11-year-old Hugo Pierre Leclercq first began composing electronic music under the name Deamon. Five years later, Hugo jumbled his working name and started a remixing career under his current name, Madeon. He went viral with his YouTube release, Pop Culture, which featured the young producer mashing up 49 of his favourite songs. Another jump into public awareness was his remix of Deadmaus’ Raise Your Weapon. As his original compositions became commercial use favourites finding their way into video games and commercials, Madeon’s popularity soared. In 2015, Hugo released his first full-length album, Adventure. The album was a glorious soaring volume of exuberant pop and thundering beats that made the listener feel like they were hearing compositions of their very own personalized victory themes. It attracted featured vocalists such as Charli XCX, Dan Smith (of Bastille), Mark Foster (without The People) and Mark Angelakos (of Passion Pit).
Hugo toured the EDM festival scene heavily after releasing his debut album. 2017 brought him together with his American counterpart, Porter Robinson for a mostly North American tour (Madeon has played more shows in the US than anywhere else – Canada is a not-so-close-second). In 2018, he moved to Los Angeles and began writing and recording his new album. Working throughout that year, in 2019 he announced that he would debut his new show at Lollapalooza, which was met with raving reviews. While singles of All My Friends and Dream Dream Dream were released, the entirety of Good Faith came out on November 15th. Following a baby’s handful of shows in Europe, Madeon began the first leg of his Good Faith tour in Vancouver on Oct. 30. He made his way to Toronto on November 24th.
From the notes of the first song, the in-depth intent, thought, work and design of the show were evident. Backed by a stage sized LED screen which operated as a part of the lighting package, a dynamic backdrop and a video screen, the stage itself held just a platform with two desks with a synth each (and rows on onstage lights). The young Frenchman came out to the first single of the new album, All My Friends.
He proceeded to work through most of the new album as well as selections like Imperium and Innocence from the previous one. Many of the songs were mashups including Shelter (his hit with Robinson) with a nod to All My Friends. Where many of his Adventure and Good Faith songs feature guest vocalists, Leclercq handed most himself, doing a fine job, likely assisted by the technology that ruled the show. Having a view of the crew, who had little to do during the show, the levels of automation and syncing was obvious. Clearly, a laptop or three were running most of the audio and visual aspects of the show. The smart lights and LED screen were time-tied to the stems of the music and triggered by Madeon’s performance, which was primarily playing the odd lead synth part of a song and vocals. Without diminishing the music, the visuals were spectacular and helped raise the crowd. In the few song breaks he allowed himself, Hugo took the opportunities to profusely thank the fans for all their support. On the topic of the fans, they added much to the show, singing along in full voice, dancing their asses off and throwing their hands in the air.
While not at the celebrity level producer/DJ of Avicii or Skrillex, especially outside of Europe, the star quality of the music of Hugo Leclercq is undeniable. Coupled with what seems like a levelled head on such a young artist, expect a long and interesting evolution of Madeon.