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Music Unmasked: 11 Artists Who Make Every Day Halloween

By Beverly Bryan
October 5, 2011

Tags: HOT
  1. Mysterious Music and Spooky Shows
  2. #11
  3. #10
    The Rubberbandits
  4. #9
  5. #8
    Daft Punk
  6. #7
    MF Doom
  7. #6
    Sunn O)))
  8. #5
    Austin TV
  9. #4
    Mexicans With Guns
  10. #3
  11. #2
  12. #1
  • Mysterious Music and Spooky Shows
    Sure Gwar may have started it all, and some might say they did it best, but concealing your identity is definitely becoming popular in music lately. It’s weird to think that some of our favorite music is being made by people whose faces we’ll never see – but that’s part of the appeal of it for the artist. By donning a mask, musicians get to have their creations stand on their own merits, separate from the creator’s identity and biography.

    It can be frustrating for a journalist not to be able to put a face with a name – but for an open-minded music fan a little mystery and fantasy around an artist never hurt anything. Most stars craft a larger-than-life persona for themselves, and if they don’t their fans will do it for them. In a way, donning a mask and assuming another identity is really just the next logical step.

    As long as you do it with style, we’re all for it. Here are eleven that do it right and give us more by hiding a little. Consider them for your Halloween playlist. Let's start with #11 SBTRKT
  • #11 SBTRKT
    UK producer SBTRKT is a perfect example of an artist who hoped to keep the focus on his music by choosing an alias and performing in a mask. Considering the way bass heads are going nuts for the future soul compositions on his eponymous debut, it seems to have worked. His vowelless moniker and his African mask with its raffia beard are quickly becoming iconic – even though by now everyone knows his name is Aaron Jerome.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images Next #10 The Rubberbandits
  • #10 The Rubberbandits
    At the intersection of comedy, hip hop, and anonymity you will find the strangely hilarious Limerick duo known to the world as Rubberbandits. When you find them, Blind Boy Boat Club and Mr. Chrome (Dave Chambers and Bob McGlynn) will undoubtedly be wearing plastic bags on their heads with eye and mouth holes cut into them. It ups the funny (and the creepy) in their act – and it probably helps them get away with singing about huffing glue and beating up people’s dads.

    Photo Credit: MTV Iggy Next #9 Deadmau5
  • #9 Deadmau5
    Canadian house producer Deadmau5 is instantly recognizable by the bug-eyed mouse head he wear when performing. His headdress is somewhere between the psychedelic cartoon art of Takashi Murakami and good old Mickey – and it definitely adds an element of surrealism to his massive sets. He’s not really hiding anything, however. He’s never minded people knowing that it’s a guy named Joel Zimmerman behind the mask.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images/Tim Mosenfelder Next #8 Daft Punk
  • #8 Daft Punk
    Though electronic super stars Daft Punk do not really conceal their identities, they are seldom sighted without their gleaming full face helmets. The French duo consisting of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo not only perform with their headgear but showed up to the Tron premier in full regalia.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images/Frazer Harrison Next #7 MF Doom
  • #7 MF Doom
    For hip hop artist Daniel Dumile MF Doom is more of a secret identity than a stage name. He reinforces it with his unforgettable Doctor Doom-inspired metal face. The UK-born, US-raised emcee/super-villain is rarely photographed without his mask and it’s always been like that. He started rhyming at open mics with a stocking pulled down over his head. We’re glad he eventually went for an upgrade.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images/Jim Dyson Next #6 Sunn O)))
  • #6 Sunn O)))
    American doom metal/experimental legends Sunn O))) only seem impenetrable. Behind the hooded robes, fog, and wall of drone at their shows are two metal heads named Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson, and any number of collaborators. Still, it’s more fun to pretend you’ve accidentally wandered into the middle of some occult noise ritual.

    Photo Courtesy of Southern Lord/Photo Credit: Javier Villegas Next #5 Austin TV
  • #5 Austin TV
    Mexican post-rockers Austin TV withhold both their faces and their voices, making their lyrics-free instrumentals stand out all the more. That might sound a bit dull but their driving, mind bending music will hold your attention and they even keep the masks interesting. They’ve appeared on stage in everything from bunny masks to, well, those things on their heads in this picture.

    Photo courtesy of Austin TV Next #4 Mexicans With Guns
  • #4 Mexicans With Guns
    As Mexicans With Guns, Chicano DJ Ernest Gonzalez usually appears in press photos and onstage in a lucha libre mask. We’ve also spotted him in this Dia de Los Muertos-inspired mask. Either way we love the enigmatic quality it lends to one of his futuristic ghettotech sets.

    Photo Credit: MTV Iggy/Nichole McCall Next #3 Ghost
  • #3 Ghost
    Officially, Swedish doom metal band Ghost is formed by a pack of “nameless ghouls” who hide their identities under deathly face paint and sequined ecclesiastical robes, apparently from the Church of Glam Metal. They’ve even gone so far as to distort their voices in interviews. Despite their best efforts, the metal world recently let out a collective gasp when frontghoul Papa Emiritus was unmasked by Encyclopedia Metallum as being one Tobias Forge, also of a band called Repugnant. Be that as it may, he’s still the Satanic Pope to us.

    Photo Courtesy of Ghost Next #2 Zomby
  • #2 Zomby
    Of all the artists on this list UK dubstep producer Zomby might be the most dedicated to remaining unknown. Animal Collective tapped him for All Tomorrow’s Parties this year but he didn’t show. (We hear he’s gotten a bit better about that sort of thing since then.) That, and he’s pretty assiduous about pulling his shirt over his face if there are cameras around. He favors wearing a Guy Fawkes mask onstage. It suits him.

    Photo Courtesy of 4AD/Photo Credit: Kate Garner Next #1 Nobunny
  • #1 Nobunny
    There’s just something about a man in a mask – and not much else. Even if it’s a filthy bunny mask paired with equally dingy tighty whities. If you’ve seen Nobunny’s wild live show driven by his guttermouthed power pop, you know he’s the hardest working hare in show business. It’s known that the man behind the rabbit is one Justin Champlin who plays in other bands such as the Okmoniks … it’s just that no one cares. The only thing you really need to know is that Nobunny loves you.

    Photo Courtesy of 1-2-3-4 Go! Records More Lists