Music / deadmau5

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/deadmau5_8483.jpg
Heads N Stuff

"So am I living a dream? Or enduring a nightmare? I still can't decide... because the last thing I want, or anyone else wants, is to just fade out into obscurity over a period of time and then end up shit on by the people who are near me now. That's why i have "fail" tattooed on the inside of my wrist... has a very profound meaning to me. Well, this is the short of it... another day approaches, and the pressure is more prevalent then it was the other day... I'm trying my best."

A Canadian Electronic Music producer and icon, deadmau5 (pronounced "dead mouse") is easily one of the most popular electronic artists today. Getting his professional start in 2006 when he released his first full album, Get Scraped, he is best known for the songs "Faxing Berlin", "I Remember", "Ghosts 'n' Stuff", "Strobe", "Sofi Needs a Ladder", and "Raise Your Weapon", as well as for wearing his eponymau5 mau5head during live performances. His stage name comes from an incident in which he found a dead mouse in his computer while replacing his video card - on the IRC channel he frequented, he became known as "that dead mouse guy" after recounting the incident, and decided to change his username to "deadmau5" as a joke. The name is spelled as it is because of the character limit for names on certain IRC servers (you can only fit eight and "deadmouse" is nine), with the "5" as the "s" on the end because it's cool.

Real name Joel Thomas Zimmerman, he was born on January 5, 1981, and raised in Niagara Falls, Ontario (though he considers his current city of residence, Toronto, his hometown). As a child, he had a hobby of tearing apart household electronics to figure out how they worked, which carried over to his later fascination with electronic music production - as opposed to solely using plugins and software to make his sounds (which he derisively calls "laptop music"), he uses huge racks of analog modular CV equipment to produce them. After dropping out of high school, doing many odd jobs over the years (including being contracted for an IT job for two years using only his own self-taught computer programming skills), and starting a design business on the side, all while producing music in his free time as a hobby, he found himself being paid to do music for advertising until he got discovered by DJ Chris Lake. This and the appearance of his first hit as deadmau5, "Faxing Berlin", on Pete Tong's radio show led to him being signed onto Ultra Records, later creating his own label, mau5trap, and thus becoming a hit electronic artist doing music full-time.

While known for his music and his mau5head image, he is also known for being one of the nerdiest musicians to ever exist, being extremely open with his fans, and causing controversy, usually by speaking what is exactly on his mind, PR and sugarcoating be damned. These, combined with his constant cursing, his sense of humor, his personal problems, and the tendency for people to take anything he says out of context, result in a rather interesting individual.

Discography:

  • Get Scraped (2006)
  • Vexillology (2006)
  • Random Album Title (2008)
  • For Lack of a Better Name (2009)
  • 4x4=12 (2010)
  • > album title goes here < (2012)
  • while(1<2) (2014)
  • W:/2016ALBUM/ (2016)


Tropes Related to deadmau5:

  • AcCENT Upon the Wrong SylLABle:
    • The lyrics in "Sofi Needs a Ladder" start out with "Let's play MU-si-CAL-chairs, one of my favorite gaaaaames".
    • This trope also applies to him when he's actually speaking. Occasionally he'll pronounce a word oddly, such as "epitome" ("epi-tohm" instead of "ee-pi-toh-mee"). Possibly related to Canada, Eh? below.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: His nickname for his tour manager is "Pretty Princess" Paul.
  • Arc Words: "United We Fail", the name of his now-deleted Tumblr blog is the name of his potential graphic novel project. What does it mean, and what significance does it have in the graphic novel's story? We have no idea, and he's not talking.
  • Ascended Meme: The phrase "go to bed", usually used by fans as a response against one of his trolling attempts, was championed by him as a response to any hate Tweets he got about his outburst at Madonna.
    • Gratuitous Foreign Language: After enough times of using the phrase, he asked his fans on Twitter to send him versions of it in different languages. The result was him spamming the phrase to angry Madonnna fans in a variety of different languages.
    • "Breadmau5 - Toast N Stuff" is thought to have been given a massive shout-out in this video, in which he waits for a while for toast to pop out of his battery-powered toaster.
  • Audience Participation Song: "Raise Your Weapon" gets very enthusiastic fan participation at his live shows.
  • Autotune: A rare electronic artist subversion. While he has several songs featuring vocals, the only vocals he's ever autotuned are his own, because he thinks that he can't sing.
    • Even autotuning his own vocals is occasionally subverted: his vocals in "Edit Your Friends" are only autotuned in the last thirty seconds of the song, and only the "Getting Warmer" mix for the unreleased song "Sleeping Beauty Pills" has his vocals autotuned.
  • Berserk Button: Several.
    "HEY, frickin' douchebag! Hey Ed Hardly, go fuck yourself, you fucking idiot! Take your Jersey Shore and get the fuck out of the door!"
  • Big Eater: Implied by several of his Tweets and Facebook posts. Best part is, the guy is still insanely thin.
  • Book Dumb: "Barely" got through high school (he finished it later after he dropped out), but is incredibly tech-savvy and started his own design business before starting his full-time music career.
  • Book Ends:
    • One of his old songs, "You Need a Ladder", starts and ends with 8-bit Zelda overworld music.
    • "Raise Your Weapon" starts and ends with the same solemn piano chords.
    • "Seeya" starts and ends with the same muffled pitter-patter rhythm.
  • Bound and Gagged: In one of the promotional artworks for the Meowingtons Hax Tour. By his cat.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: "Get in the October Cart Pig", a combination of the then-unreleased songs "Get in the Cart, Pig" (now "Fn Pig") and "October". Mainly invoked by what he posted on Twitter about it:
    "like October? Like get in the cart pig? im kinda making headway on both... at the same time...."
  • Buffy Speak: While teasing Skrillex about driving and how short he is: "@skrillex but... like... how do reach the pedally things? :D"
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Skrillex is often the butt of deadmau5's jokes and pranks.
    • Zedd is also a big one to him too.
  • The Cameo: Tends to randomly show up at performances of people he's friends with.
    • Has appeared several times at Skrillex's shows, sometimes in his ghost costume from "Ghosts 'n' Stuff". In one instance, he came onstage to help Skrillex smash his Mac.
    • He also has a random cameo in the middle of the tour music video for Skrillex's Rock and Roll (Will Take You to the Mountain).
    • And he shows up at Tommy Lee's shows, too.
    • He has made a cameo at the beginning of a CSI episode, though that's not his gear (he doesn't use turntables).
    • He's also shown up on two episodes of Epic Meal Time.
    • In Minecraft 's main menu splash, one of the possible sayings is "Joel is neat!".
      • And in the 1.2 Minecraft release, three kinds of tamed cats were introduced, one of which looks suspiciously like deadmau5's cat, Professor Meowingtons. This is pretty much confirmed by a Mojang staff member's tweet to deadmau5 about it:
    "@deadmau5 u can play with your cat in the latest snapshot of minecraft :)"
    • Appears in DJ Hero 2 as a playable character. Like the CSI example, he uses turntables, but unlike that example, it's more of a case of being required in gameplay as opposed to not doing the research.
    • Diablo III features an amulet named "Halcyon's Ascent", which is entirely based on him. The name is a reference to his old Halcyon441 name, the icon looks like a mau5head, and its special affix makes enemies jump, which references the reaction his song "Raise Your Weapon" produces on fans upon live shows (the lore for the amulet even quotes the song).
  • Canada, Eh?: He's Canadian, and he really does say "Eh". His Canadian accent is much more prominent in his earlier online videos.
    • And true to what the page says, he really does call Macaroni and Cheese "Kraft Dinner" and is obsessed with Tim Hortons coffee. He also pronounces "sorry" as "soarhy", even when his accent is barely there. Some stereotypes are true after all, eh?
    • Also invoked when someone Tweeted to him that he "lost a fan" because he's Canadian, which he responded to with a hilariously stereotypical heavy Canadian accent.
    "Yeah, yeah fuckin' eh, ya hoser! Go listen to Guetta, eh!"
  • Catapult Nightmare: As he comes back to life at the end of the "Ghosts 'n' Stuff" music video.
  • Celebrity Is Overrated: His general idea about his "celebrity" status. See I Just Want to Be Normal and Lonely at the Top below.
  • Chiptune: He first started making music by making chiptune tracks as a teenager. He still uses chiptunes in a few of his songs, such as the unreleased "Meowingtons Enables Hax".
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Often. Demonstrated aptly in this video, which is just a small fraction of the number of times he's dropped it. It even applies to his text posts!
    "seriously, i giveth not a fucking single FUCK for slating on Madonna for reaching an entirely NEW level of idiocy ... i can appriciate her meteoric career, and all good deeds done, but WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT? That's your big contribution to EDM? Thats your big message to ultra attendies? hipsterspeak for looking for drugs? fuck off you fucking IDIOT. fuck."
    • Also used in one of his Halcyon441 songs, "How To Flame"
    • Another came when Arcade Fire mocked electronic artists at Coachella.
    • As of the March 13th 2012 stream, he's actually trying to scale this back a bit, at the request of the mother of a fan who watches his livestreams.
  • Country Matters: Yes, "cunt" is in his repitoire of cuss words. It only shows up when he is absolutely enraged.
    • There's also the song "See Ya Next Tuesday" (later reworked into "Seeya"), a slight variation of the phrase "C U Next Tuesday".
  • Crapsack World: The lyrics to "Professional Griefers" seem to describe one.
  • Curse Cut Short: On the 4/9/2012 livestream:
    Twitter Comment: "You should handle situations better!"
    deadmau5: "Fuck you! You should handle my—" *pauses, smiles at the camera*
  • Darker and Edgier: while(1<2) is definitely a lot more introspective and darker than the good majority of his older songs. Since then, his has moved more towards creating a more personal, somber, Nine Inch Nails-inspired sound, and even his dance music is still moody and atmospheric.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Not always deadpan, but very snarky at ALL hours.
  • Digital Piracy Is Okay: When he released the compilation Stuff i used to do, he made the first 13 tracks available for free download on WeTransfer for one week following its release.
  • Dystopia: Some themes of this can be found in the Word Salad Lyrics of "Professional Griefers", what with lines of "We got machines but the kids got Jesus", "God can't hear you, they will fight you, Watch them build a friend just like you", and "Carbon-lacing, spent-shell casing, photographs that I'm erasing" to name a few.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The opening synth line for "Ryleh's Lament" first appeared in the 2010 video "my cat hates my fans".
  • Early Album Weirdness: Get Scraped is entirely different from the rest of his albums, consisting of songs spanning far more genres and sounds than his later ones. Vexillology, the next album released, also sounds different from his modern sound, though it at least has a consistent one. It isn't until Random Album Title that he finally establishes his signature sound and feel.
    • This trope is invoked even harder in the new bio for his redesigned website, which doesn't even mention Get Scraped or Vexillology, instead just starting at Random Album Title.
      • However, with the release of while(1<2), this seems to have gone full-circle as it resembles ''Get Scraped" far more than any of his projects after it.
  • Electronic Music: Of course. His music actually spans several sub-genres of EDM, mainly because he prefers not to stick with one style and just dabbles in whatever he feels like doing at the time.
    • Drum & Bass: Some of his really old stuff (mainly made before he was deadmau5). A major example of this is the original 2001 edit of "Aural Psynapse", which has far more emphasis on percussion than the final 2011 version. "Edit Your Friends" leans towards this, too.
    • Dubstep: A few officially released songs, such as "Raise Your Weapon" and "One Trick Pony", with several experimental demos up on his SoundCloud. Later mentioned he had no interest in making anything more.
    • House: Easily the subgenre he's most prolific in, as well as the one he's best known for. Includes Electro House, Progressive House, and Tech House, and contains FAR too many songs to list here; a few well-known examples are "Faxing Berlin", "Ghosts 'n' Stuff", and "Strobe".
      • He has a demo on his SoundCloud titled "today, im french", which is his one and only outright foray into French House music (he explained in a livestream that it never was released properly because he'd get accused of stealing from Daft Punk.) The unreleased song "Swinged" is also really European-House-ish, if not outright French House.
    • Minimal: A few, though not officially listed. Examples include "Complications", "The Reward is Cheese", and "Limit Break", with "Cthulhu Sleeps" leaning more towards this genre (but listed officially as Electro House).
    • Techno: A few, but mostly obscure. Some examples are "Subvert", "Full Bloom", and "Secondary Complications".
    • Trance: While no songs are officially listed in this genre, several of his songs have "trance-y" overtones, such as "I Remember", "HR8938 Cephei", and "Faxing Berlin".
    • Trap: He experimented with it for a few now-deleted Soundcloud tracks in 2016, and "ebortS" is a properly released trap instrumental, which also includes portions of "Strobe".
  • Elephants' Graveyard: In the video for "The Veldt".
  • Epic Rocking: The majority of his music is around and usually longer than five minutes. "Cthulhu Sleeps" is the longest song he's ever done, being 10 min and 34 sec long. "Strobe" is only one second shorter.
  • Even Scrawny Miscreants Love Their Mamas: He's still really close to his mom. He has referred to her as "awesome", pays her to keep an eye on his place while he's gone, and often talks to her on the phone. The red spiral staircase in his loft that can be seen in some of his older livestream footage was painted by her, and she makes awesome paintings of him. In one case, you can see it framed in his renovated living room.
    "hello mother...Thanks for the many years of patience, love...AND CHEAP RENT! Your estranged mau5y son...Joel Zimmerman."
    • In the Joe Rogen podcast the night before the 2012 Grammys, he told the hosts that if any of them starts smoking weed in the studio, he'll be in the bathroom, shaking, waiting for the cops to show up...or his mom.
    • He once said on Twitter that he gets his "telling it like it is" from his mother (after a mention about how his mom said that fellow DJ Kaskade's haircut sucked).
  • Exact Words: Often, likely related to Literal-Minded and Pungeon Master below.
    • When asked by a fan to take a picture of a pixel with his new camera lens during a livestream, he decides to take a picture of the word "pixel" instead.
    • "How's United We Fail going?" "It's not going anywhere!"
    • The video Musical Chairs.
  • The Faceless: Surprisingly averted for someone rather known for wearing a mask while performing. He rarely does interviews wearing the helmet, he never wears it during his livestreams, and he doesn't even wear it during his entire performance unless it's a really short one, because he gets too hot inside the head.
    • However, he stated in an interview on Last Call with Carson Daly that he briefly toyed with the idea of always being The Faceless, but decided against it after realizing that, no matter how hard he tried, people would eventually see his face.
  • Fading into the Next Song: From For Lack of a Better Name, "FML" fades into "Moar Ghosts 'n' Stuff".
    • And from 4x4=12, "Raise Your Weapon" fades into "One Trick Pony", though this is not present in the version of the song released as a single.
  • Fanservice: Entirely unintentional on his part, but the entire series of livestreams where he's moving cables and plugging in equipment had him bending over a lot, which naturally led to a massive flood of fangirls...admiring him. He's stated before that he finds the female fanbase's obsession with his butt a little unnerving.
  • First-Name Basis: Prefers being referred to by his first name (Joel), both in real life and on the internet.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: His Diablo III characters. His Witch Doctor is named Wiggles, his Demon Hunter is named MissNyanCat, and his Barbarian is named Mittens.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • In the Vegas residency video, each of the job applications getting stamped with "Fail!" have different, and totally hilarious, things filled in for them.
    • In the music video for "I Remember", there are a bunch of little references to deadmau5 sprinkled throughout - such as the car the protagonists use having mau5-themed license plate numbers.
    • The bottom text scrolls in the broadcast portions of "Professional Griefers" contain a plethora of funny headlines, including "Mars colonists visiting Canada upset that they had to interact with strangers rather than shoot them" and "Zed's dead. Service to be held in San Francisco this Wednesday".
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    • One of his songs released under his BSOD alias is..."BSOD". The alias actually stands for "Blue Screen of Death", while the song title means "Better Sounding On Drugs" (which is constantly said throughout the song).
    • "Seeya Next Tuesday" could be an example of "C U Next Tuesday" except that the official title is shortened to just "Seeya".
    • On his way back from MineCon, he Tweeted "DELTA - Don't Expect Luggage To Arrive", after the aforementioned airline apparently lost his luggage.
    • Also, the album Random Album Title.
    • In an interview with Rhapsody, deadmau5 said that he and his friend Steve Duda had come up with an alternate acronym for SOFI: "Some Other Fucking Idiot".
  • A Good Name for a House Song: Joel's admitted most of his song titles are picked usually at the very last second and are based on random line-of-sight phrases. For example, "Faxing Berlin" was apparently coined in an AIM conversation.
  • Greatest Hits Album: 5 Years of Mau5, which contains some of deadmau5's best works, and remixes of those tracks by various artists, such as Botnek, Dillon Francis, and Shiba San.
  • Griefer: Refers to himself as such. Also has a song titled "Professional Griefers".
  • Hates Being Touched: Explicitly stated as the reason why he doesn't like getting photos taken.
  • Hearts Are Health: His nearly memetic tattoo on his left arm, which is four pixellated hearts (but are only filled in to two-and-a-half). It's a Zelda reference, though new fans often mistake it as a Minecraft one; he got the tattoo before Minecraft existed.
  • Heroic R.R.O.D.: In July 2010, he collapsed on stage while performing at the 9:30 Club, caused by performing shows every day and a bad diet. This resulted in his hospitalization and the cancellation of the rest of the shows on that tour. It's still a sore spot for him.
    "I pass out from over exhaustion in DC. YES 2 month long tours of playing shows back to fucking back MIGHT ACTUALLY DO THAT TO A HUMAN. dear media, get off my case and move on."
  • Hidden Depths: For someone who describes himself as a "loudmouthed, opinionated idiot", he has several moments where he displays amazing amounts of insight and intelligence. Case in point.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: Invoked in the promotional materials for the Meowingtons Hax tour, which involve the titular cat wearing a broken mau5head and tying up the real deadmau5.
  • Hurricane of Puns: During the 2011 Montreal livestream, he broke into a series of squirrel puns.
    "Squirrels Squirrels Squirrels! Who's that squirrel? Squirrels Gone Wild?"
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: Directly after tweeting about how his "tweet level" is over 9000: "Seriously, I've been waiting 4 years to tweet that."
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: His general, very vocal sentiment about his fame. He has stated many, many times that just wants to be someone who writes and performs music for his own enjoyment and for the enjoyment of others, and that being famous is entirely overrated and that he doesn't care for it. He doesn't like to be looked up to or constantly praised, and says that he'll never get used to being a "celebrity".
    • This even applies to things like awards (which you'd only likely know about from looking on Wikipedia because he never talks about them)...on the Christmas 2011 stream, he stated that he doesn't really care about the Grammys all that much because he "doesn't need a plastic statue to validate that I make music".
  • Idiosyncratic Cover Art: All of his album and single covers have some kind of mau5head on them. Vexillology and At Play, Vol 1 are the only aversions, and even then the former's art still has a dead mouse on it.
  • Ignore the Fanservice:
    YouTube Comment: "I love Joel. Women are trying to talk to him and he's happily ignoring them for a hacked children's toy that makes noises."
  • 4chan: Goes on (and is well-liked by) /b/ (and claims to have gotten his start there), but has a mutual hatred of /mu/. He says that he doesn't post, though, only preferring to lurk.
  • Insistent Terminology: Hates being called a DJ, as "there is no jockeying of discs going on".note 
  • Intercourse with You: "Hey Baby" and "Afterhours". And possibly also "Sofi Needs a Ladder".
  • Irony: A house producer complaining about how obnoxiously loud his neighbors are during one livestream. For extra irony, they even play his own music.
    "Dude, I know they're listening to me, that's the sad part. And they...blast my shit like they want me to hear it. And I don't get it...why they do that. It's so annoying."
  • Large Ham: He normally already has a little of this in his personality (and it really comes out when he's drunk), but he brings it Up to Eleven when he's performing or on camera. For example.
  • Lethal Chef: In one of his really, really old videos, he managed to screw up making an omelette (it somehow resulted in scrambled eggs). In the 2011 Christmas Eve stream, reheating soup in a pot was considered a huge success for him ("This soup was made with magnets!"), and his caption for a picture of his newly-renovated kitchen was "the kitchen, where cooking will likely never get done". He can apparently make Kraft Dinner, though.
  • Line of Sight Tattoo: The origin of the scissors tattoo on his left arm. He was hanging out with Tommy Lee and arbitrarily decided to get a tattoo, but didn't know what to get until he saw some packaging with the scissors-and-dotted-line symbol on it.
  • Literal-Minded: Very much so.
  • Lonely at the Top: Has an entire blog post about being unable to have a "normal" romantic relationship because of his career. This trope is also pretty much heavily implied often with his anecdotes and streams, such as during the Valentines Day 2012 ("Guess I'll be spending Valentine's Day alone.") and Christmas Eve 2011 ("Why aren't you with your family?" "I am with my family, I'm with you guys. I'm by myself in my empty-ass house.") streams, not to mention several other times where he's ranted about being treated differently by others because of his fame (such as his rant about shopping, brought on by a Facebook comment).
    • He's also mentioned struggling with depression and anxiety over the past year and is still reluctant about saying that he's "happy" when asked by fans ("...I'm getting there, but I wouldn't consider myself fucking blissfully happy! In my house, all by myself, looking for a Coke!")
    • The blog post "Falling Up" (where the page quote is taken from) also has shades of this.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: Is practically a Running Gag with him. He has TONS of unfinished or just plain unreleased projects in various computers and drives at home and items up on his SoundCloud, either because he simply forgot about them, got bored working on them, or thinks they are too flawed, which is a shame, because a decent amount of said songs are actually quite good. For instance, "Swinged" was mentioned in a later livestream as "too busy", and he hasn't really worked on it since he first posted it.
    • "Meowingtons Enables Hax", "Sleeping Beauty Pills", and various Minecraft-related projects have yet to have been released or have had new versions posted.
    • "To Play Us Out" is never going to get an official release because of licensing issues.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "The Veldt", which at first sounds serene and hopeful with its lyrics of "A world that the children made" filled with animals and a beating sun, but is far darker when you realize the short story it's based on is about how they lured their parents into a virtual-reality device to be eaten alive by lions.
  • Mama Bear: His mother.
  • Meaningful Background Event: Implied in the "Professional Griefers" video, the ending of which may make a lot more sense when you notice the very first news headline on the bottom scroll reading "Meowtingtons Corp issues massive recall on robotic cats due to faulty logic chip".
  • Mondegreen: In the "deadmau5 - o2 wireless festival intro" video, some of the lyrics are Mondegreened to mau5-related ones.
  • Mood Whiplash: "Careless" is a complete mastery of this trope. When the piano originally comes in, it sounds mournful, before a break happens and it proceeds to sound hopeful for the rest of the song. Each set of vocal verses start out sounding like it's about a guy loving someone regardless of their flaws before going into lines that reveal that it's actually about him being too apathetic to break up with them or even care about said person.
  • Must Have Nicotine: A good way to tell during livestreams if he's stressed out or depressed is to watch how many cigarettes he smokes in a given time period. The worse his emotional state (even if he doesn't outwardly show it), the more he'll smoke.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: He has legions of female fans professing their love to him on Facebook and Tumblr, porn stars and models who gladly talk to (and flirt with!) him on Twitter, and an ex-girlfriend who's a Playboy model. He qualifies.
  • Nice Hat:
    • The giant helmets he wears, called "mau5head"s. He has several of them, including an LED one that serves as an Expressive Mask.
    • The baseball caps he always wears could qualify, too.
  • No Indoor Voice: When he's absolutely drunk.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: Is it "dead mouse" or "dead mau five"? While the former is often considered the "right" way to say it by fans (since that was the original intent of the name), the man himself doesn't care how you pronounce it, and has even said it as "dead mau five" a few times.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: His biggest fear is "being alone".
  • Off the Wagon: Fell off hard at the end of 2011. His house renovation, lack of a studio (but majorly itching to work on music), break-up with his girlfriend of a year, and his struggle with his depression, combined with no touring to keep his mind off of things, led to him taking up smoking again, as well as far more mentions of him getting really drunk after his unhooked performances at the beginning of 2012. He got better, although he still has some occasional problems with depression.
  • Older Than They Look: He looks really good for someone in his mid-30's. It's been said that he can pass for 18 when he shaves.
  • One-Note Cook: His mother, apparently. He said that she can only make really good shepherd's pie with the rest of what she makes being "shit". It would certainly explain his own Lethal Chef tendencies...
  • Oral Fixation: The only possible reason why this photo exists.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience:
    • "Raise Your Weapon" is this, two times. It opens up as nothing more than solemn piano chords and a drum beat for about four minutes, and then the drop happens.
    • One unreleased song on his SoundCloud, "Sleeping Beauty Pills", is a...rock song? With him doing vocals?
    • "Failbait" is a hip-hop song featuring Cypress Hill.
    • "Seeya". Let's say that "Ghosts N Stuff" is to "Seeya" as "Harder Better Faster Stronger" is to "Get Lucky". Yeah, "Seeya" is actually something of a funk song with vocals from Colleen D'Agostino, based around a lone repeating bass riff with the occasional electronic smidgen.
    • His collaborations with Shotty Horroh, including the officially-released "Legendary" are also hip-hop tracks, with slight dubstep inspirations and free use of Sampling.
  • Perpetual Frowner: The number of photos of him frowning, stoic, or making some silly face far outnumber the few photos you can find of him outright, genuinely smiling. Averted in his videos and in live streams, in which he actually smiles a bit more often.
  • Precision F-Strike: "My Pet Coelacanth" has one that comes straight out of nowhere at 1 minute and half through the song.
  • Pungeon Master: He absolutely loves puns. The examples seen in Exact Words and Literal-Minded above are only a small fraction of the number of puns he's made.
  • Rearrange the Song: He frequently uploads (and deletes) WIPs all over the place, some of which end up becoming officially released under new titles after substantial tweaking. Some examples include:
    • "Old Ghosts", a song that would after ten or so revisions become "Ghosts 'n' Stuff".
    • "Aural Psynapse" is actually a re-edit of a song that he made in 2001 under his old Halcyon441 name, also titled "Aural Psynapse". Not only are the synth lines similar, but the background effects used in the song (which are especially obvious right at the beginning) later showed up in "Strobe" and "HR8938 Cephei".
    • "Strobe" is actually two previously existing songs put together, one of which being "Then We Stood Still".
    • Like "Strobe", "Fn Pig" combines "Get in the Cart, Pig" with what ended up being an entirely different song. Several uploads on his soundcloud show him toying with different ways of continuing the massive "Cart" introduction, with the original upload ending in what sounds like 90s rave.
    • "Brazil" was originally much more chill and meditative. It's completely unrecognizable from "Brazil (2nd Edit)."
    • W:/2016ALBUM/ contains several tracks that are reworkings of tracks that Joel uploaded to his Soundcloud. One example of this is "Let Go", which was in its most original form known as "aassddff".
    • An example of this where both songs have been officially released comes with "ebortS", which first appears as a moody but hard-hitting trap beat... and then fades in the intro to "Strobe".
  • Refuge in Audacity: He came on stage in a live performance in Montreal without any pants on.
  • Renaissance Man: On top of making awesome electronica music, he skateboards (badly), snowboards, jet-skis, plays video games, does web design and web programming, computer programming, 3D modeling and animation, Flash animation, plays the piano and is learning the guitar, and photography. The best part? Nearly all of that is self-taught, and he encourages his fans to do the same.
    "Full Fail! dude! save the cash! learn on the internets!"
    • He's not only a pianist, but a classically trained pianist. He said on the Joe Rogen podcast that his parents enrolled him in "piano boot camp" since "I was, like, three".
  • Revisiting the Roots: while(1<2) moves Joel back into the darker, more depressing trip-hop-ish territory seen in Get Scrapped after Joel had his falling out with Electro House and dance music as a whole.
  • Right-Hand Cat: Professor Meowingtons is his cat, who shows up in several of his official YouTube videos and is the namesake of his Meowingtons Hax tour. He also has three songs about him: "Meowingtons Enables Hax", "Have You Seen My Cat?", and "Professor Meowingtons". He also brings Meowingtons on livestreams, often at the (very vocal) requests of his fans.
  • Rule 34: There is indeed porn of him. With Skrillex. He's rather chill about it.
    "…well now the world knows what you think about it. go outside or somethin for a while dude."
    • There's also a decent amount with him and Daft Punk.
  • Running Gag:
    • "Skrillex is Not Even Funny", after it was coined in a Ustream session.
    • Meowingtons being fat is another one.
    • He started another one involving his new songs on SoundCloud: ever since "Cthulhu Dreams", nearly every new song's genre has been listed on the site as "[item]-step", such as "Elderstep" for "Cthulhu Dreams", "Pigstep" for "Get in the October Cart, Pig", "Catstep" for "Professor Meowingtons", "StephenSpeilbergstep" for "Closer", and "Octoberstep" for "November Second".
  • Sampling:
  • Say It with Hearts: Often while posting to his fandom. Likes to use emoticons in everyday online speech, too.
    "...hahaha despite the 2 minor hiccups, we had so much fun! i'll be back you guys! ♥ night night! im off to Durban tomorrow! :)"
  • Self-Deprecating Humor: Often. He really enjoys making fun of himself.
    • This video about his 2012 residency in Las Vegas has him failing miserably at any job that isn't performing his music.
    • In this signed picture, he wrote "total idiot!" above himself.
    • In the video Mr. Happy, the video momentarily stops with the word "Idiot" next to him.
    • On his interview on The Last Call With Carson Daly, he referred to himself as a "loudmouthed, opinionated idiot".
  • Shirtless Scene: This picture of him drunk with Muscles Glasses.
  • Shout-Out: Many of them.
    • The song title "Limit Break".
      • The song itself has sound effects from the 8-bit Mario titles.
    • The song titles "Professional Griefers" and "Get in the Cart, Pig" are both Minecraft in-jokes.
    • "Sofi Needs a Ladder" is a retooling of one of his unreleased songs "You Need a Ladder", which references the idea that having a ladder would solve most of the puzzles in the 3D Zelda titles.
      • Speaking of which, "You Need a Ladder" starts with the 8-bit Zelda overworld theme.
    • The animations for his live shows reference Pac-Man, Minecraft, Super Mario World, and Mega Man. Past ones have also referenced the original The Legend of Zelda.
    • The concept art for his upcoming graphic novel is often full of them, but this image of his tank takes the cake. For one, it's very clearly a souped-up Tachikoma. Others have noted similarities to StarCraft and Tank Girl.
    • In earlier shows, the LED Mau5head would occasionally have the face of a Cylon.
    • The video "The Unveiling" turns out being a Shout-Out to The Lazer Collection.
    • Upon arriving in Johannesburg for his latest tour, he Tweeted a bunch of District 9 references.
    "It's cool. Our prawny friends can come to the show too. Afterparty at District 9 ;)"
    "FREE CAT FOOD AT H2O TONIGHT!"
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: David Guetta. See Canada, Eh? above and Take That! below.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: ALL of the time. It's brought Up to Eleven when he gets angry or enthusiastic.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: His constant cussing combined with his large vocabulary often results in this. It's taken Up to Eleven when he's talking equipment and computers, because in those cases his cursing is mixed with tech jargon, resulting in gems such as "fucking modular oscillation".
  • So Proud of You: To Skrillex for getting five Grammy nominations.
    • And to the same person for winning three of those, even beating deadmau5 himself for all of them.
  • Stage Names: deadmau5, with his real name being Joel Zimmerman, as previously stated.
  • Take That!: His first ever hit, a collaboration with Steve Duda under the BSOD alias titled "This Is The Hook", is a Take That against how formulaic house music is.
    "david guetta."
    "He's running a cracked version of Sylenth. What, DJing doesn't pay enough for you to buy a two-hundred-dollar plugin?"
    • During the March 26 2012 livestream, he joked that he has likely issued some kind of Take That! against everyone at this point (a small list of people so far includes Avicii, Justin Bieber, Ed Hardy, Lady Gaga, David Guetta, Neon Hitch, Madonna, Pauly D, Snooki, Britney Spears, and Tiesto).
    • After posting a demo of "Sunspot" on his SoundCloud, he later posted "Sunspot (da eXXXXXXtreme drop mix)", a 15-second dubstep version demo lampooning all of the then-recent dubstep trends "of the past year", including seemingly-random effects and sampling, like the style found in Skrillex's work.
    • While talking about Boxx, the company that made the laptop he was using at the time: "It's like Alienware, but it doesn't suck."
    • A particularly glorious example is when he trashed the entirety of the internet song "Hot Problems" during a livestream, which also crossed heavily into Disproportionate Retribution and Crosses the Line Twice.
    "Wait wait wait...hang on. This isn't Rebecca Black...this is actually worse." *pained laugh*
    "I am extremely looking forward to social collapse."
  • Tattooed Crook: Subverted in that, while he looks the part with the many, many tattoos he has, the most trouble he ever seems to get into is silly stuff like accidentally breaking some glass doors while riding on a flight case and jumping into a pool from a balcony.
  • Technology Porn: Since he's a musical gear-head, this happens often. A few examples are the videos "Modular Mouse", "mau5trap recordings", and "i normally do this on sundays".
  • This Means War!: Used word-for-word as the title for a Facebook post about...a snowball fight.
  • Title Drop: A very subtle one in the abrupt ending to "Take Care of the Proper Paperwork". It requires amplification to hear it, but you can just barely hear somebody repeatedly saying something, which is apparently "Take care of the proper paperwork."
  • Totally Radical: Actually uses "rad" and "gnarly" in everyday conversation, but makes it sound cool anyway.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: His love for Coca-Cola is very well-known. It's to the point that he's stated that he turned down a six-figure deal from Pepsi because he drinks Coke.
  • Trolling: His signature brand of humor. Examples include posting on Facebook that his agent has been fired during a venue mishap (without actually firing the guy), and Tweeting that he supposedly lost his demo Playstation Vita in a cab a day or so after he got it from Sony just to see how much trouble he would (theoretically) get into. Not to mention all the times he has fed the trolls on Twitter and Facebook just for sheer lulz.
    • And as if you had any doubt left, he went to the 2012 Grammys wearing a shirt that had Skrillex's real phone number on it with "u mad bro?" underneath.
    • Even his management is in on it, though - one instance was when his manager texted him about how the Shigeru Miyamoto who signed his arm was just a stand in...while he was getting said signature tattooed into his arm. Hilarity ensued.
  • [Trope Name]: He's a huge fan of this, normally because he admits he doesn't usually make anything with names in mind and thus come at the last minute.
    • For starters, three of his albums are named Random Album Title, > album title goes here <, and W:/2016ALBUM/. He also has the almost-example For Lack of a Better Name.
    • Also, "Some Chords", which starts with...some chords. The trope is also arguably invoked with For Lack of a Better Name, the album released after Random Album Title, as well as the song "Lack of a Better Name", the title track of the aforementioned album.
    • "Ghosts 'n' Stuff" is also an odd minor example pertaining only to the song's music video. The song's video pretty much perfectly matches the song title, as it consists of a ghost doing random stuff.
    • He's already started joking about naming his next album IDK (I Don't Know) or IDFK (I Don't Fucking Know), after being asked about what he's going to name it by a fan on Twitter.
    • His Dubstep demos on SoundCloud have creative titles such as "Dub5tepthingie2".
  • Troubled, but Cute: He has problems, and has no qualms about posting about them online when he gets really depressed. As for the "cute" part, see Nerds Are Sexy above.
  • Unsound Effect: Anytime a notification sound on his computer plays during one of his livestreams, he always follows it up with a verbal "DING!".
  • Visual Pun: The video My Cat Hates My Fans.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Type 2 with Skrillex. The "vitrolic" part is mostly one-sided, though, as deadmau5 generally makes fun of Skrillex far more than Skrillex makes fun of him.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: The name of the album 4x4=12 is an in-joke stemming from a live-stream incident in which he was describing his setup and said "four times four, which is twelve". After his fans poked fun at him for it, he decided to name his next album after the incident. Also lampshaded in "Maths", where the only vocal line is a faint voice saying "four PLUS four PLUS four is twelve" at a few points in the song.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz / Letters 2 Numbers: deadmau5. Justified in that it was originally going to be spelled correctly but couldn't fit the character limit for an IRC username.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Music/Deadmau5