Not fully satisfied with her self-titled, 2017 EP, Madelin decided to let her friends remix all of her songs.
After releasing her self-titled EP and gaining some indie notoriety for her single "Good List ," Madelin decided to ditch her publishing company and head out on her own, searching for the artistic freedom she felt she was missing. In an attempt to completely reinvent her old tunes, she shipped off her entire EP to various producers, allowing them to take the songs and completely reshape them. The end result was The Peachmixes, an eclectic medley that blends strong electric rhythms with Madelin's indie pop melodies. Since the EP drops this Friday, we decided to give Madelin a call to talk about Tarot cards, going out on her own, and of course, her new music in this Popdust extended interview.
Still from the Roxelana music video
You're not really an EDM artist. Why the EP of remixes?
I put out the self-titled EP with this publishing company I'd been with for awhile. I was feeling that it wasn't the right fit for me. They kept trying to make my music sound poppy or rejecting certain songs that I really liked and wanted to include. They were influencing me to use a more commercial sound, so when I released that EP I didn't feel like it really represented my point of view and my aesthetic. I still love the songs on it, but making the remix EP, I decided I want to have really good friends of mine each do a track, just to cleanse my creative pallet and experience those songs in a different way.
Do you write everything yourself or do work with a producer?
Yes, I write my own stuff. Songwriting is my number one love in life. I've been doing it since I was a kid and it's something I will always do myself.
The original EP wasn't necessarily what you wanted it to be. If it were, who would it have sounded like?
One of my main influences is Björk. I really admire her production style which is very uncharacterizable and unique. She also uses a lot of found sounds in really creative ways. There was a lot of that on my EP but it went in more of a poppy direction than I was 100% comfortable with.
Do you make your own found sounds?
I do. I'm still mastering that aspect of production but in the stuff I'm currently working on, I definitely use more found sounds.
What kinds of stuff?
I like to work with the sounds of water or wind or different weird percussive sounds you can make in your own apartment with say a wooden spoon and a countertop. [I use] more organic elements that I can manipulate after the fact.
Let's talk a little more about the EP. It's strange. Where "High School Boys" sounds kinda like a souped-up version of the original, "Roxelana" doesn't even sound like the same song. You clearly gave these producers pretty free rein to do whatever they wanted. What was the experience in the studio like?
I wasn't there. I sent them all the stems and I gave them my trust. [I] was very impressed with what they gave back to me. These are all people that I've worked with before and know very well. So, I trusted them and their vision. If they sent me something back and I said, "Hell no," that'd be a different story but I actually liked everything they sent me.
Off of the original album, because you can't talk about the Peachmixes without it, what song do you think best captures what you were trying to do?
I like that one. It's weird because that song has such a pretty, simple melody on the original album and on the remix, it feels like I'm in a rave.
Yeah. I was really proud of the original version of that song and it was definitely the closest one to my true vision and my true aesthetic both lyrically and sonically. Maxo is known for that type of music, that video game-esque [sound]. I was really excited to see what he would do with it because I wanted to hear something completely different from the original but I'm obsessed with that one. It's one of my favorites from the remix EP.
The Peachmix of High School Boys
Clearly, it's not a concept EP, but what do you think the overarching theme is? Is there one?
I would say if I had to narrow it down to one word, it would be "rebirth." Resetting the clock. Starting over. That kind of energy.
In the bio your publicist sent me, it specifies that you're a Gemini. Does this play any role in your songwriting?
We all have a sun sign, a moon sign, and a rising sign. Normally each one of those is a different sign, but my sign happens to be Gemini for all three. I feel like that manifests itself in my life as always dealing with the concept of duality, indecisiveness, and feeling like half of myself is on one page and the other half is on another. I just really indentify with my Gemini-ness because I'm a triple Gemini.
When you're writing do you find yourself battling different ideas?
It's not so much when I'm writing. It's more the subject matter that I like to write about [includes] various internal conflicts, like dealing with yourself and trying to dive deeper inside of your own psyche. I'm very interested in self-analysis.
Are you a big Psychology Today reader?
No. I like to read Tarot cards and I like to watch documentaries. I'm just interested in the human experience. As long as it's happening to a human on Earth, I'm interested. I want to know things about humanity if that makes sense.
Yeah, definitely. You read Tarot cards though? How'd you get into that?
Three years ago, I was passing a store on the Lower East Side. It was a witchy kind of a store, but I went in and bought a Tarot deck and a book to teach me how to read Tarot, and I've been practicing ever since. I'm a spiritual person but I'm also a very logical person. It's just an interesting exercise reading the deck and understanding the meaning behind the cards. Sometimes you do get a very specific reading for a specific question and it's either very coincidental or very real, however you want to look at it.
Back to your music, you had already written these songs. Your self-titled EP came out in 2017, so this was a pretty hands-off project for you. What's next?
I still did two music videos for it, but musically speaking I wasn't as involved as I would normally be. Now, I'm recording a bunch of songs right now with producers I like working with. I'm trying to focus on recording songs that I've always wanted to record. [I want to] use up all I have before I go out and make more. I'm just going to sing all these songs I've had for the last three years or so. I'm going to release a few more singles this summer and then hopefully an LP sometime in the fall.
Are you getting into the producing on the newer stuff?
Are you excited to be out on your own or are you a little nervous because you have no publishing company behind you.
I'm not nervous at all. I'm very happy I'm on my own right now and I have a clean slate. I hope that putting out an album that feels extremely authentic and personal and right to me will attract the right publisher or management or whatever it may be that would help me propel myself forward. I'm not interested in trying to be anything else other than myself. I'm not in a hurry to find a new publisher right away, I'm worried about creating the best music I can.
Matt Clibanoff is a writer and editor based in New York City who covers music, politics, sports and pop culture. His editorial work can be found on PopDust, The Liberty Project, and All Things Go. His fiction has been published in Forth Magazine. Website: https://matthewdclibanoff.journoportfolio.com/ Twitter: @mattclibanoff
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