Thousands of students crammed into Plant Park on March 21 for UT’s annual Party in the Park, hosted by Student Productions. With 3,000 tickets sold, it’s no surprise so many students were ecstatic to see this year’s performer, Big Sean. But most didn’t realize his opening act, Madnap, is a UT student.
Kyle Fitzgibbons, a sophomore communications major, DJs and produces his own electronic music. Fitzgibbons knows a few people in Student Productions and had been asking them to let him open for Party in the Park since the Fall semester, even before he knew Big Sean was performing.
“I was incredibly excited when they told me I could open the show, especially after finding out that Big Sean was playing,” Fitzgibbons said. He wasn’t nervous until right before going on stage, but was 100 percent in the zone once he started playing his music.
“I thought it went really well; the energy of the crowd was awesome,” Fitzgibbons said. “I played some of my electronic music, as well as other stuff that anyone could appreciate. The goal was to get everyone hyped up before the main event.”
Born and raised in Chicago, Fitzgibbons wasn’t always into electronic music. Despite the fact that music has always been a part of his life, the 19-year-old used to be a die-hard rock fan and played guitar. It wasn’t until he heard the song “Weekends!!!” by Skrillex that he fell in love with electronic music.
Fitzgibbons became interested in producing when he was in high school, which is why he started DJing. “I just got some turntables and taught myself,” he said. “I messed around with the software and learned off of YouTube, as well.”
Ethan Hallerman, a freshman music major who is good friends with Fitzgibbons, is also an electronic music producer. “It’s kind of funny how we met,” Hallerman said. “My friend was looking for a DJ and I told her that I could do it and she asked if I made music as well, and I said yes. She said that one of her friends makes music too and that I should link up with him, and that’s what I did.”
Hallerman admires Fitzgibbons’ passion for music and idealistic approach to it. “Kyle strives to get things done when they are due and necessary. He is also easy to work with and very energetic,” Hallerman said.
He and his friends came up with the name Madnap one day when they were eating at a Mexican restaurant and one of them said the name out loud. They thought it had a cool ring to it, so the name stuck. The first three years of Madnap were uneventful. Fitzgibbons DJed at a couple of events and recorded some songs, such as a remix of Ariana Grande’s “Break Free” on Soundcloud for fun.
This past winter break, he decided to take it seriously and pursue his dream. That’s when he and his record label, Shifty Rhythms, started working on his EP, “Dreamscape,” released onto Soundcloud last week.
Fitzgibbons describes his music as happy, future-based electronic music. “It’s kind of like a cute and happy video game,” he said.
His favorite song on his EP album is “Hollow.” “I’m really proud of how it turned out,” he said. “It’s special to me because I wrote the lyrics. It’s the only song with vocals in it, and the singer’s voice was awesome.”
Fitzgibbons is a part of WUTT, UT’s radio station, where he helps put on events. Last semester, he hosted his own radio station and performed at events on campus, such as KingsFest and WUTT-A-Palooza. Fitzgibbons also works at PacSun and enjoys playing video games on his spare time.
Darla Saycocie, a sophomore communications major, has been friends with Fitzgibbons since their freshmen year and describes him as talented and fashionable. “I really like Kyle’s music,” Saycocie said. “It’s the type of happy music that you listen to when you’re running, cooking, cleaning, whatever.”
She describes Fitzgibbons as a very dedicated, but humble, which she admires most about him. “He’s never failed to be an amazing best friend, and I’m not just saying that to make him look good,” Saycocie said.
Fitzgibbon’s biggest dream is to tour with someone, preferably Porter Robinson. His short-term goal is to reach 2,000 Soundcloud followers before his birthday. His songs are available at at soundcloud.com/madnap.
Madison Irwin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org