Topic Of The Week: Is Deadmau5 A DJ?

If you’ve watched the Weekend Recap, then you already heard us break down the topic with DJ Supersede. Now we’d like to hear from you!

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One comment

  1. I chose “No” for several reasons that I will explain. This topic is quite hard to cut and dry say yes or no without knowing the reasons for choosing one or the other.

    For some, maybe a “C” choice of “He’s in a grey area” might of been an option, lol!:)

    That grey area would pertain to some people who may perceive certain elements within his live performances as how a DJ would perform. Even though I chose “No” as my answer, I do believe when he is performing live on tour, he possess some DJ traits within his performances such as playing prerecorded music, even though he is playing his own music tracks, they are presented to his crowd in a DJ-esque type of way as we see “Festival” type DJs perform: The huge stage, Impressive Lighting Theatrics, and the traditional one person playing music in front of a huge crowd. Ive seen videos of him, like Future Music Magazines, where he has his set up, and its quite clear that he is performing certain things to happen live and playing. He has designed stuff, he plays soft synths live, so at the least for people who see him as a DJ, at the least, to them he should be seen as a high end Production DJ, much in the same way you would consider Enferno as with hir LRP. Here is the link to the Future Music Magazine Interview, watch it, then decide for yourself how much a DJ and or Producer you feel he is :)

    We as DJs and Producers alike are in a transitional phase in this Industry within the past couple of years. Let me explain, If we were in the late 1990s, early 2000s think of the gear we as DJs had, we mostly DJed on 2 turntables and vinyl(or CDJs). Now, if we were Producer/Musicians with a DJ edge back then, say like the Chemical Brothers, we would be performing live, playing keyboards linked to computers, etc. Fast forward to this day in age where Midi controllers and Computers have made their way into DJs hands at their DJ gigs, and what you have now is a new kind of DJ, a hybrid DJ if you will. Today’s Industry has merged DJing and Live Production into almost virtually the same thing. Never before has it been so easy to “technically” play a midi keyboard triggering midi via Ableton while DJing all live, and have it controlled for us with programs like Serato and the Bridge.

    The difference with Deadmau5 is, he himself, numourous times thru out the years has claimed he does not come from DJ roots. I thought I read somewhere where he said he worked for a bit at Image Line, the company that makes FL Studio, however the guy is a genius technically, and builds and makes his own sounds. I can see how many in the public eye who are not in touch with the Industry would see him as a DJ. Just look at pics from Ultra Fest 2008, where he is sharing the same “DJ” stage playing his music, with CDJ 1000s, all around him(even though he is not using them), the image of him as a DJ could be portrayed to some. Also MTV VMAs have took him on as their “House DJ” as they call it for their award show. 

    Here is a statement from Deadmau5 back from 2008: “Let me start by admitting … I did not grow up in the EDM scene. I don’t consider my career to be about “being a DJ”. I don’t have “DJ roots”. I never had any intention of becoming a DJ, and my conception of “DJ’s” in general from this standpoint has always been being forced into some nightclub when I would have rather stayed home, and watch some dude mash the “play/stop” button and occasionally move a pitch slider. Love it or hate it … that’s just been my conception of the traditional “DJ”. Mind you, I’m not a total fucking idiot, and I recognize talent when I see it … and there are many talented DJ’s out there for sure. In my eyes, those would be the individuals who utilize technology to deliver the music in ways that are both skillful and innovate, more-so than my vision of the “play/stop/pitch” DJ. To me, the club is about “the party”; the people make the night; the DJ obviously needs to use that to his advantage, it’s give and take.” End of statement

    In the end, no matter what, just look to the future of DJing and where it seems to be heading. Look at DJs in the club these days, more and more DJs are starting to look more and more like a Musician/DJ hybrid, utilizing tools that once only Musicians used(Keyboards/Live Drums) and Live Musicians using Midi controllers and Ableton and its gear such as an APC 40. There is a great example to sum up what I’m trying to portray. The APC 40 combines both DJing and Live Performance, that’s Abletons big selling point! As you see on the APC, DJ elements are incorporated into it such as a crossfader, tap tempo, nudge, cue level, etc, things found in a DJ arsenal. However the APC allows for you to take your pre-recorded Original Productions, and in real time, manipulate several tracks, changing out drum beats, and Midi Instruments all on the fly all synced up.

    And while talking about being Synced up, there is nothing wrong with Syncing live performances via Abelton into your live DJ sets. Ive worked as a sound Engineer for many years on a high end Production, and the company I worked for hired a well known Broadway lighting computer program to help us program things such as SMTE to sync all the lights to the music, and the gear I would use to make the show happen. The lighting cues were triggered by specific things within the show, granted, back in the day you could “technically” do this all on the fly and live, but why? with the risk of messing up or missing a cue?  In the real world of today that’s just not the route the Industry chooses to go. Furthermore, take singers, sure they can go in the studio and record a full track vocal live on the fly, but Record Producers know by tracking and Overdubbing a vocal, the album will appear to be more flawless, and more importantly the Creative direction and such can be pre determined to give the consumer a stellar performance! 

    So take these analogies I’ve just stated, and infuse them into todays DJ and what do you get? A plethora of DJs wanting to spice up their DJ sets by adding more live elements into their sets, like triggering samples, effects and such via Midi keyboards, and pushing the envelope even farther. You have unbelievable talent in the form of DJ Enfernos LRP for example. Lets face it, the DJ world looks more today like what Deadmau5 has been doing for all these years than the other way around, but like always, these are just my thoughts and such, and I respect others who may not see this in the same light! Happy Hybrid DJing/Producing!! :)

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