Hugo Leclercq; or better known as Madeon, is a 17-year old musical savant from Nantes, France. His sound is considered “electro-pop,” but the youngster definitely has a strong arsenal of nu-disco and electro-house gems up his sleevs. Madeon was recently on tour in the U.S. and rollingTUFF.com was lucky enough to snag an impromptu interview with him after his set on day two of the SnowGlobe Music Festival 2011 in South Lake Tahoe, CA. You can catch one of his epic performances again in April on Day 1 of either weekend of Coachella 2012. Here’s a little bonus mix to wet your whistle while reading through the interview. Enjoy!
For those who may not be in the know, please introduce yourself briefly.
I go by the name of Madeon and I play pop/house/electronic music. My style would be defined as pop music made with the tools and production of electro-house. I play sets with a lot of samples and mashups and whatnot, but I’m really just a big fan of pop music.
You just laid down an absolute killer set. I had come to associate you with a mostly nu-disco sound; yet, I was pleasantly surprised to hear such a wide array of electro just now.
The thing is – playing in America, I sort of felt the freedom to play other tracks that I love too. In France, it’s still quite new and people are a bit secular about what they like. It’s very split into genres and categories; but, in the U.S. everyone is very open to every genre so I can play whatever I like. It’s a lot of fun.
Who would you say are a couple of your favorite electro artists at the moment?
Yeah, that’s quite fascinating. It really changed over the past few years. America just really opened up to electro in such a huge way. It’s leading the mainstream electronic scene away from Europe and that’s super exciting. The French scene is amazing too, full of amazing artists; but, it’s a bit different. People are; like I said, more focused on specific genres there. But yeah, it’s quite true… it’s quite amazing what is happening in America right now.
Have you performed in any other countries? If so, how would you say the pop/disco/electro music scene compares to what you’ve seen here in the U.S. and in France?
It depends. It’s quite fun because playing in France is lovely. I can play disco tracks which wouldn’t really work at a big festival in America. Now that I’m starting to tour the world a bit, I’m starting to get used to the different audiences. I’ve played in France, the UK, Australia, and America, and now I’m starting to get a feel for all the differences between those countries. It’s fun.
You’re 17 years old. Who were some of your musical influences growing up?
I think I had three main influences as far as the music I produce today goes. The first would be Daft Punk, which would be my introduction to French music. Second would be The Beatles, for the way I structure songs. Instead of doing nine minute club mixes, doing like three minute songs that are straight to the point; that works well. They are my favorite band, so even if it’s not enough of a straight influence, it’s still quite vital to the way I structure songs and work the melodies. Lastly would be Stuart Price. He’s a pop and electro producer from the UK. He did the Madonna album “Confessions on a Dance Floor.” He sort of demonstrated that he could do amazing pop music while still being elegant, well produced, and refined. Those would be the three main influences.
So, what’s next on the horizon for Madeon?
It’s quite exciting really, I’m just finishing up a selection of tracks, which I’m going to release as singles, but quite close to each other. It’s quite nice because there are some tracks that sort of reflect work I’ve been doing recently with remixes, but in a more free single original track way. Some really new stuff that is unusual, like the last song I played, which is one of those tracks with a slower tempo and then drum and bass, which is very different from what I’ve been doing; so, it’s quite fun. It’s a way to sort of encapsulate what I’ve been studying and trying to achieve, and at the same time open up my sounds to new directions. After that I’m super excited to do more tracks and ultimately there’s so many things I want to express right now. I’m excited to go back into the studio in January and February to do tracks.
Well, I’m looking forward to a very illustrious career from you.
Last question: In usual rollingTUFF fashion – what would you say are your top five favorite tracks that you are listening to right now, at this very moment?
Ahh, ok… That’s interesting… Like, right now what I’m listening to? Foster the People – Houdini (Original Mix) is running in the iPod quite a lot. Phoenix – If I Ever Feel Better (Original Mix) is my favorite track ever, so I’m constantly playing it places. Like, I literally used to just play it on repeat for like two hours. For years, it’s been like my ultimate song. Umm, what else… More electro something would be…
Any dubstep at all?
Yeah, yeah, yeah! I love Skrillex. I love that whole scene. I think it’s amazingly well produced so, it’s really exciting. But as for right now, for proper answers… I have to think. What else do I play? That was two…
You don’t have to do all five if you can’t think of them off the top of your head…
No, no, no. I’m going to find five even if it takes an hour, I’m sorry (laughs). You know what? I’m going to pull out my iPod right now, hit random, and see what the first track is that comes up…
There you go.
This track I absolutely love: Sneaky Sound System – Big (Oliver Remix)… Brilliant, I played it tonight… Another is SebastiAn – Kindercut (Original Mix). And one last one… Like a weird unknown one… umm, give me a sec…
I like that you’re taking this so seriously!
I am, I am! I could just say whatever I want randomly, so I’m sorry if it’s boring (laughs).
No, no. I appreciate it.
Otherwise I would bring up Beatport’s Top 10 and just tell you the first five tracks.
Yeah, exactly. Or just say tracks that you played tonight…
Yeah, I did use one already…
Well, that’s always the best – when artists play their favorites instead of just playing to the crowd.
Yeah, I mean you want to adapt. You want to play something that you can sing along to and alternate between those personal tracks that you want people to appreciate and get into, and the obvious ones; like, when I played that Blur remix I made. Even people who don’t know much about electronic music will know it and react and get into it. Whereas when I play that “End of the World” remix, which isn’t quite as hugely known, I have to play it for a bit longer for people to get into it. Every time I play it – on the first drop, people are dancing; and then it builds up, and the second drop, it is exactly the same, but people are dancing like three times harder.
What about your favorite Beatles’ song?
Ah okay, wow! That’s even trickier of a question… Because right now, I’ve been on tour for just a few days now, where my lifestyle is sort of hectic – The Beatles – I’m Only Sleeping (Original Mix) from John Lennon’s “Revolver” sort of describes my desires at the time of just sleeping, so that would be appropriate. Anyway, with that – I’m off to bed.