Joel Zimmerman is no ordinary musician; in fact, if he were born even just a decade earlier, there's a good chance he wouldn't be one at all. The computer programs he most frequently relies on (FL Studio, Nuendo, etc.) lean heavily on MIDI data—a technology that didn't exist until the early 1980s.
In a recent interview, he confessed that using MIDI "[was the fastest] way to 'plot' my melodies and rhythms down because although I have an ear for it, I couldn't 'play' a melody to save my life."
So really it shouldn't surprise anyone that he would DJ under the name Deadmau5 (the "leet speak" abbreviation refers to an incident in which a mouse crawled into his computer and died) or that his unique progressive house, trance and electro tracks are strong enough to gain traction even outside the Toronto house scene. And of course the giant mouse head he often dons onstage doesn't hurt either.
Above all Deadmau5's main mission in life seems to be pushing the boundaries of what it means to be called a DJ. Citing how dull standard DJ shows can be, Deadmau5 has stated that he would "rather not fly halfway across the planet to hit a spacebar and do a couple of fist pumps." Guided by this philosophy, it's no wonder he's able to put on truly exciting performances. And of course the droves of fans who show up in Mickey Mouse ears don't hurt either.