Weekend Recap – Wikipedia says Deadmau5 IS a DJ

You voted and said that Deadmau5 is NOT a DJ, but Jay Spring disagrees! We also talk about summer beach parties, watch a dope turntablist routine, hear Afrojack’s take on Paris Hilton DJing and more…

Dj Jay Springs DMS Mini Mix
A DJ’s-Eye View of the Impossibly Complex Art of Turntablism
The Great EDM War Has Begun
Dj Tech Tools Interviews Armin Van Buuren
Afrojack Comments on Paris Hilton
InMusic – New Parent Company For Big DJ Brands

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  1. Jay Spring, you are 100% accurate on this topic! It’s funny that I am a painter, and DJ but totally see it the way you do. While Deadmau5 is performing, he is Djing. When he is making music, he is producing or a producer. He doesn’t have to be just one, nor can he say he’s not one when he is doing it. His priorities and passion may be producing but he obviously sees the benefit from doing shows and Djing. 

  2. Jay Spring.. you should have finished school man. You would make a hell of a lawyer.

  3. Aaaaahahahahah I totally forgot that I wrote that comment!  I wish I wouldn’t have used the word “retarded” but I guess it’s what was in my heart at the time!  Thanks for the laugh guys! 


  4. First off JD, you’re gonna give Jay Spring a heart attack haha.

    I’m still undecided on this, but I’ll add another example to think about within the music world:

    Anyone remember when “neo-soul” was popular (artists like D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, etc.)?  I still love it, but the label “neo-soul” was (and maybe still is) contested too.  Erykah Badu said she didn’t consider herself a neo-soul artist; she just considered herself an artist and musician.  The label neo-soul, as with other genre labels, exist so people can talk about music more easily.  I still call some of Badu’s music neo-soul and would describe it to casual listeners as such, but what right do I have to label music she makes and performs?

    I do agree with Jay Spring that sometimes you can’t shake a label – but I feel like it’s more complicated these days, especially when it comes to musical performance. It’s significant that 72% of the people don’t claim Deadmau5 as a DJ, so maybe there’s another label for his type of performance that we need to figure out.

  5. Wouldn’t “finding a better way to ‘perform’ than DJing” simply be performing as a musician? Like Deadmau5 would recreate his song live from scratch, just as musicians in a band would..

    Perhaps Deadmau5 is trying to be taken more serious in the music world as is trying to be looked at as a composer and musician rather than a DJ. As someone who does both DJing and is a musician/composer (aside from DJing I am a jazz saxophonist and composer), musicians and serious music fans/critics tend to look down upon DJs, (long story about that one but imho part of why this happens is a misunderstanding as to what DJs do), but nonetheless, I think  that that might be what he’s going for.

  6. I’m going to leave the Deadmau5 debacle alone, as I think we can agree to disagree on several points within the controversy, lol :) 

    Just wanted to mention very quickly in regards to Paris Hilton. As you know she was  paid good money to have her name used on “Club Paris”, the nightclub in Orlando and several other spots from back in the mid 2000s’, where she agreed to make monthly appearances at. Although that venture didn’t last long, it could quite possibly be that it was there, at “her club” that piqued her interest in our DJ culture. One could only guess, however even knowing that she was involved in a club adventure, the first time I heard she was DJing, I too was surprised, and it kind of took me off guard a little! 

    I think in regards to Springs view on DJ P.Hilton, he just earned himself some Hilton rewards points at any Hotel within the Hilton family, or at least a free night stay! lol :)

  7. Agree to disagree Jay Spring!

    His intention is to be a producer. He produces and that’s where all his fame comes from.

    He doesn’t want to be a DJ, he DJs in the most un-DJ way possible, and he’s just doing it for money or lack of any other way to perform.

    What else does he do very often to make money?

    Endorse products?
    Make music videos?
    Give ludicrous interviews?
    Make posts on other social network sites?
    Travel to and from the events?

    Ok, among other things that I don’t know about, he’s a DJ, an endorser, a music video actor, a giver of ludicrous interviews, a tweeter, social network poster and a traveller!

    But he’s MAINLY a producer.

    Stars do 100 things to make money but he’s REALLY a producer who happens to DJ…

    50 Cent is an actor, Michael Jordan is a shoe maker, Kim Kardashian is a plastic surgeon…

  8. Ever play that game when you were a kid with your older brother or sister… “Touching you, not touching you…” That was u Spring…Let’s all agree here that both Jay and Jason are right. Heres why, in Jays sense, you were pulling the LITERAL term.  Yes, he is a DJ because he fills the dictionary definition of a DJ…ok, agreed.  But lets say you walk into a bar to grab some drinks and this dude is up there with an ipod, mixer, amp, and speakers and the top 300 songs on his ipod to play for the night.  By definition, this kid is a DJ, no denying that.  But where I think the whole argument goes into itself, its our INTERPRETATION of a DJ vs our DEFINITION of a DJ.  I would say that both ARE NOT DJs (Deadmau5 and the Bar DJ) but if we had to be literals about this, then yes, they are DJs because they are fulfilling the definition.

  9. What’s up everyone :)  First off, thanks for joining the discussion.  Let me try to explain this one final time in as few words as possible!  

    I view these following things as facts (although I could very well be wrong, so please point out if I am):1)  A person can be two things2)  If you are doing something you don’t like or wanna be doing, it doesn’t change the fact that you are doing it3) If you are doing something half-assed/nonchalantly/badly/apathetically/etc, it doesn’t change the fact that you are still doing itAND MOST IMPORTANTLY….4) If you see someone doing what you do….but they don’t put their heart into doing it like you do….it doesn’t change the fact that they are still doing it.Does anyone disagree with any of those 4 things??Now to sum things up….There is a dude.  This dude gets paid crazy $$ to go in front of huge crowds with his pioneer mixer and macbook and play songs for them to wild out/dance to.  After each song, he presses a button which blends the next song.  Therefore, his music is continuous.  He’s done this many times in the past, and will likely do this many times in the future.  I’m still confused how anyone can argue that this dude isn’t a DJ — unless you disagree with the 4 point list up top??Again, if anything used in my thought process to figure this out is false, please let me know and give an example of something related to show me why I’m wrong!———————————————————————————————Benny….you make real good points and we agree on everything right until the conclusion.We both agree that when you do something once or twice leisurely, that you shouldn’t necessarily be labeled as that.  But don’t you think Deadmau5 has DJed enough where it’s not considered leisurely anymore.  I mean how many times has he done it as a paid gig — over 300 times (maybe I’m way off??).  That’s not quite the same as (to use your example) someone painting their house once, or even doing a few houses in the neighborhood.  Deadmau5 didn’t DJ his own house party, or spin at a couple buddies houses as a favor.  He’s travelled the world doing this as a paid gig.Spring

    • Let me rebut… haha, this is classic.  For one, Deadmau5 does not use a Pioneer mixer or any mixer that I’m aware of.  It’s all in software.  But that’s neither here nor there.  My friend Nick Diaz who is a music teacher sent us a great email today that we’ll have to talk about on next weeks recap.  Here’s what I’m thinking today.  Yes, Deadmau5 does “DJ” in the webster sense of the word.  He does.  But that doesn’t mean that what he IS.  He IS a producer/songwriter/composer.  That’s what he IS.  So, in conclusion, Deadmau5 does DJ, but he is a producer. I think there is a difference there.  – JD    (** Bell rings for round 2 **)

      • Hi Jason….about the Pioneer mixer — you are correct.  I skimmed through an article and saw that it said he used one, but I just went back and actually read it this time.  Turns out that’s just what the club had and he plugged his set-up into.********

        But that’s pretty much where you being right ends.*********

        When you say “that doesn’t mean that’s what he IS”.  You don’t offer any example, proof, or reasoning as to why you feel this way.  You don’t give any explanation of how even though he does this activity all the time and for a good portion of his earnings, that you don’t think we can call him this.********

        So before I go on, I need to know something.  What would he have to do differently in order for you to agree that he is a DJ?  



    A little disclaimer alert here, lol… I in no way, shape or form am trying to be a MR. Know-it-all, and don’t ever intend to come across that way, because the fact of the matter is, I DON’T KNOW IT ALL :) When I see a post on Remix Report that I can relate to or have had very scary similar experiences in, I try to provide a post or comment that is as complete, and in depth as possible, to help or inspire others. I have been in and around the DJ Industry for some 22+ years, and in the Music Production Arena for some 18+ years, and thru out that time I have garnished the triumphs and epic failures as well :(….However having said that, I in no shape or form try to ever push my thoughts or reasoning onto others, as I have said in the past and I’m saying now, any last word I write and post are strictly my opinion. Of course some of it might be based on facts and such, other thoughts and comments are purely opininated, but it is up to the reader to draw his or her own conclusion and beliefs! :) Before I get into it…a video from back in 2009 from Deadmau5 claiming he is not a DJ….lol  http://vimeo.com/4665327


    As I’ve been reading the comments from the original Topic of the week on Deadmau5, and here as well, many are saying that maybe since Deadmau5 doesn’t want to be known as a traditional DJ who just mixes from one table to the other(because he incorporates so much more in regards to VST soft synths, and complex compression, buss routing via Ableton, etc), people have been buzzing about maybe we as DJs should start coining a new label/Job description for those who do what Deadmau5 does live. I think that phrase we all want to think of has already been coined: It is called a “PRODUCTION DJ”. 

    I myself come from DJ roots first, and then it was only shortly after when I was also Producing separately, did I decide to merge the two out live on the road at mobile and club gigs. When I changed over to a full on “Production DJ”, taking my show live, I still had two packages for both mobile and nightclub gigs one could choose from: I had the “Traditional DJ” package, and the “Production DJ” package, which I think describes themselves as to what you would get from each one! However as I always was trying to push the envelope, back in 2000, I decided to set myself apart form traditional DJing by calling myself a “Production DJ”. I had no one tell me how or if and why I should do this, but at the time it was just intuition that allowed me to think in this way. I thought by labeling myself as a “Production DJ” it would have a 2 fold effect. 

    For one, as a Production DJ, I could use this moniker to allow me to share both my Producing and Live DJing passions together in the booth or on stage, and not have to alienate one or the other at any given time when performing. And the second reason, when I would network myself thru out the Industry, I thought of it as sort of a great way to market myself away from being just a standard 2 turntable traditional DJ. I felt, if the person in charge of hiring me didn’t know what the word “Production” in front of DJ referred to and why I was using it, it gave me a chance to explain what it was I do in addition to just a traditional DJ setup, and allowed for the person who was potentially going to hire me, a more in depth look into what it was I do live. In short I would tell them a Production DJ is just that, I’m Producing Live mixes and remixes via playing hardware synths, while paralleling my Live pre-recorded DJ sets via my 2 turntable set up, and after that, about 9 out of 10 times, they got the gist it. 

    I myself have been a “Production DJ” since the year 2000. Prior to that when I started back in 1989, I referred to myself as just a “DJ”, like most did. I changed my title in 2000 to “Production DJ” because I started doing a lot more of what the Chemical Brothers were doing in their live sets back in the late 90s, and that is bringing hardware synths and samplers to my gigs and nightclubs as well, playing live music while I DJ. Also I found too many people(including family and friends still referring to me as just a traditional mobile Wedding DJ, when I was doing so much more with DJing, adding live productions to my DJ sets, and even venturing into doing mostly club gigs, etc. But could I blame them?, they saw me start from humble beginnings as just a mobile DJ for 8 years prior, until 1997 when I got my first bar/club gigs, however they saw a DJ as just a DJ, you know, what they would experience at their typical event when a DJ is present, just playing one record after another, beatmatching and blending along the way, but to their ears and eyes, it was just music on top of music being played non stop for 4 or 5 hours. No matter if I pressed a sample button on a hardware sampler, or scratched and looped a phrase, they just heard it as music, period. So I got to a degree simiular in fashion to what Deadmau5 must feel by everyone seeing him as a DJ and the Production end going unnoticed…but to be honest, I dont think anyone sees him just as a DJ, we all know he is a Producer as evident in his Original music! But Im not sure, but it sounds like to me that he feels he still is just being thrown in with every other “Traditional DJ” when in fact he does so much more. 

    I know the feeling to a degree,when I was at a club(Pre Ableton/Serato/Computers) and I was daisy chaining my Hardware synths to run MTC and Midi Clock(“MTC”-Midi Time Code, similar to SMPTE on some levels, but with MTC, its in regards to keeping all the midi connected hardware synths in sync)which would allow me to sync my sequencer chain lists together so I could run and acapella, DJ, then play live notes via the keyboard, if the I wasnt right out on stage and in a booth perched up High, the crowd just heard music, intense production on myside? yes, however when that comes out on the club system and no one can barely see what your doing, it almost   makes you feel as if you should of just traditionally DJed 2 tables and thats it, because you were labeled as that clubs resident DJ and or Guest DJ. As time went on I learned to request to be out in the forefront of the crowd, so the crowd could in fact see a live performance going on via the hardware synths. Cemical Brothers never experienced this “Is he a DJ or not” thing because of the pure fact that they publicly recognized they were from DJ roots, and added Production to the mix, hense I would refer to them as Production DJs.

    Most any DJ, and/or Producer coming up today, somewhat in some shape or form is a bit of a DJ and Producer simultaneously, and to a certain degree. Some are more vested into the Production side than others, and vice versa.  My point; the DJ/Production technology along side this Digital media age we are in, allows a DJ to do stuff “live” he or she could once never do “live”. In the late 70s and 80s, and even 90s,  it was impossible to carry out what we do now as DJs, and quite frankly, if you were to pull off what the likes of what the likes of Deadmau5 and Enferno do now live, back then, you would of seen live on stage a traditional 2 turntable setup on one side, and on the other, a stage full of real live instruments. See, back then it was cut and dry visually, you would see the DJ setup and say, “that person is a DJ”, and then you would see the part of the stage with the instruments set up, and you would say, “and that person/or people are the band”…Nice, cut and dry. However, today we see all of this, the instruments and DJing packed into just a single laptop with small midi controllers and keyboards that can be performed by the same person, literally playing all the parts DJ and band related all in one small package that can fit into a DJ backpack, and now when we see this one person, we question what his label is…a DJ? Producer? or both? 

    I’m trying to point out that, back in the day, nothing was infused and packaged up like it is today, therefore making it easier back then to determine what one was or wasn’t, and today since we are still in a grey transitional area, Producers like Deadmau5 are not comfortable with being coined a DJ, because when the average layman who has no knowledge of the DJ/Production world hears someone like Deadmau5 is a DJ, immediately that person might say, “so what does he DJ like weddings and stuff?” Deadmau5 obviously doesn’t perform in the traditional DJ sense live, so why would he want to be labeled as that type of DJ. Spring makes some great points, and yes I agree with his 4 points he has stated here. If you have time invested and money into something and you do it as a career, of course you are that of what you are doing, and with that Spring is right on the money, and I couldn’t agree more. 

    I would also like to mention, Benny B hit the nail on the head  on this one when he stated if there was a better way for Deadmau5 to perform his stuff, he would do so, and I agree. In what I think was a “Gaming Awards” Interview from years back, Deadmau5 stated that he hates rock and wouldnt play instruments in that sense and was lucky enough to be able to utilize todays computers and technology to perform his EDM productions live. So put that statement up against what Benny B commented on, and it is clear that Deadmau5 is using simiular and somewhat the same technology that DJs are using today, and of course by the textbook definition, Spring is right on. If you look more in-depth into this Wikipedia Disc Jockey link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disc_jockey , you’ll see under “Equipment and Techniques” that a lot of what we use in Production today(i.e. syhths and midi controllers) these are listed as devices a DJ could or would use when performing as a DJ. Obviously if this Wikipedia definition was written in the 80s 90,s or even early 2000’s, the definition would have omitted mostly all of the midi and Production controllers and devices, because they were not yet out on the market.

    I think “Production DJ” is the best way to describe someone like Deadmau5, or even Enferno. When I saw his LRP for the very first time, I related it back to what I did live, pre computers, and always to this day still see him as a Production DJ. Think of it, hes Producing Live original basslines and synths, recording them and looping them on the fly recording his own voice, scratching it, you know, stuff you would only find a Producer doing 10 years ago in the studio, however he is still DJing in a traditional manner between playing synths and Maschine live, so he still is DJing and comes from DJ roots, so the best way to describe one who does this in my opinion would have to be “Production DJ”. Like I mentioned, coining myself as a Production DJ from 2000 on opened up a networking channel for me to explain what it was I did, which allowed me to differentiate myself from a traditional DJ. I felt that I was only shortchanging my skills by not representing in my title what I did. Labeling myself as just a DJ, I felt too many were overlooking the additional time, effort and showmanship I possesed and brought with me to each show.


    If you called a Theme Park designer just a “Designer” people wouldn’t know specifically if that person was a fashion designer, Interior designer, etc. Are job labels have certain words in them to summarize what we do. Would you call a Race car driver just a “Driver”? There are many drivers in the world. One who possesses a car is a driver, but not necessarily races cars for a living, even if he had raced his buddies once or twice. That analage is somewhat on the same lines as what Spring is trying to get across to help us understand. O.k., so why is it any different in the DJ arena. Why, Why, especially in this technolical day and age, do we have to just label and clump all DJs into one standard catagory as just “DJ”, when in fact unlike the 70s, 80s, and 90s, “DJ” would be the most precise and logical term to give a DJ, with todays Midi coontrollers and digital paraphernalia, why cant we go out on a limb and sub catagorize DJs and just leave it at that without scrutinizing if he is or isnt this or that. In my opinion he is a Production DJ! How can you argue that. He is Producing and DJing at the same time, and from what many seem to be saying, it seems to come around to that everyone seems to be agree on that in fact, yes he is a Producer, he also DJs as well…Production DJ…like other job titles, it sums up and summarizes his job description with two words that universally everyone can understand to a point. However, I bet even if you put this whole “Production DJ” spin on it and tried to sell it to Deadmau5, he probably would still even dey that hes even a “Production DJ”, because in his eyes hes not, However having said all this, I am quite happy to call myself a Production DJ, as that is what I do, I am a Producer and DJ/Remixer rolled up into one title, and it is what is now listed on my buisness cards :)

    IN SHORT….

    The Ableton DJs today are in deed a form of “Production DJ” in my book. The creators of Ableton as a different kind of DAW must feel the same way, and furthermore, check out what Akai and Ableton did with the APC 40. What I use to do live with multiple hardware synths and samplers can now all literally be done with an APC 40, Ableton and some other controllers if you want, and all internally be synced up “In the box” versus the old school way of daisy chaining the old midi cables from one device to the next. For anyone who has ever used an APC 40, next time just stop and stare at it a bit. There is a crossfader and other DJ oriented buttons, then stop again and think about how you can use this same device from DJing as well as in the studio automating filters and FX from the very same knobs, pads and buttons you just used for DJing. 

    I really wasn’t going to re-comment on this topic again, as I stated within my first comment that I was going to leave the Deadmau5 debacle alone, because I knew there were so many agreements and disagreements within, and I didn’t want to write another loooong explaination on my beliefs and opinions,(which I wound up doing) however JD and Springs comments did however inspire me to make me want to bring to the forefront on what I believed would be the easiest classification in coining Deadmau5…He is a Production DJ in my eyes. Spring and JD are both right in their assessments, because they both bring to the table very well defined points into why or why one wouldn’t see Deadmau5 as a DJ, and I do believe leaving it as Deadmau5 being a Production DJ, we can reach a happy medium that infuses both sides, because it is true by the literal definition, that Deadmau5 by definition is a DJ(thanks to Spring for helping bring that to light for me :) and all of JDs input regarding why he is more of a performer/composer/songwriter that does DJ live. 

    Happy Producing and DJing everyone! :)

  11. Heres a better analogy, if you play baseball for money your a baseball player.  If you make your money playing video game baseball tournaments your not a baseball player your a video game player.

  12. seems like if you are already famous, switching to Djing is a sign your career has faltered. Tommy Lee, Traci Lords, how many others? Paris Hilton.

    and deadmau5 is to dj what a house painter is to an artist.
    pre-scripted is not djing to most. if i play a 4 hour mix or set itunes to shuffle am i a dj?
    maybe by the strictest terms which are VERY broad, YES, deadmau5 is a dj.
    and why 72% of the people say he is not a dj because maybe the majority of voters are djs and have sentiment in their vote.

  13. both arguments are quite valid.
    unless WE define the term “dj” more acutely who is and who is not a dj can/will always be disputed.

  14. Deadmau5 is a dj. i compare it to live bands. Deadmau5 plays his own music to an audience thats pre recorded most of us play pre recorded music by other artists. The rock band Aerosmith plays there own music and is a band, A cover band may play some aerosmith songs and other artist songs but they are still a band

  15. I think they used to differentiate between these two by calling it “Live P.A.” or “DJ Set” . I remember seeing the heading under an artists name to claim what the appearance was intended for. Instruments and sequencers of the artists own music meant Live P.A., The artist playing other peoples music meant DJ Set.
    It helped when an artist is known for one thing like The Crystal Method and were booked as a DJ Set, you knew what to expect , meaning they were leaving the keyboards home that day.
    So deadmau5 performs Live PA sets, not DJ Sets. The name isn’t cool, fun or descriptive, but it’s been around.

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