During the band’s set at Coachella weekend one, Arcade Fire’s Win Butler took a slight dig at the festival’s various electronic acts, offering a shout-out to “all the bands still playing actual instruments.” For the most part, the comment went largely ignored, no doubt thanks to an absolutely jam-packed setlist and an appearance by Blondie’s Debbie Harry. But now, nearly 10 days after the fact, someone is standing up for the DJs and laptop maestros of the world, and that someone is deadmau5. Perhaps he took so long because he was preoccupied preparing legal briefings against Disney?
In a mini-rant posted to Twitter, deadmau5 began by telling Arcade Fire they need to “settle down”, adding that “some dudes devote their lives to instruments, others to electronic composition by cpu. dafuqs yer problem?” He also dropped this friendly musical reminder: “A computer is a tool, not an instrument.”
While I can’t speak for Arcade Fire, they do raise a valid point, one even shared by Dave Grohl himself: there’s something distinctly uncomplicated about performing via laptop. Heck, even Deadmau5 has previously said that “given about 1 hour of instruction, anyone with minimal knowledge of ableton and music tech in general could DO what im doing at a deadmau5 concert.” Ouch.
Still, deadmau5 has a decidedly great counter that covers both points: People like EDM and DJ-based performances for very specific reasons, almost none of which have to with standard rock and roll outings. He also managed to insult the band, proving years of flipping knobs and toggling switches has left him surprisingly dexterous.
“i dont expect to see daft punk pull a steve vai on stage…i expect to listen to some decent music, n see cool robots. no problem,” he wrote. “if i wanna watch real artists perform, id pick the opera before wasting a fucking minute of my life with arcade fire. but since some EDM is enjoyable to me, ill go watch them fake it, and enjoy it more than you hate the fact that they cant play guitar. inb4 some fucking hipster throws a hackeysack at me.”
(Also, turns out the opera line wasn’t a mere joke, as he ended by writing, “but seriously, im just sayin… you should get out to the opera if you ever get a chance, the orchestra pit is a cespool of pure skill.” Bach forever, yo.)
I’m sure this won’t turn into some modern-day East Coast vs. West Coast bloodbath, but it’s still a healthy dialogue for artists to engage in. Although, as SPIN points out, both acts do share some commonality: in the same speech, Butler cried foul on “fake VIP room bullshit”, a sentiment deadmau5 mirrored in his absolutely vicious reprimanding of a Miami club crowd back in January.
Now, how about everyone hug it out and y’all do a remix together?
Read the full rant below: