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Joel Thomas Zimmerman (born January 5, 1981), better known by his stage name deadmau5 (pronounced "dead mouse"), is a Canadian progressive house producer and DJ. Deadmau5 produces a variety of styles within the house genre and sometimes other forms of electronic dance music.

As well as his own solo releases, deadmau5 has worked alongside other DJs and producers, such as Kaskade and Wolfgang Gartner.[1]

Origin of "deadmau5"[]

Zimmerman's father claims that when his son was 13 or 14, he was chatting with a friend on his computer, which abruptly shut off. Also, he said that it smelled like burnt wire and had a strange odor. Zimmerman started to dismantle his computer and found a dead mouse. Zimmerman then became known as the "dead mouse guy" among friends. Joel tried to change his name to "Deadmouse" in the chat room, but it was too long, so he shortened it to "deadmau5", which is a form of leet language.[2] In an interview with CBC Television, he mentioned that when he started making music, he went by the name "deadmau5". Joel created the original logo while learning how to use some 3D modelling software.[3] His famous "mau5head" appears in many different colors and designs, and has been shown on the cover of most of deadmau5 albums, with the exceptions of At Play and Vexillology. He was given the idea to wear a headdress based on the logo by one of his friends, Jay Gordon of the industrial metal band Orgy. In an interview with CBC Television, deadmau5 said that he wants his logo to be an "icon". Fans often attend deadmau5 concerts sporting their own copy of the mau5head.

In 2002, he began producing and uploading songs to SectionZ under the alias "deadmau5"[4] and created "deadmau5.com"[5]

Early life[]

Joel Zimmerman was born in Niagara Falls, Ontario.[6] His mother, Nancy (née Johnson), is a visual artist, and his father, Rodney Thomas "Rod" Zimmerman, is a General Motors plant worker.[7][8] He has two siblings, Jennifer (older) and Chris (younger).[7] His ancestry includes German, Swiss, and English.[8][9] He received his first keyboard for Christmas when he was a teenager.[2][7] His career began in the late 1990s, with a chiptune and demoscene movements-influenced sound.



Three self-released compilations (Project 56, deadmau5 Circa 1998-2002, and A Little Oblique) finished in 2006,[10] with Project 56 being officially released in February 2008.

Get Scraped[]

"Just Before 8bit", "Nice Try, Kiddo" and "Uploading and Downloading" from Project 56 were edited and expanded upon in Zimmerman's 2005 debut album Get Scraped and renamed "8bit", "Try Again", and "Unspecial Effects", respectively. It features tracks of a variety of genres, including IDM, ambient/downtempo, noise pop and trip hop. Tracks "Bored of Canada", "Intelstat" and "I Forget" reappear on this album as is, as well as "The Oshawa Connection" from deadmau5 Circa 1998-2002.

mau5trap label and Random Album Title[]

In 2007, Zimmerman began his own record label "mau5trap", which, along with Ultra Records and Ministry of Sound, released the 2008 album Random Album Title, which saw the collaboration of deadmau5 and San-Francisco producer Kaskade with I Remember. Random Album Title saw a digital release 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.[11]

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".[12]

For Lack of a Better Name[]

Information on his album For Lack of a Better Name was posted on his official MySpace page.[13]

“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.

For Lack of a Better Name includes two of Zimmerman's most popular songs, "Ghosts 'n' Stuff" (featuring Rob Swire) and "Strobe".


His fifth studio album, titled 4×4=12, was released on December 6, 2010 in the United Kingdom and December 7, 2010 in the United States. Singles "Some Chords", "Animal Rights", "Sofi Needs a Ladder" have been released and have been featured on the album, with "Raise Your Weapon" released in 2011. "Some Chords" was featured on an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation where deadmau5 made a cameo appearance, and an instrumental version of "Sofi Needs a Ladder" was featured in the film The Hangover Part II.

File:Deadmau5 - Rock in Rio Madrid 2012 - 01.jpg

deadmau5 in Madrid in 2012.

Album Title Goes Here[]

On August 9, 2012, deadmau5 announced his upcoming sixth studio album, Album Title Goes Here, which was released on September 24 of that year.[14] Singles from this album include "Maths", "The Veldt" (featuring Chris James) and "Professional Griefers" featuring My Chemical Romance singer Gerard Way. This collaboration was announced on Facebook prior to release.[15] In December 2012, FUSE TV named "Professional Griefers" one of the top 40 songs of 2012[16]

Video game appearances[]

deadmau5 is a playable avatar in DJ Hero 2, a video game released in October 2010.[17][18][19] The game featured several tracks by the artist, including a mix of Ghosts 'N Stuff with Lady Gaga's Just Dance.[20]

His music has been included in more video game titles, including Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, Saints Row: The Third, FIFA 13, Grand Theft Auto IV, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Midnight Club: Los Angeles, GoldenEye 007, Wipeout 2048,The Sims 3, and Sound Shapes.

Personal life[]

File:Deadmau5 head on.jpg

Joel Zimmerman (deadmau5) out of costume.

While at his home in Toronto, Zimmerman spends much of his time broadcasting his work in his home studio (where he produces much of his music) to Ustream.

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.[21][22]

Zimmerman met Lindsey Evans, an American model and Playboy Playmate of the Month for October 2009, at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards in September 2010.[23] They began dating soon after, and Evans moved to Toronto to live with him.[23] They broke up in September 2011.[24] In September 2012, Zimmerman began dating American tattoo artist and TV personality Kat Von D.[25] They broke up in November 2012,[26] but they got back together soon after. On December 15, 2012, Zimmerman proposed to Von D over Twitter, and she accepted. The two have announced that they will be getting married in August 2013.[27]


Main article: deadmau5 discography
Studio albums
  • Get Scraped (2005)
  • Vexillology (2006)
  • Random Album Title (2008)
  • For Lack of a Better Name (2009)
  • 4x4=12 (2010)
  • Album Title Goes Here (2012)[28]
Other albums
  • deadmau5 Circa 1998-2002 (2006)[29]
  • A Little Oblique (2006)
  • Project 56 (2008)
  • At Play (2008)
  • It Sounds Like (2009)
  • At Play Vol. 2 (2009)
  • At Play Vol. 3 (2010)
  • Meowingtons Hax Tour Trax (2011)
  • At Play Vol. 4 (2012)[30]


External links[]

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  • Template:Official website
  • Artist Site at Ultra Records
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  • Template:Myspace
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