“What do they do up there? Twiddle filter knobs and clap”: Deadmau5 says most DJs play pre-recorded sets at major festivals

The producer also responded “Okay, says who?” to a comment which claimed those who play pre-recorded sets are not real DJs.

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Credit: Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

Electronic music producer Deadmau5 has said that most DJ sets at major festivals are pre-recorded.

The artist, whose real name is Joel Zimmerman, shared that he has played pre-recorded shows himself, explaining that at most big festivals “you have to.”

The topic is a divisive one, but Deadmau5 had no problem being honest and upfront about it. He began discussing the topic of pre-recorded sets during a 2021 live stream which has recently resurfaced on YouTube. Responding to a comment that asked if he had “ever faked a DJ set”, he was happy to share that he had played pre-recorded ones due to time restraints.

“If [the viewer] means a pre-recorded set, 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.

Whilst nonchalantly eating popcorn, he then goes on to make a joke about the FBI knocking on his door: “How dare you play a pre-recorded set due to a strict timeline!”

“[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.”

Deadmau5 then responded to a comment saying those who play pre-recorded sets are not real DJs, “Okay. Says who? The fucking DJ police?” he scoffs.

Watch the video below:

Tickets to see Deadmau5 live are available through his website.


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