Starting his career in the music industry at a very young age, Madeon has had to navigate some of his most important adolescent years while also adjusting to the spotlight that he’s found himself in.
Now at the age of 25, Madeon feels content with the direction his sound and vision is heading towards thanks to the creation of his ‘Good Faith’ project. He finally feels like he’s offering a special piece of his creativity and soul to the world and has also found something he’s truly passionate about.
Stepping out from behind the decks his ‘Good Faith Live’ show sees him taking to the forefront of the stage and singing all of the material live as well as playing keyboard and synths while programming incredible visuals to take you on an immersive journey.
“I no longer feel hidden” he admits to ThomasBleach.com
“The show has evolved with my dreams and desires. When I first started I didn’t know what those were. I didn’t really know much about performing. I hadn’t really done it before so I was terrified”.
“I realised that solo DJ-ing wasn’t as fulfilling as I hoped even though it’s super fun, so I wanted to build a show that felt more like a statement. I wanted to embody the show more and be at the front of it”.
He’s currently in Australia for FOMO where he’s performing the ‘Good Faith Live’ show to new audiences and continuing to grow his unique vision.
I recently chatted with Madeon about the essence of his album ‘Good Faith’ and how that has translated live, discussed the differences between headline shows and festival sets and talked about his love affair with Australia. Check out the chat HERE;
TB: Your album ‘Good Faith’ has a dreamy and anthemic take on EDM in it’s own way, so how would you describe this record and the journey that you were on to get it out in the world?
M: I actually came up with the idea for the album quite a while ago. In late 2015 I booked a studio for a few days in New York and I just got insanely and vividly inspired. All of these sounds and colours came to me, and I guess the whole artistic direction of ‘Good Faith’ occurred to me really suddenly. I knew it would involve choirs, live instrumentation and also have those more hopeful and soulful chords that capture joy.
I just wrote non-stop for 72 hours. I pretty much didn’t sleep and I ended up with a rough outline of what this record would sound and feel like at the end of it.
Over the course of actually completing the album I had a lot of high “highs” and low “lows”. I had to reclaim that joy and figure out what happened back then and re-discover what inspired me so much. It was a long and sometimes solitary path of understanding and maturing, but it was cool because the aesthetic and my vision of the palette and sound stayed consistent throughout the course of it. But what it meant to me became so much more substantial.
So it was a big relief when I finally delivered a final version of it and put it out into the world. Because it ended up feeling like a responsibility to my former self to complete that vision I was so excited about. Seeing it through and seeing it be understood by others made it feel very much worth it.
TB: What song on the record took the longest to finish sonically and hone the unique feel of it?
M: One that comes to find is ‘Be Fine’. I started that song really early into the process. Originally the lyrics were quite different and they were more trivial and didn’t really mean much to me.
I ended up realising that I was trying to write about joy but I wasn’t feeling joyful. So because I was struggling finishing it I ended up realising that there was a more important theme to it that I could explore which was more about the danger of a manic, destructive joy which isn’t sustainable.
It’s that feeling that is seductive but ultimately untrue. So the song became more about the validity of that joy. Like, Is being fine about being stable? Or Is fine about being happy even if it’s dangerous.
TB: The opening song ‘Dream Dream Dream’ has this cinematic and gospel sound to it. So how did this song come together and why was it important that this track opened the record?
M: That was another song that I wrote really early into the process. I instantly loved it very much because I felt like it captured the sound and the direction that I had in mind quite vividly.
Even though I finished it very early, I didn’t feel rushed to put it out because I didn’t think I was going to grow out of it or stop liking it. I realised that whenever it came out would be a good time.
I didn’t write it in mind as an opener but I played it to my friend Lido and he suggest that it would work as an opener. So I started to become obsessed with the idea.
The best albums are the ones that you press play and you fall into the opening sound and instantly get pulled in. So the first few seconds of the opening track ended up becoming really important to me. So I ended up realising that the gospel choir definitely had to be involved as it broke something different and unique to the record.
TB: You premiered your new show Good Faith Live in August 2019 at Lollapalooza and then took it on a giant headlining tour. So from when you premiered it then to where you have the show now, what has been one of the biggest change or an element that you’ve worked on to either adjust with crowds or to feel more confident with it?
M: It feels very different performing it now than it did back then because I was still concerned with the production and visual aspect of it and with completing the show in time that I couldn’t get as comfortable rehearsing it and feeling good about it.
So performing it every night for a month makes it a very different experience for me. Now, I feel really happy and comfortable. Like, every day I have a show it’s the thing I’m looking forward to the most. There’s no dread and no fear. It’s pure joy.
It’s a very theatrical show, so it needs to feel rehearsed for me to pull it off. So to have that practice definitely help’s it a lot and gives me a lot of ease on stage. My happiness levels have definitely increased after the headlining tour as we got a lot tighter with some of the technical considerations too.
TB: You first toured Australia in 2011 for Stereosonic on your first ever world tour. So reflecting back on where you were at as a performer then to where you are at as a performer now, what is the biggest thing you have learnt about yourself and the show you want to deliver?
M: The number one question I ask myself when I work on the Madeon project is “how do I feel about being Madeon? Is it fun? Is it good? Is this something I feel excited about?”. So I always try to reinvent the music and the show so I’m more happy about doing this, as this is all I care about, it’s all I do, it’s my whole life. I put more love, time and energy in it that I can.
The show has evolved with my dreams and desires. When I first started I didn’t know what those were. I didn’t really know much about performing. I hadn’t really done it before so I was terrified. Whereas now I’ve come to really love it, and I honestly don’t get nervous anymore when I go onto a stage, I just get excited.
I realised that solo DJ-ing wasn’t as fulfilling as I hoped even though it’s super fun, so I wanted to build a show that felt more like a statement. I wanted to embody the show more and be at the front of it.
So the stage I’ve built is designed around this light up lightsaber microphone stand and there’s no table in front of me. It’s not a typical DJ or a EDM show as I’m singing, I’m playing keys and I’m playing all my own songs. What’s been really cool on the American tour was seeing so many people in the crowd know all the songs, singing along and connecting to them. It felt more like a traditional concert with all the energy and production that I love about dance music incorporated.
It felt pretty uncompromising as it felt like I could pull from every type of medium that I enjoy in live performance. Some elements are pretty graphic, really theatrical and dramatic in ways that dance shows aren’t always concerned with. It’s more inspired by pop shows in a way.
I feel like I am authentically the project with this show. There’s no distance. There’s no extra layer. It actually makes it pretty emotional for me when I get the reaction I want as I no longer feel hidden.
TB: You’re down under for FOMO 2020 which boasts an epic line up of some of the biggest names in music right now, so whose set are you most looking forward to watching while you’re on this tour?
M: It’s honestly the coolest line up I’ve ever seen! I’m genuinely excited to watch every act on the line up and I honestly think I’m going to check out the full show every day of the festival.
I kept forgetting some people were playing and then I would see their name and freak out. Like, I just ran into Dombresky in the hotel lobby before and I forgot he was playing and it’s just going to be so dope.
I love Lizzo so much. I love BROCKHAMPTON so much. I love KAYTRANADA so much. They are honestly three of my favourite artists right now, and I’m so proud to share the stage with them.
TB: And you just got announced today to be playing Coachella this year. So how different is playing festivals to headline shows for you as a performer and musician?
M: Yeah I am! I’m so excited for Coachella, that’s going to be so crazy too!
As I was mentioned before, ‘Good Faith Live’ is such a different show for me to perform and I’ve only done one festival performance of it so far before FOMO.
But honestly Lollapalooza was one of my top 5 memories of my life. The album wasn’t out then, and no one had heard any of the new music yet so to see the crowd still react so strongly to it was insane. They were the crowd of my dreams.
I’ve created the show to be like a great introductory to who Madeon is, so people that don’t know much about me can still come along and enjoy the experience. So I’m really excited to see if that works with these festival shows.
I hope there will be people at FOMO or Coachella that weren’t really looking forward to my set and will walk away having really enjoyed it. That would honestly be the biggest compliment.
TB: You’re no stranger to Australia with have touring here in the past for festivals as well as a co-headlining tour with Porter Robinson, so what has been one of your favourite memories from one of your adventures down under?
M: There’s a number! The Shelter tour with Porter Robinson was great! But I think my first ever tour here was pretty special because it was actually my first ever tour in general. I had never really travelled before and I hadn’t travelled without my parents either. And then suddenly I was on the other side of the world playing like my fourth ever live show in Australia on the Stereosonic tour.
I remember just being really overwhelmed by the scale of the production and seeing all of these incredible artists. I was so starry eyed as I was like sixteen at the time and completely unprepared and was trying to take it all in. But that is definitely a cherished memory of mine.
TB: Let’s play a little game of rapid fire questions. Just answer these little questions with the first thing that comes to your mind. Okay?
M: Let’s do it!
TB: Pineapple on pizza is…
M: Amazing! It’s my favourite.
TB: When I think of Australia I think of…
M: Animals I forget the existence of.
TB: The emoji that best describes my album ‘Good Faith’ is…
M: The postcard looking one with landscapes and sunsets.
TB: If I could have any superpower it would be to…
M: Have full control sleep so I could either trigger it or not need it.
TB: An Australian slang word I don’t understand is…
M: You said “aye” before in a sentence and I wasn’t really sure where you were going with that before at first so I’m going to say that *laughs*.
You can catch Madeon in Australia at FOMO 2020 alongside BROCKHAMPTON, Lizzo, KAYTRANADA, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Jax Jones, Meduza and Rico Nasty!
FOMO 2020 Tour Dates
Saturday 11 January – Parramatta Park, Sydney
Sunday 12 January – Melbourne Showgrounds, Melbourne