Interview with future trap musician Skyler Madison

The city of Los Angeles always sounded like the place to thrive as a creative, and music producer Skyler Madison is making her producing dreams a reality with the new single ‘Pheonix’ via the reputable record label Monstercat. Featuring the vocals of songstress GLNNA, ‘Pheonix’ is one of those rare bass gems that will encourage you to listen to it again and again with its crisp production and cascading electronic embellishments. Regarded as a promising act by renowned bass artists Flux Pavilion and Krewella, Skyler is on the road to success. 

We chatted with emerging producer Skyler Madison below.

Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? And music production? 

That’s honestly a tough one, I’ve always been such a big music enthusiast ever since I could remember. As a little kid in the 90’s, I was always so enthralled with modern-day rockstars and pop stars which then at some point in time led to – as we’re all once asked that cliche question as a kid, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”. Mine was always a rockstar since I didn’t know the difference between that and a musician yet lol.

When I was around 7 or 8 I officially got my first taste of playing instruments playing in a band in elementary school and teaching myself how to play a few songs off of my grandma’s piano. Even though I had no clue on how to properly read music at the time. Unfortunately, shortly after I was pushed into a different path with sports so I left music alone for a while until I reached high school. This was where I started attending live underground electronic music events which reignited my flame for getting back into music again.

 All in all, my music journey is a very backwards one compared to most people in the industry – I worked several jobs in high school which allowed me to buy my first DJ controller around 18. I taught myself how to DJ in about 4 months then started pitching myself to local clubs and underground scenes, which then a few years overtime led me to get picked up by a DJ booking agency. I toured and made my living off of music for years until it wasn’t fulfilling to me anymore, and then that was the moment I knew I needed to pivot into production.

I first got started on FL Studio a few years ago to experiment with beat making and remixing. I ended up leaving club DJing to fully pursue my passion for production which also led me into music school. Since then, I feel like I’ve rediscovered myself entirely and life played out to be a full circle in my favor. 

Give us a sense of the music scene where you are based.

I’m currently based out of Los Angeles CA, which has proved to be a cultural melting pot for pretty much any type of music genre you could ever ask for. Electronic Dance Music has been a huge forefront of this city, especially when you have the likes of Insomniac, Brownies & Lemonade, and Space Yacht dominating the dance music party scene with weekly events booking every genre. I can say it’s a privilege to live in a creative city with a rich music culture that leads me to new collaborations and opportunities. I’d say being surrounded by so many OG and aspiring artists in the industry definitely makes the market here pretty competitive and diverse, so I’m constantly finding new ways to stay creative and innovative among the masses.

What key pieces of software/gear are you using to define your sound? 

In my case with production, I actually do everything digitally without any extra added hardware. I just have a bedroom rig, nothing fancy at all, but it still gets the job done! It’s just me, my computer, my midi keyboard, and my KRK monitors against the world. For software synths, I’m big into Serum like most and I actually prefer to post-process my sounds between various plug-ins that I bounce between Ableton and FL Studio. Some plug-ins that I really enjoy using are portal, gross-beat, crystalizer and effectrix to name a few!

What are some of your key musical influences? 

Some of my key musical influences include RL Grime, Alison Wonderland, Hex Cougar, Heimanu, Seven Lions, Krewella, Troyboi, Flosstradamus, and Illenium!

What kind of relationship do you have with the internet? How does this inform your artistic expression?

Honestly, I have a love-hate relationship with the internet lol, but I do try to utilize it to the best of my ability. Instead of filling my feeds with distractions, I try to use them to my advantage by curating content that brings me daily inspiration. Even past social media, I think the internet as a whole definitely plays a big part in my artistic expression especially when it comes to storytelling my projects and creating a unique brand aesthetic that can relate to others. It also helps me find some extra added inspiration if I’m ever lacking any ideas for my music; whether it be digging for cool samples, getting some sound design ideas,  discovering new music, or finding new ways to innovate myself within content creation.

What would you like to achieve with your music? What does success look like to you? 

My current goal in music (there’s so many since it’s so early in my producer career) is to carve out my own lane and genre with Future Trap. I think for a lot of artist’s one of the hardest things to successfully achieve is that objectively signature sound, which for me has taken a few years to develop and experiment with before I finally found something I truly loved making that won’t get stale after a certain period of time. 

 ​Success to me looks like achieving all of my long term and short term goals I’ve laid out for myself both personally and as an artist. For starters, ever since I started my DJ journey nearly a decade ago; I made a list of all the future labels I wanted to release music with (once I started producing), a list of venues and festivals I’ve always wanted to get booked at and a list of people I’ve always wanted to either collaborate with or remix. Personally, every win I’ve garnered so far whether it be big or small has been a building block for that greater vision of success for me. Especially, when it comes down to physically being able to cross out a good amount of those goals on that list in just year one alone. The day I can quit my day job and fully make a comfortable living off of music is the day I’ll truly feel the most successful within myself, as well as being able to connect with a community of people that really resonate with my sound and artistry.

What has been a memorable highlight of your career so far?

Some of my most memorable highlights actually come from this year alone! I’ve been extremely blessed for being a newer, breakthrough artist in the bass music scene. At the beginning of this year, I had my first EP ever released on Circus Records. I’ve had some awesome official remix opportunities for a few really respected artists in the industry come out this year with another one on the way soon. Just a few weeks ago, I had Krewella support my music and witnessed them drop one of my songs live at one of their LA shows, which was one of the most surreal feelings I’ve ever felt because they were one of my biggest inspirations for breaking into the dance music scene as a producer. Then, to be ending this year with a few Monstercat releases and getting their support for my brand and vision has been a huge highlight to my career in total. This year has definitely laid the foundation for me as an artist and I can’t wait to keep building on top of it.

If you could work with, or perform alongside any artist of your choice, who would it be? 

One artist I’d absolutely love to collaborate and work with is LIGHTS/LUN. I’ve been a fan and avid listener of her music since 2009 and to see her evolve so much within her own sound, as well as becoming such a prominent vocalist in EDM today has been an inspiring journey to watch. I also just discovered her new badass, dark electronic bass project LUN that I’m already a huge fan of, and extremely stoked to see it unfold even more! So pretty much I’m a huge simp for Lights lol. I think she’s an amazing creative that I could only hope to work with down the line one day.

If you weren’t a musician what would you be?

If I wasn’t a musician I think I’d be fully immersed in the gaming world. I’m naturally a nerd at heart and practically lived in my Xbox and Nintendo as a kid. I still play for fun here and there and I’m actually going to start Twitch streaming on the side within the gaming space in the near future. Ironically, having some upcoming releases with Monstercat actually led to a complete full circle, since they’re the only music label to have built a bridge between music and gaming, so I’m really excited to explore that next chapter in both realms.

What can we expect from you in the near future? Any upcoming projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about? 

A few things I’m most excited about in the near future would be expanding more into the deeper layers and darker soundscapes of my project. I feel like this project is the perfect representation of me as a person and the duality within the world we live in, so to be able to emphasize that more in my upcoming releases; is something I’m pretty eager about! Other than that, I have an upcoming official remix for Flux Pavilion coming out that you guys can also keep your eyes and ears peeled for!

‘Pheonix (feat. GLNNA)’ features on the Spotify playlist BASS_GROUND

Follow Skyler Mason:

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