I don’t usually post rants, but THIS THING really got my blood boiling. The full rant is coming right away, but in case you want the contained and concise version of the thing, here is what I wrote on Controllerism.com about it:
In a recent post on his personal tumblr blog, Joel Zimmerman aka Deadmau5 writes a spell-check-free rant admitting that the best part of his live shows is sequenced beforehand and that all he does is to press play on his MacBook. He goes as far as to say that absolutely every electronic music performer does it and that nothing else exists. (*EDIT*: He’s also recently published this. See what I think at the end of original rant)
“its no secret. when it comes to “live” performance of EDM… that’s about the most it seems you can do anyway. It’s not about performance art, its not about talent either (really its not) In fact, let me do you and the rest of the EDM world button pushers who fuckin hate me for telling you how it is, a favor and let you all know how it is.” “my “skills” and other PRODUCERS skills shine where it needs to shine… in the goddamned studio, and on the fucking releases. thats what counts… because this whole big “edm” is taking over fad, im not going to let it go thinking that people assume theres a guy on a laptop up there producing new original tracks on the fly. becausje none of the “top dj’s in the world” to my knowledge have. myself included.”
… Which of course means he’s showing a vulgar amount of disrespect to at least half of the worldwide EDM community. Myself included.
Here’s my real take on it:
First off, I know the guy shouldn’t be taken seriously, especially in public statements and spontaneous rants. He’s basically a 12 year old with some fame and really expensive toys, and, to my knowledge, he’s never considered himself to be wise or even the least bit mature. He’s famous for being as ignorant as to bash all DJs as a rule, even though his own live shows are almost fully sequenced, so at least from a purely intellectual standpoint I really shouldn’t even give the guy the time of day.
The problem comes when he bashes all electronic music performers an calls them people who press play on a laptop. I’m an electronic music performer and I’ve worked my butt off during the last few years at doing much more than that. Creating live music for an audience and making them see the correlation between what you do and the sounds coming out of the speakers is respecting the audience, as well as respecting yourself. It’s respecting your craft. It’s true satisfaction. I’ll admit that pressing a play button and acting like you’re doing something other than that is bull and should be punishable. But failing to recognize talent, innovation and possibility in the musical realm that’s in my honest opinion one of the best realms for growth in today’s music is ignorant at best, and really insulting not only to me as a performing musician, but to the entire craft. And that ticks me off like few things do.
Joel Zimmerman seems to have gotten so big and reached a place so high up that he can no longer look down and see the huge numbers of talented electronic music performers that blow him and his sets out of the water, musically. Starting as high up as Aphex Twin, going through Moldover and Jeremy Ellis and ending as low as myself, there are examples of people doing so much more than he thinks it’s out there. He’s minimizing the importance of live performance and naming music production as the only talent to be recognized in EDM (which is a really stupid thing to do – music has been around as live performance millennia before any recording – if the Apocalypse comes tomorrow and a handful of people survive, they’ll be singing and clapping to each other, not writing records as entertainment). The problem is that he’s not even looking for anything better than himself, which to some might mean that he’s definitely at the highest point of his career.
I’m trying really hard to not just collapse under the anger his post has caused me and just start calling him names, so I’ll end by saying that whether he endures for years up there at the top or is forgotten tomorrow, I’ve lost all the respect I had for him as a person. It wasn’t too much there to begin with.
*EDIT*:“Im a reasonable man, and i know what “controllerism” is. i also know that there are MANY groups and individuals out there who put in serious work and effort to bring a live or CREATIVE element into EDM performance. And if you didnt know that those people were exempt from my argument, then you need to get off the boat too.”
Oh, right, so we were supposed to understand that by “when it comes to live performance of EDM, that’s the most you can do.” and “we ALL do it”, Joel doesn’t mean electronic music performers per se, just David Guetta and Swedish House Mafia.
In my honest opinion, not owning up to what you say is a bad thing, especially, if you’re a celebrity. You can’t just go blatantly accusing EVERYONE of something and then going “wait, I actually meant this guy and that other guy, but not these guys and these guys”. In fact, this whole thing wouldn’t have been such a s**tstorm if the guy would have just taken the time to think his post through for about 30 seconds instead of just blurting it out.
Anyway, I obviously didn’t know he wasn’t talking about controllerism, so I’m (quite happily) off the dedmau5 boat. For a long time.