For the production virtuoso that he is, it’s ironic how often deadmau5 acts out in ways that momentarily shift the entire electronic music community’s attention away from the music itself. His penchant for trolling has emerged as one of the most divisive topics that comes up in dance music circles – and as evidenced by recent events, by simply deactivating a couple social media accounts, he can whip the entire EDM blogosphere into a frothing lather of presumptuous rhetoric from both sides of the argument.
Recently, however, a significantly more qualified party took the liberty of shedding insight on the matter: decorated rave scene veteran Frankie Bones.
For the uninitiated, Frankie Bones is an NYC-based techno pioneer whose own impact on electronic music extends further than the music itself. In addition to his unofficial role as a dance music historian of sorts – one that he wears well – Frankie is widely cited as the originator of the initialism peace, love, unity and respect (PLUR), a tenet of North American raver ideology which has pervaded the musical movement since the early ‘90s.
In a discussion thread that originated shortly after deadmau5 and Skrillex’s most recent Twitter debacle in our very own Facebook group, We Got This Covered: Dance Music Buzz, the outspoken DJ/producer made the following claim:
You’re probably wondering what part the guy who came up with PLUR could possibly have played in deadmau5 becoming EDM’s most notorious roastmaster. We were, too, so we went ahead and asked him ourselves.
Frankie tells us that he first made the acquaintance of Joel while opening for him at a Reno, Nevada event in 2008 called John Moon’s Birthday Bash that was held by a now defunct promotional company called Andy & Friends. He recalls:
I met Joel in February, 2008 and it was maybe a month before deadmau5 revealed the mau5head. What happened at that gig was I announced Joel as “day-mow-five.” A complete fuckup on my part. However no mau5head, just Joel doing a live P.A. and me never knowing who he was prior to that day contributed to that.
Before you read on, let it sink in that the Frankie Bones mispronounced deadmau5’ name way before doing so was the fastest way to single yourself out as an EDM newcomer. He continues:
However, for the two hours before my set, Joel and I sat backstage and talked and he said I was one of his favorite DJs growing up and asked me what I thought about the mau5head – and I am always 100% straight when I speak. I told him I thought it was a novelty and novelty shit wears off in six months to a year. Mind you, he had not come out with that helmet yet. I did say if it worked he would have more money then he would know what to do with, and that basically is exactly what happened.
Frankie speculates that his faux pas, his opinion of the mau5head concept, and his performance making for a tough act to follow (he claims that “[he] didn’t upstage him that night, but [he] also didn’t give him any room to do anything more with his set”) largely contributed to Joel’s embitterment towards DJs as whole. He points out that during an interview later on in the year, Joel remarked that he didn’t “see the technical merit in playing two songs at the same speed together,” and that in regards to DJs, he’d “like them to dis-a-fucking-pear.”
More importantly, around the same time, Joel also became active in a particularly volatile MySpace forum in which Frankie had become a regular fixture. He explains:
In those days, [MySpace] had one electronic music forum only, and I know quite factually that I was being trolled really badly in that forum. It was one group and I never really cared who posted what, but it got bad. Any producer with a name wouldn’t last more than a couple of posts because people would start trolling within the first couple of posts.
I never engaged with deadmau5 on Myspace; he started posting in specific topics and what happened was that he got into something about synths and application from a guy we will just call “Agent 23” and he really took his first online beating. The truth is, no matter how much you know there will always be someone who knows more.