Right now, Deadmau5 is dominating the dance music conversation in 2014. He’s been on a one man mission to turn EDM on its head and we’re enjoying watching the results. If you’ve been paying attention as well, you’ll have noticed that he’s making the rest of mainstream American dance music look pretty boring in comparison.
It all started back in February when he got a Nyan Cat skin for his Ferrari. He posted a picture of the ride to his Instagram with the word “Win”. The eruption of internet mockrage was hilarious to witness, especially as the car came complete with an ‘Epiclulz’ number plate. Well, what do you expect from a man with a space invader tattooed across one side of his neck? At least he’s having fun rather than using it as a bumper car.
You’ll know the Nyan Cat from the YouTube video that went viral a few years ago and internet humour underpins many of Deadmau5’s antics (again, what do you expect from the dude with the space invader tattoo?) If trolling his haters by desecrating a Ferari wasn’t enough, he personified the mischief of online miscreants everywhere by playing a mash-up of Martin Garrix’s ‘Animals’ and children’s nursery rhyme ‘Old MacDonald Had A Farm’ at Ultra in March. The blend (created by McManNGOS) had been doing the rounds as if waiting for the moment that Deadmau5 would lift it off the internet and drop it into his main stage performance to thousands of people, pissing off Garrix mentor Tiesto in the process.
It’s clear that the man just doesn’t give a fuck and his sense of humour is refreshing, especially as there are so many million dollar artists who’d never risk their big money, commodity status by saying or doing anything remotely interesting or controversial. His deployment of the ‘Animals’/’Old MacDonald’ mash was obviously for the LOLs but hinted at deeper dissatisfaction at the mainstream scene he’s part of. He’s openly stated that EDM makes him bored and it looks like he’s now taking cheeky potshots at big room newcomers. Needless to say, his IRL trolling won Ultra weekend.
Over the last year we’ve seen a long line of stars try to distance themselves from the typical big room, big drop EDM sound in order to take things more ‘creative’ or ‘musical’. There’s been a lot of hyperbole but not much evidence to back up claims that dance music’s high rollers are switching things up. While Deadmau5 will no doubt continue to sculpt electronic music custom-built for Superbowl-size stadiums, he has actually made an effort to diversify. A single under his testpilot alias came out via Richie Hawtin’s Plus 8 label a month ago and he recently boomed out a tough, hard-nosed techno set from his home studio. Playing among a treasure trove of equipment, it was clear he was keen to assert himself as something of a techno rebel. Mates with Hawtin, he’s musical miles away from the black-clad Minus crew – but a section of fierce four-to-the-floor during his Ultra set had EDM fans mindblown that a superstar could drop such uncompromising tunes.
He’s always had something of the practical joker about him (remember the Skrillex phone number T-shirt?) and his no-bullshit approach means his Twitter account is one of the most followed in the business (from Madonna to DJ Sneak, no one is safe) but he’s really taking this year by the scruff of the neck. Perhaps it’s because he’s bored; perhaps it’s because he feels like it; or perhaps it’s because he has a new album coming out (which, we’re told, is his biggest and most conceptual to date). Whatever, he’s delivering the laughs and adding some much needed twists, turns and hi jinx to the ever-growing dance music universe.