Q&A: Madeon Discusses His Sound, Collaborations, and Bringing His Live Show to Las Vegas for the First Time

Posted on Thursday January 21st in

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Hugo Leclercq began earning praise for his production work while still just a teenager in Western France. But he’s since become known all across the world as the superstar DJ Madeon thanks to the release of his acclaimed debut album, Adventure, last year. He plays Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas on Monday night, and Madeon talked to Knockdown Alley about his sound, collaborations, and performing in Las Vegas.

How has the experience of live DJing changed for you in America since you turned 21? Not very much. I come from a generation of producers who discovered electronic music online, so it wasn’t initially associated with partying to me. It makes everything logistically easier though. I used to have to be escorted out of clubs as soon as I was done.
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Your popularity really exploded when you released “Pop Culture” live, mashing up 39 of your favorite songs, including Chromeo, Deadmau5, Daft Punk, and many more. Now that you’ve built a career and fan base far beyond that one song, have you ever considered releasing “Pop Culture 2”? When I saw the reaction to “Pop Culture,” I quickly decided I should not follow it up. I wanted to make sure to build a career around my own music and not stay stuck as a YouTube video maker. I’m always amazed when I think of how many people have seen it, though.

What has your experience been performing in Las Vegas? How is it unique compared to other places? I’ve played in Las Vegas more often than any other city in the world. That gives you a chance to really know the audience — there really is a huge party culture. I’m really excited to come back here with my live show for the first time.

What is your secret to producing the best kick-and-snare sound when you record? I keep a collection of my very best drum sounds, and I constantly mix them together in various ways, combining my favorite characteristics from two different sounds. I then use those new sounds and end up combining them again. It’s an iterative process, like genetics.

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What advice do you have for someone who wants to begin producing electronic music but doesn’t know where to start? The resources available online are huge now. I think one of the biggest helps is community, finding people who are also starting making music online and sharing tips and ideas.

What is the most important plug-in that you use when you’re producing? It keeps on changing, but I’m a huge fan of U-He Diva at the moment.

Your use of collaborations and vocal leads, recently for example with Passion Pit, Foster the People, and particularly Dan Smith of Bastille, brings a very human element to your electronic music. You seem very interested in featuring that balance between human and electronic. Would you agree, and if so, what about it interests you? The contrast between real-life recordings and instruments and electronic sounds has been a theme for me. I think human vocals are the richest, most complex, and relatable synthesizers we have available.

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Knockdown
Alley

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