In my memory of the night it was raining – although – I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t. I left work late at night with a boat load of stuff: clothes, a dog carrier, backpack, camera bag… quickly stopping at home to pop a pita in my mouth and twirl my hair into a bun. When I got to Johnny Brenda’s with an armful of clothes, it was the dead of a winter night. Making my way up narrow stairs with rosy cheeks, I crawled into the intimate bar setting. It was warm and welcoming – calm. As soon as I saw Madi she gave me a huge hug and a grin, “you must be Naomi!”
Off into the back room – an irregularly shaped, and bare space, painted all-over green. On the lone table sat a half-eaten middle-eastern platter of falafel goodness. The snacks were flanked by Kyle, Madi’s band-mate, Lucy Schwartz, the show opener (beautiful voice on this one as well), and Madi’s long-haired brother. She quickly picked out something to wear: the Striped Low Back Top and the Double Breasted Vegan Leather Jacket. Quick, comfortable, and easy – there was no trouble dressing this one in Free People.
After getting dressed, Madi and I snuck out to the stairwell for a quick interview. Her album dropped today, and I was excited to get to know her love of music more intimately. She’s one awesome chick.
FP Naomi: Tell us a bit about your album coming out on the 24th.
Madi Diaz: Well, it’s kind of a long story – it’s taken us a while to get it out. Kyle and I started recording it two years ago. We started it in Virginia where it rained for 8 or 9 days, and then we recorded it in Nashville where it rained for 8 or 9 . It rained everywhere, I swear! As soon as someone walked into the studio and sat down to do anything it just started. But yeah, I don’t know, I mean – it’s a relief to have it in my hands. It’s finally physical – it embodies how much work we’ve been doing. Hopefully it kind of pushes us on. We’re excited.
FP Naomi: How long have you been shaping the tracks?
Madi Diaz: The writing process for us is pretty continuous. There are a couple songs on there that we have been shaping for a long time. And then there are another batch of songs that we finished right before we recorded it. They all just fit all in the same family of songs, so it’s kind of a marrying which is cool.
FP Naomi: How long have you been on tour now?
Madi Diaz: On and off for the last three years. It’s been kind of a weird process because when we recorded the record we were kind of in a hiatus. Then we shopped the record around for a while. We got a deal, and then they recently folded because they lost all of their Sony funding. I’m out on the road, going to Austin, and I get this phone call. This was like a month ago – so close to the album drop date. We told ourselves that it was okay. They gave us all of our masters back, they just sort of shoved everything off on us. Then there was this awesome Indie label that swooped in like horses in shining armor. They’ve been amazing. We found something really awesome.
FP Naomi: Who are some of your inspirations?
Madi Diaz: I think…over the summer I started listening to Forever Your Girl – Paula Abdul. That record, from start to finish, as soon as I put it in –instant recall. I remember every sax solo, every chorus, every line. I’m kind of a huge pop sucker. I’m very song heavy, I like a really good written song, but I love good sounds. Washed Out sounds really good to me, Kathleen Edwards, Bon Iver – there are some incredible sounds. Like if there was a way to marry Bon Iver and Taylor Swift together, I would try. They create the perfect sounding pop baby. Yah, that would be amazing.
FP Naomi: What is one of your earliest memories of music?
Madi Diaz: Actually yeah, as soon as you say that… I lived in Norwalk, CT for a couple of years before we moved to PA, and so I was young. I just remember these huge drawers that my dad used to keep all of his CD-R’s in, and just pulling them out and putting them back. He was anal retentive about all of them being in alphabetical order. He had his tapes and his vinyls that nobody touched, but I could touch all of the CD-R’s I wanted.
FP Naomi: What is one dream venue for you to play in?
Madi Diaz: The Orpheum in Boston is f***ing beautiful, the Troc in Philly, the El Ray in Los Angeles, The Ryman in Nashville – there are a couple of places that you can go in and just feel it.
FP Naomi: What is your personal style like?
Madi Diaz: I am pretty low maintenance. Especially being mobile 90% of the time. I rely on things that I don’t have to wash that often, or can wash in the sink and hang up. I have a purple top from Free People that I literally can scrunch up, I can slam it in the door of the van and it’s, you know, fine.
My manager, TY, has snuck your stuff into everything that I’ve had for a little while. She’ll just sort of leave it on my pile. She’s so funny. I need my basics though, and then I will accessorize from there.
FP Naomi: What do you love about free People?
Madi Diaz: Free People style is easy. It’s relaxed. It’s good quality. It won’t fall apart on me after I wash it – or forget to do whatever special thing it is I’m supposed to do. I love bright colors too. You guys have an awesome color palette.
For more on Madi Diaz’s music, check out FP Julia’s previous post on the artist.
Also, pick up Madi’s new album, Plastic Moons –out today!!