Deadmau5 On Today’s DJs – “I Don’t Get It!”

There are some artists that won’t open up and actually say anything in interviews.

And then there’s Joel Zimmerman, aka Deadmau5.

In an interview with the Irish Daily Star,  Deadmau5 had this to say about today’s DJs:

It puts me to fucking sleep, to be quite honest; I don’t really see the technical merit in playing two songs at the same speed together and it bores me to fucking tears.

And, hopefully, with all due respect to the DJ type that will fucking go the way of the dinosaur, I’d like them to dis-a-fucking-pear!

It’s so middle man. They’re like fucking lawyers!. You need them, but they’re fucking cunts!

God bless them, they’re my number one customer, right, so I’m not gonna go dis every fucking DJ.

But to say you become this massive, “up on a podium” performer by playing other peoples productions, at the same speed as someone else’s productions and fading between the two of them, I don’t get it…

Is that any way to talk about your number one customer?

Zimmerman may not be silver-tongued,  but you know where he’s coming from.

via trainspottr

78 thoughts on “Deadmau5 On Today’s DJs – “I Don’t Get It!”

  1. Ha – lots of truth to his comments.

    But the big DJs do put on great shows – and that's something that a lot of electronic artists are lousy at.

  2. I didn't really understand what he said between all the f bombs, but I don't really think much of DJs who just play music on a turn table and fade between them. I would like there to be a live element to the show like an EMX or even a laptop running a DAW. Anything. But then again, what do I know. (I'm not a DJ and know nothing about DJing).

  3. Has the definition of a DJ changed or something? I thought it was someone who plays other people's music to make a party have a continuous flow of tunes…

    The point of a DJ is to get people dancing or in the mood to party… I think musicians sometimes forget that our "fans" are not worried about us… they don't give a shit about what gear is being used, how technical or knobby you can be, etc… they just want to party.

    Deadmaus is a talented DJ, but he isn't doing anything so clever that he can call others lame… People can't be intellectually stimulated on a high level, and ALSO party like frat kids. They are mutually exclusive concepts, and most club kids would rather get drunk and dance.

    People LIKE hearing their favorite songs, blended into more of their favorite songs…. that's the whole point. The other stuff is cool to musicians, but no one else really cares.

    To end this rant… wtf is up with "performance DJs"? Why does a DJ think people are going to be staring at them wearing a stupid mask, like they were the actual musicians or something? Deadmaus is not a superstar musician…. he's a freakin DJ. Go on Youtube and watch how confused this man gets when confronted with a simple modular patch…. lol

    1. Deadmau5 dosent cd’s or vinyls when he plays a show in fact he dosent even use turntables he used something called a “monome” injuntction with around 150 loops per show that he puts together live differing every show so that his sets arent repetitive over the course of a tour and i gurantee hed know more about a modular patch then you because hes a main reason why recording stuidos in eastern canada use computer software now compared to the old days of huge soundboards.

  4. You are right about "the definition of a DJ." But when I go to a big electronic music festival (in my case, Ultra Fest) it just gets lame seeing everybody playing turntables. I would like there to be more performance in electronic music.

  5. He said what I've been thinking for the last 20 years.

    The saddest part of it all is that typical DJs are getting paid an order of magnitude more than typical musicians.

    (according to a good friend of mine who works in an insurance company that insures musical acts including most of Australias top performers)

  6. DJ's play other people's music… if he's so offended about that perhaps he should not call himself a DJ anymore… I'm not entirely sure why he's so full of himself, his music is pretty cool but I wouldn't say its that complicated or creative to the point he should be dissing other people's DJ skills. It's almost irrelevant really. If you don't have anything nice to say… well move on.

  7. Well, he's one to talk. I don't see him cutting up the stage with his incredible chops or musicianship either. He's just messing with a bunch of prerecorded loops (even if some of the time they're his loops) and one shots on a bunch of appliances. I'm not seeing musical instruments or other mates up there working to create a musical whole, just a wanker up there with a funny costume and a bunch of toys. Nothing to see (or hear) here….move along

  8. He really isn't doing anything particularly complex himself, so he really has no room to talk. For fucks sake he's triggering loops in Ableton.

    A dj is supposed to play other people's tracks in a seamless and pleasing way. The best among them do it in a really excitiing way, playing with the energy in the room. I don't want to go to a club and hear every producer playing nothing but their own tracks using Live, sometimes I want to hear a set of a variety of artists I enjoy (or at least a style I enjoy) mixed by a pro. Doing it well actually isn't that easy, though I will say the top djs get far too much credit.

    So yawn Mr. Zimmerman. Your attiditude is getting boring. (And it was boring 2 years ago too)

  9. Who freaking cares.. make music.. play music.. be happy.. Not everyone can satisfy the world in one go and everyone has their place.. Stop pissing on what other people do to try and make yourself look good.. Just respect the effort and passion of other people and move on and worry about your own business and not others.. Music isnt and should not be about mine is better or yours is.. and im mad at DJs because they play other peoples music.. get over it.. move on.. it wont change.. make something better and chill the f()k out and stop your crying.

  10. God bless this idiot! 😉 I see his show once, mmm not interesting theme to speak on, at fucking all. A Start to dj maybe 8 years ago and spent some time in this. And have to say for me, djing is an art-form, art of performance, art of compilations were you can create a scenario, or whatever. Its very interesting and not simple at all, if you want to mix something more interesting that to house tracks in ableton.

  11. A voice of reason here ! I 100% agree. I don't know a whol lot about Deadmou5,
    but aren't those turntables in front of him in the picture ? isn't he a DJ ?

    So what is he on about ? ripping on other DJ's..is he that insecure about his own craft that he's got to be condescending towards all the other DJ's ? reminds me of the some
    of the rap artist back in the day always ripping on other rap artist calling them busters and
    what not.

  12. he doesn't call himself a DJ, the entire point of this is that you shouldn't call him a DJ. Because there is no jockying of discs.

  13. Deadmau5 is a depressed lonely crackhead who has nothing else to do with his time anymore because hes at the top. DOUCHBAG. He's always jacked up anyway. People think they are so cool because they can hit buttons and glitch shit around and trigger loops. Yes its cool, I dont think it gives him the right to diss on DJ'S. he probably got into electronic music to begin with by listening to a DJ. He probably started Djing with two decks and a mixer. Deadmau5 , continue to be a fucking asshole and everyone will continue to think of Guidos when they hear your music.

  14. @ stewie griffin….do a little research on what it takes to get his "set" together, both how he manages file structures in Live and his hardware mapping/routing. Then try to figure out by watching all his live performances all the incredible ways he can mix and match parts, NOT just whole tracks but stems of stracks, even one's he's already released. Add all of that to the fact that he is simply put, ONE of the best producers making "dance music" today (this is not an opinion or matter of musical taste but a simple observation of the technical quality of his sound) and you'll begin to see why he has authority to make such claims.

    you can hate the guy, you can even hate his music, but dont hate what you dont know/understand. he's innovative as hell and nothing short of a genius.

    Not after all that, i wouldn't say he's the BEST dj in the world and badmouthing your biggest clientele is just silly, the guy's definitely got an ego problem. But his chops speak for themselves

  15. Never commented here before, but feel compelled to now, why bring this up again? it's so old. People trying to slate him, he has an original sound, completely wild DJ set up that must take hours and hours of practice and set up. I'm not a fan of his, but fair play to him.

    I don't think he's slating your local club DJ here, he's slating the culture of a celebrity DJ who doesn't produce music, yet get's paid exorbitant amounts.

    But yeah, no reference to the age of this post. Very shitty.

  16. mat

    You're missing the point. We didn't post this to criticize Deadmau5 or because it was today's news.

    We posted it because he's got an interesting perspective.

    Interesting because his comments are wickedly off the cuff. Interesting because they reveal that, even at Deadmau5's level, there's a profound sense of frustration with the role of DJs as gatekeepers.

    And there's an interesting contradiction within his view – because he's dismissive of DJ's, yet he's one of the top 100 dj's in the world.

    Also – he didn't say he was misquoted on this or apologize for his comments. He said that "I honestly feel that the dance music scene needed a good bit of shaking up."

    The gist of his comments is that modern DJs need to use technology in innovative ways to do more than mix records.

    "So, im not the worlds most eloquent person," he adds.

  17. mat

    You're missing the point. We didn't post this to criticize Deadmau5 or because it was today's news.

    We posted it because he's got an interesting perspective.

    Interesting because his comments are wickedly off the cuff. Interesting because they reveal that, even at Deadmau5's level, there's a profound sense of frustration with the role of DJs as gatekeepers.

    And there's an interesting contradiction within his view – because he's dismissive of DJ's, yet he's one of the top 100 dj's in the world.

    Also – he didn't say he was misquoted on this or apologize for his comments, nor are we suggesting that he should. He said that "I honestly feel that the dance music scene needed a good bit of shaking up."

    The gist of his comments is that modern DJs need to use technology in innovative ways to do more than mix records.

    "So, im not the worlds most eloquent person," he adds.

  18. mat

    You're missing the point. We didn't post this to criticize Deadmau5 or because it was today's news.

    We posted it because he's got an interesting perspective.

    Interesting because his comments are wickedly off the cuff. Interesting because they reveal that, even at Deadmau5's level, there's a profound sense of frustration with the role of DJs as gatekeepers.

    And there's an interesting contradiction within his view – because he's dismissive of DJ's, yet he's one of the top 100 dj's in the world.

    Also – he didn't say he was misquoted on this or apologize for his comments, nor are we suggesting that he should. He said that "I honestly feel that the dance music scene needed a good bit of shaking up."

    The gist of his comments is that modern DJs need to use technology in innovative ways to do more than mix records. That's something we can probably all agree with.

    "So, im not the worlds most eloquent person," he adds.

  19. Ya, what an idiot. He's filthy rich and was nominated for a grammy and is climbing his way to 2 million fans on facebook. He'll never make anything of himself….

  20. This seems like a blatent attempt to thrash on Deadmau5. This news is fucking 2 years old.

    Why the hell would you bring it up now other than to sour his reputation even further?

    He has since APOLOGIZED and admitted that what he said was stupid, however it was also taken out of context.

    I agree with him though. Todays DJ's are fucking posers and get way more credit than they deserve. True its important to play mainstream tracks for bars and nightclubs to generate alcohol and ticket profits, but playing other peoples tracks and getting a crowd to worship you like your doing it on the fly is pure nonsense. Kids these days know nothing about EDM…

    What deadmau5 did was revive a failing industry. I think he has raised the bar for people to get actually perform original content instead of playing some bullshit mashup and taking credit for it.

    Dj'ing is the easiest job in the world. Wake up. Your not fucking talented.

    Im disappointed Synthtopia…this is slander…OLD slander at that.

  21. Zulu… you are an idiot (this is not an opinion or matter of opinion but a simple observation of the quality of your logic).

    DM is filthy rich… but technical sounding? What the hell does that mean to you… cause I don't hear much outside of 4/4, any type of complex synthesis, anything that points to him beat-matching without Ableton to hold his hand, or any sense of complex harmony/melody/rhythm.

    I think you are letting your own ignorance of music technology/theory get in the way of your understanding what truly "technical" music is…

    Deadmau5 is an unremarkable musician and a great DJ… get over it.

  22. Im sick and tired of everyone hating on the mau5.

    He has revitalized an falling industry thats become watered down with mundane golden boy DJ's that are Grade A Posers.

    I agree with him 100%. Most DJ's get way more credit than they deserve for playing other peoples material like its there own. Kids these days know nothing about EDM and the truly talented producers get no credit because they hog all the glory.

    Deadmau5 has taken an attempt similar to Daft Punk to Re-Vamp the experience of a live set. Its more than just the music, its about the entertainment and production value of the whole show. He is more creative and talented then any poser using his CDJ/Serato or Traktor setup who hates on Ableton.

    Dj'ing is mind numbingly easy and just about anyone these days can do it.

    Thats not to say we dont need DJ's…Clubs and Bars and Events wouldnt generate alcohol and ticket profit without good entertainment, I just have a lot more respect for mau5 who works to create his own sound and use a set thats almost entirely his own.

    Im disappointed synthtopia. This garbage is outdated by 2years! Why would you post this slander now other than to attack and hate on a successful artist brining new life to the culture? Mau5 has since apologized and admitted that what he said was stupid. In addition I am sure most of this was taken out of context.

    Maybe this site should stick to posting about Synths and not DJ's as obviously its not on point.

  23. Oh fuck off. it's in 4/4 oh noes!

    You think it's possible to get people to dance to stuff in 21/16?
    Plus if you check out joel's history he did classical piano for about 8 years.

    He's pretty capable in other genre's you know, his get scraped album goes everywhere, From IDM to glitch and ambient.

    It's pretty evident he's having a go at other people's styles there, but he's pretty flexible.

    I don't know if you'd think the same if you saw him in 2006 before he got OH NOES famous.

  24. Joel never created "that deadmau5 sound", it's been around for much longer than the three or so years since he released Faxing Berlin and Not Exactly. Eric Prydz had been making tracks with a similar sound for a few years before Joel came along. He himself admits that he didn't create that sound. The sound he uses isn't very special either – he has a giant custom modular, a couple Moogs, a Nord, a Virus TI, 2 Buchlas, and a whole host of other analog shit yet his most popular tracks have a sound that comes as a preset on a whole bunch of VST's and has been for a long time.

    Not a fan of his recent stuff, but after saying all that, I think Jaded, Vanishing Point, Brazil (original) and Not Exactly are all pretty damn good. His remix of Cafe del Mar is pretty alright too.

    Concerning the status of celebrity DJ, I think he is spot on, however. It's really scary to think that Tiesto can still pull up to 250k a night, and at the same time hasn't produced a track in forever and a decade, and hasn't produced a decent track in ten times that.

  25. I guess many people here are angry because he bought some nice expensive toys just (?) to show off that he has no clue whatsoever on how to use them. It's a bit like the idea of burning money or buying an expensive painting just to shoot it and feed the remains to your pigs.

    DJ ist not mind numbingly easy. It takes practise, it takes time and money (that is if you aren't one of those people who only plays free (or "stolen") music). It can be an art. I'm not much of a fan of DJs either and besides the awful language this Mr Zimmerman uses, I kind of agree with him. What I criticise about DJs personally is just that they can be pompous wankers who demand that you love the music they play and how they play it, are so full of themselves that they can only talk about "their" music and their gigs, their clothes, their mixers, and how shitty everything besides the equipment they prefer is, etc. Just like musicians and other performers are prone to do. And just like Mr Zimmerman himself. He fits right in there with the bunch of them.

    All in all I'm quite happy that I am not part of this circus. Colleagues and the audience constantly bickering about what and how I do, that would not be my cup of tea. My respect goes to people who can handle all of this. Perhaps it helps to be an asshole yourself?

  26. Two years ago I wrote a track that sounded like the theme tune from Grange Hill, shockingly people laughed, I learned from my mistake, and my music got better hahaha, it's called growth, we all do and say shit, we move on, we improve as artists and people, life goes on. Let's give the bloke the benefit of the doubt. Why is this crap even posted, I come here for synth news and stuff, not for sad attacks on other artists.

  27. I complete agree with Mr Deadmau5! As I posted on here some time ago, DJs are nothing without the actual talented producers / musicians / artists supplying them with the free records. I don’t rate DJs at all, and I am in the Trance music biz. Sure they are needed, but they are vastly overpaid and over rated.

  28. I was unfamiliar with Deadmau5 untill recently…and from here, so I have been to Youtube and started checking his stuff…really I havn't heard anything from him that I havn't heard
    over he past 20 years….listening to his work brings me back to the good ol raves
    in San Diego in the very early 1990's.

  29. But what really confuses me is, I read comments at youtube and
    people act like he's a God or something…like he has revolutionized
    music on his own….and that he'll go down in the music hall of fame
    as the one person that changed the face of music.

    It simply amazes me…I've watched him ( ahem ) programing a sound on his modular
    and it reminded me of a monkey F**king a football…I don't know the guy, and
    truely unfamiliar with him or his history…but the impression I got was he really didn;t know what he was doing, or he was messed up on some serious drugs.

    either way, I am not impressed.

  30. One thing to remember though, is that Mau5 isn't a DJ in the sense of the term, he's an artist, or performer type. Yes he plays his own stuff, but thats exactly what sets him apart from most people.

  31. Honestly, kettle calling the pot black. Just because he produced the tracks he plays doesn't mean he plays them in interesting ways *yes, I said it*. So what, instead of playing his tunes with a Serato setup and decks, he plays them from a Live set running into a mixer…. and fades between them? LOL. Deadmau5 IS a DJ – he just DJs with his own music. I spent some time with him, he's just as big of a douche as he appears in his interviews.

  32. Joel never created "that deadmau5 sound", it's been around for much longer than the three or so years since he released Faxing Berlin and Not Exactly. Eric Prydz had been making tracks with a similar sound for a few years before Joel came along. He himself admits that he didn't create that sound. Also, Joel doesn't do anything to enhance that sound he uses, despite the fact that he's got about $30,000 worth of analog gear (watch any of his studio vids on youtube, he's got 2 Buchlas, a Voyager, a MiniMoog, a shatload of those Moogerfooger things, a Nord, a VirusTI, a Dark Energy, a Macbeth M5, and a giant custom modular system) and to make matters worse, it sounds like the stuff I can make on a standard VST synth in about 10 minutes.

    I do rate Jaded, Vanishing Point, and Cafe del Mar, however.

    Concerning his views on DJs, though, he's spot on. It's absurd that Tiesto can still cop a cool 250k a set despite having not put out a track in 5 years or so, and a decent track in over…wait, he never put out a quality track.

  33. What's even funnier, is that Mau5's sets have been getting progressively worse over the years, he used to divide his sets up, 60% of what he played was his stuff, another 35% of what he played was what he was listening to at the time (he used to drop Pryda's stuff quite often), and then for the remainder he'd throw in something that he'd been working on at the time in his studio. Nowadays it has just his stuff, and the sets are getting bland.

  34. Listen, you can all dis on how you think Joel is an egotistical self hating DJ, or that most of what DJ's do doesn't require talent or should even be consider an art. Dude, It's music! When has it become less about having a good time and more about what they're doing to acquire your happiness. When you look through all the pizzaz it just comes down to the vibes. Quit hating and start dancing!

    P.S. even if you think deadmau5 is a shitty artist you gotta come to realization that you made this post 49 strong, so love him hate him your still making him more popular : )

  35. Oh my god is everybody seriously still hung up on this? He even retracted some of the statements about this. Way to go posting a Trainspottr article from two years ago.

  36. You don't have to be at it very long before you realize, the BEST DJ's – the one's who are actually earning their keep – are the ones who use the 'play an entertaining DJ set' as a platform to showcase beats they make themselves.

    Whomever you folks are, you're going to come across this truth eventually so I may as well tell you now.

    If you don't make your own beats, you aren't going to get much respect from any touring capacity venues.
    Bring SOMEthing to the table (s). LITERALLY.

  37. Not all dj's play other people's music

    deadmau5 aka joel make's every single sound you hear in his music by himself other then voicing

    most dj's just fade mp3's to keep it continuous wrather then build an actual set to perform

    some dj's, like deadmau5 dont play other people's music, get un clueless

  38. he has since took back most of the statement and rightfully so considering he admits to playing other artist's material in his sets and it was originally djs like Jeff Mills , Frankie Bones and Frankie Knuckles that would spin 6+hours live sets that created the scene and music that he makes his career possibly . if you haven't spun vinyl for more than 3 hours continuously or spent entire paychecks on imported records you do not know how much work being a dj and/or starting out as a dj used to be back in the day . those that started this and those that continue some of the scene's traditions deserve respect .

  39. SHOUT OUT TO WHAT I CALL VINTAGE DJS WHO STILL ACTUALLY USE THERE BRAINS AND HANDS AND FINGERS TO ROCK THE MUTHA FUCKIN HOUSE. SHOUT OUT TO THE VINTAGE DJ WHO STILL PUT ON GREAT SHOWS FOR THE PUBLIC TO ACTUALLY SEE WHAT IT REALLY TAKES. TO THE PRESS PLAY DJ, LEARN THE CRAFT THE RIGHT WAY CAUSE MOST OF YOU GET LAUGHED AT!!

  40. he is sooooo right though, its cool to play one track then another then another so.so.so, good example is david guetta shit house dj great producer, the fact that mau5 is using Live instead of CD or vinyl allows him to fuck around completely with his mix, and make something insane, BUT, fatboy still plays vinyl and he is off tap???

  41. I'm inclined to say that he's revealing a bit about himself on a number of levels here.

    Is all the hate because he himself never learned how to really mix with just two turntables and a mixer? If that's all he sums it up DJing as, "playing other peoples productions, at the same speed as someone else’s productions and fading between the two of them" then that means he never figured it out himself, and never understood how to mix with just the basics, and what you can really do with just two turntables and a mixer with EQ (and NO effects or bells or whistles). Anyone who takes that stance is revealing that they completely missed the point, the party, and the boat, and don't have a real foundation in mixing's roots. He might have found success doing his niche thing, but in the grand scheme of things, what an unbecoming, immature, narrow, and especially *clueless* thing to say.

    And to shit on your fans like that? Ouch. What a creep. Usually this kind of attitude goes hand in hand with somebody who doesn't deserve or respect their success in the first place.

  42. Either way, he said that shit…he can try and recant his statement but the photo at the top of the page features what looks to be not one but five different pieces of DJ gear. Why would he hate DJs so much yet have that many turntables? Atleast DJ's are known for music, not a Mickey Mouse hat.

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