With the very first note of Deadmau5’s headlining set at Lollapalooza, it started to rain. Not a refreshing summer squall, but a downpour, a monsoon, a storm that had festivalgoers making “Wizard of Oz” jokes. Instead of fleeing the scene, the 40,000 attendees cheered and started dancing.
It was a -- yes -- watershed moment, and one as dramatic as the DJ’s success over the past 12 months. You won’t hear Deadmau5’s music on the radio, and he’s not a runaway success on the sales charts. But through relentless touring and the power of word of mouth on the Internet, his smoothly blended electro-house anthems have built a rabid, gigantic fanbase. “Any audience is a cool audience,” he says. “It’s the cities where you don’t have an audience that you want to stay away from.”
His Meowingtons Hax tour -- named after his cat, Professor Meowingtons -- just extended into November, and included multiple sold-out dates at the Palladium in Los Angeles, Roseland Ballroom in New York, and the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. A compilation CD of the tour, “Meowington Hax Tour Trax,” was released in late August this year on his record label, Mau5trap.
At one point, the raised box that Deadmau5 DJs from turns into a moving Rubik’s Cube.
One key to Deadmau5’s success is his immersive interaction with fans. Before the Lollapalooza gig, he announced a contest for fans to design his next mau5head -- the Mickey-on-steroids chapeau he wears to all of his public appearances. The winner, designed by the U.K.’s Lance Thackeray, looks like a gnawed-on piece of cheese with fiber-optic whiskers.
Being a globe-trotting DJ comes with a few risks, but thanks to his tight relationship with his fans, they’re always willing to lend a hand. Previously, during a show at Chicago’s Soldier Field, his LED mau5head malfunctioned, and he started pulling fans who were wearing their own handmade mau5heads backstage to swap with them. “Chicago holds the North American record for most mau5heads at a show,” he says. “There were like 20.”
While YouTube is populated with shaky, fan-made, phone-camera videos of his thumping stage shows -- at one point, the raised box that Deadmau5 DJs from turns into a moving Rubik’s Cube -- the awe of the live setting isn’t fully captured by amateurs. So, in August, Deadmau5 released a DVD, “Live @ Earl’s Court,” to give a sense of the show’s “tech orgy.”
“I had the thought a couple of months ago: ‘You know, there’s actually no good footage of the stage,’” says Deadmau5. “More often than not, I’ve found myself at a friend’s house who just doesn’t care or know what I’m doing, and they’ll ask, ‘What’s the stage like?’ and now I can just pop the f***ing DVD in, and there it is.”
Read more in the November issue of Red Bulletin magazine (on newsstands October 11). To read the magazine on your iPad, download the Red Bulletin iPad app.
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