Band: Madd Wikkid
Date: Friday, April 10 at 10 p.m.
Venue: Alchemy Tavern, 7 S. Joachim St., 441-7741

Some people see music as an exploration. Musically minded individuals may experiment with new styles, build new instruments or create new genres. In recent years, New Orleans has been home to many innovative musicians. Bands such as New Orleans Bingo! Show, Morning 40 Federation, BONES and Quintron & Miss Pussycat have all experimented with music in a variety of ways, and all have had very positive results. However, those who watch the latest in musical trends and styles are always left wondering what will be the next big thing.

For New Orleans native Earl “Madd Wikkid” Scioneaux III, the future of Big Easy sounds lies within the electronic realm. However, his musical taste does not come without criticism. Many feel that the electronic scene should not be considered “real music,” and critics have been quite outspoken online. Scioneaux has a hard time understanding this.

Even casual listeners should be able to hear Madd Wikkid’s NOLA influences.

Even casual listeners should be able to hear Madd Wikkid’s NOLA influences.

“I don’t even know how to address that,” he said. “There will always be purists, and that’s good. (But) different strokes for different folks. Anybody that would make a comment like might not realize how much electronics goes into other music as well.”

Scioneaux is not some computer geek mashing up tracks with an amateur ear. He has worked with bands such as Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Pretty Lights, among others. For Scioneaux, music exploration has become a life’s passion, one that involves mingling live instrumentation with electronic elements to create original tracks.

“I feel like my quest is exploring the places where electronic music and live music cross,” he said. “I think there are a lot of ways that hybridization can happen, and we’ve just scratched the surface. Most everything that I’ve been doing for the past several years is an exploration of seeing what that’s all about.”

Scioneaux’s quest has led him down an interesting musical path that started with the mixing tracks from The Meters and Dr. John. As he progressed, he sampled more and more tracks from New Orleans artists to create “Oochie on the Bayou.” After it was finished, he decided to test it on the public.

“I dropped it in the club one day, and the crowd was really into it,” he said. “I thought that maybe I should do a handful of these and put them out. So, that’s how it happened. It was a just a curiosity and idle experiment until it clicked. Then, I was like, ‘Great! I’ll run with this.’”

His explorative nature was fueled by the Chiptune style of electronic artistry. Chiptune drops music into the 8-bit tone world that was made popular by the music on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Scioneaux became fascinated with the concept through Andy Baio’s “Kind of Bloop.” Baio took tracks by jazz legend Miles Davis and gave them the 8-bit treatment. Scioneaux’s fascination led him to his latest experience known as “Brassft Punk.”

“I started thinking of it in the other direction,” he said. “I wanted to do modern classics with acoustic instruments. Then, I had to ask myself, ‘what are modern classics? What are the best known tunes from the electronic world that I could use?’ It took a little bit to land on Daft Punk. Then, I thought that a New Orleans brass band would be the way to go.”

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Many might think traditional New Orleans brass aficionados might shake their head at such a concept. However, the New Orleans brass sound itself constantly incorporates elements from a variety of genres. For the musicians Scioneaux recruited, “Brassft Punk” would be no different. Even though most had never heard of Daft Punk, he said they all were “super cool about it.”

The final cut of the album is truly unique, and it serves as a testament to the success of Scioneaux’s experiment in sound. Tracks such as “One More Time” and “Around the World” are perfectly covered by a variety of horns.

“Brassft Punk” is truly a traditionally untraditional experience. Cuts from the album began to spread across the Internet. Eventually, they found their way to the ears of Rachael Cain, who is one of the founders of legendary house music label Trax Records. Soon, the sounds of “Brassft Punk” were spread far and wide, thanks to what Scioneaux calls “a lucky break.”

Currently, Scioneaux is working on his next EP. After dealing almost completely with live instruments for Brassft Punk, he explained that his next release will be heavily electronic and all original. As far as his SouthSounds performance, the crowd should expect Scioneaux to perform “an enhanced DJ set.” He will get the crowd moving with a number of original tracks and samples enhanced electronically and instrumentally.

Other SouthSounds 2015 artist profiles

The Honorable South
Friday, April 10, 7 p.m.
Cathedral Square Stage

Maggie Koerner
Friday, April 10, 8 p.m.
Cathedral Square Stage

Shaheed & DJ Supreme
Friday, April 10, 11 p.m.
Alchemy Tavern

Saturday, April 11, 6 p.m.
Cathedral Square Stage

Saturday, April 11, midnight
Alchemy Tavern