SUPERFRAICHE: Arjan Chats with Josh Madden
Josh Madden has a knack for seeing, hearing, feeling and creating things that are unique and different. He's one of those few people who are on the bleeding edge of what's new, now, next. One of those people who is a true tastemaker that people look to for new trends, looks and sounds. Not only is he the self-proclaimed "Baby Ruth of styling," he also is a designer and gifted DJ who combines a whole lot of sweet with plenty of crunchy. Just how I like it.
Josh will be spinning tunes during SUPERFRAICHE on Thursday. He will open the show at 7PM and then spin in between the sets of Dangerous Muse, Reni Lane, Sam Taylor, Brad Walsh and Menya. Good times! Get your tickets today. Make sure to be there early to hear Josh's set. In the meantime, hit him up, on Twitter.
I sent Josh some questions via email and he sent back some very throughful answers that will give you a bit of an insight of what it is that makes him tick.
Arjan: You come from a quite a musical family. Growing up was it always clear to you that you wanted to do something creative as well? I mean you could have chosen to be an accountant and crunch numbers for the rest of your life (which is totally respectable, but a different route)
Josh: I'll let you in on a little secret... I was an All-State Choris kid, slated to sing the "Class Song" and "National Anthem" at my graduation... that never happened, I failed Mr. Barton's calculus class by 3 points and he wasn't into the idea of letting me slide. I graduated from summer school, started College as an art major, found out I was gonna be handling the bills on my own and graduated with a Bachelor of Science... concentration? Business & Econ specializing in Marketing and Management! Then what did I do? Worked construction and then at The 9:30 Club in D.C. The short answer is I guess... I stand on both sides of the divide. I have a few sides that I'm pretty sure most people haven't and maybe never will see. P.S. I love accountants, I love you PSBusiness Management.
Besides being a totally rad DJ, you have lot more on your sleeves. You design, you style, you market. If you can boil it down to one thing, what is that you are passionate about, and what do you like to do the most?
There are a few concepts I am very passionate about. First, to make, create and inform of things that are inspiring, creative and otherwise. To maybe help people see, hear, experience, things they might otherwise overlook. Why are there so many great things that go unknown? Because they have no voice. I love the process, I like participating and I really admire the practice of hard work for the purest of efforts. I'm not in the business of marketing, I'm in the life of caring enough to actually know people and suggesting things to them that show that. I'm asked more often, than times that I go around telling.
The only thing I want to accomplish in this lifetime (for myself) is to have a positive effect, no matter how great or small, on sub-culture and popular culture alike. To connect the dots. I'm not a great self promoter, but I've learned to appreciate that in myself and others.
I have to ask you about your two famous brothers. What was it like to grow up together? Did you all get a long? [Side note: If the Benji and Joel are reading this. I was the guy that took this photo as a favor for Trent back in 2005. You may remember. Plus, I did this interview, which is one of my most favorites to date.]
I always have to laugh at the idea of fame. Can I first say that I firmly believe fame is bestowed upon some people while others chase it... I think Benji and Joel are celebrated people or people whose work and actions are celebrated, because they are smart, funny, entertaining, surprising people... so much more going on there than meets the eye. I don't really think of it that way "fame" I think the world has a very different picture in their mind than what actually "is".
My brothers, sister and I, and their significant others are legitimately all best friends. We have always been that way. I think growing up in the middle of the woods, just the four of us, kindof made us our own community. I know very few people that have the relationship that we have as a family. It's like we are from our own island. The only other family I've really met like us is the Ronson family. They are close like us and real supportive, encouraging and loving with each other.
What was the best advise they have given you and how has that helped you to shape a successful career of your own?
About 2 years ago, I was flat broke (an artist always is right?) and I was walking in the freezing cold when my brother called. I was on 2nd avenue, I'll never forget it, I didn't even have the money for a fare card during that time... My brother called and I was going on and on about all the chances passing me by, all these people were getting jobs and doing this exciting stuff and I wasn't getting my shot... (I know it sounds pathetic right, I'm embarrassed but I'm honest)... so here I am, my brother is intently listening and when I'm done my rant, he takes a turn and says this... "Josh, you're one of the most creative people I have ever met, and I've met a lot of people, but honestly, what are you doing? All I hear is fear, you're complaining, you're scared you're never going to get a chance to show the world what you have in your head... but all you have to do is quit b!tc#ing and fvck!ng do it! Just quit complaining and make something happen TODAY and by the way, be happy for other people, help them out... choose to be happy today man!"
I will never forget how I felt that moment and the effect that conversation has had on my life, my brother will probably never know. I'm much happier and a million times more productive today... I know it sounds cheesy but I don't care. I am happy for people, both those I know and those I don't. I love to see progress today, anywhere.
You will be performing at SUPERFRAICHE. When you think of SUPERFRAICHE and POP NIGHT, what comes to mind? What are some must-includes for you when it comes to a poppy Madden set?
There's so much music right now isn't there? I have so much music from so many genres that I'm listening to right now. I listen to music more now than I ever have and trust me, I've always been the biggest music nerd in any room. A Madden SUPERFRAICHHE set may include LAdyhawke, La Roux, old Britney, Empire of the Sun, Jason De Rulo, Lady Gaga. I mean... I could go on and on... I have about 3 hours of stuff including remixes of Cam'Ron, SWV, Big Pun, older Britney... all kinds of stuff I like to hear in a big room. Also remixes Brad Walsh, Junior Sanchez and a bunch of friends have done.
As a tastemaker who is always looking for new things to play and present, what do you look for in music? What is cool and what is definitely not?
What I like is rarely cool to a big room. I wish people were looking to hear something new, but I understand, most people just wanna put their drink in the air and sing every word with their friends. That is why you hear "Empire State of Mind" every 20 minutes. Today I look for a better remix of a track, I look for songs I haven't heard in 10 years that make us all stoaked, I love sneaking something in that we all loved and forgot about. I'll never forget DJing with James Iha & Steve Aoki one time, I forget what I played, but James turns and says "Wow man... that is a deep cut...". I wanna play your old favorite song, your new favorite song and your future favorite song... all night long.
You recently had success on The Hype Machine with a True Blue remix of Brad Walsh's "I Don't Want U 2 Go." Who is True Blue and can we expect more of that goodness?
There is a really long story about how I met Reni Lane, that ends with her and David Pattillo (an insanely talented individual) showing up at this party I was DJing. David asked if "I do remixes?"
I said "no."
He asked "why?"
I said "no comprende pro-tools."
He said "I do and I don't know how to do re-mixes so you navigate."
and there you go...
We want to make remixes of new tracks, unexpected selections (not just the newest, obvious, everyone-is-remixing-it, track). That's not meant to be an insult to anyone, honestly, we just like re-mixing different types of stuff. We are going to be working on mixes that might be for stuff other than the club. We do this because we want to work on the production and song writing aspect of the track. If you listen to the original tracks, you'll see, the re-mixes we do are meant to be our digestion of the track. I'm inspired by other people's efforts and doing this, it's basically us "fan-ing out". There's going to be a lot that comes from us as a team, thanks to David who is patient, I'm not really sane in the studio, we spend 30 hours or more on these things. I'm really picky with sounds, seriously I don't know how that guy puts up with me.
[Thanks for the interview, Josh!]