Interview: Lauren Demir
Photographer: David Franco
Collages: Annie Mcgill
Madz released his project L.Y.L.A (Live Young Love Always) a few months back. We met up with the artist in South London just before the project dropped. He was excited to finally let everyone hear what he had been working on for the past three years. L.Y.L.A is a balance of Madz’ singing and rapping abilities as he talks about the male perspective of a break up. ‘I really do feel it’s a very good project that I’ve put together. I was able to get a good balance of music for the guy and women.’ Madz’ own talent, alongside the use of features and skits, makes L.Y.L.A the perfect soundtrack for the cold, dark, nights of winter, bound to get you in your feelings.
Growing up in a family of DJs who would play funk, reggae, RnB and soul, Madz has always been a fan first with him collecting music for years now. ‘I’ve got like 10,000 songs. I don't like streaming music.’ It wasn’t until he was 8 years old that he took an active interest in rap. ‘I started to hear rap songs and the naughty ones on MTV Base.’ These ‘naughty rap songs’ started to infiltrate the poems he would write causing him to get into trouble. This didn’t stop however as once he started secondary school he would rap every morning with his friends before form.‘When everybody older than you started spitting you just wanted to spit because you wanted to be a part of it.’
At school Madz and his friend JNRDIDIT joined forces to become HalfLife, and started making music together. Although they never released a full project, they made plenty of songs together, which was when Madz started to experiment with his music and the use of auto-tune, and essentially built the foundations for his current sound. ‘I can honestly say we were one of the best of that age at 16, we were sick at what we were doing. I still call (my sound) HalfLife.’ It was when Madz put his first song on SoundCloud, which got 5,000 plays, that he felt encouraged to put himself out there and take his work more seriously.
Listening to Madz’ music, his topics are enhanced by his melodies and harmonies. He explains where he draws his inspirations from, ‘I’ve had a lot of experiences, seen things happen to others, or just create situations,’ he says while laughing, and then adds, ‘Black men don’t cheat.’ He explains which artists he listens to and is inspired by, ‘Badside Collective, Proton, Ellz, Grey. I listen to A2 alot, Knucks. I listen to Wretch, Nines,’ all of whom seem to live their art. This is what Madz wants people to take from his music, ‘My personality is an extension of my music. My music is clean-hearted. My music is good and I’m a good person.’
Madz’ music is open and honest and this is definitely how he comes across when we meet. He’s not afraid to tell us how he the extent of his goals and what he’s going to have to do reach them. Listening to the project after our conversation Madz definitely managed to capture the emotions and feelings he was aiming to. Check out the project below if you haven’t had the chance to listen to it yourself. We’re excited to see what he has coming up next!