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Deadmau5 (dead mouse), by his real name Joel Thomas Zimmerman, born January 5, 1981, in Niagara Falls, Ontario, is a Canadian producer and disc jockey. It is geared towards electro house, progressive house, and minimal techno styles. He made himself known through titles such as Faxing Berlin, Not Exactly or Ghosts 'n' Stuff.

Named six times in the Grammy Awards, he is considered one of the best electronic music artists. He is also one of the richest disc jockeys in the world, with a fortune of $ 45 million in 20141. Deadmau5 has also worked with composers and producers such as Kaskade2, MC Flipside, Pendulum's Rob Swire, Wolfgang Gartner, Bighorse, and Steve Duda.

He is getting married on August 12, 2017, with Kelly Fedoni, engaged to the artist since 2016.

Beginnings (2005-2006)

Joel Zimmerman was born on January 5, 1981, in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada4,5. He became co-producer of a radio show called The Party Revolution on the 101.1 band The Planet in the 1990s.22 But he officially started his music career in Toronto under the Play Digital record label. He created his first album in 2005 called Get Scraped followed by Vexillology.

The name "deadmau5" comes from an incident that occurred at Joel Zimmerman when he was only 13-14 years old. He was chatting with one of his friends by computer before it suddenly went out. According to Zimmerman's father, a strange smell of burning would have been felt. Zimmerman then dismounts his computer and finds a dead mouse. The original name was "Deadmouse" ("dead mouse" in French) that he chose to turn into deadmau5 with leet speak because Deadmouse had too many characters to be used as a user name on the IRC network he used at the time9. This name is at the origin of the big mouse head, nicknamed Mau5head, which he wears in most of his concerts and which also serves as his logo6. This one wants to be relatively schematic, a little Mickey Mouse way with its big round ears, most often red but which is declined in very many colors, sometimes even with small mirrors like a ball with facets with the eyes which can to light or flash.

All U Ever Want, a single created in collaboration with Billy Newton-Davis, won a Juno Awards in 2008 in the category of Dance titles. In addition, the remix of No Pressure by One + One by deadmau5 is included on the radio Electro-Choc in the video game Grand Theft Auto IV. As well as his collaboration with Chris Lake for the title I Thought Inside Out. On February 19, 2008, on his official MySpace page, deadmau5 creates a surprise by uploading a download link of 56 titles he had created earlier in his career. The initiative was named Project 56 and the many titles were very variable in length but mostly very short (a few seconds), in fact, they were rather experimental titles with no real desire to succeed.

Popularization (2007-2009)

deadmau5 was successful in February 2007 when a copy of Faxing Berlin was broadcast on a Pete Tong radio program. From then on, deadmau5 made singles online, founded his label Mau5trap Recordings and was included in 15 dance compilations in 2007. Joel Zimmerman was then considered "the most remarkable producer of 2007" by Tiësto and Armin van Buuren, respectively 2nd and 1st in's DJ rankings that year.

deadmau5 becomes the most successful DJ-producer-remixer of the Beatport Music Awards. He is described as "the most influential, most avant-garde and most relevant person in electronic music at this competition in 2008." He won several awards, including best electro house and progressive house, as well as the best singles composed during this year. Still, on this site, he becomes the best-selling artist with more than 30,000 downloads for Not Exactly singles, Faxing Berlin, and Ghosts N Stuff. After that, he signed with the great American electronic music label Ultra Records for his fourth album Random Album Title released in September 2008. Joel is also working with Tommy Lee as "WTF? With the participation of DJ Aero and Steve Duda as well as BSOD, always with Steve Duda. He also regularly collaborates with other artists such as Mellefresh, Jelo, or Glenn Morrison. One of them, Move for Me, made with Kaskade, was ranked first in the Hot Dance Airplay chart, the club's best-in-the-club chart in the United States on September 6, 2008 . It will be the subject of the first video clip of deadmau5.

In 2009, deadmau5 was even named to the Grammy Awards for his remix of The Longest Road by artists Morgan Page and Lissie. That same year, for the Beatport Music Awards, he again became the one who won the most awards, winning the same as in 2008 and becoming the "biggest DJ" two years in a row. On February 5, in collaboration with Future Audio Workshop, he released an application for iPhone or iPod Touch, called Touch Mix, the first name; this one allows to mix ten pieces of the musician thanks to an interface adapted to the screen of this apparatus.

On April 27, the second video clip of deadmau5 is posted on its official YouTube channel. The clip is the title he had directed with Kaskade titled I Remember that looks a bit like a short film, a long version will also be made and also published on YouTube. Deadmau5 also informed via MySpace and its newsletter the release of its new album, For Lack of a Better Name on September 22, 2009, in the United States and October 5 for the rest of the world under the label Ultra Records. The album, whose list of titles had been unveiled and some songs released before the official release of the album, seem to take another turn by including other styles of music with including a title featuring hit Ghosts N Stuff with singer Rob Swire from Pendulum or Hi Friend! featuring with MC Flipside, already released in 2008 which contains a sample of the song Thriller by Michael Jackson but upside down. On August 24, 2009, the official Ghosts N Stuff title came out with Rob Swire's voice on the official deadmau5 channel on YouTube, although some unofficial copies were published on the site before. In this clip clearly appears a tattoo of Space Invader on the neck of the artist, although it existed well before. Some have seen a filiation with the logo of the French DJ Joachim Garraud, who is also a Space Invader. Theories have claimed that deadmau5 liked the music of Joachim Garraud, which he rejected claiming not to know this artist before, others claiming that the artists planned a collaboration. It is more likely that both artists are both fans of this famous game, especially as sources close to deadmau5 say he was embarrassed by this case.

From 4x4 = 12 to Stuff I Used to Do (since 2010)

In June 2010, the formalization of the partnership between Activision and deadmau5 is announced to become one of the ambassadors of the video game DJ Hero 2 marketed in October in the United States and Europe. During a performance on July 30, 2010, deadmau5 collapses on stage suffering from exhaustion and vomiting; he is taken to the hospital as soon as possible where he is examined. This incident led him to cancel nine concerts.

Over a period of a decade, from 2004 to 2014, he reached thirteen times the top spot on Beatport sales, making him the best seller of the download platform, ahead of Hardwell or Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike.

Musical style

Joël indicates on his website that he is inspired by many musical genres, mainly electronic. He cites techno and more particularly the minimal but also drawing a lot of tech house, trance or electro. But his style does not stop there, we often find electro house but also a lot of progressive house. His latest tracks, as well as his live sets, show his growing interest in dubstep, signing the artist Skrillex on his label. deadmau5 also produced some pieces in a style similar to the trip hop, like the original Failbait.


Like his style of music, his influences are varied. He quotes as people who have influenced him: Sasha, John Digweed, these being known for their achievements in progressive house, Pete Tong, Tiesto, Carl Cox, Dubfire, Eric Prydz, Sander Kleinenberg, Erick Morillo and Laurent Garnier, stating that the list is actually much longer. He also quoted Radiohead and Boards of Canada in an interview as the artists who put him on the road to the music he currently plays.


For the composition, deadmau5 uses two main synthesizers, a Moog Little Phatty and a Dave Smith Prophet '08. He was using before a Juno-106. As expanders, Joel uses a Clavia Nord Rack 2x, a Minimoog Voyager Rack Mount Edition, a Korg Kaossilator and a Doepfer A-100 Analog Modular System for its bass. As for the controllers, it uses those of the brand Moog including the CP-2 and several MoogerFooger, MF-101, MF-102, MF-103, MF-104Z, MF-105, and especially the MF-107 he says to possess in three copies.

The software he uses on his many computers (a MacBook, a MacBook Pro and a dual-screen fixed computer) are also numerous, although he mainly uses in composition as in delivery Ableton's Live software. The others are FL Studio, Reason, Reaktor, Cubase and Nuendo.

For his concerts, he is not really a DJ, an activity he criticizes in some of its forms. Indeed, Joel makes much more free mixes, moving away from the activity of simple DJ using CD or vinyl turntables, he uses for this the Allen & Heath Xone: 4D mixer, formerly the Xone: 3D, connected to a MacBook. He uses the JazzMutant Lemur, which he also uses in composition, then other tools like the Monome 2 and a multi-effects Pioneer EFX-1000. He also used a Pioneer DJM-800 mixer at one time. He also conducts an interview for Future-Music magazine in which he presents his recording studio and all the techniques and instruments that he uses in his creations as well as in his concerts. In 2009, he began using the Native Instrument Maschine groovebox and two iPads using TouchOSC themselves linked to OSCulator and Live.


In December 2007, Marcus Schössow, DJ Eco and Maor Levi created a project named Deadrat6, ironically speaking on the pseudonym of deadmau5, with titles that look like. Another similar project, fake too, is created under the name of Sinterklaa5. In response, deadmau5 also ironically created a track under the pseudonym "Marcus Fatsow" by parodying the name of Marcus Schossow (fat sow in English meaning "big sow"). The rivalry between deadmau5 and Marcus Schössow goes up a notch during a performance in April 2008 in Oslo, Norway, where, according to Marchus Schössow, Joel Zimmerman would have refused to play in the club if Marcus would, too, play after. This led to Marcus Schossow being denied entry to the club and made the event a solo performance of deadmau5.

Moreover, the controversy born around deadmau5 was amplified when he played the Essential Mix in July 2008 with a list of music composed almost entirely of his own tracks and remixes, which is frowned upon in the DJ scene. It was in October 2008 that the controversy gained momentum with an article in the Irish Daily Star recounting an interview with deadmau5 and in which he said: "To be honest, it makes me want to pawn, I do not see not really what a technical feat it is to pass two tracks at the same speed at the same time, it bores me to death and I hope, without wanting to disrespect anyone, that this kind of DJs will follow the path of fucking dinosaurs I'd like to see them fucking disappear. They are only intermediaries, they are like whores of lawyers. You need them, but they are fucking bastards. God bless them, these are my best clients, so I will not belittle every fucking DJ. But to say that one becomes a great artist perched on a podium by playing the production of another at the same speed as the production of another than oneself, and passing from one to the other with the faders, I do not understand. "

Deadmau5 will apologize for this speech on November 4, 2008, explaining that the interview was bad and that she was not expressing her opinion of the DJs correctly. On his MySpace page, he explains, "Let me start by admitting ... I did not grow up in the EDM scene. I do not consider my career as that of a DJ. I do not have "DJ roots". I never had the slightest intention of becoming a DJ. And my conception of the "DJ" in general from this has always been ... Being stuck in a nightclub when I would have done better to stay at home and watch some guys press the "play/stop" button and occasionally set the pitch slider. Love it or hate it ... It's just been my conception of the traditional DJ. Well, I'm not a complete idiot, and I recognize the talent when I see him ... And there are a lot of talented DJs of course. To me, these would be the only ones who use technology to deliver music in a way that is both skillful and innovative, much more than my vision of DJ "play/stop/ pitch". For me, the club revolves around "the party" ... People make the evening ... the DJ obviously needs to use this to his advantage, it's giving and giving. "

On July 10, 2014, deadmau5 launches a new controversy by saying that trance music no longer exists since the late 1990s and that it regrets artists like Union Jack and Art of Trance. He goes on to say that A State Of Trance (ASOT), the world's best-known weekly trance music radio show by Armin van Buuren, voted world's best DJ five times, looks as much like Nelson Mandela's trance in independent punk music. These tweets provoke a real uproar. Armin van Buuren responds by inviting him to participate in mixing trance at the party organized for the 700th episode of A State Of Trance. Deadmau5 replied, "Why do not you come home and clean my cats for a week? ". Van Buuren gets a lot of support messages from deadmau5, from music fans, but also from the entire electronic music community. On the same day, deadmau5 accuses Binary Finary group, the author of the 1998 song, of killing the trance, and a new war of tweets56 ensues. Many controversies later broke out between deadmau5 and other DJs, including Diplo, Skrillex, Hardwell, and so on.

In 2014, he made a name for himself by playing a ridiculous version (more precisely a remix he created) of Animals by Martin Garrix at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami in 2014 (he had replaced Avicii who was hospitalized). In the course of the year, he strongly criticized Paris Hilton for his "pseudo career" in the music business, and his critics became insults when the latter won an NRJ DJ Award. This award received by Hilton, however, creates a scandal in the world of electronic music and especially the listeners of NRJ.





Juno Awards:

  • 2008: Best Recording Dance of the Year for All U Ever Want with Billy Newton-Davis
  • 2009: Best Recording Dance of the Year for Random Album Title

Beatport Music Awards:

  • 2008: Producer of the year
  • 2008: Best electro house artist
  • 2008: Best progressive house artist
  • 2008: Best single with Not Exactly
  • 2008: Third Best Remix for Burufunk Community Funk and Carbon Community
  • 2009: Best electro house artist
  • 2009: Best progressive house artist


  • 2010: Best Electro song
  • 2010: Best solo musician
  • 2010: Best North American DJ
  • 2008: 11th Most Popular DJ (Highest New Entry)
  • 2009: 6th most popular DJ
  • 2010: 4th most popular DJ
  • (DJ) 2011: 4th most popular DJ
  • 2012: 5th most popular DJ
  • 2013: 12th most popular DJ
  • (DJ) 2014: 16th most popular DJ


  • 2005: Get Scraped
  • 2006: Vexillology
  • 2008: Random Album Title
  • 2009: For Lack of a Better Name
  • 2010: 4x4 = 12
  • 2012:> album title goes here <
  • 2014: while (1 <2)
  • 2016: W: / 2016ALBUM /

His official website: Official Website