Mason is the Dutch DJ that’s known for a distinctively rebellious approach when it comes to music creation.
He’s an artist that’s obsessed with unleashing the hidden potential within the most abstract of vocals, as well as utilising a mass of unusual sounds to mimic a refreshingly bizarre landscape. Now a true master of his craft, he has been making music professionally for twenty years. To rejoice in this huge accomplishment, he’s treating us to a massive remix album – released on his very own imprint, Animal Language.
We caught up with Mason to speak to him about those 20 years, and how this album came about.
T.H.E – Hey Mason! Welcome to T.H.E. Music Essentials. What have you been up to?
Mason – I’m a studio geek like any other producer, so that’s where I spent the majority of my time. I’ve been treating it like a job, going there for 20 years every morning at 9 and leaving at 5. The only difference between any other job is I surround myself with synthesizers instead of boring colleagues. Regarding releases, I just did a record with Jem Cooke ( Camelphat collaborator) on Another Rhythm, and have my Amphibia EP out on Doorly’s Reptile Dysfunction label this week. Oh, and I’m getting married in Greece at the moment.
T.H.E – Congratulations on completing 20 years in the industry. When you started off, did you ever imagine that you would be going as strong 20 years later, as you were then?
Mason – Back in those days, I was dreaming I’d be doing the things I’m doing now, flying around the world for shows and being able to work with some very talented artists. It makes one humble and super grateful there are people out there who make this possible by listening to my musical madness.
T.H.E – Whom do you have to thank for, to continue being as consistent as you have been?
Mason – It really helps I have the same few people around me who have been helping on my career for a long time. A booking agent since the late 90s (Marc Lankreijer / AMS Bookings), a manager for 10 years (Steve Burton / Big Fish Little Fish) and a longtime publisher (Lucas van Slegtenhorst / Downtown Music Publishing). It really gives all I’m doing a lot of stability.
T.H.E – You have released an album to celebrate this moment. What does this album represent?
Mason – Over the course of the years’ so many amazing artists have done remixes for my tracks, I wanted to honour them by releasing a portion of these remixes. It’s called ‘Mason Remixed’ and contains 20 remixes of my tracks by a lot of my favorite artists, like Rex The Dog, Junior Sanchez, Kolombo, DJ Glen, Mighty Mouse, Oliver $, well…. they’re all pretty great!
T.H.E – Now we will ask you some questions that will summarise this 20-year journey for you. 5 biggest singles that you have released?
b. Fashion Killa / Papapapa
c. You Are Not Alone
e. Dance Shake Move
T.H.E – 5 biggest challenges that you have faced
My music isn’t that easy to pigeon hole, it’s not ‘just techno’ or ‘trance’ or anything. It helps if the industry can very easily label you, which is a bit more difficult in my case. I guess it’s somewhere on the left side of the indie house.
When I had my breakthrough as an artist I couldn’t do mixdowns whatsoever, and had to figure that all out while getting a lot of attention on my music.
It can be challenging that this industry is so trend-driven
I think studio/tour/ party / personal life balance is challenging for many artists. It seems to be one of the main subjects we talk about
It can be challenging to always have to make something better than the last thing you did. But if it’d be easy everyone could do it and I like a good challenge!.
T.H.E – 5 biggest differences that you see between then and now
In the past record stores were a very essential part of the music industry chain. Someone behind the counter who made the first selection of records for you based on your taste. But it was also a good moment to catch up with all other DJs from your town in a non-party setting, and hear all the gossip.
Now that record stores are online and operating worldwide, everything is available everywhere. So sound also varies less per territory.
Artists nowadays care less about radio than in the past, as all the focus is on Spotify.
Social media came up within this period, so a well-crafted image can be just as important as good music for a career. Unfortunately, I’d say.
When I started out you still needed to spend a lot of money to have a studio setup good enough to make music on. Right now any cheap laptop will do. So there’s much more release output, and fair chances for everyone. The competition is also bigger, so you need to be more talented and original to stand out from the masses.
T.H.E – 5 artists that have really impressed you with their consistency
Rex The Dog
T.H.E – After finishing 20 years, what’s next for Mason?
Mason – Don’t worry about me – I got plenty of new releases coming your way 😉
Which is your favorite track by Mason? Let us know below!