Born on January 5, 1981, in Toronto, Canada, Joel Zimmerman, under the moniker Deadmau5, became one of the leading figures in electronic dance music during the first decade of the 2000s. His hits have included “Faxing Berlin” and “The Veldt,” and he’s released albums like 4×4=12 and >album title goes here<. Known for his mischievous mouse mask, Deadmau5 is Grammy Award-nominated and has won multiple Juno Awards.
Joel Thomas Zimmerman was born on January 5, 1981, in Toronto, Canada. He had a knack for electronics and dissecting hardware during his childhood, and eventually started working in animation and web design. He entered the music world as a DJ, making his way to Europe and South America for gigs with limited resources.
Inspiration for Name
Zimmerman’s musical moniker, Deadmau5 (pronounced “dead mouse”), was inspired by the carcass of a frozen rodent that he found in a computer he’d constructed. He adopted a helmet/mask to support the name, with the famed accessory having a variety of looks and incarnations.
Deadmau5 garnered buzz for his brand of electronic music on the indie dance retail site Beatport with the instrumentals “Faxing Berlin” and “Not Exactly,” and earned inclusion on compilation albums and DJ playlists. He released an album of his work, Get Scraped, in 2005, and made his Ultra Records debut three years later with Random Album Title, which included a collaboration with fellow electronic artist Kaskade, “I Remember.”
In the fall of 2008, Deadmau5 helmed At Play, Vol. 1, a release of DJ-friendly versions of his earlier songs, with more installments in the series to come over the next couple of years. He came out with another original full-length release, For Lack of a Better Name, in 2009, followed the next year by 4×4=12.
Deadmau5 has also charted several songs on Billboard’s Dance/Club Play chart, including “The Veldt” (featuring Chris James) and the aforementioned “Berlin,” with his 2012 offering, >album title goes here<, reaching the main albums chart’s Top 10 list.
Rather than only playing at clubs, Deadmau5 morphed into a ticket-selling act able to fill major venues, utilizing dazzling light shows and a style of performance that involves live crafting of sound. The artist also maintains a highly active Facebookand Twitter presence.
Awards and Personal Life
Deadmau5 has been nominated for several Grammy Awards, and performed on the 2012 award telecast with the Foo Fighters, Dave Grohl’s post-Nirvana rock band. Deadmau5 also won Canada’s Juno Award for dance recording of the year for four consecutive years, from 2008 to 2011 (his 2008 win was in collaboration with Billy Newton-Davis), and was nominated for the Juno Award for artist of the year in 2012 and 2013.
Deadmau5 became engaged to famed tattoo artist/television personality Kat Von D in December 2012, but the couple called it quits in 2013.