He's admittedly "more tech than Mozart or whatever the hell," and he has "never really felt like a musician."
Yet Joel Zimmerman — the chart-topping, 32-year-old computer geek otherwise known as Deadmau5 — will still coheadline two consecutive weekends of Ultra Music Festival, one of the world's most massive electronic dance music events. And he's doing so after publicly and repeatedly (albeit figuratively) defecating on the very group paying his appearance fee.
"Ultra to me is the definition of insanity," Zimmerman memorably scoffed during a YouTube tirade in 2011. "I hate these fucking festival things."
The Mau5 even launched another rant against UMF just last month. "Ultra is the same thing every fucking year," he bitched in an interview with Vibe. "When is it going to be played out?"
Forget for a moment that the boys from Swedish House Mafia are ending their five-year run as a collective at Ultra 2013. Or that festival executive producer Adam Russakoff told Billboard that organizers are earnestly "bringing people in for the EDM they know and love, but exposing them to new sounds and music" by booking acts like reggae artist Snoop Lion (formerly Snoop Dogg) and rapper Azealia Banks. Deadmau5 is bat-shit crazy, and the potential for an electro superstar train wreck is far too serious to ignore.
From flipping out about the color of his socks to accidentally bumping into Kanye West on South Beach, anything can (and almost certainly will) piss off Zimmerman.
People. Freak-out odds: Slim. For a man who spends the better part of his days behind a computer screen or a Mau5 mask, gratifying social interaction often consists of little more than berating concert promoters on the Internet or treating Ustream like a personal diary.
"I have absolutely no social skills whatsoever," Zimmerman told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation last year, admitting he almost always prefers "socializing" online rather than in person. "If I'm out at a party and I'm having fun and it's a big, daylong event, sure, I'll hang out or this and that. But I've always got my phone, saying, 'Hey, I'm at this party.'"
Of course, you'll recall that Zimmerman proposed to his girlfriend, tattoo artist Kat Von D, via Twitter: "I can't wait for Christmas so... Katherine Von Drachenberg, will you marry me?" But that's normal behavior for an introvert.
In Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, author Susan Cain writes that introverts are more likely to "express intimate facts about themselves" on the web than they are face-to-face. However, that isn't to say that a solitary, antisocial dude such as Deadmau5 will freak out whenever he bumps into fans and friends at Ultra.
A chance encounter with a certain Chicago rapper, however, might trigger the type of good old-fashioned Joel Zimmerman outburst we've come to know and love.
Kanye West. Freak-out odds: High. "I like fucking hip-hop and the hands-on technological stuff," Deadmau5 told Vibe, explaining how his collaboration with Cypress Hill manifested. But Zimmerman isn't as eager to work with Yeezy as he was to partner with B-Real. Asked which rapper he'd want to work with on a new track, Deadmau5 said, "anyone other than fucking Kanye."
He added, "I fucking hate him. He's just trying too hard. But the problem is he's succeeding at it. It's like, 'Oh, I'm so hate-able.' And everyone is like, 'Yeah, I hate him.' Ah, fuck, he wins!"
Though we have no real reason to suspect that West will be in town during Ultra, it's not uncommon to spot him and Mrs. Kris Humphries (AKA Kim Kardashian) hand-in-hand at a Heat game or dressed up like superheroes at LIV.
Batman vs. Deadmau5? Let's just hope the latter is wearing the correct pair of socks.
Socks, Fanta, and body wash. Freak-out odds: Very high. A musical artist knows he or she has "made it" once promoters bend over backward to track down five-foot inflatable animals, "three fresh limes (and a knife to cut them)," enough Red Bull to trigger cardiac arrest, and a "bag of cheese strings."
From "one pair of white socks and one pair of black socks for size 9" to "good-quality men's shower gel" and "four cans or bottles of a carbonated orange drink, preferably Fanta," Deadmau5's exhaustive concert rider is extraordinarily thorough.
Any discrepancies on Ultra's part, "no matter how seemingly small, minor, or insignificant," should be addressed immediately in an effort to avoid an artist meltdown.
Of course, that's if Zimmerman is actually on the bill.
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Internet trolls. Freak-out odds: Certain. The dynamic between Ultra and Deadmau5 is only a touch more stable than Rihanna's relationship with Chris Brown. But after cursing his industry's biggest music festival, Deadmau5 is back on the Ultra main stage. Or is he?
Last year, Internet trolls created a fake website for the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas and duped Zimmerman into believing he'd been added to the bill as a headliner before realizing he'd been tricked. "Did you guys troll me?" he asked fans. "You guys did troll me, this is a fake site! I'm not on the lineup."
While we're 98 percent positive that Ultra's lineup is authentic, the thought of festival organizers Russell Faibisch and Adam Russakoff trolling Zimmerman as payback for last year's unnecessary diatribe has wishfully crossed our mind. And it's not because we aren't excited to see Deadmau5 perform at Ultra. Nor do we want to humiliate his introverted ass. We just wanna see Zimmerman humbled.
OK, and everyone loves a train wreck.