Dua Lipa & The Blessed Madonna’s ‘Club Future Nostalgia’ Is a Celebratory Club Record

Powerhouse producer and DJ, The Blessed Madonna brings together an impressive lineup of pop superstars and electronic music mainstays for Dua Lipa's latest release.

Powerhouse producer and DJ, The Blessed Madonna brings together an impressive lineup of pop superstars and an eclectic selection of electronic music mainstays for Club Future Nostalgia. A club-inspired reworking of the hit Dua Lipa album (aka, the album that saved us in Phase 1 of Quarantine) Future Nostalgia, released today on Warner Records.

The first single from the LP, a sparse-yet-energetic remix of the song ‘Levitating’ features icons Madonna and Missy Elliott, both of whom have been cited as long-time heroes to both the producer and Lipa. Other major label players to appear on the remix project are mega-producer Mark Ronson, once 90’s alt goddess, now bonafide pop star Gwen Stefani, and break out K-Pop girl group BLACKPINK

Setting this LP apart, however, from the regular pop remix album fare is the fact that The Blessed Madonna has assembled an impressive lineup of guest DJs and producers that reads like a who’s who from the underground club scene. Legendary figures Moodymann, Mr. Fingers, and Masters At Work sit alongside current trailblazers Jayda G, Yaegi, Paul Woolford, Zach Witness, Midland & Joe Goddard—artists who, for the most part, exist outside of the realm of the Billboard Top 40 charts and mainstream radio airplay that Dua Lipa has dominated these past few years.

We caught up with The Blessed Madonna on the night of the LP’s release from their home in London to discuss pop music, dance music, and of course, Dua Lipa.

BeatRoute: You’re just a few hours away from the release (in the UK). It must be a nice feeling to have this project, that was made essentially in secret, about to be unleashed into the world.

The Blessed Madonna: I’m feeling really good. You know, it comes out Friday morning at midnight everywhere and, of course, midnight happens earlier in some places than others. So people are already starting to hear it, and it’s been very interesting to watch that unfold and see the first press come through—and have it be so good. It’s been really, really thrilling to see that. It’s been kinda the ultimate lockdown project and it’s really nice to hear people that I respect, really loving it. 

BR: You and Dua met for the first time at a rave at Glastonbury. That is the most perfect backdrop to foreshadow this project—where the pop star and the DJ exist in the same world together. It’s indicative of how dance and pop are really two sides of the same coin. Was it a conscious effort when putting together this project to make it a celebration of that relationship?

TBM: Oh, for sure, yeah! For me, so many of the best dance records are also pop records that are made by women. If you look at the all-time greatest dance tracks, for me, that’s kind of the story of that. For all of the lists of great men that made records, there’s always this kind of demotion of women; even though the women are the ones that sing it…and sometimes produce it. I remember a magazine cover—the “legends” cover—and there wasn’t one woman on it. I was like, was Donna Summer unavailable? You just don’t have that magic thing without women in pop.

I think disconnecting [dance and pop] at times is devaluing of women’s accomplishments. A lot of art that is skewed towards women gets filed under lowbrow, and that just isn’t true. These are complex, thoughtful songs that are as important as any other song to me. 

BR:  Is it somewhat bittersweet to make a club record during this time, where the state of clubbing is primarily confined to one’s living room?

TBM: A little bit. On one hand, I feel like it couldn’t have been made at any other time. It lives in the context of people being confined in their homes and not being able to go to a club—that part of it really drove the visualization of [the mix], and what goals were set across the board. On the other hand, of course, it would be wonderful to be able to play some of these records in a club. But there is something really great about making a dance record for a time when you can’t dance. 

BR: I guess it heightens the desire for what we can look forward to in the future. 

TBM: That’s right! We can be nostalgic about the times that we were able to dance. Truly the idea of Future Nostalgia is woven into the fabric of this in every possible way. That message may not resonate for every person that listens to this but it is there no less. 

BR: This is a pretty big introduction for yourself into the world of the pop music machine. Did you ever imagine a world in which you would get access to icons such as Madonna and Missy Elliott?

TBM: You never know what’s actually going to happen but it’s definitely been a concrete goal of mine. I really admire the career of Stuart Price and others who have done such incredible work with dance and pop. That was something that I really aspired to do. So to be able to do that felt like a trophy. [Laughs] As much as anything can these days. 

There is no moment like the moment that you get a snippet of Missy Eliiot’s vocals in your email. It was thrilling, surreal.

BR: This album has a subversive twist for a major-label pop release. Perhaps not a lot of Dua’s fans would be familiar with a lot of the contributors on the album before now. It seems like you’ve knowingly used your platform to showcase your heroes and contemporaries as well as a younger generation of artists from the club world. How important was this to you, and how intentional was the selection of artists?

TBM: It was totally intentional. Working with someone like Dua has been incredible because she can do whatever she wants and her team didn’t set any boundaries for me. I was very aware from the beginning that we were very much all on the same page with the reference points and the ideas. It wasn’t like I was trying to convince some suits to put it out—they were absolutely all the way in. 

BR: You’re kind of working within the system to build up your community.

TBM: Absolutely. The first thing I thought of was Moodymann. I made a list of my heroes and the people I hold to be the greatest in dance music and that’s it. It happened. And what a wonderful opportunity to be given.

BR: The lineup really reads like the billing of an electronic music festival. It’s pretty amazing once you take a step back and have a look at those names. I wanted to focus on some of the younger artists that are coming up on the cutting edge that you chose; Jayda G, Yaegi, Horse Meat Disco, Pool Woolford, Zach Witness. Can you speak to some of the reasons why you wanted to work with them?

TBM: Those are the people I’ve booked for some of my events; those are the people I play with at festivals. I’m in their fandoms, and so it was just really natural. I tried to pick the people that I thought would be the best for the job and not worry about, picking people who were already popular in the mainstream. Then it would have been a real shortlist for me. [Laughs] You know, it’s just not my thing. At the end of the day, you can’t chase trends and you can’t make records for how you think that they are going to be received. You will always fail when you do that. I understand that there are people whose jobs it is to kind of do that more manufactured thing. No shade. Everybody who works in music is doing their part and has a different role to play, but that role is not mine. My job is to make records from the heart and if people don’t like it now, then maybe they will like it in a year. 

BR: What will you be dancing to at home?

TBM: [The mixtape] is kind of like children. You love them all equally, but they’re all different. The one that I listen to at home all the time is, obviously, I love Moodymann’s. I love Mark [Ronson’s] and Gwen [Stefani’s] track, it’s phenomenal. The ones I would play in the club, for sure Jayda G and Midland’s. I love everything Zach Witness does, so excited that he was able to be involved with it. Horse Meat Disco made a perfect thing for them. Everyone is so different, it’s really a testament to what an incredible album Dua made that people who are so different could make things that for me, are really thrilling. 

BR: It’s also a testament to her viewpoint; to be one of the biggest pop stars in the world right now, and want to do a record like this and run with it. It’s quite revolutionary, especially when compared to what similar artists are releasing.

TBM: I think Dua is kind of flying at a level that not many people are. It’s gonna be outside the box for a lot of people and it was surprising to me that she wanted to do it, and let me do it. We talked for an hour last night. Her enthusiasm and willingness to charge head into this, and how much agency she has over her own life and her own career, she is 100% in charge. Even when we are relaying information on social media, she’s sitting there doing it herself, in her own way. There’s really something wonderful about it. She has no fucks left to give. She does her thing and everyone else catches up, and it’s just a delight to be a part of it. 

‘Club Future Nostalgia’ is streaming on all platforms now.

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