meta-scriptDJ/Producer Madeon Talks Debuting His 'Good Faith' Live Experience At Lolla 2019 | GRAMMY.com

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DJ/Producer Madeon Talks Debuting His 'Good Faith' Live Experience At Lolla 2019

"I think it's a show that works best on a larger scale, and a festival felt like a great place to do that," the French DJ/Producer tells the Recording Academy

GRAMMYs/Aug 5, 2019 - 02:58 am

French DJ/Producer Madeon has had an enormous last few years, what with the success of his debut, 2015's Adventure. These days, he's taking an extended break from touring, relocating to Los Angeles and working on his sophomore LP, Good Faith, out this year. 

But the most exciting news to come out of this record cycle is that he'll be debuting the Good Faith Live experience at Lollapalooza 2019.

"I've been working on the album Good Faith and the live show Good Faith Live [over] the last few years," he told the Recording Academy on the ground at Lolla. "I think it's a show that works best on a larger scale, and a festival felt like a great place to do that so I can bring an appropriately sized production."

When asked what goes into creating such an expansive live production, Madeon had plenty to say. "It's so many steps," he elaborated. "From conceptualizing what the stage looks like to making those visuals to all of the technical implications to rehearsing all of your parts, it's been like this for months now... I've been spending weeks with the visual teams making the video content and actually rehearsing it and the light design. Everything that you see is an intentional decision that somebody has made. And it takes dozens and dozens of people being passionate about it to deliver an experience like that."

Check out Madeon's full Lolla 2019 interview above, and stay tuned for more amazing Lolla interviews on GRAMMY.com.

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Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction on stage at Lollapalooza 2003.
Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction at Lollapalooza 2003.

Photo: J. Shearer/WireImage/GettyImages

list

'Lolla: The Story of Lollapalooza' Recounts How An Alt Rock Fest Laid The Blueprint For Bonnaroo & More

A new three-part documentary on Paramount+ traces the origin of Lollapalooza from its early days as a traveling alt-rock showcase initially conceived as a farewell tour for Jane's Addiction, to the three-day Chicago-based festival that exists today.

GRAMMYs/May 22, 2024 - 09:27 pm

Few music festivals have had the cultural impact of Lollapalooza. 

Conceived in 1991 as a farewell tour for Jane's Addiction by lead singer Perry Farrell, the festival quickly became a traveling showcase for alt-rock and counterculture. Its eclectic lineups, which also included punk, metal, and hip-hop acts, helped define a generation's musical tastes. 

A new, three-episode documentary, "Lolla: The Story of Lollapalooza," takes an in-depth look at the festival's journey over three decades. From its early days of bringing together alt acts including Nine Inch Nails, Living Colour, Pearl Jam, and the Beastie Boys, Lollapalooza has evolved into what it is today: a three-day festival based in Chicago's Grant Park since 2005. The festival remains an enduring celebration of alternative music.

"Lolla" explores how Lollapalooza defied expectations by both embracing and helping shape the emerging youth culture of the '90s — a rebellious, introspective shift from the flashy excess of the '80s. The docuseries highlights the festival's influence through a trove of archival footage and exclusive interviews with Lollapalooza co-founders, show promoters, bookers, MTV hosts. Of course, "Lolla" features a who's who of '90s-era rockers — including Farrell himself, Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine, Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails, Donita Sparks from L7, Ice-T

To watch "Lolla" is to open a time capsule for alternative culture, one where the stage becomes a symbol of generational change. Read on for five takeaways from the documentary, which is now streaming on Paramount+. 

The Reading Festival Served As Inspiration

For their farewell tour, Jane's Addiction decided to emulate the UK Reading Festival's approach to curating live music and alternative acts in a multi-day, open-air forum (where bands like the Buzzcocks and Pixies played to crowds of 40,000). 

Jane's Addiction had been scheduled to play the 1990 Reading Festival, but Farrell partied too much the night before after a club gig and lost his voice, and the band had to cancel. Drummer Stephen Perkins and future Lollapalooza co-founder Marc Geiger decided to check out the event anyway, which planted the seed for the future tour. 

"Reading was a cornucopia of artists, and scenes, and curation, and it was such a vibe," recalled Geiger in an interview scene from the doc. "I remember saying, 'Perry, we have to do it.'"

Farrell was game after missing his chance to see Reading first-hand. So Lollapalooza co-founders Geiger, Don Muller and Ted Gardner, who was also Jane's Addiction band manager, got to work emulating the Reading model. In addition to live music, Farrell wanted something "completely subversive" with booths to engage festival goers with everything from henna tattoos and art galleries, to nonprofit and political organizations like Greenpeace, PETA, the Surfrider Foundation, and even voter registration for the Rock The Vote campaign. The result was art and activism combined with commerce.

Lolla Was Born From The Death Of Jane's Addiction

Although Jane's Addiction had a big buzz with their third album, Ritual de lo Habitual, the band was on the edge of  dissolution. "We really couldn't stand each other," admitted Farrell. Ready for his next act, Farrell saw the opportunity to end on a high note with Jane's Addiction. "The best work we did, we left on the stage at Lolla," he said in the doc. 

In the early '90s, alternative acts were not selling out massive venues. Organizers were on edge, hoping fans would buy tickets and show up to not one, but 28 U.S. tour dates featuring the seven-act lineup for the first-ever Lollapalooza.

What nobody expected was the watershed success. The first show saw fans sweat it out to see their favorite acts in Phoenix, on a day with temperatures well over 100 degrees. Nine Inch Nails' equipment melted in the heat, leading the band to destroy their failing gear before walking off the stage. 

Despite initial hiccups, the tour wasn't hindered. Lollapalooza's first year sold out in a majority of venues holding 15-18,000 people, driven largely by word-of-mouth and favorable coverage by MTV.  

"I think everybody knew and ultimately felt, 'wow, I'm sort of lucky to be here — I'm part of something,'" recalled Geiger in the doc. "It was bigger than anything these artists or fans had seen at that time."

Lollapalooza '92 further mixed genres on the main stage — like gangsta rap (Ice Cube), grunge (Pearl Jam) and shoegaze (Lush) — while greatly expanding the line-up on a side stage upon which Farrell and Perkins introduced their new band Porno For Pyros, alongside many other acts. Lollapalooza's model was born. 

Early Years Embraced Racial Inclusivity, But Lagged Gender-Wise

Right from the start, Lollapalooza organizers mixed up the bill beyond white artists that traditionally headlined rock concerts long before and after Jimi Hendrix performed at Woodstock and Monterey Pop. Part of why Lollapalooza thrived is the inclusion of bands like Ice-T's Body Count, Fishbone, and Living Colour — favorite headliners during the early tours.

Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello credited Living Colour with helping build "the alternative arc" and opening doors for Rage. "Without Living Colour, Rage Against The Machine doesn't get a record deal. Ever," Morello said. 

A big moment came near the end of the '91 tour when Ice-T and Farrell squared off to cover Sly and the Family Stone's "Don't Call Me ******, Whitey" in which they tersely trade verses, then end up tangoing across the stage. It was a provocative performance that grabbed headlines and the audience's attention months after the high profile police beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles. In '92, Soundgarden showed solidarity with Body Count by performing their controversial track "Cop Killer" with their guitarist Ernie C onstage in Miami. 

While Lolla embraced racial diversity, the early line-ups were male-dominated. Lone female act Siouxsie and the Banshees were a favorite in '91 and later Lollapalooza main stage artists, like Sonic Youth, Babes In Toyland, Lush, and the Breeders — which had more if not all female members — were outnumbered by their male counterparts.

Read more: 6 Female-Fronted Acts Reviving Rock: Wet Leg, Larkin Poe, Gretel Hänlyn & More

Donita Sparks noted that L7 got booked in '94 only after they fired off a bluntly worded fax to the organizers. "We got the offer," Sparks said, "but we had to push the issue. And we had to fight for it. 'Cause that's how much we wanted to be on Lollapalooza, and more importantly, that's how much we felt we deserved to be on Lollapalooza.

Female artists would eventually receive their Lolla dues, with Billie Eilish, Lorde, HAIM, Miley Cyrus and Karol G performing as festival headliners, and artists like Lady Gaga starting out as side stage artists before exploding in popularity and returning to headline the fest a few short years later. 

It Became A Victim Of Its Own Success

Lollapalooza from years '91 to '93 were the purest in terms of alt-rock acts, but as the event drew a wider range of talent and demand, it began to suffer a bit of an identity crisis. After all, it's hard to be a beacon for the underground scene once that culture is above ground.

By Lolla '94, attendance set records and alt-rock had hit the mainstream while grunge peaked and critics bemoaned its growing conventional status. Former second stage booker John Rubeli revealed that Nirvana turned down a $6 million offer to headline the '94 tour because of frontman Kurt Cobain's fear of selling out. Cobain's suicide a few short weeks later changed the scene. 

In '95, the festival returned with more indie bands on the mainstage, but some were eclipsed by bigger artists like Coolio, who drew a bigger crowd to the parking lot side stage. Increased popularity drove commercial sponsorship, and the event became more expensive. Ticket sales dropped. Then in '96, Farrell quit his involvement with the festival for a year in protest over the booking of Metallica, whose aggressive music and audience he felt were out of step with his vision.

"I felt disrespected," Farrell said. "I'm not putting this thing together to make the most money. I'm putting this thing together to make the most joy."

Upon his return in 1997, Farrell's inclusion of electronic acts like the Orbital and the Prodigy were, to some ears, ahead of the curve. The festival then went on a six-year hiatus. 

Lollapalooza returned on shaky legs for its 2003 tour, which included Audioslave, Incubus, the Donnas, and the reunion of Jane's Addiction. But it was truly reborn in 2005 as a three-day event in Chicago through concert promoters C3 Presents (who co-executive produced the "Lolla" doc).  Admittedly, some of the 21st century headliners like Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Journey, and Paul McCartney would never have fit the '90s festival bill. 

Times have changed and, today, the festival has embraced its conventional success while retaining its original genre-spanning reach with the Killers, Melanie Martinez, Skrillex, and Tyler, the Creator included on this summer's lineup.

Lolla Was A Model For Coachella, Bonnaroo, And Beyond

Prior to the arrival of Lollapalooza, rock festivals were usually single weekend events that took place in a fixed location, like Woodstock in '69, Steve Wozniak's US Festival in '82 and '83, and European festivals like Reading. "I just think it's the first American, truly eclectic concert series since Woodstock," said Ice-T. "And even Woodstock wasn't as eclectic because Woodstock was pretty much all rock."

Lollapalooza's successful tour format inspired other popular tours and live events, especially in the mid-'90s. During the festival's break during the late '90s and early 00's, niche festivals like Ozzfest, Vans Warped Tour, and Lilith Fair stole the show. These festivals not only continued Lollapalooza's legacy by bringing diverse genres to cities across the country, but transformed the live music scene into a cultural phenomenon. 

While epic, genre-spanning weekend festivals like Coachella and Bonnaroo have been raging since the early aughts, Lollapalooza first proved that a seemingly radical idea could grow and thrive. Incorporating a mix of rock, hip-hop, electronic, and alternative acts, inclusivity and mobility became a festival blueprint. Today, Lollapalooza is tapping into international audiences and local music scenes with versions of the festival in Argentina, Berlin, Stockholm, Paris, and even Mumbai. 

Lollapalooza's success proves that the media and music industry often don't realize the size and passion of certain scenes and subcultures until they're brought together in the right setting. By uniting diverse musical acts and their fans, Lollapalooza highlights eclectic talent but also shows just how much people crave that representation and diversity.

Music Festivals 2024 Guide: Lineups & Dates For Lollapalooza, Coachella, Bonnaroo & Much More

YOASOBI kneel in a pose for a portrait
YOASOBI

Photo: Kato Shumpei

feature

From Tokyo To Coachella: YOASOBI's Journey To Validate J-Pop And Vocaloid As Art Forms

YOASOBI, blending J-pop and Vocaloid with narrative-driven songs, is capturing a global audience through their performances at major festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza, marking a significant moment for Japanese music on the international stage.

GRAMMYs/Apr 9, 2024 - 04:37 pm

For decades, Japanese music has been one of the hardest to access as a foreigner. Even with the popularization of cultural exports like anime and the emergence of streaming platforms, it is still considered a niche, and fans often have to dig deep in order to find albums, translations, or any kind of content at all.

"There weren’t many opportunities for Japanese music to go out into the world until now," says YOASOBI’s producer and songwriter, Ayase, over a Sunday morning Zoom from Tokyo. "If we were to break into the mainstream, I think there’s a lot more work to do. Being a part of Coachella is one of them."

The duo, composed of Ayase, 30, and vocalist Ikura, 23, is gearing up for their first performance at the mighty Californian festival next weekend, plus two sold out headline shows in Los Angeles and San Francisco. In August, they are set to play at Lollapalooza in Chicago, IL. 

"Performing at festivals like Coachella was one of our goals when we put our live team together, so I believe that it will be a place for us to grow further,” says Ikura, who lived in Chicago as a kid and considers these opportunities a "full circle" moment.

Read more: 10 Must-See Artists At Coachella 2024: Skepta, The Last Dinner Party, Mdou Moctar, Cimafunk & More

Formed in 2019, YOASOBI found overnight success with their debut single "Yoru ni Kakeru," a bright-sounding but harrowing tale that topped Billboard’s Japan Hot 100 chart for six non-consecutive weeks. They continued to rise further, recording five EPs (three in Japanese, two in English), the opening theme to Netflix’s anime series "Beastars," 2021’s "Kaibutsu," and their magnum opus so far: "Idol."

Released in 2023, "Idol" became a massive hit, placing No.1 at Billboard's Japan Hot 100 chart for 22 weeks and counting — an all-time record break. It was also the nineteenth best-selling song of 2023 worldwide, according to the IFPI. With these accolades, it’s easy to understand why the duo is fully booked, but what makes their music so enticing to global audiences? 

Listening to YOASOBI is like entering a rabbit hole. First, you get hypnotized by the glistening synths, bursting like fireworks, and the rock riffs taking melodies to full-speed. Then, you discover their adage is "novel into music," and all songs are based on fictional stories written by various authors. There’s also the animated music videos, each with a different style, giving their sounds another layer for interpretation. And finally, there are Ayase’s and Ikura’s (under the name Lilas Ikuta) own solo careers — treasure troves ready to be unearthed.

"I don't know, to be honest," says Ayase when asked about their growing popularity. "I guess the fact that a lot of Japanese [exports] have been prevalent around the world had to do with it. But also, maybe it's because people are experiencing this combination of music with storytelling that is interesting to them." Ikura agrees, adding that YOASOBI allows fans to "enjoy this bigger world that we are part of in a more three-dimensional way."

The experience is similar to how they create their music: mining, collecting, mixing, and transforming different threads into a new fabric. From fictional stories, Ayase transmutes his feelings into beats on his laptop with Logic Pro, then inputs melodies and lyrics through Vocaloid softwares like Hatsune Miku. Ikura listens to the Vocaloid demos, and then adds her own feelings and flair into the interpretations. For English-language tracks, they work with translator Konnie Aoki, who is "very mindful of phonetic sounds," and Ikura listens to the Japanese versions up until it’s time to record, so that she can have "the right emotions set."

It’s such a natural process for them that Ayase is surprised to know that there are still people who don’t consider Vocaloid as "real" music. “Those people probably don’t know what music is,” he says with a laugh. “Do they think that instrumental music, where there's no human singing, isn’t real music? There’s really great Vocaloid music out there, and it’s basically [voices] created through synthesizing softwares. It's very different from AI, which is auto-generated music. Vocaloid is humans creating music using these softwares. That's the only difference from a human singing a song.”

To Ikura, who maintains her burgeoning solo career in tandem with YOASOBI’s busy schedule, Vocaloid allowed her to broaden her talents. "It is my first time singing songs that somebody else wrote, so it was an opportunity to challenge myself with things that I wouldn't necessarily write, or sing in a tone or voice that I wouldn't come up with myself." She says that these experiences influence her solo works all the time, in a "synergy" that allows her to "have more colors to work with in my palette."

"I started producing music through Vocaloids,” adds Ayase. “And it truly broadened my ideas and imagination when it comes to creating music. It allows creators to come up with melodies that a human singer may not come up with. It's a fascinating culture. The possibility I feel is infinite, and it really makes the impossible possible, in a way.”

Read more: It Goes To 11: How One Piece Of Technology Makes YOASOBI's Musical Vision Come To Life

Endless possibilities are also a big allure in AI technologies, but Ayase doesn’t see this as a threat. With the right boundaries, it’s just a tool — like Vocaloid, Logic Pro, and the internet — that can be used positively. "However, as a creator myself, I really hope that creative works come out of the imagination and ideas of the human mind. In that sense, [AI] may not be 100% a positive thing for us," he shares.

But that’s something for the future. Now, YOASOBI is focusing on their very real, very tangible events ahead. "Finally, we have this opportunity where people around the world are discovering our music. So, performing at festivals like Coachella, Lollapalooza, or doing our solo shows, I think it's important that we communicate with the audiences and maximize this opportunity as much as possible," says Ikura.

And it’s not just YOASOBI getting all the attention: according to data and research company Luminate, J-pop in general is on the rise. "I’m very proud, as a Japanese person, for that situation. For us, it’s really about taking it one step at a time," says Ayase. “Our ultimate wish is to have our music or reach as many people around the world as possible, and so we will continue to work hard every day."

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Madeon & San Holo performing in 2023
(L-R) Madeon & San Holo perform at the Vision & Colour Music Festival in Wuhan, China on Nov. 5, 2023.

Photo: Haley Lan

interview

2024 Ultra Music Festival: Madeon & San Holo On How They'll Recreate The "Magic And Excitement" Of Their Spontaneous Pairing

After a last-minute joint headline performance brought Madeon and San Holo together in 2023, they'll do it again in Miami on March 23. The dance stars give a preview of the surprises they'll bring to Ultra Music Festival — for both them and the crowd.

GRAMMYs/Mar 19, 2024 - 07:34 pm

Before last year, the closest French producer Madeon and Dutch DJ San Holo ever came to collaborating was touring together in 2016. But on Nov. 5, the two dance stars found themselves closing out the 2023 Vision & Colour Music Festival in Wuhan, China, together after a last-minute cancellation from the original headliner — and their unexpected set was so magical, they're bringing their chemistry to Miami's Ultra Music Festival just four months later.

Madeon and San Holo — whose birth names are Hugo Leclercq and Sander van Dijck, respectively — will play a back-to-back set as headliners of Ultra's intimate amphitheater-style Live Stage on March 23. Like their VAC performance, the joint Ultra set will offer hard electronic beats, live mash-ups and fan-favorite cuts from both of their catalogs, curated by each artist in an attempt to impress the other.

"I've noticed a trend in dance music where audiences are attracted to moments — things that feel spontaneous, like back-to-backs that you didn't expect, shows that are announced very late," Madeon tells GRAMMY.com. "There's something about 'You had to be there.' As a performer, I want us to feel that energy."

San Holo echoes, "This all came from spontaneity. As long as we keep that alive, people are going to have an amazing time." 

Ahead of their Ultra set, Madeon and San Holo caught up with GRAMMY.com to hear more about their serendipitous partnership  — and why it's not guaranteed to ever happen again.

I'm excited that you're bringing this joint effort back. I was so intrigued when you did the set in China. 

Madeon: The way it came about is probably why it ended up being so special. We were both in China playing our respective shows for this festival, VAC. I played Good Faith Forever, Sander played a DJ set hybrid. We were about to fly back, but the headliner that was supposed to close the entire festival was sick. They had this big fireworks show already, a huge production, and then they didn't have an artist. 

They asked us about a back-to-back, and we were like, "Well, that sounds kind of fun." Basically, 24 hours before going on stage, we were like, "We're gonna headline this mega festival and create a whole new show from scratch," which was a little reckless. I think the sleep deprivation and the time zone change probably played a part. 

Sander and I met up in the hotel room and took some big swings. We made a whole new visual show with a black-and-white camera feed. I was on my laptop making visuals on the way to the stage. Sander and I decided to each have succeeding sections, like 15 minutes each. We did not show each other what we were going to play. We're trying to make sure we would impress each other, like a proper back and forth. 

San Holo: The complicated thing is that Madeon is actually on different equipment. He has his own crazy, secret setup that is insane. He's extremely flexible, and I'm on the CDJs [turntables]. It's like trying to get different machines to talk. We have to really pay attention when we transition from our sections, which was really exciting and challenging.

Madeon: For me, the best part is that when you start playing, I know you're gonna play for 10 minutes or so, which is long enough for me to just dance, have fun and get lost in it. Then after 10 minutes, I think, "Okay, where do I take this next?" It feels very celebratory, and most of what Sander played was music I had never heard before. I felt like it was in the audience partying with everybody whenever he dropped something cool, and hopefully vice versa. 

San Holo: Absolutely. That's a fun thing of back-to-backs. You're like, "What is this?" Normally I would go look at the CDJ, but now I had to look over to this laptop machine with your setup. I was like, "Where can I find the song title?"

Madeon: We were supposed to only play an hour or so, and when we were gearing up for the ending, the festival was like "Do you want to play longer?" We ended up playing an extra 40 minutes completely unprepared. It was very magical. 

We had this handheld camera. Whenever he was playing, I was filming him, then whenever I was playing he was filming me. We looked at the footage and saw the way that it looked, and it felt strong and different. It didn't feel like a typical Madeon show or a typical San Holo show. So it felt true to what it was, as far as this spontaneous idea. It was such a special moment, and so unexpected. We didn't know how fun it was gonna be. 

I'm really shocked to hear this happened so last minute. Listening to the set, it felt like you had put so much thought into mixing your styles.

San Holo: I was a little bit scared, to be honest — like, "Is this gonna work?" But that actually made it so fun.

Madeon: I think if it was earlier in my career I would have been more scared, but we both have enough experience to know we can figure it out as DJs. When I do my live show and I'm singing, it's all super rehearsed — and same for you Sander, right? But when I DJ, I don't like to prepare, because otherwise I'm bored. 

This felt doubly exciting. The risk factor is what makes it real. We were there, we took a risk, and there was this magical memory. 

So you whipped together this wild concept and the wheels didn't fall off mid-set. Going into this Ultra set, is that now part of the parameters of this project? 

Madeon: We're implementing a little surprise in the show, and we're very excited about that. That one is more planned, but it's also spontaneous — you'll see. We want to make sure it's not exactly what we did in China. 

Sander is just going to tell me the opening and closing song of each of his sections, and then it's my job to find the connection between. It's like a puzzle I'm going to solve, but I'm not going to over-prepare.

San Holo: I've got to talk about your setup. I'm jealous of your setup, because it really allows you to be completely free with the key and the BPM tempo. You can just flip it in whatever way you want. 

Madeon: But I'm jealous of your setup, because CDJs are everywhere. It's so convenient. They feel great to use. 

San Holo: It's just harder with CDJs to actually pitch things. You can pitch up tracks, and it's the Ableton algorithm so it still sounds pretty good.

Madeon: That's true. Sander sent me a bunch of his acapella and melodies, and I pitched them to the right key, and then I could play them on the launch pad so I could do mashups live. That's not something you can easily do on CDJ.

San Holo: No. I am a bit more prepared. I want to play some tracks I found from some really small artists, for example. I want to put them in the set because I think this is amazing music. People have to hear this.

Madeon: Well, there's one thing you're gonna have to prepare for a lot, that secret moment. I trust your skill there. 

San Holo: The fact that it's scary is also why it's fun. People will feel that too, in the audience.

Madeon: I love going on stage and not knowing exactly how it's going to go. I feel like my favorite moment of the set is going to be something that I did not expect. Certain shows are very prepared. It feels like performing a recital, but like this feels like going to a party for me. We know we're going to run into cool people and hear cool music, and things are gonna happen that are memorable. 

And you're closing out the Live Stage, which is more intimate than the 200-foot Main Stage or the airport hanger-style Megastructure that hold crowds of thousands.

Madeon: I love that stage, the amphitheater — and we have the honor of headlining it, which we're really proud of. That stage is where you get the most control over the look and feel of your show. When you play the main stage, it's so massive, so it has to be a collaboration between who you are as an artist, and what Ultra is. That's awesome, too, but it's fun for us to do the live stage because we can control a bit more of the experience. 

Are you bringing back the black and white camera?

San Holo: I've got to give a lot of credit to Hugo. He has a huge vision regarding visuals. 

Madeon: You also had some great insight. It's cool we were both willing to do something different than our normal show. We want to make sure that, if people have seen our shows a lot of times before, they feel like this is a different, secret, rare experience.

San Holo: You gotta tell about the logo.

Madeon: When I make music, I have a lot of self-doubt and I can be really nervous and work on songs for years. But when it comes to visuals, I tend to be very radical, cutthroat and confident. I will take a thing and then really double down on it. 

When we first were trying to figure out the visuals, the natural idea was to use half of my visuals and half of Sander's, and this didn't feel right. So, I started making those black-and-white things, and one of the first things I made took Sander's logo and my logo and just overlapped them on top of each other to create this abstract shape. I thought it looked cool and had a good gut feeling about it.

San Holo: The first time I saw the logo I was like, "Wow. That's kind of crazy," but I really love and admire the cutthroat approach. That's easier for me in my music sometimes. 

Madeon: If we had used it just a little bit, it would look like a mistake, but if you just commit to it, like "No, this is it," then people trust you. It's all about confidently committing. In the photos, we ended up really liking how everything looked. Some people in China who were there even got that logo tattooed, so it's one of these things where you have to feel the moment, feel the energy in the air at a given time. Again, I think that's where dance music is at right now. It feels more spontaneous, like you react to the magic in the air, and then go with it. Chase that excitement. 

Madeon & San Holo

(L-R) Madeon and San Holo at the 2023 Vision & Colour Festival | Photo: Haley Lan

It fits the way you're approaching the music as well. It's the two of you together and you're giving each other space to exist. It's more than the sum of its parts.

Madeon: I think audience members, one of their favorite parts is being with their friends, and [when] there's a song they love, they look at each other and react. As a solo performer on stage, you don't have that, because you know what you're going to play. But because there's two of us, we get to surprise each other. 

That's why I don't want to know too much about what he's going to play. I know he's made some edits to some of my songs, and I'm going to sample some of his songs too, but I want to surprise each other. I think that magic and that excitement is going to make us DJ better.

To give each other that space requires a lot of trust. Where does that come from?

San Holo: We haven't worked alongside each other a lot. I was on the Porter and Madeon Shelter tour [in 2016], and that was a life-changing experience for me. It's not like we call each other every day. If anything, our friendship is starting to really grow as we're doing the music thing together. I know Hugo has been doing this for a long time, and we trust each other in our professionalism. I made a huge mistake on the China stage. I spun back the wrong CDJ at some point, but we know how to fix it. 

Madeon: Yeah, that's the magic. A few years into doing this, you grow this connection with the audience where they trust you and you trust them. Some of my favorite memories on stage have been things going wrong. At the end of the day, it's not about perfection. It's about memorable, beautiful, joyful moments, and once you trust that, and you know that in your heart, you'll always find the path back to something joyful. 

Is this a collaboration you might continue? Is it too early to say?

Madeon: We're looking at returning to China where this began to do it again. The spirit of it needs to be spontaneous and quick. There's no pressure in trying to build something, but you never know. We might have so much fun [at Ultra] that we want to do it a ton. It's more about what feels right. 

Ultra asking us to do this was unexpected. I thought it was gonna be one-and-done. We accidentally created something other festivals were interested in, and now we get to bring it to the United States exclusively at Ultra. 

You never know. It might be a lot of music, maybe a lot of shows, or not. But I would say that people at Ultra, if they want to see this, they should go — because there's no guarantee.

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Kendrick Lamar GRAMMY Rewind Hero
Kendrick Lamar

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

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GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016

Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2023 - 06:01 pm

Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.

A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.

This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system. 

"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."

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He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.

"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.

"Hip-hop. Ice Cube. This is for hip-hop," he said. "This is for Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle. This is for Illmatic, this is for Nas. We will live forever. Believe that."

To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood." 

Lamar has since won Best Rap Album two more times, taking home the golden gramophone in 2018 for his blockbuster LP DAMN., and in 2023 for his bold fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at GRAMMY.com every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes. 

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