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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014

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In Music

DJ Debo with mau5 ears on the beach in Hawaii, where he lives.

In Music

DJ Debo, aka Scott Smith.

In Music

Debo is bringing a deadmau5-style show to Milwaukee June 9.

DJ Debo brings the noise, deadmau5 style


On Saturday, June 9, a cadre of deadmau5 fans, a group of Milwaukee EDM (Electronic Dance Music) scene regulars and lots of other folks who love a big show are going to be at Moct, 240 E. Pittsburgh Ave., for "tehmau5."

The show is based on the stage persona of Joel Zimmerman or deadmau5 (which is pronounced "dead mouse"), a Canadian EMD star and Grammy-nominated artist. He performs wearing large headgear consisting of huge ears and eyes on a big ball that covers his entire head.

The tehmau5 show at Moct is being produced by DJ Debo, aka, Scott Smith, who wanted to bring the extravaganza of a live deadmau5 show to Milwaukee, a venue he feels deadmau5 will likely never play.

"I'm not deadmau5, but I've spent the last five-plus years of my life listening to him and his music. I want this show to bring so many authentic pieces together so big fans like me will see it, and the newcomers will see how great his music is," says Smith.

Doors open at 9 p.m. There's a $5 cover and a $10 VIP entry that includes a drink and custom-made mau5 ears for the first 50 people.

Smith has been planning the show for the past year, putting over $3,000 of his own money into it, which will bring extra lighting and sound equipment into Moct. Local artists have been involved from the beginning, Bounce the DJ will open the show, DJ Mercury is doing live visuals and sound and Valo Photography created a website and will be documenting the show.

"We also have some live vocalists, but I'm not going to share their names for fear of ruining the surprises we have planned for the event," says Smith.

Any profit from the show will be given to charity.

"My main interest is to have people enjoy the vibe I have crafted for them. Think of this as a massive house party in high school, you know you're not going to get your money back and your parents are going to get mad, but you don't care," says Smith.

"I want the experience to be shared with a massive group of people and I want everyone to know that they can forget about everything except dancing for three and a half hours."

Smith grew up in Oak Creek, graduated high school there and opened two businesses, one that put turbochargers on ATVs and a small auto shop near Union Grove.

Smith began working as an auto mechanic at 13 for his father and ran his own auto shop until he was 23.

"After I stopped doing that I started working on aircraft parts, which eventually led me to California to support the newly started Virgin America airline. From there Panasonic took interest and I became a field engineer for them, servicing the in-flight entertainment systems on Virgin America," says Smith.

Smith moved to Hawaii three years ago to work with Panasonic's newest customer, Hawaiian Airlines. Still a field engineer for Panasonic "by day," by night Smith actively pursues his EDM dreams.

Smith's musical interests were initially fueled by his parents; he grew up listening to their music, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin and Sam Cooke.

"Most of my friends were listening to 2PAC and Biggie, but I loved classics and car shows," says Smith.

After getting into EDM at 15, Smith bought a turntable and mixer but didn't use them much until the death of a close friend, Danny Dretzka, whose nickname was "Debo." Smith later assumed the moniker for his DJing.

"After Danny passed, I took it upon myself to continue music and really put myself into what I was doing. After a year or two of being a 'bedroom DJ' I began taking a huge interest in the new movement of live remix and computer-based DJing," says Smith.

The self-proclaimed nerd then spent most of his time learning HTML code and other web development and basic programming languages.

"I worked tirelessly to learn the software, and within a couple months got noticed by another local DJ, Jude Raw. He gave me my first gig at a small club, now gone, called Room 434," says Smith.

Smith says deadmau5 puts a lot of emotion into his music, and brings a level of perfection and personality to his live shows that make him unique. Smith's goal is for people to feel like they are getting a "98 percent accurate show" that could only get better if deadmau5 came to Milwaukee and performed himself.

"Milwaukee gave birth to my DJing and I need to share this experience with Milwaukee first; I want the scene to stay big here. I know Milwaukee will appreciate our attention to detail and the 500 hours that go into making a two-hour show perfect," says Smith.


Talkbacks

CarolV | May 23, 2012 at 3:07 p.m. (report)

This is so cool. I do wish deadmau5 would come to MKE. Too bad this show isn't all ages :( Have a great show and thanks for doing this!

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