Once his shit's all the way together, Joel Zimmerman is going to explode. He seemingly can do no wrong — even his joke-band collaboration with Steve Duda, BSOD, illuminates a rare, untamed, scary talent. The pair's half-ass, just-for-yuks foray into electro-house yielded some great songs that are all the rage on Beatport, the dance-music Internet portal that's been a virtual cash register for Zimmerman since he appeared out of nowhere a year ago.
The pasty, dorky-looking Torontonian — he'd probably take that as a compliment — zoomed into focus in February 2007, when his apocalyptic progressive-house track, "Faxing Berlin," wound up on Pete Tong's radio show. In October, galaxy-busting DJ Tiësto threw Zimmerman's Justice-like cruncher "Arguru" on his In Search of Sunrise 6 compilation and then named him as the most notable producer of 2007 in a DJ mag interview, with which Armin van Buuren also publicly agreed wholeheartedly.
References like those are a nice start, but Zimmerman has bigger dreams. There's a restlessness to him, an aura of I want to be everything. Toward all that, what's he doing differently from other DJs? "Well, I have a very big mouse head I wear onstage," he says. "That's very different."
Saturday, May 17. Mansion, 1235 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Doors open at 11 p.m.; tickets cost $20. Ages 21+ with ID. 305-531-5535, www.theopiumgroup.com
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Yes, the big red smiley plastic mouse head. What's that about, some sort of advertisement for druggie stuff to turn our children into Dawn of the Dead? "I want to take the show out of the club and do a live show. Like, a show. We're developing a really big live show with big visuals. That's the plan for the rest of the year."
Well, not quite. There's also an artist album in the works, one advance track of which is "Creep," a spooky, down-tempo piano experiment that's soundtrack-ready. He hopes to have the all-original record finished this year, to be released on his own label with plenty of high-profile help. "Kaskade wrote a beautiful vocal line for the track 'I Remember.' The voice sounds so smooth. I can't wait to get it out there this summer."
Two of his most cherished highlights of the year so far took place in Miami during Winter Music Conference. "It was great playing on the main stage at Ultra, not to mention my own night at B.E.D. with Chris Lake, Tommy Lee, Steve Duda, DJ Aero, and Sydney Blue."
Lee, Duda, and DJ Aero together form WTF?, a glitch-pocked tech-house collaborative. Any special props for Tommy from Deadmau5, while we're here? "Yeah. Tommy Lee, you suck!"