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Consistently hailed for his innovative and genre-defying creations, Dutch producer Mason has been carving out a unique route to musical mayhem, and his latest offering comes as no exception. Featuring the bold vocals of London-based collective The Manor, 'Stop Start Slow Fast' arrives fully loaded with wonky synths, electro breakdowns and crafty drum patterns! 

There aren’t too many producers out there capable of making credible underground bangers and radio friendly hits simultaneously but Mason is surely one of them. With a palette borrowed from formative years immersed in hip-hop, house, electro, funk and disco there are no rules to his musical alchemy. Its really just about having fun and avoiding the usual clichés of the scene. 

Mason has accepted our request and we are glad to present you his insightful interview to find out more about this incredibly talented artist and his awesome Stop Start Slow Fast with The Manor.



Interview is written and conducted by Dimitris Kechagias, music journalist and radio host on www.1mix.co.uk 

Dimitris: When did you start your involvement with electronic dance music and which music style you are more affiliated with and why?

Mason: I started getting into hiphop in '92 I think…. We were all into basketball (I was tiny and lousy at it) and the hiphop thing was more my area, so I got my grandmothers turntables around '94 and started to play and make mix-tapes in my bedroom, upsetting all other family members with my new loud 'hobby'.  One day on some vinyl record fair I bought an Ice T vinyl, which turned out to be techno mixes. I thought that was quite cool, so started to search for techno next week, which led to…  well where I am 20-something years later. I feel most affiliated with house, funk, disco, electro and acid, but get my inspiration mainly from old music. There's so much great music behind us last century if you dig deep!

Dimitris: Did you had the opportunity to attend any kind of music production course or are u completely self taught? Do you consider that is essential for any artist to complete any production course?

Mason: I did a 4 year bachelor on a Dutch art school for music production, composition and violin, but I don't think that's very essential. I mean: all your extra knowledge helps - but I think people can do great things self-taught with a cheap laptop.

Dimitris: In which label was your first ever release and how did you manage to attract the attention of the label?

Mason:I won some price from the Dutch Royal Family for a music project I was doing. And from that money I decided to release my first record. I went to a (pretty random) label and said: "I wanna release this EP and I'll pay for it myself". They were like "Ok that's cool".  

Dimitris: Choose for us your Top 5 tracks that you have produced and you consider them as being highly important for the progress of your career indifferent if they were commercially successful.

Mason:
- Exceeder (duh)



- Fashion Killa



- Calabrese



- The Screetch



- Frontrow Chemistry



Dimitris: Let's focus on your Stop Start Slow Fast with The Manor. Please tell us from where did you got the inspiration for the track?

Mason: I did a studio session with The Manor in London, which let to all sorts of weird and wonderful audio recordings, but also this 'Stop Start Slow Fast' hook that stuck. 

Dimitris: How long it took you to produce it and was an easy or difficult process?If you have faced any difficulties please tell us about them and how did you resolved them?

Mason: When back in my own studio it came together pretty quickly, I just wanted to make a track where the repetitive vocal just keeps on building in dynamics.



Dimitris: Which was the biggest challenge that you faced during the production of this superb track?

Mason: Because the vocal is repetitive but building, every time you hear the vocal it's actually a different take and that has an effect on the groove. Specially consonants have a percussive rhythmic effect on a track so I had to move these all back and forth word per word to keep the groove in tact.

Dimitris: Can you describe to us the steps that you went through the production of this track and of any other track?

Mason: I usually make 10 totally different ideas of a track, and then decide which one is the best and work on that. Because I think finishing and mixing a track is quite a linear task that just takes a lot of time. So I rather safe that for the right demo.



Dimitris: When the track finished did the label accepted it as it was produced or did the label recommend you to do some changes or fix certain things?

Mason: I think tiny things were changed, but nothing substantial. 

Dimitris: Is this track an original composition or is it based on a template from another track produced from you or another producer?

Mason: An original composition.



Dimitris: Is the quality of this track higher than your previous one? If yes in what ways this track sounds better than your previous one?

Mason: Not particularly. I feel the quality of my productions goes up over the years, but that's when you zoom out to a bigger picture. Not necessarily that each following record within a year is always sounding better than the last one. 

Dimitris: Do you have any friends or relatives that you send them the track before sending it to a label or if you are DJ did you test it in your gigs? If yes did you have to do any alterations as a result of the crowd reaction?

Mason: Yes! I have a few friends I use as quality control. Also my manager and publisher listen to music in the process of making it. And obviously if you're making dance music and you're a DJ, you need to test it to see if people actually do that what it's made for : dance to it!

Dimitris: Please describe to us the studio that you have produced the track? What is your favourite hardware and software set up? Do you have in mind any new gear that you wish to get in order to raise the quality of your production?

Mason: I work in Logic Pro, but also use a lot of analogue compressors and EQs. To do so, I send out 16 busses from Logic to u a Neve summing mixer, from where I insert extra hardware. After that it goes through some gear back into Logic so I can bounce it. But I mix everything in Logic and keep the Neve mixer volume settings all on zero, so I can still switch back and forth from project to project.  Regarding new gear: I always like to check out different analogue synths, and I'm curious how that SSL Fusion is gonna sound.



Dimitris: Do you master the track yourself or the mastering is task for the record label? Do you understand mastering as being essential?

Mason: I do a big part of the mastering myself, but run it through a mastering company to do final checks and fixes. People think mastering makes your track sound great, but it shouldn't. Your track should sound great already before going to mastering. In a perfect situation the master engineer doesn't do much (or anything). Also with dance music 'sound' is everything, so you should keep total control over that yourself.

Dimitris: There is a growing trend of vinyl coming back for good. Would you like to see this track released on vinyl or any other of your future tracks? Do you prefer digital files or vinyl?

Mason: I don't think vinyl will be back for good. I think it's a fashionable item to have now. I read a research that stated that half the vinyl sold these days doesn't ever get played, but people buy them as an object to own. That's different with DJs that play vinyl obviously, who will play em, but I also see that as a temporarily fashionable thing. At the end of the day vinyl is too limited as a medium and digital music is of a much higher quality. If you're a lover of the 'warmth' of vinyl: that's just distortion and EQ settings you can also add to a digital hi-res file. However I do miss having my release in my hand as a physical thing. Now it's just some zero and ones on the internet somewhere, which feels a bit disposable.







Dimitris: What is your honest unbiased opinion about each remix included in this track.

Mason: The ZDS is dark and thriving - close to what I play late at night in darker venues.  The Parx remix is more easy comprehensive and fun for a wider range of audiences. My own Private Mescal Mix is a bit of a crazy circus edit.



Dimitris: Do you have any future releases planned and when will be released?

Mason: Yes! There's a single called 'Disruptor' out now on Loulou Records buy here and I will soon have a record featuring Alex Clare on Spinnin Records.

Dimitris: Can you recall your top 3 best DJ gigs so far and the reasons that made them so special?

Mason: I play for 23 years so it's hard to make a top 3.  Playing at Sensation White for 45.000 people in the Amsterdam Arena was quite heavy. And I loved doing a solo night at Paradiso 2 years ago.  But I had some great Australian parties, and Brazil... and .. ehh.. ugh.



Dimitris: Do you have any more DJ gigs planned for the next few months? 

Mason: Yes I'm still touring with Dr. Lektroluv throughout the Benelux - and there are some further solo tours planned for next year at the minute.

Dimitris: Do you produce a radio show/podcast as well? Please tell us here all the details about it. 

Mason: Yes it's called the Animal Language Show! Listen here



Dimitris: Best piece of advice you got in relation to your career so far and best tip you learnt recently to make your tracks better.

Mason: Don't be too preoccupied with trends and what's hot right now. That will all pass, and you will loose your identity if you jump on everything trendy. Make your own sound and stick to it.



Dimitris: Can you mention your tips or more elaborated advice for any new artists who may read this interview and wish to get involved with the electronic music industry.

Mason: Take your time. It's not that difficult to DJ, but to write music you need a good few years to become good at. If you release stuff too early in your career you're gonna regret it later on, as the quality wasn't up to standard yet. Also make sure you have something to contribute that others don't already make. We don't need copycats, we need fresh new directions from a new generation.



Thanks to Iason aka Mason for this brilliant interview! Good luck to his future releases.

Thanks so much to Lily from Infectious for organising this interview.

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