Deadmau5: When Creativity and Ergonomic EDM Collide


Creative, rebellious and passionate that he is, this Canadian progressive-house music producer and performer from Toronto, Joel Thomas Zimmerman, or most famous for the name “Deadmau5”, has rocked the Electronic Dance Music industry since the 1990s and continues to do so.

Joel was born in Niagara Falls, Ontario from parents Nancy and Rodney Thomas Zimmerman. Her mom was a visual artist and her father a General Motors plant worker. He has an older sister, Jennifer and a younger brother, Chris. His introduction to music began when he received a keyboard for a Christmas gift. From then on, Joel expanded from simply playing the keyboard to starting his career as a DJ in the mid-1990s. He played in organized movements with sounds influenced by Chiptune and Demoscene and played by an Impulse Tracker.


For quite a time Joel established his career as a DJ, though he strongly prefers not to be labeled as such. He says that (with no intention of offense to the term) a Disc Jockey is an out-of-date description of what he does. He might have started out to be as one, but Joel has grown far in his art of playing EDM music. His sets are revolutionary. Playing amidst live performances, his music is often an unplanned assembly of tracks using his own cutting edge production software. His unpremeditated creativity in making ergonomic EDM music simply happen is what has set him to be an iconic figure in the EDM industry. It is what transformed him from Joel Thomas Zimmerman to “Deadmau5”.

How his stage name came to be was quite unplanned (and quite funny) too. According to Joel’s father, Rodney, he was chatting in his son’s computer when it suddenly crashed. He smelt something like a burnt wire or something. When Joel (in his early teens) checked it out, he found out that it was a dead mouse. How the heck that mouse got into Joel’s computer, nobody knew. But there’s one thing for sure that transpired after that, Joel started to use dead mouse as his chat name, shortening it to deadmau5 until it eventually became a name hailed as a legend in Electronic Dance Music.

In July of 2005, he released his debut album, “Get Scraped” and 3 more self-released compilations, “Project56”, “Deadmau5 Circa 1998-2002” and “A Little Oblique”, in the following year. In 2007, Joel began his own record label “Mau5trap” and released another album the following year titled “A Random Album Title” which featured collaborations with Kaskade.


2008 could have been the year that really marked Joel’s career in the global EDM production industry as 3 of his collaboration singles: “I Remember” and “Move for Me” with Kaskade and “Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff” with Rob Swire reached the number one spot on Billboard’s Dance/Mix Show Airplay chart, making him the only Canadian to have three number one tracks on the said chart.

In 2009 and 2010, Joel released his fourth and fifth albums respectively, “For Lack of a Better Name” and “4×4=12”. In 2010, Deadmau5 was named as the house DJ for the 2010 MTV Music Awards and MTV Push Artist of the week on August 16, 2010. His sixth album, “Album Title Goes Here” was released in 2012.

Deadmau5 knows that his future is still very up for his taking that in 2013, he signed with record label Astralwerks and released in 2014 his album “While(1<2)”. At present, Deadmau5 continues to create his own technological orgy drawing live concerts and events playing his very own Deadmau5 music.