Madeaux recounts his indoctrination into club culture with ‘LIMBO’ EP [Q&A/Review]
Meticulous producer, inspired raconteur, and collector of raw, visceral aesthetics, Madeaux has fashioned a brand-new EP, LIMBO, that’s brimming with both inventive artistic evolution and thoughtful narrative mapping.
The LA-based Fool’s Gold talent (real name, Andrew Berman) is never reluctant to douse his work in introspection–which is precisely what makes his sound so compelling. A product of his prolific dwelling in hazy backrooms of clandestine locales, his latest three-part collection sees Madeaux immerse himself in club fervor. For an artist already so well-versed in pulsing, sensuous soundscapes, the transition over from hip-hop/r&b-influenced house was seamless.
LIMBO is a redemption tale of sorts; but not at all of the nature one might assume. Instead, drawing from hedonism rooted in reality, the EP mirrors Madeaux’s own journey, navigating the dizzying inner-workings of the industry and its often anesthetizing (literally) side-effects. Adopting the age-old spiritual paradigm to fit his own narrative, the EP follows Madeaux through his period of surrender to the insidious decadence of after-hours culture: “FEEL FREE,” with its desire-laden, throbbing bass and breathy vocals. His reflective moment of realization and subsequent suspension between worlds, “LIMBO,” is distinguished by its pensive synth-loops and repetition-heavy vocal cuts. Finally, his emotional breakthrough arrives, bringing with it, for Madeaux, the ability to create substantial, authentic relationships as a result of his craft. “HIGHER” is benevolent by design, with lofty chord progressions plugging alongside a blanket of vapory textures.
To coincide with the EP, Madeaux has been organizing his multi-national Limbo parties, which are characterized by carefully curated, wide-ranging lineups, and a slew of live elements, like his use of his own vocals, which he effortlessly weaved into the new EP itself. Madeaux sat down with Dancing Astronaut to expound on his stylistic progress, his influences, and imminent projects.
Can you expand a little bit on your musical timeline and what brought you to want to explore a new, more club-ready sound?
I’ve been spending a lot of time DJing warehouses in LA and that environment made me want to make more music that fit that territory. It came to a head when I decided I wanted to throw my own parties, and made the LIMBO EP in line with the inspiration I had for that series.
How does this new EP embody that exploration?
LIMBO characterizes a journey I’ve made in the six months since my album dropped. I wasn’t necessarily so familiar with the warehouse/after-hours scene when I was writing my album, but the release party was so successful it made me think perhaps this zone was a good place for me. In the months since Burn released, I’ve been learning much more about the scene and myself and it’s been a blast to transform that energy into a record.
Your multi-track collections tend to be quite elaborate from an emotional, sensory detail perspective. Can you elaborate on what about Limbo makes it a worthy concept in your eyes?
The EP is a story in three parts, corresponding with the records. In the after-hours environment, there is undeniably a focus on hedonism, something I have certainly indulged in. With the opening track, I laid out how seductive it is to be in an environment where you can entertain your every desire. I wanted to create this environment for people with my events, a place where they were free to make any choices they wished, and “FEEL FREE” put that aspiration to music. However, over time I began to realize that I was in a cycle of partying and not always of a beneficial kind. Certainly nothing is black and white but I felt like I was in a loop of sorts that made me wonder whether I had to some extent lost my way, hence the second record, “LIMBO.” My conclusion in “HIGHER” was that the core of my vision was engaging with people in a meaningful way, and only through building real relationships could we really reach somewhere worthwhile.
Where or whom have you been drawing influence from lately?
I draw the most influence from the people I meet. I used to be quite introverted and had difficulty connecting with people so now, I love the opportunity to listen and do what I can to understand them. Visual art is another influence, my friend who is directing the photography for my project put me onto Rothko, specifically to demonstrate how even dark, moody tones can be electric, vivid. This concept has informed my production heavily.
How have you been translating these themes into your live experience: the Limbo parties?
I want to create something different than a standard house/techno warehouse party. I organize lineups based on style, not genre. For example, bringing Viktoria Modesta out to do her first DJ set in LA when I know she plays avant-garde electronica and vogue records, even though that strays far from the norm of the parties here. Or being in Seoul and bringing out DJ Wow, who is effortlessly flipping disco into melodic tech into hip-hop, while wearing a Fool’s Gold jersey no less. A lot of new events focus on inclusivity as a brand, sometimes even at the expense of the music. I don’t think they need to be mutually exclusive.
You mentioned you have quite a bit of work in the pipeline. How does this body of work interact with or compare to what’s to come?
I am definitely invested in club music primarily for the foreseeable future. I’ve recently been signed to Spin and I want to bring my sound to dance-floors everywhere so I intend to write records that break the mold in those spaces. However, the primary intention behind these tracks is to bring a singer/songwriter touch to the club environment. I have started singing live and want to continue developing an experience that gives more than a pure DJ set.
Biggest road block you’ve encountered in your journey thus far?
When trying to build something novel, it’s hard to find your place in the world. I’ve always been an outsider, and while I am thankful for who that has made me into who I am today, it comes with its own share of difficulties when trying to engage with a scene as a whole. However, any curse is a blessing if you’re willing to look for it, and I’ve learned that if you fit in nowhere, you fit in everywhere. I’m everywhere now.
Photo Credit: Bellamy Brewster