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…