Madison True, AKA DJ Maddog. Courtesy photo
Madison True, AKA DJ Maddog. Courtesy photo


Although Madison True has been a professional DJ for just a little more than three years, she’s been spinning 90’s-inspired dance beats since first tinkering with the DJ software FruityLoops while a student at Bloomington High School South.

“My music is just fun, positive, nostalgic,” True, 30, says. “Anything that just keeps you moving until you look at your watch and think, ‘Oh my God, it’s 3 a.m. already.’ The goal is to forget everything at the door and enjoy a set that’s bubbly, energetic, and positive, because outside of those club walls, stuff is dark.”

In February, under the stage name DJ Maddog—a nickname she got from her father—True shared the stage with acts that included Matt and Kim, Girl Talk, and pop icon Kesha on Kesha’s Weird & Wonderful Rainbow Ride, a cruise that sailed from Tampa, Florida, to the Bahamas.

True brought her synth beats to the high seas for the four-day cruise, where she played a daily one-hour set at late-night dance parties. In addition to shows, Matt and Kim taught a Pilates class, Big Freedia gave twerking lessons, and True hosted Deal or No Deal. “There was something going on literally at all times,” she says.

Making the cut to DJ on the cruise wasn’t easy. True had to submit her work in a competition. She made buttons and flyers and had people vote for her at shows. The Back Door, Root Cellar, Bloomington PRIDE, Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department, and Bloomington Handmade Market all advertised online. After a six-month process, True was selected as one of three DJs for the cruise. “It was a Team Maddog thing,” she says. “It was bigger than me. It was our town coming together.”