Olivia Reid shares the most important details and the inspiration behind delving into the world of dance music through her “Madness” remix. The role of producers WEMI and J. Hamilton was fundamental in this collaborative project that will undoubtedly leave you speechless. Get more insights from our exclusive interview!
1 – Hey Olivia, thanks for chatting with me today! What motivated you to release a remix of “Madness”?
The song has always felt like a multi-layered story to me, so it felt right to explore a new imagination of “Madness” via a remix. I first wrote “Madness” in three acts, so on the EP there’s “Madness (Act I)” and “Madness (Act II + III)”, and now there is the Madness remix. The style of dance music that the remix encapsulates has really inspired me so much in recent years whether it’s Black Coffee or RUFUS DU SOL, or even Maribou State and Elder Island. I’m glad “Madness” got to step into that world.
2 – Is there a message you hope to convey with this track?
Because I first wrote and produced this song alone, the original message was about finding my footing in reality when you’re on your own. For those moments when you feel like you’re losing it, you can remember that there’s no true definition of “madness” and sort of find comfort in that unknown. And since we’re all a little bit mad, the message in the remix is to come together – as you are – and embrace that madness.
3 – What was your initial reaction when you first heard the WEMI & J. Hamilton remix?
Well, I loved this remix because I got to be part of the process, from the initial demo all the way through the mix, feedback, and mastering stages. So, I was able to see it evolve naturally rather than hear it all at once, but when I knew we had a final master my initial reaction was very emotional. If you put headphones on and turn the lights off, this song can take you somewhere. It feels like a song of somatic, or emotional release to me.
J. and WEMI have an amazing cinematic ear and pulse of this electronic world; they did an amazing job bringing it to life in a visceral way. The string arrangement from Peter Hamilton also hits your soul in such a special way. I heard the remix in a live setting recently as part of a DJ set. Seeing people connect with this arrangement and the “Madness” story in a dance environment is amazing. WEMI and J. really made that possible.
5 – I’d love to hear more about how the collaboration came together between you and the remixers. What was that process like?
I’ve actually known J. Hamilton for a long time since he was DJ’ing at Kings games in Sacramento – which is near where I grew up. We both are out in New York now and were driving around New York City when I played him my original production of “Madness.” His immediate response was – “can I remix this?” From there, it was an organic fit to pull WEMI in. Their styles combine in really interesting ways for a unique production flow. We all three spent a lot of time going back and forth virtually to refine all the production elements to a tee.
6 – What other songs of yours could you see being remixed in the future?
I think “Runner’s High” could be next. I think that song is already in a dance adjacent space, that I’d love to see it reimagined.
7 – Where do the ideas for your lyrics usually stem from?
My lyrics arise out of a need to describe a complicated emotion that isn’t really possible to say in a single word or phrase. Like “Madness” for example is such a complex subject to unpack, so much of my lyrics are me trying to dissect and explore a concept and make it a tangible story. I wrote the lyrics of this past project alone, and I think that gives them a tendency to have an introspective aura by default.
The full EP that I called TO BE NAMED BY THE PEOPLE came out towards the end of 2023 and I just have so much music that I think I’ll keep releasing singles to share the music with people. I’m working towards a few single releases and another EP and being a bit more fearless in releasing the music I make as I make it.
9 – Do you find joy in expressing your artistic vision through other mediums like music videos?
Absolutely! I had an opportunity early on to make a lot of music videos for my first few solo songs, and I’m exploring what those visuals can look like for the recent project and what’s coming out next. I love the idea of curating a visual feel and color scheme around a project. It feels a lot like selecting the right synth sound or choosing the right reverb when producing music. It’s all about taking these raw visuals and then curating them, processing them in a way that feels inherently linked to the music.
10 – How would you like listeners to think about or describe your musical body of work years from now?
I’d love for this world of indie folk and alternative pop that I’ve landed in to be described as meaningful, visceral, cinematic, and potent. All these words describe music that takes people to a special place in their minds and becomes a meaningful part of their lives.