We dropped by Toronto’s record mecca Play De Record this week to do a bit of vinyl digging. We’d heard that owner Eugene Tam had an interesting piece of house music history to show us, and he was right for sure.
Sitting on the wall next to the store’s cash register is deadmau5’s very first pressed vinyl. The tracks entitled “I Don’t Want No Other” and “Suck This” encompass the release, but sound nothing like the Joel Zimmerman we know today. The tracks sound like a French house fusion, and the album is credited to Dred & Karma, although we ensure you this is one of deadmau5’s many aliases. “Karma is Joel, and Dred is a friend of mine. His name is Derek Caesar. They lived in Niagara Falls,” says Owner Eugene Tam. Not only was this one of Joel Zimmerman’s early projects, but it sounded like this may have been his gateway into producing to begin with. The record store owner described the relationship between deadmau5 and Dred. “He had a studio in his house and he met up with Joel. I don’t think Joel had a place to stay.”
“He stayed in his studio a long time. Just making beats, doing all that stuff and learning.
Derek would always tell us to check out this guy and that he’s really good.”
The owner can also be credited with introducing deadmau5 to his first record label, Awesome Records, whom, although under mysterious circumstances, can be touted for putting out this first time piece of house history.
Several years down the road, the album resurfaced for Joel upon a visit to Play De Record. He hosted an interview along with the store’s Academy series to teach up-and-coming producers. The mystery singles haven’t just been elusive for consumers, as the vinyl hadn’t even made it into the rodent-themed DJ’s hands. “He didn’t even have one, so I gave him one.”