MADGRRL stopped by to discuss her return to hard dance and hard techno. She also spun a fiery guest mix highlighting her roots in harder music.
As established artists from different scenes continue exposing fans to harder, forbidden sounds, the demand and hype for hard dance and hard techno soars. The rapid rise in these two genres has inspired many to join the movement, for better or worse, but it’s also helped many artists return to their roots. The accessibility to hard music has drawn back many artists who may have strayed with a renewed love for the harder styles. One of those artists is MADGRRL.
When the MADGRRL project burst onto the scene, she came prepped with a new identity aiming to bridge the gap between bass music and hard dance for the American audience. Over the years, the project has leaned into bass music as she’s released music on prestigious labels such as Never Say Die and Ophelia Records in addition to touring with established artists like Krewella and Riot Ten.
With hard dance, however, MADGRRL has learned that it’s difficult to grow apart from where your roots are planted. No matter which direction she’s gone, her desire to close the distance has remained.
Looking to gain more insight into MADGRRL’s return to harder music, we sat down with her to discuss everything from her beginnings in hard dance to recent performances and plans for the project this year. She was also kind enough to deliver a banging guest mix that includes her recent remix of “SIDE2SIDE” with Sky Sky. Make sure to crank up the volume, grab tickets to her latest show, and read on for the full conversation.
Stream EDMID Guest Mix 405 || MADGRRL on SoundCloud:
Hi MADGRRL, thank you for stopping by to chat and spin a banging guest mix for us. We appreciate it!
Hey! I’m psyched to be here and to drop this hard set for you! It was honestly a blast to put together.
Last year was undoubtedly a transformative year in your career as you returned to the roots of MADGRRL with faster and harder sounds. What was your main inspiration for diving back into hard dance and techno after leaning into the bass side of things for quite some time?
The past six months have been a wild ride, and I’m thrilled about where I’ve taken my project. When I started MADGRRL, I was excited about blending edgy, high-energy elements and fast BPMs with bass music. It was a way for fans to connect with harder music in a relatable and enjoyable manner, especially since hard dance and hard techno weren’t as widespread in the US as other genres like dubstep at the time.
As time passed, I realized that producing and DJing bass music doesn’t bring me the same joy and connection that I feel with hard music. I even went on a full US tour alongside some big dubstep artists, and I often felt out of sync with my sets and the crowds. Even though I’m grateful for the opportunity, bass music sets longer than 30 minutes became something I dreaded.
After some honest discussions with my management team, we made a decision not to do dubstep anymore, and it turned out to be the best decision we had ever made. I needed those past experiences to guide me exactly where I need to be, so I’m extremely grateful for the journey. Honestly, it feels great to be back in my element and doing what I love most!
In 2023, you were a part of the Barong Angels with Sky Sky and RayRay. Can we expect more music coming soon from you three together, or is this exclusively a live act?
We did talk about the idea of a three-way collab, but we’re swamped, and our musical styles aren’t exactly in sync at the moment. Sky and I had a blast working together on that Floss remix we recently released, though! We’re looking forward to rocking the stage together as Barong Angels in Asia in 2024.
Fans also got to see you represent hard dance music at Lost Lands this past year. How did it feel to be one of the few artists who exposed the bass crowd to the harder styles?
You know, it was a bit nerve-wracking, considering my set time was going up against some pretty big bass music acts. I was surprised that tons of people showed up for my hard dance/hard techno set! I didn’t expect such a great turnout. It was so sick to see lots of people in the crowd vibing to my set. It just goes to show that music has this incredible way of bringing people together even when they didn’t expect to dance to those harder styles.
Speaking of amazing sets, you’ve recently mentioned that your Group Chat set at Academy LA this year was an important one for your career. Can you give us any more insight and expand on what this set meant to you personally and professionally?
It’s tough to put into words! My team and I were already fully committed to making that transition into hard techno, but there was something about that night. We looked at each other, it all clicked, and we were like, “DAMN.” The energy from the crowd, the tracks that were played, my energy, and the way I was mixing felt like it was in perfect harmony. This was exactly where we were meant to be with my sound.
This set solidified my path in the hard techno scene, boosted my confidence in pursuing this musical direction, and showed me the immense power of having a supportive team and love from fans and fellow artists. All in all, it was a defining moment that pushed me further along the path that I’m truly passionate about.
Also, it was amazing that DJs and producers from Europe and all over the world who are in the hard techno scene reached out, supported my set, and connected with me. Big shout out to the Group Chat team and JSTJR – those guys are the best!
Even on the release front, your music changed as you started 2023 with bass tunes and ended with a massive speed house track, “MACHINE.” As your releases are slowly getting harder and faster again, what kind of records can fans expect this coming year?
Hard-hitting techno and rave tracks in the coming year! I’m stoked about what 2024 has in store for my sound, and I can’t wait to drop more music. Keep an ear out for the VIP version of “MACHINE!” You can catch a sneak peek of it in the mix I’ve put together for you all!
Now that 2024 is in full swing, you already have lots planned, including your first-ever headline show in Los Angeles, in addition to a set at Beyond Wonderland SoCal for Basscon. Can you share more about what you have planned for these two major bookings?
I’m buzzing with excitement for my headline show in LA at Melrose House. I’ll admit there’s a bit of nervousness, too! It’s my first headline show in my home city, so there’s a bit of pressure, but the response has been incredible. We’ve sold out of all the RSVPs, and regular tickets are almost gone, so that’s a great sign.
We’ll be pulling out all the stops for this show! There will be some exclusive merch sold and we’re creating a boiler room-style set to match the energy of the intimate room and my music. Plus, we’re planning to capture the set’s audio and video, so it will be a memorable night! For Beyond Wonderland, I’m thrilled to be a part of that festival. We’re prepping some fresh visuals, and there’s going to be a ton of unreleased music in the set.
As we head into 2024, are there any professional goals you’d like to achieve now that your project is returning with an emphasis on harder music?
Absolutely! I’m looking forward to collaborating with talented European artists who are making waves in the scene. These collaborations will bring fresh vibes and unique sounds to my music. On top of that, I’ve got an EP in the works that’ll capture the essence of the harder styles I’m passionate about. It’s a project I’m super stoked about. I can’t wait to drop it for everyone to enjoy and also start playing it out at shows!
When it comes to touring, my plan for 2024 is to dive deeper into the European scene. I had a taste of it in 2023, but now I’m focused on becoming a recognized part of the European music landscape. There’s a lot of exciting stuff on the horizon, and I’m pumped to make 2024 a year filled with killer tunes and unforgettable experiences!
To close out, what’s a piece of advice you can give to other women who are trying to navigate the music industry to achieve their dreams and embark on a path similar to yours?
My advice to fellow women navigating the music industry would be to stay true to yourself and your sound. Embrace your uniqueness and let it shine through in your music. The industry can be tough, but it’s your authenticity that will make you stand out and connect with your audience.
Networking is also incredibly important. Build real relationships with other artists, producers, and industry people who share your passion and vision. These connections can open doors, offer support, and lead to more opportunities.
Lastly, don’t fucking give up. Setbacks and obstacles are a part of the journey. Keep honing your skills, stay resilient, and keep pushing forward. Your hard work and dedication will pay off, and you’ll achieve your dreams in your own unique way.