I think Madison may be my biggest musical crush of 2013. Madison is a NYC, platinum blonde, electro pop princess, who I’m kind of surprised doesn’t have the entire music world wrapped around her pinky finger. However, she has received praise from the likes of NME, Interview Magazine, and NYLON and has had her songs appear on the likes of Gossip Girl, 90210, and Ugly Betty.
Madison first caught my attention with her debut EP, The Noise Some People Make, released in January of 2011. The four-track, 12-minute EP embodied the ultra infectious sass of this century’s perfect postmodern diva. It’s hyper-sexy, but also a little deviously dark. It’s quite accessible, but never cheesy. It does its fair share of glittering, but always with an air of the chic. It seems fit for both the kind of people who you can’t drag off of the dance floor and those who usually need to be dragged onto the dance floor… It knows how to party like a club kid, but has quite a few other alluring attributes as well.
Well, two years have passed and Madison is finally releasing her follow-up, the second in a four-EP collection. This Tuesday, February 5th, Madison is releasing We’ve Been Nothing on her own label, G Records. However, the tracks have already gotten a fair amount of airplay, with first single, “Sweet Life,” dropping last November and follow-up single “Nobody Like Me” hitting digital airwaves last week. Her sound seems to be getting progressively darker, leaving nearly all polish in the dust. It’s still quite fun… but a pronouncedly dirtier brand of fun.
I recently got a chance to chat with Madison, a chanteuse of many words. We got a chance to chat about… well… a lot.
Izzy: So there have been two years between your last EP, The Noise Some People Make, and your follow-up EP, We’ve Been Nothing. What have you been up to in the time in-between? How would you compare your upcoming release to your last?
Madison: Yipes! I know! Time is flying at warp speed. The plus and minus of releasing on your own label is that you are the business and the party (creative)… biz in the Front, party in the back, hehe. So that can make things more difficult to stay on track when you tweak, tweak, tweak, like I do. It’s never “done” to me, so I play around with stuff until finally I’m like, “Oh my God, this sounds like mashed potatoes!”
However, in this time, I did release a remix EP, The Remixes Some People Make, with hot remixes from Wild Cub, RAC , and Oli Chang and I music supervised my first film, Missed Connections. It features Mickey Sumner (Sting’s daughter!), who is super awesome and playing Patti Smith in her next role. Missed Connections has won a lot of awards, so that’s a great achievement, and, of course, the music is to die for. That was a lot more work than I thought. But the director, Martin Snyder, is super talented and we have similar taste in music, so it was really really fun to do and he ended up directing my new music video for “Speakeasy,” so that all turned out very well.
And I released a video for “Hot Hot Love,” which is on the Noise Some People Make (and which you can see below) and IFC premiered it, which is crazy… And I also recorded EP number three (as of yet untitled)… I did a bunch of super cool photo shoots for We’ve Been Nothing… And now I’m working on some remixes… and another video… I also have a covers EP, with some of my favorite songs, that I’m going to release after We’ve Been Nothing, and I adopted a rescue puppy from a kill shelter in Alabama. She was really sick for a few months but, now she is doing great!
The new EP is a little darker and grittier, which is exactly what I wanted to do. I’m excited about the sonic exploration and cool collaborations.
Izzy: Getting back to you being the music supervisor on Missed Connections… That’s pretty much my dream job. The only thing I love more than music is cinema. Do you have any particularly noteworthy cinematic influences or loves? I could geek out about cinema all day and it actually proves to be my biggest influence.
Madison: That’s super cool. Music is what can make scenes, can make your energy shift, give you goosebumps, tell your brain, “Something is happening!” make memories, make you cry! That’s so crazy. The thing I didn’t know when I got into doing the supervision was what it was like when working on a film with a lower budget… Man, that is hard. I had to call in a lot of favors and do some real sweet talking. To get great music costs money. There has to be value in it for the artist beyond exposure. I think it was also a lot more paperwork than I ever imagined. I mean, I probably have thousands of E-mails for one film. So… That’s the underbelly, tha dark side! There are a lot of negotiations, long forms, licenses, terms, etc. that have to be dealt with just to get a snippet of music in a film… getting artists paid and credited for their work! The cool part is working closely with a director who has good taste and a quality project… and playing with all kinds of music to picture, seeing what works and what feels right. We took some chances in the music and it’s something I’m really, really proud of because, even though there is Alexander and Chiddy Bang, there are also smaller bands that are just as awesome in the film that I hope the world can hear. And if I can connect a listener like that and make a fan for another artist, that is the shit.
Izzy: The EP’s first single, “Sweet Life,” has been out for a while now. What have been your favorite reactions to it, critically or among fans and friends?
Madison: Well, I was shocked it got a half page spread in Billboard print. Man, I went in my local deli and I was like, “This is Me! This is Me! I’ll take three copies!” And he was like, “Very Good… 28 dollars.” And I was like, “Yes. I have made it!” Someone also said it reminded them of Goldfrapp and The Rolling Stones… So that’s cool to me. If there is neg stuff out there – it’s cool too— everyone has an opinion and not everyone is going to love everything. It was joyful making that song. I’ve got Mavis and KIKI on backing vocals — they do stuff with The Heavy — and working with them was like going to church on Sunday in the South. I was feeling them. And Chappo’s Zac is on drums. He was rad. Jesse Nolan from Caught a Ghost added some production and horns. I got a great mixer on it, Mark Needham. He did Walk the Moon and Imagine Dragons. It’s a positive feel, good tune and everyone involved was great, so all that matters to me is that I am proud of it and it’s out there… And Billboard likes it… Beyonce is in Billboard… Madison is in Billboard… Life is good.
Izzy: Songs from your first EP have been featured in some pretty prominent places. Is there any place where you fantasize about your music ending up, whether entirely realistic or not?
Madison: Oh my gosh, yeah. I have been really lucky with that and feel very honored that my music can be used in that way. It helps create fans and keeps my label afloat. It’s also something that you can’t predict, control, or count on. So when it does work out it’s a blessing and what’s essential is having a good team out there, working behind you. As far as fantasy placements… like, Real Housewives! Ah Ha. Seriously, a Tarantino film, Breaking Bad, Curb Your Enthusiam? Haha. Larry jamming to some Madison?
Izzy: You have pretty amazing fashion. What are your biggest inspirations in that department?
Madison: Thanks! Yeah, fashion is important — it’s self expression, dictates moods, and lets other people know how you feel about yourself. There are designers I love and then there are just looks I like to pull off. When I’m doing a photo shoot I go through my closet and grab a ton of stuff (really mix it up), have some images in mind, and then– and this is how I work for mostly everything— I let that day decide what feels right, let the creativity lead. I am a big believer in just letting it roll, having an idea… but nothing too specific. I really believe in creativity having its own voice. I put the intention and then I trust something cool will start talking to me. My fave designer right now, and whose work I admire: Philip Lim. Actually, I met him recently, casually, and he was so cool. He was wise. And a true artist. It was pretty inspiring. I like Comme des Garcons, Lang, Prabal Gurung, McQueen, Theyskens, Balmain, Alexandre Plokhov — he is a talent, ooooh!!!!
Izzy: What are your biggest plans, hopes, and goals for 2013? Any chance of a tour?
Madison: I hope to keep making cool art that I am proud of and having great collaborative experiences in all kinds of arenas. I am making a living doing what I love and that is the dream. A tour I would love—- let’s make some money! Buy some EPs, people! G RECORDS!