This latest gem from London House trio Disciples gives a fresh reworking to Mr.Gaye’s 1971 beauty, ‘Mercy Mercy Me’. They recently signed to Elias Christidis at FFRR/Parlophone and this continues the impressive build toward their debut record, due in early 2015.
I recently caught up with my good friend & prodigal talent Madeon and asked him some pertinently direct questions about his career so far; from starting out winning remix competitions from his home basement to writing songs in a Parisian hotel penthouse with one of the world’s biggest pop icons & his highly anticipated debut album…
Knew Knowledge meets – Madeon – Artist/Songwriter/Producer
Label: Popcultur/Sony Columbia
Management: Marco Ferraro @ Manajamma
Agent: Solomon Parker @ WME (World ex-US)/ Alan & Paul @ AM Only (USA)
1. How did your career in music start?
I won a remix competition for a Pendulum track in late 2010, and that’s when I started making music professionally.
2. When did you start writing songs and why?
I was initially much more interested in the technical, production side and somewhat disregarded the songwriting aspect; I wanted to solve the mystery of how those amazing electronic sounds I’d heard on my favorite records were made – it was an investigation. Discovering The Beatles made me appreciate songs so much more and I now perceive the composition and writing as the substance of music, with production only serving as a frame.
3. Who or what influences your music?
I’m very visual. I collect digital paintings and photographs I find online and organize them in an “Inspiration” folder. I use them as a starting point for songs a lot of the time, trying to translate those visual emotions in a musical form.
4. You shot to fame in 2011 following your brilliant ‘Pop Culture’ mash-up video. How did that change things for you, professionally and personally?
It was a very important moment for me. It really accelerated my introduction to the live performance world. I had never seen a DJ in my life or listened to a full set when I started performing (as a DJ), but ‘Pop Culture’ enabled me to play in front of great crowds early on.
5. Where do you prefer to write your music?
Ever since I started making music, I’ve been writing in the same room, in my basement.
6. What equipment do you use to write/record with?
I’m extremely software-based. My set-up consists mostly of my computer, a MIDI keyboard and some speakers. I also have a microphone and a couple of guitars.
7. Where did you record your latest release?
The latest song I’ve put out is “Cut The Kid”, but I actually wrote it in 2012. I started it as part of my annual “24 Hours EP” challenge in which I lock myself in the studio for 24 hours straight with no sleep and have to write and complete three songs from scratch. A lot of the songs I’m most proud of started in one of those sessions. It’s a great way to stop overthinking the writing process, forcing you to be confident in your ideas.
8. How is your debut album coming along?
I’m really happy with how it’s coming together. I won’t say any more though!
9. Have you co-written any material for the album?
I’ve only started co-writing recently. I can’t talk about everything I’ve done but one of my favorite sessions so far was with Jimmy Napes. He’s an immensely talented musician and a brilliant guy.
10.Did the experience of writing and producing for Lady Gaga change anything about your approach to creating music?
Absolutely. She’s a genius – working with her definitely taught me a lot.
11.What do you like to write about lyrically?
I like lyrics that feel natural and conversational and that tell a specific story while staying vague enough to be relatable. I like to write about emotions more than events.
12.Where do you rehearse?
I don’t really rehearse; the appeal of DJing is the improvisation and interaction with the audience.
13.What does your live set-up consist of?
I use one laptop for the audio and one for the video (which is triggered in real time based on the audio), alongside three Novation Launchpads and two Xone K2 (one of each is dedicated to video effects).
14.Which song of yours is your favourite to perform live?
‘Pop Culture’ is always fun. I’ve played it so many times it’s muscle memory.
15.What do you get up to on tour in between shows?
Air travel takes most of my awake time. I like to wander in the cities I visit when I have the time, which is unfortunately quite rare.
16.Describe the music business in 3 words.
17.Do you have a party trick or any hidden talents?
I used to invent magic tricks. That was my first job actually.
[Well obviously he used to invent magic tricks(?!?), but this is also quite cool – solving a Rubik’s Cube in under 1 minute…I’ve also seen him do this with his hands behind his back which is quite amazing]
18.Who were your role models growing up?
Daft Punk, Paul McCartney, Stuart Price.
19.If you could collaborate with any artist or songwriter dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Paul McCartney, come on.
20.When was the last time you bought a CD or vinyl? What was it?
I think it was The Glitch Mob’s ‘Love Death Immortality’ vinyl. I liked the artwork.
21.What is in the pipeline for the next 6-12months?
I’m back on tour this summer and I’ll be performing in Las Vegas regularly throughout the year. I can’t announce anything yet but I’ll release more music in the next twelve months than I ever have.
22.What will you be doing/where will you be in 10 years time?
I’d like to spend some time learning as much as I can beyond music.
23. Pick 3 new artists…
1. Chrome Sparks :
2. Glass Animals
24.Finally, choose your favourite from each pairing;
Sam Cooke or Marvin Gaye?
Rolling Stones or The Beatles?
Pink Floyd or Led Zepplin?
Michael Jackson or Janet Jackson?
Lenno is basically the Finnish Madeon. He’s 19 and makes great electronic music with a shit tonne of melody – see Never Stop for more detail. I’ve been keeping tabs on him for a year or two now and his writing and production skills are definitely developing nicely. Its worth checking his entire Soundcloud page for more gems.
The other day he dropped his latest remix, ‘Symmetry’ by Tropic of Picses.
Kygo, the 22 year old Norwegian producer, has been around a while now smashing out the remixes for the likes of Ed Sheeran, Passenger, Kyla La Grange, Seinabo Sey and most recently Benjamin Francis Leftwich, but I just really like what he’s doing so wanted to give him a shout out. Coldplay and Diplo have recently done the same. He played his first London show the other week and heads off to the US on tour in May.
Billboard.com just did an interview with him that’s worth a read – http://bit.ly/1lzboMk
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