Los Angeles-based non-binary musician, madge, has carved out a place for himself creating some of the most catchy and daring tracks in the glitchcore/hyperpop genres. Described as “breaking hearts and noses in the country of the center-left”, the genre artist breaks more than a nose. The young artist already has an impressive discography and some heavy hitters such as “Ethanol” and “Fight or Flight Club”, and a fan favorite “H8R”. Madge describes as “hoping to be part of a larger collective wave of change in the music industry” where music production, distribution and access are further democratized. BBC Radio1 described their music as “like chewing toxic waste in the best way”. Their recent album “xR – EP 1” made waves and was produced with another great talent, moon bounce. We caught up with Madge to find out how they do it all in the following exclusive interview.
Photograph by May Daniels
fashion by Official rebranding
MU by Ciara Maccaro and Shea Hardy
Mark Benjamin: Hi Madge, where do you currently live?
madge: I’m based in LA now but grew up in Utah.
Mo: Tell me about life growing up. I know one of your newest songs, “Jesus Loves Me” with Moon Bounce (together they are xR) is about growing Mormon. Were there aspects that you rejected and certain aspects that you took with you?
M: I have rejected most belief systems in my life. I’m actively trying to reject the internalized hate and shame, but that part is still ongoing. I think if I’ve taken anything away from all of this, it’s probably the principles of kindness and compassion. I’ve always been taught to be nice to everyone and that’s wonderful.
Mo: What music did you grow up around? Are they essential artists that you were or are obsessed with?
M: I mostly grew up around classical and jazz with a pinch of church music and English prog music. I was obsessed with most girl groups because they all seemed taboo. That’s honestly probably where my love of pop comes from.
Mo: Do Purity Ring, Dragonette or Crystal Castles mean anything to you?
M: I definitely went through a revival phase of Crystal Castles somewhat recently and was always obsessed with the Dragonette song that was so popular…I’m on the fence about Purity Ring but when I heard it for the first time ten years ago, I remember my mind disintegrating in place, in a good way.
Mo: Speaking of the “xR1 – EP”, how did you connect with Moonbounce? Did you all have similar musical tastes? You all work really well together sonically!!
M: I met Moon Bounce during my artist residency at Future Classic a few years ago. Oddly enough, we also bumped into the same event photography company when we first moved to Los Angeles. Our tastes are actually radically different, which is perhaps why we work so well together. We bring perspectives to the writing and production that otherwise wouldn’t happen on our own. I hope we can continue to do tons of xR.
Mo: You seem just as down for a slow, introspective song as you are for a club banger. Where does this come from?
M: I love and hate all music. I grew up in a sort of musical bubble, which means I’m still learning something every day. So many of the bands that most people know from childhood are still very new to me, which sometimes makes listening to music a huge chore, especially when I’m doing it all day. But of course the paradox is that I obviously love music and am inspired by most genres – that probably explains my general ADHD genre.
Mo: How did the idea of “Ethanol”, “Whatify” and “H8R” come about? I love “Ethanol!” This beat reminds me of the theme song for this show How it’s made!
M: I did “Ethanol” and “H8R” with my close collaborator and friend Lecx Stacy. We made these songs before the advent of “hyperpop” and I still maintain that these songs influenced the genre a lot. I was lucky enough to be on the same frequency as Lecx when we first met and we tapped into something cosmic.
These tracks were born very quickly. Whatify, on the other hand, was an absurdly fun virtual collab with my Utah pals Mr. Tape that really kills it in the house and EDM world. I wrote the words for this style of stream of consciousness in my closet three years ago and over time it has become what you hear now.
Mo: How do you release music?
M: Chaotically! I’m sitting on so much material right now and still figuring out the best way to get it out into the world.
Mo: Do you have live performances in preparation?
M: Absoutely. I have just signed with a booking agency in London called ATC and am very excited to be launching this tour.
Mo: If there is something that you want your listeners to move away from with your music, what is it?
M: I want them to go away a little confused but sort of singing it in their head for three weeks. All I want to do is make music that’s catchy but surprises you.