Madeon has continued his successful transition from teen production prodigy to full on superstar with the release of his debut artist album Adventure via Sony Music a few weeks ago. With its single featuring Passion Pit entitled "Pay No Mind," hype quickly grew as to what to expect from the French artist's vision for Adventure.
The real thing delivered, with a diverse collaborative roster and a cinematic experience from start to finish, and an appearance from Madeon's own vocals on "Home." The album debuted at #1 on Billboard's Dance/Electronic Chart, held the top spot on their New Artist Albums Chart, and is sitting pretty at #3 on the iTunes Dance Chart this week.
We got to chat with the artist amidst his album release, delving into the making of Adventure, his vision for its corresponding tour and of course, what's next.
EARMILK: You experimented in various hobbies throughout your life, how did you decide that music was what you loved the most?
Madeon: It was interesting, I had experimented in a lot of things, but didn't really know about music. One day I kind of stumbled upon it and that became that.
EM: What artists then did you discover and find the most interesting?
M: I was 10 or 11 and I was watching TV and this documentary on Daft Punk came on, and it really stuck with me because I thought the sounds they were producing were just so interesting and different than anything I had ever heard before. They really caught my attention.
Madeon first grabbed fans' attention with his mash up "Pop Culture" in 2011. He captivated the internet with the live mash up of 39 songs, with each second passing coming together as a piece representing the music culture at the time, especially in pop's transition into becoming a dance music culture.
EM: Fast forward a few years to "Pop Culture." A lot of artists now gain fame from their productions, but you gained fame from a technical mash up. What was that like to gain fame from something like that, which was also a hobby that you loved?
M: It was awesome but different, because "Pop Culture" was technically work, like a job, for me at the time. From my side it wasn't easy to get from there to touring the world: I was working on other projects that the time, producing and such, and had to put all of that on hold to go on tour.
EM: Was it easy then for you to get on stage in front of large crowds to perform?
M: No, it was definitely difficult at first. I was incredibly nervous, somewhat scary. I really wanted to do it though, and it took me about two weeks before I got to be comfortable and secure in front of the crowd. And as soon as I settled in I realized that I loved it and that it was a really good thing.
EM: And now you're at the point where you've made an album, Adventure, obviously. We're in a time when a lot of dance artists are taking a stab at making albums, so what was your thought process behind why you wanted to make an album versus an EP or a single?
M: I feel like you don't necessarily need to make an album to do well in dance music. Making EPs and releasing singles as I wanted to was nice, but I knew I wanted to make something with a story and some structure, really something that would only make sense as communicated as an album. I feel like albums are a very unique chance to capture my mirror, and kind of give some vision, widen up the scope of what your music covers. You can include a lot more content in a lot of ways. It's a really apt format for that.
EM: Can you tell us about some of your favorite things about the making of Adventure?
M: There was a clear structure that I laid out before I started really writing the music. I tend to make music in a concept-driven way where I will start with an idea that I will supplement other ideas with, as opposed to starting with a melody or something concrete. It'll be more of a question, more of an idea so that it's more intellectual first. It's not one of those things where I'm sitting down and all the sudden the music comes to me and appears, it's a process. I made a blueprint of the album and kind of extended that to the whole album and each song. I had a layout where I knew what I wanted to do where on the album ahead of actually making the music, which was nice because I tried to stay as true as possible to that direction throughout the course of making it. It gave me a great reference point to always come back to, to make sure that I achieved what I wanted to and matched the original intention. There were days, 24 hours where I would challenge myself to make music all in one sitting and had those goals in mind.
EM: Do you take the same approach when you're playing live? You have your live performance of the Adventure album as well as a live DJ set in a few of your upcoming shows.
M: DJing is something that I feel is very different from the rest of my musical life. I've got so many more materials to work with in my show that make more sense there. The music that I make versus the music I perform with are quite different, and I kind of figured that with the album I would be able to make a show that bridges that gap and is a true Madeon show from start to finish with all of my music. I'll be doing a couple of more DJ sets this year but mostly it's going to be this new format that is all me.
Last month, Madeon put to test the live show he is famous for on France's Fun Radio. Taking over the decks, he used his Novation Launchpad to not only put on a live DJ show, but mix live as well.
EM: You have a lot of collaborators on the album, did you do a lot of that work in person? Did you concept with them?
M: I really prefer to work in person and I did for the immense majority of those collaborations. I wanted to have this physical, social interaction and human experience in the music making process, because that can be pretty abstract and removed through the internet and sending emails back and forth. And honestly, I was getting a little tired of doing that and I wanted to have this feeling of being in the studio with someone and making music from scratch together in a room. That was my approach for most of the collaborations, and all of them are really interesting and great because of that.
EM: How was this experience different than what you've done before?
M: With every collaboration I tried to take notes so that I would get the most out of the experience every time and use it for the next session, to enter it more informed. And around that time, I was getting really interested in songwriting, so my priorities were a bit reversed. So I used to be all about making production and the songs and the lyrics were an excuse to work on production, but this time I felt like my priorities were swapping and I was seeing the song as the center of it all, with the production as a frame for the song. I was paying way more attention to that and I think it's really from working with other people because we were writing lyrics together, and it was just so fascinating.
EM: Has this helped frame what you want to do next?
M: Yeah I'm thinking about my second album already. I'll probably explore some of these avenues a bit more. I've really enjoyed writing songs on my own as well as collaborating, so I would like to work to get better at that and want to do more.
EM: What's something that you're listening to right now?
M: A lot of things – it's always kind of the same. I'm listening to a ton of Australian music right now.
Madeon Adventure Live Dates – Get Tickets HERE
*Denotes The M Machine supporting
- April 10 The Warfield San Francisco, CA*
- April 11 EMPO Awards Mexico City, Mexico (DJ SET)
- April 12 Coachella Indio, CA (SOLD OUT)
- April 15 El Rey Los Angeles, CA* (SOLD OUT)
- April 16 Beta Nightclub Denver, CO (DJ SET)
- April 17 Celebrities Nightclub Vancouver, BC (DJ SET)
- April 18 Foundation Nightclub Seattle, WA (DJ SET) (SOLD OUT)
- April 19 Coachella Indio, CA (SOLD OUT)
- April 23 Trocadero Philadelphia, PA*
- April 24 (early) Webster Hall New York NY*
- April 24 (late) Webster Hall New York NY*(SOLD OUT)
- April 25 Echostage Washington, DC*
- April 26 House of Blues Boston, MA*
- April 28 House of Blues Cleveland, OH*
- April 29 Bluestone Columbus, OH*
- April 30 Canopy Club Urbana, IL*
- May 1 House of Blues Chicago, IL*
- May 2 Royal Oak Detroit, MI*
- May 3 Segredo Madison, WI*
- May 4 Mill City Nights Minneapolis, MN*
- May 5 Shrine Mashantucket, CT (DJ SET)
- May 7 London Music Hall London, ON*
- May 8 Danforth Music Hall Toronto, ON*
- May 9 New City Gas Montreal, QC*
- May 23 Mysteryland Bethel Woods, NY
- May 24 Sasquatch! Quincy, WA
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