“I’ve never played a pre-recorded set”: David Guetta slams claims of DJ fakery

The comments follow Deadmau5’s claims that DJs play pre-recorded sets and “twiddle filter knobs and clap” at major festivals.

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DJ David Guetta performs on stage at the Lollapalooza Festival Berlin on the grounds of the Olympiastadion.

Credit: Getty / Picture Alliance

David Guetta has dismissed claims made by Deadmau5 that “[at] most major festivals, [DJs] have to play pre-recorded sets”.

“I was looking online at Deadmau5 who was saying every DJ, including me, is playing a pre-recorded set,” the Titanium producer said in a recent interview featured on The Daily Star’s Wired column, according to NME.

“I won’t speak for other people, but I’ve never done that. You often see comments from people that I do this, but it’s not true. I love DJ-ing, and DJ-ing is about reading the crowd and connecting to them.”

Guetta’s response comes after Deadmau5, a fellow EDM producer and DJ, in a 2021 live stream recently rediscovered on YouTube, addressed the subject of pre-recorded DJ sets. When asked if he had ever performed a “fake” DJ set, he admitted himself to using pre-recorded sets on occasion due to time constraints and claimed that it’s not an uncommon practice.

“If [the viewer] means a pre-recorded set,” he says in the 2021 clip, “yeah, wow, all the time. Most of the time. Does that make you mad? Do I go to jail for that? Sometimes they are, sometimes they aren’t,” he says.

“[At] most major festivals you have to play a pre-recorded set. Like EDC [Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas], I would be surprised if somebody actually played a set that wasn’t pre-recorded to be honest, because there’s such a big deal to the fucking artist in the production schedule and the timeline and all that stuff that they wouldn’t wanna fuck up.

“You know what a dead giveaway is to a pre-recorded set? The visuals, believe it or not. When shit is so immaculately timed that everything is lining up, that means everything is on a playback system,” he explains. “What do they do up there? Twiddle filter knobs and clap, yes absolutely. That’s all you can do.”

After the footage was rehashed, Deadmau5, in August, followed up his previous comments, responding to an Instagram post, “The fuck do I care. I’m an engineer first, producer second, performer third. Pre-recorded, on the fly, DJs, live PAs… who cares, everyone does shit their own way. So maybe just try to have a good time?”

This isn’t the first time Deadmau5 has accused superstar DJs of faking DJ sets. In 2012, Deadmau5 took aim at Guetta directly, telling Rolling Stone, “David Guetta has two iPods and a mixer and he just plays tracks – like, ‘Here’s one with Akon, check it out!’”, he says.

In the same interview, Deadmau5 explains Skrillex’s on-stage setup: “He has a laptop and a MIDI recorder, and he’s just playing his shit… People are, thank God, smartening up about who does what… but [there are] still button-pushers getting paid half a million. And not to say I’m not a button-pusher. I’m just pushing a lot more buttons.”

David Guetta has weighed in on a number of hot music tech topics this year. One of those is AI. In February, he played his own AI-generated Eminem rap live, later saying, “I’m sure the future of music is in AI. For sure. There’s no doubt. But as a tool.”

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