Joel Thomas Zimmerman (born January 5, 1981), better known by his stage name deadmau5 (pronounced "dead mouse"), is a Canadian progressive, electro, and house producer based in Toronto. His tracks have been included in compilation albums such as In Search of Sunrise 6: Ibiza, MixMag's Tech-Trance-Electro-Madness (mixed by deadmau5 himself), and on Armin van Buuren's A State of Trance radio show. His debut album, Get Scraped, was released in 2006, followed by others in the next few years.
As well as his own solo releases, deadmau5 has worked alongside other DJs and producers, such as Kaskade, MC Flipside, Rob Swire of Pendulum, Skrillex, and Steve Duda under the BSOD alias. He is known for often performing in a titular costume head, which resembles a mouse head that he originally created while learning to use a 3D program. The so-called "Mau5head" appears in many different colors and designs, and has been shown on the cover of most of deadmau5's albums, with the exceptions of At Play and Vexillology.
Zimmerman was born in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Zimmerman's career began during the 1990s, his sound influenced greatly by the chiptune movement. In 2005, he released Project 56, a compilation of fifty-six demos. Among this EP is "Just Before 8bit", which was later expanded upon in Get Scraped. Get Scraped, released in 2006, features a variety of genres, including IDM, Ambient/Downtempo, Noise Pop and Trip Hop. Soon after, Zimmerman began his own record label, mau5trap, which, along with Ultra Records and Ministry of Sound, released the 2008 album Random Album Title. Random Album Title saw the collaboration of Deadmau5 and San-Francisco producer Kaskade with I Remember. His first mixed album, Random Album Title, was released electronically in September 2008 via Ultra Records in the United States and Ministry of Sound in the United Kingdom and Europe. Physical copies of the album were released in November 2008.
In the United States, deadmau5's collaboration with Kaskade, "Move for Me," reached No.1 on Billboard magazine's Hot Dance Airplay chart in its September 6, 2008 issue.
Since then, deadmau5 has seen three of his tracks, all collaborations ("Move for Me" and "I Remember" with Kaskade; "Ghosts N Stuff" with Rob Swire) reach number-one on Billboard's Hot Dance Airplay chart, making him the only Canadian on that chart to achieve that status (he is also the fourth Canadian to top that chart, following Deborah Cox, Nelly Furtado, and Dragonette, with one a piece).
In 2009, he was the best-selling artist on Beatport with more than 30,000 digital downloads with his singles "Not Exactly," "Faxing Berlin," and "Ghosts N Stuff."
Information on his album For Lack of a Better Name was posted on his official MySpace page.
"On September 22, 2009 (U.S only, rest-of-world release October 5) deadmau5 launches his brand new mix album, the Grammy-nominated, Juno Award-winning electronic music sensation who has racked up more than 5,000,000 hits on MySpace will unleash his second album for ULTRA Records - titled 'For Lack of a Better Name' - and then set off on a massive fall tour throughout North America.
In the fall of 2009, deadmau5's performances were recorded and made available for sale immediately following the concert on USB wristband flash drives.
On For Lack of a Better Name, the follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2008 debut Random Album Title, deadmau5 takes a different turn by incorporating various styles of music into multi-blocks of songs. The album will include "Ghosts N Stuff", featuring Pendulum's Rob Swire".
MTV named deadmau5 as the house DJ for the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards and MTV PUSH artist of the week on August 16, 2010. He expressed gratitude towards Lady Gaga and David Guetta for bringing dance into the pop music scene and paving the way for the him to the mainstream. At the awards, deadmau5 performed with Jason Derulo and Travie McCoy. His song "Ghosts N Stuff" had been featured on the soundtrack for the MTV reality series Jersey Shore earlier.
His third studio album, titled 4x4=12, was released on December 6, 2010 in the United Kingdom and December 7, 2010 in the United States. The singles "Some Chords," "Animal Rights," and "Sofi Needs a Ladder" have been released and will feature on the album. "Some Chords" was featured on an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation where Deadmau5 guest starred, and an instrumental version of "Sofi Needs a Ladder" was featured in the film The Hangover Part II.
A short while after he released 4x4=12, he stated that he would be releasing a new album some time in 2011 and would not release any material as singles.
deadmau5 is a playable avatar in DJ Hero 2, a video game released in October 2010. Additionally, one of the initially revealed tracks is a mashup between deadmau5's "Ghosts N Stuff" with Lady Gaga's "Just Dance."
He also had a radio station dedicated to him in Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars for the Nintendo DS and Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) portable gaming consoles, as well as the iPhone.
deadmau5 headlined the Dance Arena on July 10, 2009, at the Oxegen Festival in Ireland. He also headlined LovEvolution in San Francisco, California on October 3. He played at Belsonic in Belfast, Northern Ireland on August 28, at the Leeds, Reading, and Creamfields Festivals on August 29 and 30 in the Lock Up/Dance Tent/Mixmag stage, drawing a large crowd at each of the events. He has performed on BBC Radio 1 multiple times, which include an Essential Mix set on August 19, 2008, and a shared set with Pete Tong live at the Warehouse Project in Manchester on October 11, 2008. He played back to back shows that were broadcast via BBC Radio1 live from Ibiza on August 31 and September 1, 2009. deadmau5 was offered and accepted to play another set live on New Year's 2010 along with Justice, Eric Prydz, and Plump DJs.
deadmau5 performed at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia on February 19, 2010, during the live medal presentations in men's luge doubles and biathlon (women's 15-km individual and men's 20-km individual). His track "Moar Ghosts N Stuff" was aired on national TV throughout the United States when it was played over loudspeakers during Hannah Kearney's gold-medal run in women's moguls. deadmau5 also performed live at the Electric Daisy Carnival's Kinetic Fields section in Exposition Park, Los Angeles on June 25, 2010.
During Winter 2010, deadmau5 toured the United Kingdom and was supported by BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe, Magnetic Man, Calvin Harris, Stanton Warriors and Kim Fai. He also performed at the Scottish festival T in the Park 2011.
Up until September 2011 he lived with American model and the Playboy Playmate of the Month for October 2009 Lindsey Evans. They met at the VMA awards. Their breakup was made public through his Facebook account. He's a fan of the indie video game Minecraft and has performed at MineCon.
The name "deadmau5" originated when Zimmerman claimed to have found a dead mouse in his computer while replacing his video card. He discussed this with chat room users and became known as "that dead mouse guy." The nickname "Dead Mouse" was too long for the IRC character limit, and was then shortened to deadmau5 (A form of leet spelling).
On July 30, 2010 at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., deadmau5 collapsed on stage, suffering from exhaustion and vomiting. deadmau5's set was cut short as he was rushed to a hospital, and his collapse also led to the cancellation of the nine shows following the event.
In December 2007, Marcus Schossow, Maor Levi and Dj Eco created a project named Deadrat6 as a joke on deadmau5, claiming his tracks sound alike. A similar faux project was also created under the name of Sinterklaa5.
Comment about DJs:
Zimmerman doesn't like to be referred to as a DJ. In an October 2008 interview with the Irish Daily Star, deadmau5 was quoted as follows:
"It puts me to fucking sleep, to be quite honest; I don't really see the technical merit in playing two songs at the same speed together and it bores me to fucking tears and hopefully, with all due respect to the DJ type that will fucking go the way of the dinosaur, I'd like them to dis-a-fucking-ppear! It's so middle man, they're like fucking lawyers! You need them, but they're fucking cunts. God bless them, they're my number one customer right, so I'm not gonna go diss every fucking DJ. But to say you become this massive, "up on a podium" performer by playing other peoples productions, at the same speed as someone else's productions and fading between the two of them, I don't get it..."
Zimmerman apologized for this comment on November 4, 2008. He explained that the interview was bad, and that it did not express his opinion about DJs correctly:
"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."
In 2008, an artist called DirtyCircuit claimed to have been threatened with legal action after using a sample called "LP_Faxing Berlin C_128bpm" that came bundled with FL Studio, and to which deadmau5 claimed copyright. The sample was a direct clip of a full bar of the song. Deadmau5 provided a "Demo Track" which came bundled with FL Studio, along with several loop samples. The case caused a slight discomfort among the users of FL Studio, and some have pointed out potential inconsistencies in the EULA of the software.