Somewhere between funky electro-soul and downright dirty bass stands Maddy O’Neal. The Denver- based producer who has been flipping the electronic scene upside down with her beautifully expressive yet fun and groovy sound. Blending everything from glitchy hip-hop to filthy bass, funk, and soul, she’s created a style that’s both undeniable and exclusively her own.
Maddy’s music not only has the uncanny ability to transport you into new realms of reality but somehow feels alive in its own way. Almost as if each track has a soul of its own. Her relentless work ethic, paired with an abundance of creativity, has allowed her to curate an extraordinary discography while putting on an infectious live show each time she performs. In doing so, she’s caught the attention of artists like CloZee, Pretty Lights, Big Gigantic, Sunsquabi, and many more.
To close out an incredible summer run, Maddy threw down a memorizing set at Colorado’s High Ground Music Festival before dropping her highly anticipated 10-track LP titled Ricochet.
The Daily Frequency caught up with the funky bass-dropping DJ to discuss playing High Ground, the new album, her upcoming performance at Suwannee Hulaween, and a whole lot more.
Check out the exclusive interview with Maddy O’Neal Below.
DF: You just came off a killer set at High Ground festival! For you, what was a stand-out moment of your performance?
Maddy O’Neal: I don’t think I’ve ever played a festival so close to Denver, although I have played almost every venue here as a local. It was such a beautifully curated event, from the lineup to art installations. It felt so good to be home. I played out a few of my album tracks for the first time just for my home team, and that felt pretty special.
DF: Did you get a chance to wander around the festival grounds, and if so, who’s set did you catch, and what did you explore?
Maddy O’Neal: I did! I got to see Covex, Elohim, a bit of Muzzyear, and Troyboi. I try to take it all in if I have the time. I also stopped by the Denver Chip Company and Sonic Sessions booth…choice stops.
DF: Being a Denver-based artist, you’re around so many creatives, especially within the electronic scene. How important is surrounding yourself with like-minded people for success?
Maddy O’Neal: I have been thinking about this a lot lately, actually. It is so important. I have changed up a lot of my lifestyle habits and am really trying to protect my energy and surround myself with people that push me and inspire me. The less time you have and the harder you are working towards a goal, those things become increasingly more important.
DF: While your signature sound is funky, experimental bass that’s full of soul, you won’t shy away from incorporating a multitude of genres or even throwing down a house set! How important is it to explore different sounds, and how vast is your taste in music?
Maddy O’Neal: My taste in music is pretty vast, anything from grimey hip-hop to the hippiest of jam music, and definitely a sweet spot for pop music (the good kind, lol). I am always experimenting with blending these influences of genres in my work. It keeps it interesting to me not to feel boxed in and hope that resonates with my fans too. I always want to keep people on their toes as much as keep things exciting for myself. Always learning. Always evolving.
DF: What artists outside of electronic music would you say influenced your sound the most?
Maddy O’Neal: So many different things I liked. I was a big Radiohead fan and still am. I listened to a lot of indie rock growing up—My Morning Jacket, Cold War Kids, etc. Then, growing up with a father who was a major deadhead definitely had its subconscious influence. Hip-hop roots as well heavily influenced the way I thought about electronic music and sampling.
DF: What would you say gives a track its soul, and how do you integrate so much emotion into your sound in particular?
Maddy O’Neal: Soul, to me, represents a deeper nostalgic truth within someone. You can hear the roots and the emotion and the realness of influence when you hear something. It’s about storytelling and provoking feelings at the end of the day. It’s something you feel deeply, and I have to feel it for it to resonate with other people, so I really just try to stay true to myself when writing something, especially if the goal is to be soulfully emotive, which is really important to me.
DF: You just dropped a massive 10-track LP titled Ricochet! What’s the inspiration behind the record?
Maddy O’Neal: Oh man…so many things. The title in itself represents a feeling of returning to myself. After the last few, we’ve had the dust finally settled, and I really felt this “bounce back” feeling. Writing the album was a moment of clarity for me after all of that. I fully trusted myself and my creative vision again, which was the best feeling in the world. That was the theme throughout. Whether I was being experimental with tempo or style—which there’s a lot of in the record—I just really tried to let it flow over, trying to be one thing or another. It’s one part bass, one part soul, trap, glitch, disco, etc. I really tried to combine every aspect of my influences in one cohesive storyline, and I think it really captures that.
DF: Does your approach to production differ when the end goal is an album as opposed to a single or an EP?
Maddy O’Neal: This time, yes. I really spent time creating a palette for myself. I created a mood board of sorts with sounds, tones, tempos, and samples going into it, so I was sure to have a general road map of what I wanted to set out for. That way, the record felt more cohesive than if I was approaching singles on their own.
DF: With fall on its way, we are super stoked to catch your set at Hulaween! What can fans expect once you take the stage in Live Oak?
Maddy O’Neal: Oooo, yes, I love Hulaween and Suwannee so so much! I will definitely be playing a lot of this new music for that one, maybe even some VIP/remix versions by then. I’m going to take the crowd on a journey as always. My sets lately have been a bit heavier than people may expect, and I’m having fun with that.
DF: After a summer packed full of festival performances and an album release, what’s in store for Maddy O’Neal as we look forward to 2023?
Maddy O’Neal: I’m trying to be present with the album release without living too far in the future, but as we know, this lifestyle moves quickly, haha. I am already working on a remix album to follow the record with some really awesome artists involved. There are still some tour dates to announce for this winter as well. 2023 is already looking proper for touring plans starting with a show in Jamaica supporting String Cheese Incident. I also have plenty of music in the chamber as, well 🙂 Gotta keep it rollin’.
Keep up with Maddy O’Neal HERE!
Stream Ricochet by Maddy O’Neal HERE!
Check out more exclusive interviews with The Daily Frequency HERE!