The Spotlight: Marshmello – It’s Joytime for EDM
Enigmatic masked DJ/producer Marshmello makes groove-oriented, synth- and bass-heavy electronic dance music. In the spirit of other masked DJs like Deadmau5 and Daft Punk, Marshmello (whose real identity remains a mystery) appears wearing a full-head-covering marshmallow mask. Despite the anonymity, Marshmello’s career blew up in 2015 when he began releasing tracks online, including remixes of Zedd’s “Beautiful Now,” Jack Ü’s “Where Are U Now,” and others. From there came shows at New York’s Pier 94, Pomona, California’s HARD Day of the Dead festival, and Miami Music Week. In 2016, Marshmello released a compilation of his previously released tracks, Joytime, which reached number one on a digital top electronic albums chart. Included on the album was the single “Keep It Mello,” featuring rapper Omar LinX.
Marshmello wears a custom helmet for public appearances. His identity is unknown. It has been frequently suggested that Marshmello is American DJ Chris Comstock, also known as Dotcom, whose style is similar to Marshmello’s. Skrillex also referred to Marshmello as “Chris” in an interview. In addition, both are managed by Moe Shalizi and allegedly have the same tattoo and birthday.
Marshmello’s stage name, an alternative spelling of “marshmallow”, and his marshmallow mascot head were both inspired by electro house music producer and DJ deadmau5, who also notably uses an alternate spelling for his stage name and performs wearing a “dead mouse” mascot head. Acknowledgement of deadmau5’s contribution to Marshmello’s persona is evident in the music video for “Alone,” which feature’s Marshmello’s pet mouse, Joel (Joel Zimmerman is deadmau5’s real name). While Marshmello has not yet confirmed his true identity, the most widespread speculation is that, he is Chris Comstock, who is also known as Dotcom. Journalists have also speculated that Marshmello could be Martin Garrix, Jauz, or a collective of producers and DJs managed by Shalizi. On March 4, 2017, Feed Me posted an Instagram story of Dotcom in Marshmello’s costume and another person with Marshmello’s helmet. After his set at Electric Daisy Carnival in 2016, Marshmello jokingly “revealed” his true identity by taking off his helmet, but the performer on-stage was revealed to actually be the Dutch producer Tiësto. The event was widely described as being a “troll”, as the two artists have been seen with each other in other photos and had conflicting tour schedules, thus making it unlikely that Marshmello was actually Tiësto
On March 3, 2015, Marshmello posted his first song “WaVeZ” as an original mix on his SoundCloud page. As he released more songs, he began to receive support from established and well-known DJs like Skrillex who reposted his song “FinD Me” on his SoundCloud page. Marshmello performed at New York’s Pier 94, Pomona, California’s HARD Day of the Dead festival, and Miami Music Week. In 2016, Marshmello released a compilation of his previously released tracks, Joytime, which reached number five on the US Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart. Included on the album was the single “Keep It Mello” featuring rapper Omar LinX. He is managed by Moe Shalizi of Red Light Management, who also manages artists such as Jauz, Ookay and Slushii.
On January 8, 2016, Marshmello self-released his debut album Joytime, consisting of 10 tracks, through his own label Joytime Collective. The album topped iTunes electronic album chart on the first day. As of 30 July 2016, the album is twelfth on the chart. Two singles were released from the album, titled “Keep It Mello” featuring rapper Omar LinX and “Want U 2”. The album peaked number five on Billboard’s electronic/dance albums chart.
Marshmello debuted on Monstercat with his song “Alone”, which appeared on the compilation album Monstercat 027 – Cataclysm. On June 3, 2016, it was announced that there would be a remix contest for “Alone”. The winner would have their remix released by Monstercat and a chance to play an opening DJ set at Camp Bisco. It was later announced that future house duo MRVLZ had won the contest. On July 2, 2016, he released the music video for Alone on his YouTube channel which has racked up over 394 million views as of April 25th 2017, easily becoming the label’s most successful release.
On June 19, 2016, Marshmello performed at Electric Daisy Carnival 2016 in Las Vegas where Dutch DJ Tiësto, who wore the same clothes as Marshmello, showed up on stage and took off his helmet assuming to be Marshmello. It was later disregarded as a publicity stunt by fans and the media due to their conflicting tour dates and a photo of “the two helmeted DJs hanging out together pre-show”.
On August 20, 2016, Marshmello announced the Ritual Tour on Twitter, on which he will perform in several countries including the United States, China, South Korea, India and Paraguay from September 30, 2016 until January 21, 2017.
On October 27, 2016, he debuted on Skrillex’s OWSLA label with a single titled “Ritual” featuring American singer-songwriter Wrabel. An official music video was uploaded to Marshmello’s YouTube channel. He started his own record label Joytime Collective and signed Slushii as the first artist.
Marshmello collaborated with Ookay to release the single “Chasing Colors” featuring vocals by Noah Cyrus. He later collaborated with Slushii to release the single “Twinbow“, which was previously ‘teased’ by the duo. On 5 May 2017, his third single of the year titled “Moving On” was released. Marshmello debuted the song in 2015, two years before it received an official release. A music video for the song was also released.