Meet Danny Mahoney. As resident photographer for XS/Tryst Nightclubs at the Wynn in Las Vegas, Danny has shot just about every major DJ in the world, and this year was recently asked to tour Europe with Deadmau5. Today, Deadmau5′s >album title goes here< hit stores, which features the photography of Mr. Mahoney.
WeAllHitPlay: First of all, what are you shooting with?
Danny: Canon 5D Mark 3. I used to shoot with a Nikon. Deadmau5, who is a huge Canon fanatic, who collects and shoots with a Canon himself, and has just about every Canon product ever made, told me that he wanted me to shoot with a Canon. So one day, I was walking through the casino, and he was playing Blackjack, and said, “You need to get rid of that Nikon camera if you are going to go on tour with me.” So, I thought he was just kidding around because he’s a huge Canon fan, and then he says “Let’s try to win you a camera.” So he’s playing Blackjack and he pretty much won me my first Canon camera. And then I went on tour with him, and started shooting Canon, and I love it now.
WeAllHitPlay: As a photographer, do you see what he likes about Canon over Nikon?
Danny: Oh yeah. There’s different likes about it. I shoot nightlife, so with low lights the Canon works a bit more in my favor. I used to like the Nikon because of how user-friendly it was, but now that I’m fully into Canon mode, it’s all pretty much “Coke or Pepsi”. But I’m a Canon guy now, and we can all thank Deadmau5 for that.
WeAllHitPlay: So you ended up going on tour with Deadmau5 after that?
Danny: Right. I had never done anything like that before, and I had always been like, if something like that was going to happen, I’d do it for sure. So I thought he was just kidding, but then I got my touring information like a week before we went. His manager called me like “here’s your information, you are booked in,” and we were talking like a week out before I finally had a definite answer. It was a definite honor to go on tour with such an artist like that.
WeAllHitPlay: So you were gone for how long?
Danny: It was two-and-half months, 13 countries, 22 different cities. A full European tour, through plane, tour bus, ferry – the full thing, the life of going on tour.
WeAllHitPlay: Give us some crazy tour stories, or funny things that might have happened out there.
Danny: Well, first of all, if you know Deadmau5, if you know Joel, his personality, some of the things he does. I’m not sure if he realizes it, because he’ll do something or say something to somebody, and you’re sitting there in shock, laughing like “What just happened?” All in all a great personality to be around, and fun personality to be around.
Some of my favorite places we went to? Everywhere in Spain was beautiful, the culture was really nice. Ibiza, Barcelona. London was a beautiful city. We went to Scotland, and Joel rented out an ancient castle that was literally hundreds of years old on the Lochness river. The festival was there, it was called the Rockness Festival, and these people party hard. People were lighting road flares in the crowd, some guy busted out a homemade flamethrower from his backpack. I have photos of all this stuff. During the moment, it’s just like, everything is going on, and it’s so intense, you’re just capturing the moment. Afterwords, when I’m uploading the photos, and I’m looking at them like “that stuff really happened.” Some guy really pulled a flame thrower out of his bag was just torching the middle of the crowd. That is something I haven’t seen in Las Vegas. The Europeans, they party hard.
Pretty much everywhere we went in Europe, the crowds were insane. We went to Belgium and the crowds were like over one-hundred thousand people, it was the most amount of people that I had ever seen in my life. From front-to-back, left-to-right, I couldn’t see the end of the sea of people. Even for me to stand there with my camera, I can’t imagine how the artists felt to play that festival. It was pretty intimidating.
WeAllHitPlay: Today, Deadmau5 album title goes here LP came out. Did you get your copy?
Danny: Yeah, they actually used all of my photos in the album artwork when you flip it open. That was a huge honor for me, for him to use my photos. It was pretty cool. They mentioned it to me, and after I saw the CD cover, I wasn’t sure if they were going to use it. I take everything with a grain of salt, like if they don’t, I don’t want to be bothered by it. But I am a fan either way, so when opened up the flap, there were my photos. So that was like “Wow”. To be in an album that is like the biggest album in the world today, that’s a pretty big thing for me.
WeAllHitPlay: Yeah, that is pretty amazing. So, you’ve had the opportunity to shoot Deadmau5 extensively, but you’ve also had the opportunity to shoot pretty much all of the biggest DJ’s in the world. So who would you say are some of your favorite DJ’s to shoot?
Danny: Well, first of all, I’m a fan of the music. It all depends on who’s playing, and that also relates to who I am shooting. Deadmau5 is obviously the best person to shoot, and that is because there are so many different personalities. He puts the head on, the crowd goes crazy, he takes the head off, the crowd goes crazy. You get pictures of him with the head, without the head. People bring their own Mau5 heads into the crowd, they were mouse ears. It’s pretty much the most creativitiy that I get out of shooting.
I also like shooting Steve Aoki. Aoki’s a fun person to shoot, because it’s just constant madness. One minute he’s throwing cake in someone’s face, the next minute he’s crowd surfing on a raft, so you always have to stay on your toes. You blink your eyes and you will miss something, so he’s a fun person to shoot. I also really enjoy Aoki’s music, so for me to shoot him while that’s going on, that’s a big deal for me.
WeAllHitPlay: Well, that being said, aside from shooting, who are some of your favorite DJ’s you like just to listen to?
Danny: I like Tommy Trash a lot. Wolfgang Gartner, Funkagenda. Obviously, Deadmau5 and Steve Aoki.
WeAllHitPlay: What is your relationship like with longtime Deadmau5 photographer, Rukes?
Danny: He’s actually one of my good friends. I’ve worked hand-in-hand with the guy. He’s someone I consider if I ever have questions to ask, or someone I can consider a friend. He’s recommended me for many things. We’re totally cool with one another – people probably think we trying to compete with each other, but I don’t feel that way at all. He’s doing his thing, and I’m doing mine. At the end of the day, we go and get a bite to eat and talk about random things and laugh about it.
WeAllHitPlay: Let’s talk about that XS Nightswim Knife Party shot. It kind of went viral.
Danny: Knife Party Nightswim was probably my favorite Nightswim of the year. I was actually on tour for the first few Nightswims, but I think this was the first or second Nightswim since I came back. It was perfect weather, the pool was packed. All of the pieces of the puzzle were put together. So, I was going to see if I could make this shot work, because everyone was splashing the water like maniacs, and actually, I remember I waited for that moment, because it was during the song “Internet Friends”, and when the drop hit like “And now you’re going to die!”, and the people just started splashing like crazy. The water, the lights, everything hit at just the right moment. The Knife Party logo is on the screen, if that photo doesn’t say “Nightswim”, I don’t know what does. You’re like “I want to be at that party, that’s the coolest club in the world.”
WeAllHitPlay: Would you say that’s your all time favorite shot?
Danny: No, I wouldn’t say that. I’ve gotten a lot of complements on it, people are like “Oooh, your Knife Party picture!” or I had another artist come in and go “Hey, can you take a picture from over there like that Knife Party shot,” so he obviously saw it. It has to be one of the crowd favorite photos. People started tagging it, and sharing it on Facebook, posting it everywhere.
At first starting out, just shooting people pictures inside the club was great. But if we never started booking all of this talent at XS and Tryst, giving me the opportunity to shoot all of these performances, I might not be here today. So working with Ronn [Nicolli] and Jesse Waits is a pretty big deal.
WeAllHitPlay: What would you say is the craziest thing you ever captured? And I’m not talking about, “Oh, the dog ran off with the hamburger!” shot.
Danny: It had to be Labor Day Weekend 2011, which is still one of my favorite photos of all time. It was Afrojack and Skrillex. Afrojack got off and Skrillex got on, and Deadmau5 showed up, Sebastian Ingrosso showed up, R3hab showed up. All these guys showed up and are hanging out on stage. So, one of my favorite shots of all time is Skrillex is on stage, with Deadmau5 standing next to him, screaming, with his arm covered in Saran Wrap because he just got his arm tattooed. And the picture is so in the moment, with confetti, everyone’s just so into what’s going on. It’s just unreal, you can’t even make it up.
Yeah, that was an amazing night. Give us the complete, unadulterated history of “#Obviously” on your Twitter?
Danny: (Laughs) Me and Josh Stephens were messing around one day, and he said something to me, I’m not sure what, and, he looked at me and goes “obviously!” and I said it back to him. From that point on, it’s been an ongoing joke. There’s nothing really about it, I’d look at him and he’d go “Oh, word?” and I’d go “Obviously”, or vice versa. It’s just a stupid ongoing joke, and it just carried along onto Twitter, because you could pretty much say “Obviously” about anything.
WeAllHitPlay: Other people started saying it on Twitter as well, right?
Danny: Yeah, “I’m keeping it #obvious” or “#obviously” on. I wouldn’t say that anyone important or famous has Tweeted it, but I think someone may trigger it at some point. I think it’s pretty funny.
WeAllHitPlay: When you release a photo book, maybe you should call it “#Obviously”.
Danny: I actually thought of it, that’s one of the titles I was throwing around.
Check out Danny Mahoney’s photos at his personal blog www.dmahoneyphoto.com.
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