We sat down with Dugan Cruz, Madus' lead vocalist, pianist, and guitarist to talk about a ton of things. From the magic in life, to name changes, sports and anime, and so much more! Dugan seems to be Immortal Music's type of person, and maybe he will be yours too! Read on to learn a ton more about the singer of a band you may have only just discovered.
1. You said they could never feel any other way -so how do you feel about it all?
I feel life is inherently magical. The more I learn, the more I stand in shock, awe, and wonder at all the beautiful things around me. I can't always feel this way, but it's what I know to be true and keep as a reference point for when I am really down. That being said, I think there's a lot of people too afraid from their own emotional scars to participate in moments of appreciation of all the cool stuff around them. I dunno... Hah. Sorry for rambling on that one. I just felt it was kind of an open-ended question.
2. You went from Tangent Transmission to Madus, what inspired the name change and what does it mean?
The name HAD to change. From the time Sam and I started playing up to the point of changing the name we had become completely different people. We acquired different tastes in music, we learned new things about the industry, we made new friends... All around we just felt... different.
When we knew we wanted to change the name we had drafted up a page of almost 50 different ones. Just as a rough. We continued narrowing it down until we came down to MotherBox, Woodman, and Madus. I liked Madus the most not just because of it's personal relevance to me, but just aesthetically it felt the most balanced. You got five letters with one in the middle and two on either side. That part just felt right. As for the story behind it... I was in a pretty dark place before changing the name. For the record, it's true, NOBODY likes you when you're 23. Especially not yourself. Anyway, Sam's mom had noticed me being all introverted and low and lent me this book "The Wheel of Time" by Carlos Castaneda. In the book there's this Yoda-esque character named "Don Juan Matus". We changed the T to a D and boom. There you have it.
3. What would your dream concert lineup be?
Ah man... DREAM? Like ANYTHING is possible? It'd have to be a huge festival like Coachella for me to fit even an inkling of everyone I wanted on a bill, but I'll take that format and give you just three for each day. I know I am kinda cheating here, but you DID say dream!
Friday: I figure we gotta get a dance party goin' to blow off a week of work-steam in a fun way.
Stevie Wonder, Prince, Michael Jackson.
Saturday: We've had a night of dance and a bit of a day to rest, so now it's time rock!
Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Led Zeppelin.
Sunday: Now we're all feeling a little bummed looking at the death of our weekend in the face, so we want a couple groups that'll help us lean into love and accept it's about to be over.
Jeff Buckley, Queen, The Beatles
Yeah... then I'd wake up and realize I just had the best lucid dream of all time. That'd be a dream!
4. Other than music, what do you do?
I know the other guys are each into their respective sports. Sam's a tennis nerd, Kirby's a Hockey buff, and Lenny... I wanna say he's mostly into soccer, but I remember him arguing with Kirby that the hardest sport available is Nascar because of the suits people have to wear and other technical stuff like that. Hah, he's gonna kill me if he ever sees that. But anyway, that's not really my scene. I like playing sports from time to time, and it's sometimes fun to stroke the left brain with the stats and systems of it all, but for the most part I find it pretty drab in comparison to movies, comic books, motorcycles, and even just going for a hike.
5. Name something you listen to that nobody would ever expect?
I don't really know what people expect of me, but I can tell you what music I listen to but rarely talk about! Enya, Sarah Mclachlan, Rammstein, Chromeo and a buncha random music from soundtracks of movies, anime, and video games. Nobuo Uematsu's music for Final Fantasy 7 holds a VERY special place in my heart. Aside from the depth that game had in talking about sucking life out of a planet, death, and eternity, the music was so mind-blowingly emotional. Tifa's theme on piano can still make my hairs stand on end.
6. How does the writing process go for you personally?
It's a lot like gardening. There has to be a seed. Sometimes the seed is a riff, a beat, a lyric, a tone, an effect, a dream, a response to some incident or person. It's all really circumstantial. Once you've got that seed though, you plant it in the soil of your brain and you let it sit. You give it water, you let it grow into different parts of yourself. Certain parts of it grow more through emotion, other parts grow more through intellect. No matter what though, you have to give it attention and time and nurture it until you feel like you've created a new plant you've never really seen before. It may seem similar to some of the other plants you've created, but it'll never be identical. Then you start selling the idea of that plant to the rest of the band and they'll have ideas, and then maybe the engineer will have ideas on how to present that plant to the rest of the world, but it's really very internal and personal. Unless you're just singing about your ass or how much money you have. I don't really know how to write songs like that.
7. What's one of your biggest goals (Musically, or in general)
To try and explain to people what's going on in my head and gut in a way that makes sense. I have a lot of weird intense shit flying through my head and emotions and I always feel like I fumble in attempts to explain it. I think that's why I like music so much. There's so many times you'll hear a song in another language or something and you're like "yeah... holy fuck I feel that." Then someone explains the lyrics and it hits even harder.
Aside from reaching out as an individual to the rest of the world, I'd say one of my biggest goals is to raise a family with a steady socioeconomic situation for the kids. Obviously I'd love to fall in love and meet my soulmate or whatever, but even if that doesn't happen, I really don't care. I am still on the fence about the morality of adoption taking precedence over breeding your own children because of our planet's insane over population; But the magic of continuing the genetic code is still there. Hah, I mean the irony of creating another life. You could spend your whole life amazing the world through your achievements in whatever field, and NONE of that will ever amount to the miracle of creating another human being! It's such a mind-fuck! The dumbest, easiest, most pleasurable thing in life is ironically the most miraculous. Just to clear up any assumptions for the record though, I am Pro-Choice. If anyone reads this and gets all giddy about the possibility of me enforcing some archaic dogmatic law... Nope.
8. What are three things you simply cannot live without? (The obvious things, such as food, water and air do not count.)
Information, depth, and curiosity.
9. What has been the coolest experience you have had so far as a musician?
Headlining our own show at the House of Blues Sunset on the main stage. We were lucky enough to do that twice as Madus, and both times literally felt like a dream. The sound there is second to NONE and we really pulled all the stops out to promote for a HUGE draw. The addiction to the drug of that inebriating feeling is so harsh that even after being clean from it for over a year now, I will work endlessly until I experience it again. I know I was going on and on about sex in that question earlier, but I think that feeling may actually trump that. At least for now...
10. Is there anything you would like to add? (Promotions, advice, random comments, ect. Whatever you want really.)
More than any plug I could throw on at the end here, I want to personally thank YOU Ariel. I took the time to read the "About the Creator" section, and I have to tell you, you're fucking awesome! From the reviews of albums, to the personalized questions, to the uniquely casual yet intelligent writing style you have, I am impressed. That thing you put in where you talk about being in a room with 10,000 people all singing the same song. You get it, and you appreciate it, and it's because of people like you that artists want to keep getting up every morning to try and find a way to do something bigger and better. So again thank you!
If anybody reads this far down, we've got a big EP release show at the Viper Room on Sunset June 5th. It's only $8 pre and $12 at the door. If not for us, there's gonna be some other really talented acts like Kiven, In Urgency, Good Deeds, a rad Nirvana cover band called Dive, and our friend DJ Frawsty. Would love to see you all there. Cheers!
Dugan, you sir, or the rest of Madus are encouraged to stay in touch with Immortal Music. We look forward to hearing from you again soon! If you ever find yourselves in Florida, hit us up -we would love to come out to a show.
As for the rest of you, for more information on Madus, be sure to check them out on Facebook, Twitter, their official website, Reverbnation, and Instagram.
Their EP, All The Way is out now! It will be available on May 19 on iTunes!
These are interview that I myself have done. They have not been found anywhere, they have not been done for me. They are my work.