

He hasn't actually. I’d like to meet him though! Seems like a nice fella. Reminds me of a few crazy uncles I have. I should really take the guy on a coffee run.

Are you still doing those?

Of course. Did one a few weeks ago with Adam Savage from Mythbusters, but since I've moved out to the boonies of Campbellville, Ontario, accessibility has become a little rough.

You have a reputation for your extravagant stage shows. Are you looking forward to having access to the Air Canada Centre’s system?

Sure thing. I mean, it seems like a pretty simple gig: show up, bring a mousehead and try to plea with the ACC last-minute to let me on the Zamboni.

Is that a thing one needs to plea for?

I heard there was an insurance issue that ended with, "Well, you could sit in the back of a Ford pickup while we follow it." In April of 2005, Road & Track magazine performed a “road test” on the Zamboni Model 500 ice resurfacing machine. They determined the machine's top speed to be 9.7 mph and that the machine would go from zero to a quarter-mile in 93.5 seconds. 9.7 MPH!!!!??? SAFETY ISSUE???? I’ll see what kind of convincing I can do when I get there. We kinda live by the forgiveness rule as opposed to permission.