Deadmau5, the Canadian electronic dance music (EDM) superstar DJ and producer, recently performed in New York to promote the coming release of his new remix album, 5 years of mau5, due 25 November. A consummate car lover, Deadmau5 – known off stage as Joel Zimmerman – took an atypical path to the New York gig, part of the Honda Stage series of concerts.

Yeah, Ferrari wasn’t happy about that. They sent us an angry letter.

Starting in Indianapolis, Indiana, he teamed with James Hinchcliffe, the Honda-powered, three-time race winner in the Verizon IndyCar Series – for a few automotive stunts. The duo motored round the Indianapolis “Brickyard” in a special two-seat Indy Car, then raced one another in liveried Honda Fit hatchbacks.

Deadmau5 recently discussed how he learned to drive, his vast car collection and the public humiliation of causing a traffic jam in Los Angeles (though he’ll let Aerosmith vocalist Steven Tyler take the blame for that one).

Brett Berk: How did this connection between you and James Hinchcliffe come about?  

Deadmau5: We kind of met on Twitter through a mutual friend. I participated in Gumball [the Gumball 3000 Rally, an annual multi-country jaunt for supercar owners] this year, so all kinds of car guys from Nascar to F1 are on Twitter with me now. Following one guy, you get in on some weird Twitter joke and you meet other people, and I met James. Turns out, he’s a cool dude. Very knowledgeable, laid-back.

What was your first car?

My first car [was terrible] like everyone else’s first car. It was a Porsche 911 Carrera RS. [Laughs.]

I got my license when I was 32, just over a year ago. I was living downtown in Toronto and we have a great transit system, and I lived in the core of downtown. So I never had a need for a car. Then I moved to LA and it’s just sprawl city. So I went down to the DMV, and I passed the test, shockingly. In fact, I’ve never owned or driven a front-wheel-drive car until I drove the Honda Fit at the track for that stunt I did with Hinch. I was like, ‘It feels weird. Why can’t I do a donut in this thing?’

You’re a known autophile. What else are you driving?

I have a Bentley Continental GT Supersports. That’s the city, go-to-meeting kind of car; my daily daily driver. I have a McLaren 650S, because it’s a McLaren 650S. Enough said. I have a Ferrari 458, which you may have seen. I’ve got a BAC Mono, which is kind of like a street-legal Formula 3 car – single seat, open cockpit, open wheel. I have a McLaren P1 I’m taking delivery of in the spring. I’ve got a custom Jeep Rubicon with an SRT engine and big suspension. I’ve got a Range Rover.

And now I’ve got a Honda Fit.

Where do you keep all these cars?

I’m going to keep the Mono in New York. A friend of mine has this private track in his yard in the country, and I think I’ll keep it there. I mean, you can drive the Mono on the street, but I don’t think I want to. It’s not me I’m worried about, it’s everyone else on the road. The car is so low that cargo trucks and motorcycles can’t even see it, so you’re risking your life driving it around. All of my other cars are here at the house. I recently got a 118-acre farm with a house on it about 45 minutes outside of Toronto, with plenty of garage space for all of my toys.

You took the 458 on the Gumball 3000 rally last year, right?

Yeah, Ferrari wasn’t happy about that. They sent us an angry letter because we had this crazy wrap on it, and we changed the badge on the car from ‘Ferrari’ to read ‘Purrari’. It’s not like anyone would ever mistake this for anything but a Ferrari, and it’s not like I’m selling these things as some other brand of car. But I took the wrap off. Now I’ve got a white Ferrari with pink calipers. I’m trying to sell it. I put it up on Craigslist, but they took it down.

What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you in a car?

You know Steven Tyler, he’s also a big car guy, and he bought a Hennessey Venom GT. He keeps it around the Sunset Strip area. So I was in LA staying at this hotel near there, and I met up with him for lunch, and we started talking music stuff and car stuff. And he says he has the Hennessey with him and asked if I want to go for a ride. Of course, I did.


The Venom GT is a loud, really low car. We’re driving it down La Cienega by the Beverly Center, where there’s a hill. And it’s just a terrible intersection. It sucks. So we’re stuck in traffic there and he decides to do a U-turn, and the car stalls. And he can’t get it started again. It’s actually a real pain to start that car. You have to wait for the pneumatic shifter to charge and all of this. So the traffic lights start going green, and we’re in the middle of the intersection blocking traffic. And first, people start with the anger honk. Then, people start to notice that it’s Steven Tyler. Then everyone is hanging out of their cars taking pictures. And we’re totally exposed in that car—it’s just the roll bar, there’s no roof. I totally have my face down.

Now I’m talking to the Hennessey guys, and they want me to be the first guy in Canada to have their new F5. I said, ‘If you put some chains on the tires, maybe’.

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