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Maddy O’Neal Interview: Snowboarding & Ultra Music Festival

Maddy O'Neal
Maddy O’Neal Interview: Snowboarding & Ultra Music Festival

In the ever-evolving landscape of electronic music, few artists manage to truly break the mold and create a sound that resonates across the vast spectrum of genres. One such artist, Maddy O’Neal, has seamlessly blended funk with future bass among other styles, offering an intriguing insight into the journey that led her to where she is today. From the vibrant electronic music scene of Boulder, Colorado, to the grand stages of Ultra Music Festival, this interview delves into the artist’s unique approach to music, the profound influence of snowboarding culture, and the creative process behind her richly textured tracks. Check out her Spotify takeover playlist below:

Your music is a unique blend of genres, from funk to future bass. What initially drew you to these specific styles and how did your journey in music begin?

I moved to Boulder CO in 2008 to go to CU Boulder. There was an explosion of electronic music culture happening there – a lot of my early inspirations who have now become good friends blossomed out of that community, including Pretty Lights, Griz, Big Gigantic, STS9 etc. I was in the middle of getting my journalism / PR degree and just kind of got curious one day. I came from a musical background but never stuck with an instrument, so I had previously thought it might be too late for me…turns out I was way wrong. I dove into YouTube tutorials and started digging for music / samples at record stores and just began to teach myself everything from a demo version of the software I use that I got from my brother for Christmas.

Has the snowboarding culture influenced your music in any way? Are there elements from this world that resonate with your artistic expression?

100%. I was living in Boulder and snowboarding almost every weekend in the winter when I was in school. There were always such cool events attached to the snowsports industry and I ended up meeting some pro skiiers that were producers/DJs as well. The crossover between the two cultures was massive. I saw some of the coolest underground shows in those tiny mountain towns and was slowly absorbing it all. One of my favorite things to do to this day is put my headphones on and get lost in the music on the mountain. I think having that euphoric experience to reference definitely influenced the way I wanted my music to make people feel.

How are you preparing for your set at Ultra Music Festival? Are there any special surprises that you’re planning to incorporate into your performance?

Oh yes! I actually took the month of January off to kind of reset and finish a ton of new music and set ideas. Since Ultra is so early in the year I definitely had it in mind as I was working! It’s fun to picture yourself on a certain stage or environment while working in the studio. I definitely plan to showcase a bunch of new music and vibes!

Can you walk us through your creative process? How do you go from an idea to a finished track, especially with such a rich texture in your music?

I can really get inspired from anything at any given time. I really like to collect ideas all the time so I can sort of have a well to draw from when I sit down. Whether that’s another song that really inspires me or digging for samples or just having a day where I experiment with synth tones, etc. I try to stay collecting so that I feel prepared when I sit down and can easily get into a flow state because I have already set myself up with some tools to begin.

How do you balance your career in music with your love for snowboarding? Do you find that one influences the other?

They totally influence each other for sure. Because I tour so much more than I used to I haven’t been getting as many days on the mountain as I’d like to but when I do it is the most blissful moments. Being outside and just cruising with friends or even solo with headphones in is a very similar feeling I get from writing music – you get lost in it and they are definitely two things that fill my soul in a way I cant explain.

Playing at Ultra is a significant milestone for any artist. How do you reflect on your journey so far, leading up to this point?

It hasn’t even really set in just yet how massive of an opportunity Ultra is because I’ve never been, but I know its gonna hit me fully when I get there! I just feel so honored to be a part of such an influential festival … It is a tangible milestone that definitely marks how far I’ve come. It’s really in those moments when I get off stage when I’m like “Wow” ok that just happened. You gotta find the time to slow down and reflect in those moments. I love having my friends around in those big moments cause it’s always more fun to celebrate with your crew!

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians and producers who are just starting out, especially those who are self-taught like you?

Be patient with yourself. The learning curve is big at first with so many different aspects of learning to produce, software, the industry etc. Find a community or support system of people doing something similar and share with them… it goes a long way. Also, try not to compare yourself to others. Everyone’s journey looks different and it is a beautiful thing. Be as YOU as you possibly can…there can be no other YOU!

Reflecting on the conversation, it’s clear that the journey of an Maddy O’Neal is as much about personal growth as it is about musical development. Balancing a passion for snowboarding with a burgeoning career in music, Maddy’s path is a testament to the power of persistence, the importance of a supportive community, and the endless possibilities that await those who dare to dream. As she prepares to grace the stage at Ultra Music Festival, her story serves as a beacon for aspiring musicians and producers, reminding us that with patience, dedication, and a unique voice, the world of music is ripe with opportunities for those willing to explore it.

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