Maddy O’Neal and Donnie D’albora, better known as Krooked Drivers, were apart of the Denver music explosion alongside genre icons like GRiZ & Big Gigantic, Krooked Drivers made its name blending live electronica with rock & hip hop styles.
The duo were partners both in music and as an actual couple. As of February it was announced that the two would be splitting up to explore solo endeavors. “No Master Plan” is Maddy’s debut single on her forthcoming LP. We got the chance to chat with her about the release and ‘Introspect’ – check out the exclusive interview below and listen to “No Master Plan” today!
Krooked Drivers brought musical elements that integrated both male and female influences. How was the transition into producing ‘No Master Plan’ and ‘Introspect’? Are there aspects in the music you highlight or tone down?
Transitioning into my new project it was definitely something I had to think about. Obviously there will be elements that sound “KD-esque” in my new material because that was the style/project that I produced under for the past 5 years. But I really felt a sense of freedom when I sat down to make new material for my solo stuff. It’s really easy sometimes to get into a rhythm of “this works, this doesnt, people like this, etc” kinda formula, so it was really cool to sit down and just be like hey, I have this opportunity to totally reinvent myself. So I tried a lot of different things taking myself out of my comfort zone. I made a lot of sample free stuff to start out to really challenge myself to think differently. I had a lot of inspiration to work with so I tried my best to channel it as organically as possible without forcing anything. I guess we will leave it up to the listeners to really differentiate which aspects have carried through/are more toned down 🙂
If there are certain features of KD you’d like to continue bringing forth, what are they?
Well, the hip hop-electronic vibe is definitely still there. Sampling from vinyl and being able to fuse genres like that will always be a strong element in my music. But no matter what name I’m producing under the end goal is to evoke some kind of feeling with my music and I think that was always part of KD as well so in the general sense, as long as I can make people feel something/dance/remember/think I think I am doing my job.
What does ‘No Master Plan’ mean to you? And why did you choose it to be the lead single?
I kinda went back and forth between what I wanted to put out as the Single. I chose ‘No Master Plan” because it was one that I have the strongest emotional attachment to. It is actually the first time ever I have sang and recorded original vocals on a track. Being able to sing and do my own vocals on a track has been a goal of mine for as long as I can remember, but I never really just took the leap. During the process of making this album I was just kinda like fuck it, I think I can sing 🙂 We’ll find out. haha. But yeah, I’ve been writing lyrics a lot more and trying to synthesize some of that with my music and this one I think was the one that made me take the leap to being comfortable with it. As a little background, the song title and lyrics are written about that realization that there is “No Master Plan” – that no matter what I thought was “planned out” or the way things would go, things will always change. The lyrics go…””I used to think it was all planned out…I ised to think, and let all my doubts…” Kind of the realization that I am in charge of my own life/vision but also that things will change and not to let those things throw me off course.
Can you recall a defining moment from the album creation process that was really painstaking or burdensome? When developing your own sound & style, how did you manage to differentiate ‘Introspect’ from KD’s influence?
When I first sat down and started to write the album, it was definitely difficult to get out of my own head and not try too hard to sound too “different” or too much the “same”. But like I said before, I really just kind of tried to let it happen naturally. Challenging myself with production in different ways, for example like singing for the first time, really helped steer me and think outside of the box I think. It was cool cause after a while, people tend to expect a group to put out a certain style of music but with this new project I felt like there was no expectations and I had the freedom to go in any direction I wanted. Theres still so much I want to do but I think this album represents a cool aspect of that exploration while staying true to the things that I loved as well.
How was it like putting this LP together, it’s quite impressive that you were able to produce this many original tracks with only several months since the split. Was there a moment that just clicked for you?
Well, honestly, I am gonna have to thank Michal Menert for a little bit of that extra motivation haha because right after I made my announcement from KD a few weeks after he hit me up asking me to play my first solo show with him in Frisco. At that point I had maybe produced one or two new tracks and was still trying to wrap my head around everything. I initially turned down the show saying that I wanted to be ready and to be able to come out and play an all new/original set before I took any shows under my new alias. He finally connived me to say yes to the support slot and told me I would see that it would give me that extra motivation having a deadline like that. So, in the following few weeks leading up to the show I kinda had that rush of inspiration/drive and I produced a lot of these tracks during that time period, on top of a bunch more that I will probably go back into for future releases. There are times when things just flow and also times when you feel like you’ve hit a brick wall with making music. Ive gone through both of those, but having that extra drive really put me into go-mode.
Using ‘No Master Plan’ as a preview for the rest of the album, what would you like to tell your fans?
“No Master Plan” is definitely one of the more organic feeling tracks on the album. Expect a little bit of everything 🙂 And thank you to everyone for all of the continued support – my friends/fans/fellow artists have been an incredible support system in the past few months and knowing I have this amazing team behind me has really inspired me to push the limits of what I can do. Love you guys.
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