[Interview] Ms Mada Tells Us About Her Production Process, Recent Gigs, and Upcoming Plans

Interview Photos by Lacey Smith

She is one of the sweetest, kind, and outgoing people I have ever met. Rachel (aka Ms Mada) lands in Atlanta from Miami to show us her true colors. Don't let this talented woman's awesome personality fool you into thinking she keeps the dance floor easy going. She was playing driving, grooving, and obscure and unique edits that cross into new territories at Alley Cat Music Club.

The dance floor was filled with new and familiar faces to the underground sound of Atlanta. Most of the night was spent laughing and dancing to a wonderful vibe curated by Ms Mada. So much so, that nobody would let her stop till the early hours of the morning.

How has 2016 been for you so far? Any big parties, releases, or other news you can share with us?

The best part of 2016 for me was going to Ibiza and getting the opportunity to play Marco Carola’s party Music On. I was actually supposed to leave the day before the party. Then I got a call asking if I could extend and open up for him. I’m really looking forward to playing III Points again in October. And then hopefully I’ll have a couple releases out at the end of the year.

Tell us a bit about being born in The Philippines and then moving to Miami? 

Honestly, there was really no culture shock. Me and my family moved to Miami when I was two months old. I was born in The Philippines, but I grew up in Miami. I’m way more enriched with Spanish culture. I did go back to The Philippines when I was seven years old, but I really don't remember much.

You’ve been DJing for some time now. What was the defining moment that made you fall in love with the music to get behind the decks?

When I was much younger, there was a bunch of kids in my neighborhood that were listening to this music, they showed me some of it, passed me some CD’s, and showed me new artists. It was more of the rave culture that got me into it at first. Then I started looking up different artists myself and it just grew from there.

Recently you started producing? Let's get a bit more technical about your production process. What is your DAW(s) of choice for producing and composing?

I’m still pretty new to production, but I'm the most familiar and comfortable with Ableton. When I have the ability to borrow a friends Moog Voyager, TR-8, or any other hardware I can get my hands on, I always try to get used to making music that way. For the most part I’ll just use VST’s and other things that are more “in the box."

Typically how do you start your creative process? Do you spend time sound designing, digging through loops with a groove, or something similar?

I listen to a lot of music. My foundation is in hip-hop, especially the older artists from the 70’s. I try to figure out how they did it, what samples they used, and other things like that. I’ll listen to a hip-hop song, sometimes use the same samples, build a basic drum loop, and build from there.

What usually inspires you to start working on a new track?

Anything inspires me really. Sometimes I’ll listen to a really old song that I don't recognize, or I’m listening to a set, and Shazam when I’m driving, which is really dangerous, but I need to have that track. Or sometimes, I’ll be watching a movie and I’m really feeling the soundtrack. I’ll go and find it. Maybe it’ll be a live performance and I want to use the chords, a beat, or a vibe, then I try to recreate it.

Do you play your tracks out in your sets often or do you get a bit self-conscious about them? 

Both. If I'm really confident about the product, then I’ll try it out. If I'm not so confident, I won't dare play it out. It really depends on the vibe. Even if I'm not feeling to confident, but the vibe is there, and the track fits the moment, I'll still try it out. It all depends on how I feel at the moment.

Tell us a bit about your residency at Trade? How did the opportunity come about? Is it for a specific party that you're a resident for? How amazing is that sound system?

It all started with this company called Link, which eventually merged with another company called LinkMiamiRebels. Before the merge, I was a resident was resident with Link and we threw parties at a club in Miami called Treehouse. Then after the merge, we decided to leave Treehouse and now we're doing parties at another club called Trade. I’ve been a resident with the company for almost five years. I open for most everybody that we book. I’m really grateful. The sound system at trade is second to none. It’s all custom made from this amazing designer named Mickey. He actually has either hued or sound designed a lot of the major clubs in Miami.

Tell us more about LinkMiamiRebels. 

Link started out with Davide Danese. He moved to Miami from Europe in about 2006. He just wasn't seeing enough of the talent that he heard in Europe. He is no stranger to the party. Then he started booking these DJs straight out of his pocket, and it just built from there. Later, when he was throwing parties at Treehouse and teamed up with Coloma. Now, it has just grown into this institution that is something really special.

Do you have any big projects you are trying to complete by the end of 2016? What are some of your personal and professional aspirations?

In terms of aspirations, if you really want to make it in this industry, you can't stop making music. You should start somewhere, even if it's just DJing. Never give up. You’re not going to become a superstar overnight. It takes time, patience, and a lot of work. You have to put your blood, sweat, and tears into this before you can make something of it. I am really lucky that I was picked really early, to make something out of this, and calling it my career is a blessing. In terms of the rest of the year I’ll be either playing or working at Art Basel and III Points. In 2017 I’ll go back to Ibiza, and hopefully go play Time Warp again after opening for Apollonia. But honestly, in terms of things I’m expecting, I really don't expect anything. These things just happen.

Photos by Teddy Williams