The shesaid.so mix series aims to spotlight the diverse artists within our community. We’re committed to championing underrepresented voices from around the world, focusing on female, non-binary, trans and queer individuals. Our monthly mix series allows our contributing selectors to showcase their unique backgrounds and inspirations by creating exclusive, 30-minute live recorded soundscapes.
The shesaid.so Mix series continues this month with Maddy O’Neal, the Denver-based bass maestro who’s making waves with her genre-hopping blend of glistening, melodic electro-soul, funky grooves and shrewd synth design.
The self-taught DJ and producer is one of the hardest working artists in dance music, having performed 90+ shows annually for the past five years. Flexing her diverse musical background during live shows where she incorporates original compositions, intricate drum pad performances, and immersive narratives, O’Neal has taken center stage at festivals like Electric Forest, Summer Camp, North Coast, and Camp Bisco.
A true leader in the male-dominated bass community, O’Neal will release her sophomore album in September which promises to be a sinuous exploration of her out-of-the-box, shape-shifting creative process.
We caught up with the musical polymath ahead of a stacked summer tour schedule that’ll see her perform at festivals like Lollapalooza, Secret Dreams, Same Same But Different, and Lost Lands.
shesaid.so: Tell us the story of how you fell in love with music.
Maddy: From as long as I can remember, I have been surrounded by music and curious about how to dive deeper into the creation and communities I saw it connecting. I would tag along to shows with my older brother and pick his brain on what he was listening to constantly. My love for music has been an ever evolving relationship, but I thank my upbringing for having it be constant in my childhood.
shesaid.so: How has your community, background or upbringing influenced your sound?
Maddy: My dad was a big dead head and my brother was in indie rock bands in St. Louis where I grew up. I wasn’t really fully introduced to what was going on in the electronic music world until moving to Boulder, CO, for college in 2008. Outside of DJ Shadow, Jamie xx, Animal Collective and whatever feed I was getting from my brother, I didn’t know about this entire underground world of electronic music. I was introduced to the whole world I am in now in such a golden era when Skrillex was just getting his start, and people like Big G, Griz, Pretty Lights etc. were all rising out of Boulder itself. It was a major inspiration to be so close to it all.
shesaid.so: Who or where do you draw inspiration from?
Maddy: I draw inspiration from sooo many things — people, places, experiences — but mostly from other art. When I experience someone else’s art and passion for it, whether it be another song, a painting, writing etc. it really lights a fire in me. Pretty rad to experience humans just creating things and expressing themselves in all forms. It’s all I want to do and be a part of.
shesaid.so: Is there a theme to your mix? What can listeners expect to hear?
Maddy: I started releasing house mixes over quarantine in 2020 when I was doing a lot of live streams and diving deep into all types of music. When I was asked to do this mix for “She Said So” I just immediately felt like boss bitch vibes…. So I kinda put together of a playlist of songs that made me feel like a boss and let ‘er rip.
shesaid.so: What are you currently working on, and what are you looking forward to in 2022?
Maddy: I am finishing up my next full length LP as we speak. It’s in the final mixing stages, and I’m SO incredibly proud of this body of work. I have put so much work into this album, learning new things, challenging myself, expanding my toolbox and really feeling the creative flow freely like never before. I’ll be releasing two more singles in July and August leading up to the full release in September. We’ll be announcing a bunch of exciting fall dates as well. :-) I can’t wait to debut all this new music this fall!