deadmau5 (real name Joel Zimmerman) is a master of branding within the dance music space. It's no secret that the "Strobe" producer is personally responsible for bringing millions of new dance music fans into the fold - due in part to the attention-grabbing potential of his iconic helmets. Otherwise referred to as "mau5heads," the staple of Zimmerman's brand has shifted along with the producer over the years, taking various different forms.
A tech geek at heart, Zimmerman hasn't hesitated to switch things up with the performance prop, and that experimental spirit has yielded quite a number of mau5head variations over his career thus far. Read on for a look back at some of the most memorable mau5heads thoughout Zimmerman's career.
Before we get into the various forms of the mau5head, it's worth pointing out its original form. The Canadian producer first performed with the head during a set in Nova Scotia in 2008. An inner plastic framework covered with fabric and a see-through mesh mouth was all it took. While Zimmerman doesn't typically dress in suits for shows these days as pictured above, the mau5head has only evolved to become more fanciful in the functional advancements and designs made since.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the LED mau5head is almost undoubtedly the most advanced form of the helmet - though it has had numerous different versions and tweaks. The LED mau5head first appeared in 2010 and quickly became a central part of the show. Fans know what a good light show does to augment a production, and Zimmerman seized the opportunity to make the mau5head itself part of the light show. Central to Zimmerman's sight was a small camera that would project an image to him from the outside. Evidently, the first version of the LED mau5head demanded a lot from a performance standpoint. It was heavy, heated the inside of the helmet, and made visibility of the outside particularly difficult.
The iconic cheese-themed mau5head came about from a contest won by Lance Thackeray. The simple yet clever entry to the "Design The Next Mau5head" competition won Zimmerman's praise and landed Thackeray the chance to meet him in 2011. Thackeray's design won out of nearly 2,000 submissions to the contest. Zimmerman went on to render Thackeray's 2D design into a 3D reality with the help of his engineering team before going on to wear the cheese-themed helmet on the Meowingtons Hax Tour that year.
Leading up to the release of his album titled >album title goes here<, Zimmerman began donning an all-chrome mau5head. This version of the head was featured on the album's cover art. deadmau5 tapped into his cyberpunk roots during this era of the mau5head, and we suspect the chrome shine never ceased to turn heads.
Despite always being in costume, Zimmerman doesn't let an opportunity to spice up the mau5head go to waste. For his run of Halloween shows in 2012, he debuted a special Pinhead-themed mau5head as tribute to the infamous horror movie franchise, Hellraiser.
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In 2013, Zimmerman had a brief stint with a gold-plated mau5head. The ritzy design has probably earned this version of the head the title of most luxurious, but the bling had some unintended consequences. Gold is a heavy metal which ended up significantly weighing down the head, mounting further pressure on Zimmerman's neck. Since the head didn't offer added functionality, this blinged-out version didn't have a particularly lengthy tenure.
Zimmerman has never concealed his love for gaming; he's even participated in professional gaming competitions in recent years. He hasn't been shy about integrating gaming elements into his brand, either, and this instantiation of the mau5head perfectly encapsulated that. Featuring old school arcade themes, Zimmerman's colorful gamer mau5head let fans know early on he had an appreciation for gaming culture.
Gumball 3000 Mau5head
In 2014 Zimmerman participated in the 3,000 mile long celebrity motor rally Gumball 3000. During this era he was tough to miss as he took his Ferrari 458 Italia, affectionately referred to as the "Purrari" at the time, on the international trip. The car was custom wrapped in a baby-blue Nyan Cat-themed wrap. Zimmerman certainly didn't hide his love for Nyan Cat at the time and opted to make a custom mau5head to match featuring the animation with a Gumball 3000 logo on the forehead.
Robotic Red Mau5head
In recent years specialty mau5heads have gone on to make notable cameos of their own in Zimmerman's music videos. In fact, the beefed up robotic mau5head featured in Deadmau5's "Let Go" music video plays a prominent role. The track featuring Grabbitz was one of the most notable entries of Zimmerman's album W:/2016ALBUM/. The music video was a walkthrough of his upgraded cube stage production and the specialty mau5head.
With X-box insignia eyes and frying pan ears, Zimmerman's Playerunknown's Battlegrounds-themed head is one of the producer's most unique helmet concepts to date. In 2018, the popular video game teamed up with Zimmerman for a special Twitch Prime co-sponsored event during which this post-apocalyptic version of the mau5head made its debut.
Which versions of the mau5head are your favorites? Let us know your thoughts on social media.