Exclusive Interview With Amsterdam-Based Electronic Producer Mason

Exclusive Interview With Amsterdam-Based Electronic Producer Mason

Exclusive Interview With Amsterdam-Based Electronic Producer Mason

Chroma Panorama is the new album from the genre-bending Mason, which was released in November in a heavy shower of multi-colored musical droplets. On this, his fourth long-player in a career spanning over two decades, Mason again demonstrates his quirky versatility, craftsmanship and disregard for the musical zeitgeist.

Not many dance music artists had such an unusual career path, stretching from being a kid TV star to Tiesto’s touring violinist to pop chart hitmaker to guerrilla party organizer to one of the most productive and collaborative producers of the lowlands. Mason does it all, becoming one of the true gems of the European electronic music scene.

Fresh from his latest record, which he backed up with a launch party at London’s talisman Ministry of Sound the week after it came out, we caught up with the Amsterdam-based electronic stalwart for an immersive chat about Chroma Panorama, music production in general, and much more.

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Hey Mason, thanks for joining us. What have you been up to since your new album came out earlier this month?

Well, mainly celebrating it’s out in many ways, as it took me two years to make. I did a three-way release party. One in Amsterdam on my own regular Animal Language guerilla pub crawl called the ‘Kafe Rave’, where we bring a few hundred ravers and a mobile sound system to 4 super crappy locations on one night to party there.

This time, we took over a pizza parlor, a bar for alcoholics, and a few other hole-in-the-wall places. Then, I launched it at the Ministry Of Sound club in London. And I ran a competition to play a show at someone’s home last weekend, and it obviously got out of hand.

How far from your initial sound at the beginning of your career is this new body of work, and how can you see it further developing in the future?

It changed a lot. As I work in studios every day, it would be boring doing the same thing year in and year out; you don’t eat peanut butter every day, either. Well, actually, I do. But that’s beside the point. I started as a hip-hop DJ in the early 90s. Then, for the next 25 years, I went through all sorts of dance music subgenres, as I’m still a DJ by heart.

However, lately, I’ve been writing and producing many indie left-of-center pop songs within electronic music, which have found their way onto the album. I’ve been really enjoying that process.

Are there any standout tracks on the album for you that have specific experiences or memories attached to them? 

The recording sessions I cherish mostly. I try not to work with people remotely, so I’ve been in the room with most of the artists I’ve worked with on the album to work on it together, whether here in The Netherlands or for studio trips to France and many to London.

You just get so much more creative when you’re together working on the same thing in the same place. And above all, working with so many talented people is really inspiring. On this album, I had the pleasure to work with Dragonette, Jack Garratt, Gorillaz MC Sweetie Irie, Sophie Barker (Zero 7), Might Delete Later, Magugu, Eliza Legzdina, Poppy Hankin (Girl Ray), Sister Cookie, and so many others. It makes a producer humble.

What do you think makes a ‘good’ album?

I think albums give a lot of room to set a tone, vibe, and emotion. Much more so than with a single song. I like albums that vary in style, so they’re not more of the same, but they still bring the signature identity of whoever made them across.

People often relate albums to a certain level of aptitude of a producer. Would you agree, and why do you think so few artists make albums these days?

It’s quite a single market out there due to the importance of playlists on streaming platforms and how those algorithms work. Singles get streamed a thousand more times than the B-sides on an album. So, doing an album is totally against the zeitgeist.

But an album also gives me the freedom to express myself and release things I feel good about, even though it might not be the most business-savvy decision. After all, I’m the one in that studio every day, so I also want to keep it fun for myself. And I like to think fans will enjoy it.

Exclusive Interview With Amsterdam-Based Electronic Producer Mason

Describe the Mason sound in five words or less.

Fun, playful, fresh – I hope. Or, Better than most tech house.

Name one artist, past or present, that you’d love to work with and why.

Dr. Dre really inspired me as a teenager. And I still think his way of creative sampling and the use of funk, soul and disco elements all find their way into my music.

Do you have any go-to pieces of studio equipment or anything that was heavily used when making your latest album?

I mixed everything on analogue Neve, which gave it character. Apart from that, I try not to limit myself too much in the box, so I’ve dragged in at least a dozen musicians for the album, from a brass ensemble to live strings, Hammond, Rhodes, live drums and whatnot.

There are all sorts of synths and kits, but that’s always changing in my studio.

Anything else you’d like to share with your fans/our readers?

I hope you enjoy the album – it’s made with much love, sweat, tears and effort. And if you dig it, come say hi on instagram.com/musicofmason

Mason’s Chroma Panorama LP is available to download/stream via Animal Language

STREAM / DOWNLOAD

Connect with Mason

Website | Facebook | Instagram

Exclusive Interview With Amsterdam-Based Electronic Producer Mason

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