Amidst the countless social circles that dwell within the world of modern electronic music producers, lies a small group of artists who have yet to fully understand the capabilities of their hormones, but have seemingly found a commanding grasp over their musical realms. These artists are all under the legal drinking age in the US, and most are still in high school, yet somehow from seperate corners of the globe they have congregated and assisted each other in reaching a respectable status amongst both the veterans of the production spectrum and the observant international EDM community.
Currently, my favourite artist among the aforementioned group is Madeon; a 16-year-old producer from France that I have been in contact with since the release of his Smile Like You Mean It remix close to a year ago. My interview with him was originally scheduled for a couple of months ago, but Hugo was in the process of beginning a “project for a big artist”, which ended up being his new remix of Raise Your Weapon for Deadmau5. Upon completion, he was nice enough to follow-up and give me some of his time. Heres what he had to say:
TWG: Hey bud, long time no speak
Madeon: Hey man, how are you? Thanks for talking about my Deadmau5 remix.
TWG: Anytime man it’s my pleasure, your production skills are maturing quickly and you picked the perfect track to add a bit more colour to. What was the whole production process like?
Madeon: Raise Your Weapon was an interesting project, remixing someone like Deadmau5 is obviously exciting. I wanted to make a remix that was consistent with the rest of my music, to make sure the people who would discover me through this track would instantly know what my music is about.
TWG: Yea man I understand, it’s difficult for artists to establish their signature sound, but yours is quite distinct and it really shines through on the recent remix. How did you find your production style initially? It clearly has a lot of French roots to it, but what other artists really got you started?
Madeon: The main goal of my style was to implement the detailed glitchy aspect of electro in a more melodic pop context. I like the idea of having a continuous melody that is played subsequently by various, sometimes unrelated, instruments. It adds an element of timbre variation to the composition. For example, there are two layers of composition to a vocal track, it evolves both in pitch and in timbre, with different vowels.
It’s the style im exploring right now, but i’m also heavily influenced by straight-up pop producers, the biggest being Stuart Price. I have a heavy fascination for simple, yet striking, pop productions.
TWG: I’d love to know how many other 16 year olds value Stuart Price’s production prowess, let alone know his name. Were you introduced to music at a young age? Who do you owe your love for music to?
Madeon: I first got into music in general when I was eleven, upon watching Daft Punk‘s film Interstella 5555. There was something so beautiful about those instrumental, yet narrative songs. I started producing house music a couple of years later. I dont live in a very musical family, so the passion pretty much came out of nowhere.
TWG: I’m glad you had your revelation at such a young age, it will put you at such an advantage when you get into the thick of your career. What were the first pieces of equipment and software VSTs that you started producing with? Has your setup or production process changed much since then?
Madeon: I started out with FL Studio, which I still use today, it’s really a fantastic piece of software. I dont believe in the hardware myth, so my set-up is pretty much a computer, a keyboard and a pair of speakers.
TWG: Whats your favourite way to deal with a mental block when you’re in the middle of a production?
Madeon: I keep absurdly long to-do lists of details to fix on my songs, so when i’m not sure how to progress the track i’ll work on fixing and polishing whats already there. Lately, ive been using a different approach of laying out the structure of the track on the keyboard first and making sure it flows well as a full song before starting the actual production.
TWG: How many live shows have you played so far? Were you already a DJ by the time your productions got big or did you have to pick it up quickly?
Madeon: I’ve only played one live show so far, a pop set opening for Yelle in France. I got into DJing recently, long after I started producing, which I think is ultimately an interesting thing as it made me have a very different approach to DJing. I quickly grew frustrated by the traditional two deck setup, and thought it would be fun to experiment with something different and more interactive, so my setup is quite unusual. I’m really looking forward to performing more shows later this year.
TWG: What artists are your closest friends in the industry and which have helped you the most since you began your career?
Madeon: I’ve met a lot of fantastic people lately, like Skrillex and Zedd – the band Yelle are also possibly the nicest people i’ve ever come across. I’ve known Porter Robinson for years and he’s had a huge impact on my work ethic and approach to music production.
TWG: It’s awesome that all you young talents have stuck together, i’m excited to see all of you mature musically side-by-side and collaborate. Are there any artists you associate with that you feel dont get the publicity and/or respect that they deserve?
TWG: I’m so happy that you are aware of Robotaki and his talents, I am a huge fan of his as well. Considering how quickly people’s tastes in music change in society today, do you see yourself continuing to perfect your sound style, or might you look to dabble in other genres along the way?
Madeon: My folder of unfinished music is full of eclectic projects, ranging from movie-styled soundtracks to hard dubstep, even some piano ballads. I definitely want to explore other genres.
TWG: That was a sweet shout out you got from Deadmau5 on the recent remix eh?
Madeon: Yeah it’s crazy, i’m so humbled and my inbox is imploding at the moment!
TWG: I think the only question I have left for you is how you see your career evolving over the next few years? Are you going to go full out into your production and musical career, or do you want to live a normal kids life for a bit and finish up school before focusing on music?
Madeon: My education had always been chaotic, so music is virtually my only career plan. In the short term im having a lot of fun doing what im doing right now and will pursue it and see where it gets me. I wish to continue making music for as long as possible, in various forms and styles, and with various goals.
TWG: Thats awesome man, but what does your mom have to say about that?
Madeon: She’s cool with it. :)
TWG: Wonderful! Thanks again so much for giving me some of your time. As both a huge fan of your music and a small-time blogger this was an amazing opportunity for me and I very much appreciate it.
Madeon: Was a pleasure to talk to you.