Joel Zimmerman, better known as Deadmau5, shocked the world last week by unexpectedly deactivating his Facebook and Twitter pages. Best known for creating one of the most recognizable brands in electronic music, the Canadian DJ electronic music producer has had interesting social media feeds to say the least. Time and again he has taken to the internet, tactlessly expressing his critique of not only individual artists but the music industry as a whole. In fact, he’s been known to delete posts that have been exceptionally controversial. Having taken jabs at artists from every generation; he has called out popstars, including Madonna and Justin Bieber, fellow EDM artists such as Krewella, Tiesto, Porter Robinson, Armin van Buuren and Steve Angello, and even underground legends Ricardo Villalobos. Even indie rock bands are not exempt, as Arcade Fire has also fallen victim to his ruthless Twitter attacks (although some might argue that they threw the first punch).
He has been criticized by a number of voices in the industry, and rightfully so; he seems to be poking the metaphorical dragon right in the eye. While he (sometimes) makes good points, he generally sandwiches these points by vicious ad hominum attacks. All this aside, Deadmau5 has opened up and earlier this week he let his fans and foes alike in on a very personal issue that affects far too many of us: depression.
We don’t want to make any assumptions because we will never know his personal battles and whether you are prepared to forgive his impulsivity or not, it’s important to take this as a learning experience. In dance music circles, as well as in society at large, mental illness has been stigmatized ad nauseum, offered as an explanation for heinous violent crimes, yet highly misunderstood by the general public. In fact, one of the greatest hindrances of mental illness is the loneliness, as many are afraid to open up. DJs are especially susceptible to these problems, which are exacerbated by excessive touring and the “fast life” that so many DJs live. Zimmerman is not the first electronic music artist to open up about mental illness, but he may very be the biggest artist to do so, and his message will undoubtedly resonate with his millions of fans around the world. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, and see if his addressing these problems will allow him to tone down his frequent rants. Recently, a number of artists, most notably Benga (who, by the way, is back in action after a brief hiatus) have decided t0 come out of the woodworks and open up to the world about their illnesses, which occur far more often than anyone might imagine, and sometimes for the people you’d least expect.
According to The Guardian (June 2015), a comprehensive study found that among musicians, 60% have, at one point, suffered from “depression r other psychological issues.” Here’s the kicker: out of these musicians, 71% attribute the problems to touring in one way or another. Looking at this data, we can see that touring can enormous consequences, and we strongly urge DJs and other artists to do their best to maintain a sustainable lifestyle, one that includes using balanced meals and plenty of rest for feul, rather than cigarettes and red bull. Well… you can indulge a bit, but don’t go full-on Avicii. Let’s all keep in mind that it’s a marathon, not a sprint, especially if you plan on establishing a thriving DJ career that will outlive your youthful tenacity and resilience. Remember, we’re all only human!
Read the full message below: