In an industry that seems to thrive on being seen there are those DJs who have tried to keep their faces hidden. Some have gone to great lengths to remain anonymous whereas some have gradually revealed their true identities. With the recent announcement that the soft headed Trap don himself Marshmello has just locked in an Aussie tour, we present to you, our faithful readers our top picks of those that have tried (note some have failed) to keep their faces from public view.
Starting off with the mysterious Redshape, a DJ who hides his identity behind a amorphous red mask. Best known around the European DJ circult he has ventured over to Australia on several occasions in the past on limited but successful national tours. A true don of pounding, minimalist Techno he really knows how to rock a crowd. His releases have included the haunting Tech thumper The Land and Coffee & Cigarettes. Watch the underground circuit for when he next makes an appearance in Oz.
SBTRKT is unique in the mask toting world of musicians in that he does not limit himself to a single mask. Made up of predominantly organic materials SBTRKT’s masks are actually ornamental headdresses too channeling the designs of tribes from the Pacific Islands and Africa. This super talented producer has had an amazing few years releasing 2 albums, most recently 2014’s critically acclaimed Wonder Where We Land and performing production duties for the likes of Radiohead, Modeselektor, Basement Jaxx, Mark Ronson, and Underworld. His stage shows are also hugely interactive and a well worth a watch.
6. Bloody Beetroots
As famous for his on stage shows as he is for his production output, the Bloody Beetroots have time and again shown that you can both terrify and enthrall all at the same time. Wearing a mask that’s half Mexican wrestler and half Marvel Comics Venom, Italian maestro Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo has a very broad interest base not limited to music. his past projects have also included films, art and manifestos (whatever they may be). With this one, there is definitely more than meets the eye.
To be honest it takes some guts to dress up as a pillow and call yourself a serious producer but we’re happy to give Marshmello the benefit of the doubt because he pulls it off with aplomb and it seems to be paying off. The predominantly Trap producer has remixed for the likes of Skrillex, Zedd and Diplo and has also released his own original material on 10 track ep Joytime. He’ll be making a long awaited visit to our shores on his tour in March.
4. Golden Features
Australia’s own masked prodigy Golden Features has truly become a force to be reckoned with over the last two years. With a chock full touring schedule now and major remixes under his belt for international talent including Porter Robinson, Flume and Crookers as well some seriously cool original tracks (check out Tell Me and Wolfie/Funeral) then this guy is going to become a major player on the international circuit. Check him on tour across the US if you can.
Berlin based producer and masked avenger Claptone has been doing the rounds for some time now and was recently here in Radelaide where he hit up Sugar. The golden masked beat maker is known to be one of the hardest working and most dedicated producers around. His RA biography reads like a chapter from Game of Thrones and his music sits in that dark spot between underground and deep House making a Calptone DJ set like a journey into the truly unknown. His most recent compilation gives you an idea of just how dedicated to the masked cause he is it’s called ‘The Masquerade‘.
Although of late the infamous Deadmau5 has been better known for his Twitter tangles than his music there’s no doubt that he is still a force to be reckoned with. His production skills saw him skyrocket very rapidly from a more or less unknown Canadian bedroom producer to a global megastar in a relatively short time back in the mid 2000’s and tracks including Faxing Berlin and I Remember bridged a gap between House, Electro and Progressive in a way that seemed to speak to listeners across all areas of Electronica and EDM. The late 2010’s saw him drop off somewhat as he seemed to get sucked further and further into social media spats and later, he confirmed, bouts of depression. Recently though he has found a renewed focus of late releasing his latest album W:/2016ALBUM/ in Dec 2016 which topped the US Billboard Top Dance/Electronic Albums.
1. Daft Punk
At number 1, in the top spot, the Numero Unos of our masked super DJs are the one and only Daft Punk. if we are talking about dedication to the cause then there can only be one winner. The duo of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter have shaped dance music in a way that few others have. Donning their trademark masks for over 2o years now the boys have worked with many music greats and been sampled by the likes of Kanye. They’ve appeared on the Grammys winning Best Album and have a list of other awards as long as your arm. All hail the chiefs!