After teaming up with Mad Madam to release two tunes (el Jeffe - Here She Comes & el Jeffe - Here She Comes (Morning High Remix)), Drooka sat down with the men behind the scenes, el Jeffe and Leroy O’Shanahan, to talk about the workings, ideology, and Mortal Kombat sessions behind upcoming vinyl-centric label Mad Madam.
Leroy also threw us a mix to start things off- featuring some forthcoming MM material, freebies from the crew, and some of Leroy’s favorites!
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Behind 4D is a mission to find, support and share the most forward thinking deep bass music and we have been given the opportunity to do just that today. Emerging from the Colorado mountain air rolls a fresh, vibe-centric record label – Mad Madam. Backed by the instantly recognizable el Jeffe alongside his partner in crime Leroy O’Shanahan, these two bring a passion for music rooted in the vinyl days of the 90’s and the vision to share proper music on a proper medium.
As a preface to our interview (a bit ironically so, as we conducted our chat well before the show), I was able to meet up with both of these fellas at the recent Submission 7 year. Along with the astounding sounds and wonderful people I ran into along the way, these two helped make one of the most memorable weekend getaways I’ve yet experienced. Both genuine and altogether fun-loving, I cannot think of two sets of more talented hands to entrust a label with….
4D: Alright Mister Jeffe, introduce us all to Mad Madam… and you’ve only got one word to do it.
I know loads of labels are doing vinyl these days, but we really just wanted to press up tunes we both like…and then have limited copies.
4D: Personally I’m glad to see labels recommitting to vinyl, it’s nice to see a little movement towards the roots, if you will, of both the music and the medium.
Now before we dig in any further, tell us a bit about your partner in crime, as well as your personal inspiration for stepping in behind a label.
J: My partner in crime is a good friend of mine, Leroy O’Shanahan. I’ve known the kid for 20+ years. We used to DJ together all the time, so starting a label just seemed like the right idea. It’s also an idea that we’ve tossed around for years.
As for my personal inspiration would have to be all the of the good music that has been sent to me over the last 6 months. Who knew that once you start producing, you start receiving loads of unreleased music.
4D: Right on man, one of those things where you get what you give… if you’re sharing quality tunes, you’re sure to get some gems in return. Speaking of your own productions, you’ve carved out quite a laid back, melodic style for yourself — is your aim to press tunes of a similar style?
J: Kinda. We don’t want to limit ourselves to any certain sound for the label, we just want to release the tunes we are feelin….so in the process we will press up some el Jeffe tunes.
4D: Judging by the mad madam freebies , you guys have quite the keen ear for tunes— that being said, what artists would be on your ‘dream’ release?
J: Ooh dream release is hard. i’d love to have all my friends on a release. Drooka, Karnage & Mark IV, Gerkle, Freud, Echomaker, and many many more. the list could go on forever.
4D: Kind of set you up there didn’t I – thanks for playing along. But back to the label itself, whats the story behind the name?
J: The name came from Disney’s The Sword and The Stone…Mad Madam Mim
4D: From Disney to Dubstep… lot of heads going to be rushing to watch The Sword and The Stone once they read this.
As far as what we’ve got to look forward to, any releases that you can chat about as of yet?
J: Well Mad Madam 001 is gonna be a 3 track EP from Dillard. Was sent off to mastering and everything this week, so we should have an idea of release date pretty soon. As far as 002, it’s in the works is all i can say…gonna be a split 12” from a couple of peeps on the Launch EP.
4D: Making a serious (and local) statement there with Dillard kicking things off, whatever else you have up your sleeve will surely impress.
Alright so before we get to know your partner in crime, tell us a bit about the two tunes you’ve so generously offered up for us?
J: Well it’s a tune I wrote about 5 months ago, it was kinda the start of my jazzy feel. I then asked some of my mates to provide some remixes of it. So Morning High provided one hell of a remix.
4D: Seems a fair representation of the forward-thinking style you’ve alluded to for the future of Mad Madam, a teaser of more to come perhaps?
At that I’ll just leave it to you for any last shout outs man! It was a pleasure chatting with ya and getting into the head of one of the Mad Madams — many thanks from myself, Ron and the 4D family.
J: This is this hardest part of this interview, the shout outs.
First and foremost I’d like to thank you and the 4D for taking the time to talk to us about the label. Secondly I’d like to thank anyone and everyone who is feeling my productions, wouldn’t be doing it without all of your support!!!
And last I’d like to thank my family and friends!
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4D: Alright Leroy I’ll kick you off with the same question that I shot Jeff, a bit of a test to see if you two are on the same wavelength… introduce us to Mad Madam, and you’ve only got one word to do it.
That’s probably the worst answer you’ve ever had.
4D: Not at all man, its perfect cause now you can open up your dictionary and elaborate…
L: The label is a way for us to release music that is interesting and stimulating to us. It’s all about fresh ideas and music that is good for the head but equally quality on the dancefloor.
The three of us (Jeff, Aaron & I) are all very much in the same boat as far as what we enjoy musically so it just made sense for us to start a label.
4D: It’s refreshing to have that sort of balance between dance and headphone, especially with the intention to press on vinyl. You kinda already touched on it a bit, but where did your inspiration for this label, and interest in vinyl for that matter, start?
L: I started djing in the late 90s and if you wanted to dj you pretty much had to play vinyl and that’s where it started. It becomes an addiction…an expensive and wonderful addiction. When we all started talking about starting a label I immediately knew that I wanted to press vinyl. I love the tangibility of records. There is something special about putting a record on a turntable.
We still plan on releasing digital as not everyone has access to a turntable and we want the music to be able to reach everyone.
4D: I think that’s a fair tactic to grab the attention of some digital heads and help to acquaint them a bit with the vinyl side of things.
L: Would be great to see more people take an interest in vinyl. My dad had a massive collection..mostly blues and rock and I pretty much inherited all of it. Gotta say my DMZ collection is the stuff that I really love. I have all of them and pretty much kiss all of them at night.
4D: Man you’re pretty spoiled with the DMZs. I’ve been collecting a few bits recently but the price of some of those old DMZ and Medi bits bums me out a bit. Those ‘ holy grail’ tunes are definitely worth the penny if you’ve got it though.
L: I was really lucky to get on some of those before the prices got out of control. I’m still buying up old Deep Medi tunes and sometimes you just get baffled by the prices. It’s good to have the digitals available of those.
It’s a love/hate thing…I LOVE buying and playing records…I HATE looking at my credit card bill every month.
4D: Agreed man, that availability is nice though sometimes i feel a bit guilty picking up a WAV of a tune that was built for a turntable and dingy small room.
Alright, going to take a step back from the music for a second and chat a bit more about the dudes behind the label. How’d you and Jeff meet up? Was it a product of music or did that come about later on?
L: Jeff and I have known each other for about 20 years. We both kind of fell into the scene after high school and realized we liked the same kind of music and over the years our sounds haven grown together. We met Aaron , our other label head, at a club back in 2005ish and got to talking and we all became great friends. Aaron and I rented a warehouse with some other people and would throw parties in it. Mostly techno but some of the most amazing parties. It wasn’t exactly legal and it became a constant headache so we both fell out of that.
All of us had talked about starting a label and it wasn’t until about 6-7 months ago that we said “let’s stop pissing about and do this”. That’s where we stand today.
4D: Pretty amazing how music has a way of bringing like-minded people together like that. I, for one, can say I’m glad you guys stepped out of the ‘pissing about’ stage, quite excited for what you have in store for us. I talked to Jeff a bit about it as well, but what can you tell us about what Mad Madam has on the menu?
L: We would love to do another 2-3 releases this year. The second release is coming from Jeff and it’s a pretty beautiful tune — he really has a way with melodies. It will come loaded up a remix and a collab with Jeff and someone else. There is such a brilliant scene loaded with amazing up and coming producers and thats what we would like to showcase.
4D: Thats a bit more of a teaser than what we pried out of Jeff, hope we’re not getting you in any trouble over here. Really looking forward to the news about the other releases you have in store, seems you guys have your sights set on a ripe part of the scene. before we wrap up, can you tell us a little bit about the mix you put together for us?
L: The mix is just a little teaser of some forthcoming Mad Madam stuff and also some artists and labels we’ve been digging on like Chord Marauders and FatKidOnFire. Good selection of fire producers like el Jeffe, Morrison, Drooka, and even a nod to the classics with Peverelists “Roll With The Punches”.
4D: Seems fair to say there’s a bit for everyone there, I was especially happy to see Peverlist make the cut closing things out… such a good, defining tune of the good ole deep vibes.
L: Really one of those special classics that still sounds fresh as it did when it came out.
4D: Alright, I’m gunna put you on the spot for one last question and then let you have the floor for any shout outs… Jeff told me i had to ask about a certain Mortal Kombat obsession so… Mortal Kombat obsession, what’s the story?
L: Hahaha! Mortal Kombats were MY JAM. We would print out sheets of moves and fatalities and trade em and then go dump hundreds of quarters into those machines not stop. The glory days…Coki is playing here next week in a place that has a Mortal Kombat 2 game so I hope he cranks out Spongebob right in the middle of a match.
4D: Sounds like the ultimate bucket list achievement right there! Alright man, it’s been quite a pleasure getting to know you; many thanks from myself, Ron and the 4d family for the words and of course the mix. So now I’ll leave it to you — any last thoughts, shout outs, or Mortal Kombat tips have at it…
L: Just huge thanks to everyone who has supported us and welcomed us in with open arms. Big shouts to the 4D crew for helping us along the way!
-Dillard - Winds Of The East [Mad Madam]
-Dillard - Rocks N’ Trees [Dub]
-Karnage & MarkIV - Cyan [Mad Madam]
-el Jeffe & Drew Dubz - Rhodes To Nowhere [Dub]
-Morrison - Eyes For Days [Mad Madam]
-el Jeffe - There She Goes (Morning High Remix) [Mad Madam x 4D]
-Nanobyte - Want For Nothing [FatKidOnFire]
-Congi & Geode - Flow One [Chord Marauders]
-Wulf - Roots [Milc]
-Drooka & Krease - Tinman [4D Exclusive Download]
-Drooka - ID [Mad Madam]
-Peverelist - Roll With The Punches [Punch Drunk]