Deadmau5 is in mildly hot water for exploding the myth that dance musicians play ‘live’ – with a not so subtle dig at those who boast about their extensive live setups.

In a blog post that starts “it’s no secret”, he writes that “given 1 hour of instruction, anyone with minimal knowledge of ableton and music tech could DO what im (sic) doing at a deadmau5 concert”. He then goes on to explain exactly what’s going on in his ‘live’ (his quote marks) sets – which basically amounts to Ableton running stems that trigger front of house visuals and churn out MIDI to control a few synths used in the original productions. “That’s my ‘live’ show,” he writes, “and that’s as ‘live’ as I can comfortably get it…”

So far so good. Then starts the rant. “Im just so sick of hearing the “NO!!! IM NOT JUST DOING THIS, I HAVE 6 TABLES UP THERE AND I DO THIS THIS AND THIS”  like… honestly. who gives a fuck?”

He goes on to say it’s studio skills that define the talented dance music producer – not the ability to hit the spacebar on stage at the right time. It’s an interesting argument, but the fact that he feels it needs to be made in the first place just goes to show that plenty of people do give a fuck. To some extent the spectacle of the pre-programmed light show and stage props are part and parcel of live electronic music these days, but that doesn’t mean the music has to be relegated to a supporting role. Look at Simian Mobile Disco’s live show for the perfect example of a tightly rehearsed but genuinely live live show. Even two decades ago, Orbital were performing heavily improvised shows when Deadmau5 was barely out of nappies.

Should we consider the blog post an example of admirable honesty, or just an admittance that his live show errs on the conservative side? Manchester techno legend A Guy Called Gerald certainly knows which camp he falls into, addressing Deadmau5 as a “greedy rat head fuck” in a forthright missive on his blog. For us, the jury’s out…

28th June, 2012


  • Although a valid point from the Mau5, I think all these rants from him are all getting a bit dull. He seems so compelled to break the silence on what we all know, but why? Perhaps Mr. Mau5 is finally starting to realize that the contract behind DEADMAU5 isn’t what it was all cracked up to be and the fact that he has no control over his own shows is finally starting to set in. Then again maybe not and he just needs a smack to the head.

    Joel, choose a side…..Music or Money.

  • my aim was always to do Live Pa sets with live sequenced boxes…

    it’s too hard.

    people just want the best music, not generally the best process.

  • I find this quite amusing, Deadmau5 for quite some time now has droned on about how talentless DJ’s are for what they do and now he’s revealing the details of what his show’s take to be a “Live” performance.

    It becomes clear to everyone that even the most basic DJ set involves the DJ actually beat matching and having to at least monitor the tempo of his tracks that he is mixing.

    With that in mind its easy to see that even a basic DJ set would in fact be more of a “Live” performance than a guy with a mouse head pressing space bar and letting the computer do the rest of the work, Triggering MIDI and Audio and even the lights from a pre sequenced performance.

    Not that I suspected much more went into a “Live” show and thats not to take anything away from DJ’s or “Live” performers but anyone who learned what they are doing really could do any of the above.

    All that said I really couldn’t give a F*@k as long as I enjoy whats coming out of the speakers.

  • A producer is a different thing than a performer, entertainer or DJ. There are a lot of people performing now, expected to be entertainers when in fact they’d rather stay in the studio, and in many ways we’d have more good music out there if they had the choice to stick with what they are best at.

    As the music industry is the way it is, most of the money is in performance, and musicians need to eat too.

    I’d have to agree with Deadmau5, and good luck to him: theres only certain number of hours in the day, spend it on putting out good music, recording/publishing or performance is really up to each artist to decide for themselves.


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