Taking the industry by storm, the South African-born producer MADDS is thrilled to be releasing her high-energy, seductive house single ‘Never Forget‘, along with the official music video. Let us tell you… hot girl summer is real with this one. Buckle up for the ride, put your windows down, and prepare yourself for the newest soundtrack to your life because we all know this summer’s mood is a I *clap* don’t *clap* give *clap* a *clap* F**k *clap* one.
Alongside the release of ‘Never Forget’ we got the chance to sit down with MADDS for a thatDROP exclusive interview.
Hi! Okay first, you look a million times better than me… this is the epitome of the work-from-home look haha
No! You’re good, you look great!
Well thank you. So how are you?
I’m good. I was running around the house trying to find a good place to set this up. I feel like whenever I have something like this going on, that’s when everyone makes the most noise.
I get that completely. It sucks because right outside my window is construction, so I’m screwed no matter what. And they turned the only entrance into the apartment complex into a one-way road so it feels 10x worse.
I hate one-ways! I feel like it’s so easy to mess up and go down them. I always get nervous when I mess up and there’s a cop. My parents always taught me to be respectful toward the authority, but the inner childhood rebel in me who used to sneak out and go to raves when she was 13, that part of me keeps me nervous. I just have to remind myself that I’m 26 and everything will be fine haha.
Oh my god… I was the queen of sneaking out. Windows… garages… I even oiled the hinges on my back door so it wouldn’t squeak when it’d open.
I went through the garage a lot. So I’d sneak out, put the car in reverse, but whenever I’d start the engine my sister would flush the toilet to block out the noise.
I did kind of the same thing, so my childhood friend Jenna would make popcorn in the microwave while I snuck out with the car haha. Okay I have to learn more about you because I am obsessed with your music. What inspired you to get into music?
So I told myself at 15 that I wanted to DJ then at 16 I went to a specific rave. It was Identity Festival… I was seeing Steve Aoki and Kaskade. I was obsessed with Kaskade. I remember googling him and then I saw Avicii and Krewella then it went to Afro Jack. It was the perfect pyramid of the perfect musicians. I remember leaving the festival because I had a curfew, but I looked back because Kaskade was playing. It was just a sea of people and I felt the happiest that I’ve ever felt in my life. I remember going to high school and taking my notepad out. I would write down a song and go on my iPod then write another song with the same BPM. I’d draw a line connecting the two and say they would work together. I didn’t have the proper resources at the time, but that’s what I did.
Wait… that is so cool and old school. I feel like that is such a great way to authentically learn the ropes or at least the basics of the foundation.
Yea and then there was Vine. You could play one song then transition into another on the same clip. I was trying to cut music at that point, like editing music. I started doing that because yea, I didn’t have the professional software. Eventually I started borrowing my neighbor’s turntables. I would hide them under my bed and bring them out at night to practice, but I knew that this was something that I wanted to do. I wanted to be a producer and make music. Even with songwriting, I really liked songwriting. My friends would call me Chanel West Coast because I’d always be rapping haha.
Because the industry, especially back when you initially started, is very male dominant, were you nervous at all growing a career in the industry as a woman?
I still get nervous to this day, but I’ve learned how to better cope with it. I remember after my first tour, I wanted to quit. I was getting a lot of shit, so I went to producing school and I also started taking DJ lessons while I was touring in Madrid just to build myself up. Everyone thought I popped out of nowhere, but really I was always there… just behind the scenes. I still experience a lot but it was so bad, I didn’t know what to do. Back then especially, some men weren’t used to women putting their foot down. Seeing me onstage was a surprise to them. They’d ask why I was onstage and I’d have to explain that I’m Madds… like yes, there are women in this industry. Now, I’ve been doing this for almost 10 years so it doesn’t impact me as much. I’m confident in what I’m doing. I’m kind of glad that I experienced what I experienced because it taught me how to be more strict and put my foot down. Not be naïve. I want other artists to know that if they deal with anything like that, it’s like high school cliques… if you stay loyal and true to yourself, you’ll always make it out.
So we’ve acknowledged that the nature of this industry interesting. You see a lot at these raves… what is something that you want fans to know who may feel like they can’t attend these events sober?
I think everyone should experiment if they feel like they need to. It’s more about making sure you know your limits and making sure you’re safe. For me personally, I started going to raves when I was 13 and it was fun. Now, I’m older and my focus has changed when I’m at these events. I’m like… okay I’m here and I have so many people who are here to see me. I can’t mess this up for them. My story with growing up and this industry is weird. I remember being in high school and everything seemed fun, but eventually I got a lot of anxiety. I know that happens to a lot of people. Now I just thrive off of my fans.
I can only imagine how crazy things get on tour and I know we briefly touched on anxiety earlier in the conversation. Are there things or routines that you’ve adopted that have helped you stay sane while on the road?
The main thing that I do before a show that keeps me completely sane is that I’ll have a glass of wine. I also always have someone around me like a promoter or security guard who has friends. I’ll have them bring their friends back and we’ll talk. They’ll ask me what songs I’m planning on playing and I’ll give them my headphones, show them my record box. I’ll get their opinion. It makes them happy and like they’re involved in my sets. Seeing them excited gets me excited. I hate silence before a show.
So you have a new song coming out. Let’s talk about ‘Never Forget’.
I have produced a lot of music in my life, but this is the first time I came to my team with an idea and they were like okay. Before I got into techno, they weren’t quite sure because it was supposed to be my sound, but eventually the understood that I’m going to do what I think I should do. The song before this, ‘Dark Raine’, ended up doing really well so that helped introduce this. But my friends and I were in Mykonos. It was the first time for us and maybe even in history where girls were on a trip and there was no crying, no drama, no ex boyfriends calling, or current boyfriends calling. We weren’t even on the typical hot girl summer shit… we were more on a screw everything level. We kept listening to ‘How Deep Is Your Love’ by Calvin Harris on repeat. It was burned into my head. I had my laptop and I began developing the melody. It’s interesting because they knew I was working on it and they have never been so invested in my music, but they were texting me every week asking if it was done. I completed it, sent it to my team and was like… I’m not sure what we can do with this but I’m super passionate about it. It’s simply about girls having fun. Someone came back with a topline and it was the complete package of what I felt. It’s just a song about being here for a good time, not a long time. It was so quick and the person who helped me write the lyrics, they didn’t even need my help. We executed it.
Well I was able to give it a listen and I’ll tell you this… I was blasting it. It’s seriously a song that I can see myself listening to all summer. It will be my summer anthem. I had a sneak peak of the video as well! Let’s talk about that now, too.
So the music video took place in Miami. I lived in Miami, I have friends in Miami, but the story is from Mykonos. Because of COVID, we couldn’t go back to Mykonos, but the goal was to redo what happened on that trip. Little did we know, we actually redid everything that happened on the trip. I have this bikini line that is hand-made in Miami, so I was like okay that’s perfect. Why not put my friends in that and start doing what we did all summer long which is the reason for this song? The purpose of the song is us having fun, drinking, going to my shows, passing out, and not sure how we’re going to make the next flight. There was a lot of method acting haha.
It sounds like you have a lot of attachment to Miami. Would you ever consider moving back?
I love Miami and I would, but I feel like I need to be in LA. I want to be close to my family and now that I signed a two year residency in Vegas, it just doesn’t make sense.
Yea! Your Zouk Night Club residency. Congratulations on that! How excited are you?
I am so excited. I’ve always wanted a residency in Vegas. To me, that’s what I needed to be like okay I made it. I remember I got the email and I thought it was a joke, similar to when I found out I was playing Coachella. I messaged them and was like if this is an April fool’s joke, that is so mean. They told me, no, I’m actually playing Coachella or I actually have this residency. I remember running up to my boyfriend’s office screaming, it was like a scene in a movie. He was like shhh shhh… but I was so happy. I can’t believe it still.
I know we have to end things soon, so to finish off, what is one message to your fans?
I’m going to read a quote that I found the other day. Imagine changing just one word. You don’t have to, but you get to. You get to wake up early for work, you get to make another sales call for your business, you get to cook dinner for your family. By simply changing one word, you’re shifting how you view each event. You stop seeing things as burdens and begin viewing them as opportunities.