Written by Emily Ford

Watch out Denver, we have a trailblazer on the scene! With her exceptionally cool style and downright funky, hip-hop fusion, Maddy O’Neal has become a well-known name in the electronic music scene and rightfully so! In addition to her original music, she brings an impressive live performance that is unforgettable and sure to leave you wanting more.

Upward and onward seems to be the theme of Maddy’s music career and she is certainly making a name for herself by being an ambitious and driven young producer. You’ve heard her music from festivals all over the country to our own Red Rocks Amphitheatre and soon on the beach at the Island of Light Festival in Puerto Rico alongside Pretty Lights, Thievery Corporation, and Gramatik. Catch her in Colorado this Summer at Sonic Bloom and Arise Music Festival – then, closing out the Red Rocks season with Big Gigantic for RowdyTown VI, September 30th.

There are a million and one questions I wanted to hear answers to but for now, here’s 19 questions with Maddy O’Neal:

1.     What is your greatest source of inspiration? (not another artist)

I would have to say people. Human connection in general. That is across the board from just interactions with people on a regular basis, connections through music etc. I am very much a people person and I am constantly inspired by meeting new people, new experiences, and learning from others. Every person is unique and has something interesting to offer. It inspires me to be around other interesting human beings.

2.     Who is your guilty pleasure artist?

90’s Punk Rock is always a guilty pleasure!

3.     Who are you currently listening to? (Name three?)

I’ve been listening to a bunch of crazy stuff lately – trying to discover new stuff through Spotify playlists etc. But a few people I have just recently discovered that I am digging hard are: Hurley Mower, Tennyson, Jungle, and Tash Sultana. Ask me next week and it’ll be totally different. I love finding new music I’ve never heard of.

4.     What is your favorite festival you’ve played at?

Since this solo project is only a year young, most of the big festivals are still coming up this Summer but I would say so far as a solo artist Gem and Jam was def one of my favorites. It’s a smaller festival but the family vibe there is super strong.

5.     What is your approach to breaking into the male dominated music scene? Do you find it hard to carve a niche for yourself? 

My approach is just to be myself. I find if you show up and act like you know what you’re doing (because you do) people will treat you no differently. That goes for anyone. I try to think of myself on the same level as everyone else regardless of being a female. I want to earn respect the same way everyone else does. To be honest, I haven’t had many negative things associated with being a female in this male dominated industry…there’s always gonna be haters or people that doubt you. It just feels like I have to prove myself extra hard everywhere I go, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s only pushed me to work harder.

6.     You’ve been touring all over Colorado, do you have a favorite town you’ve played in? 

Denver is always my favorite place to play, because the community out here is so strong. It’s amazing to play everywhere then come back and remember that these are the people that have supported you and helped you grow from the ground up locally. I recently played at the new venue in Central City, The Scarlet, and that place is defiantly a really cool spot as well.

7.     You recently released “Nunya” a new single with Megan Hamilton, when is your next album release and can we expect more collaborations? 

I am currently finishing up my EP as we speak. It is set to release in the next month or so, just putting the final pieces together. There are defiantly some awesome collaborations on there. I am also trying to focus on a full length album for this fall that will focus a lot on collaborating with a lot of my friends 🙂

8.  Almost exactly one year from opening up for Pretty Lights at Red Rocks, you’ll be going to The Gorge for an even bigger lineup/venue. Can you give us a little insight into how this feels and how you might prepare for something like this? 

It’s crazy to think about. I’ve never been to The Gorge and I’ve heard such amazing things. It definitely feels extremely surreal…these are THE most beautiful venues in the country, I am just grateful I get to share my music and experiences with people there. For these big shows especially I am gonna prepare by trying to make my live setup even better. Working on ways to expand it this Summer.

9.  What is your best experience/memory from being on tour?

I actually just got off tour with SunSquabi last week and I would have to say that whole tour was one of my favorite experiences ever. The tour was mostly all new markets for me on the east coast and it is probably the coolest feeling in the world going to a place you’ve never been and seeing how many people know you and your music. Blows my mind. On top of that, the SunSquabi guys are some of my best friends so that was pretty cool to do with them.

10.  What is most difficult about being on tour?

Taking care of yourself, for sure. Getting enough sleep, trying to eat well, and taking care of your body is tough. I don’t think anyone has mastered it lol but ya just gotta do the best you can.

11.  For your producer fans, tell us about your live performance and what are your go-to production tools? 

For my live performance, I am currently using my laptop with Ableton, an Akai MPD drum pad midi controller, and novation launch control. I like to break down my songs in stems so I can individually manipulate parts of the song, drums etc. And I set it up so I can do live pads – cut out vocals, basslines, fx into my drum pad that I want to manipulate/improv on live. But I am currently thinking about ways to expand the whole live setup 😉

12.  Do you have any pre-show rituals? 

You can find me stretching or mostly just pacing right before I go on haha. A shot of whiskey usually helps calm the nerves too.

13.  Your fans are dying to know, what is your hair regimen?! Give us your secrets!

Hahah honestly, I am pretty lucky I got good hair genes. I really don’t do anything to my hair, just shower and brush it. No straightening or anything. I did recently just dye it a bit – and that credit I gotta give all to my girl Toni Trauer. Having some fun adding color to it.

Jason Siegel Photography

14.  When you’re not making music, what do you enjoy doing? 

Going to other shows, being active – yoga, snowboarding, hiking, playing with my dog.

15.  Describe your creative process using three words:

Spontaneous, emotion, experimental

16.  Given that drugs are prevalent in the EDM scene, when you’re making music, do you ever think about how someone on drugs might perceive it? 

Not necessarily. I defiantly don’t want to promote the use of drugs or pre-plan for people to be using them when listening to my music. I just try to pack as much emotion in my music as possible in general – that’s the real drug 😉

17.  Do you have any formal training musically? 

I do not. I grew up in a musical family, my brother and dad playing multiple instruments and I dabbled playing piano and cello in middle school but never stuck with it. I got the Ableton Software 7 years ago and basically taught myself everything – production and music theory – playing the keys (all of which I am still learning more about every time I sit down to write). Trial and error, doing research, figuring it out as I go. I always knew I had the ear for it though because it kinda came naturally once I dove in. Hearing things in key with each other etc.

18.  Have you always been musically inclined/drawn to a musical lifestyle? 

I have definitely, I just wasn’t exactly sure what my niche within it all would be. I always envied my brother who was in multiple bands growing up and I grew up in the kind of household that was constantly surrounded by music – I always knew it was what I was meant to be doing. But it wasn’t until I started producing that I really found my place within it. It felt so right, was crazy.

19.  How did you first get into production and what inspired you to pursue this career?

My brother randomly gave me the software (Ableton Live) about 7 years ago as a Christmas present and was like “you should just start messing around with this, I know you have the ear for it” and so I did. Before I knew it, I was staying in messing around with music more so than going out like I used to, even in the midst of the craziest college days. I never knew it would turn into a career in the beginning, I just knew I loved it, and the more I put in, the more I go out of it.

Upcoming Tour Dates:

 

5/26/2017 Chillicothe, IL Summer Camp
5/28/2017 Bradley, CA Lightning in a Bottle
6/17/2017 Rye, CO Sonic Bloom
7/14/2017 Scranton, PA Camp Bisco
7/15/17 Highbridge, WI Infrasound
8/4/17 Loveland, CO Arise Music Festival
8/5/17 George, WA The Gorge
8/18 – 8/19/17 Chicago, IL Northerly Island
9/30/2017 Morrison, CO Red Rocks Amphitheatre