Artist Interviews

Q&A: Steve Mason

By | Published on Wednesday 28 April 2010

Steve Mason

Steve Mason is best known as the lead singer and one of the founding members of The Beta Band.

After they split in 2004, Mason went on to release solo material as King Biscuit Time, including two EP’s and album ‘Black Gold’, as well as releasing work under the name Black Affair.

Steve’s latest record ‘Boys Outside’ has seen him work with producer Richard X and will be the first album released under Mason’s own name. With the LP set for release on 3 May via Domino, we caught up with Steve to find out more.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
I first started making my own music around the age of ten. I had a pair of drumsticks and two tape machines. I used to tape one beat (played on a pillow) on the first tape machine, then play it back and drum along, recording that on the second tape machine. Very basic two tracking! Loads of hiss. Then I formed a band with my sister called The Crazy Cow Pats – we had one song, ‘Pat On A Drum’. I used the same technique recording this. I was really into the drums and eventually got a broken down kit when I was about fifteen, I think. But right up until I met [Beta Band co-founder] Gordon Anderson and he showed me I could sing, it was always drums for me.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
Hard question. Nothing inspires me to make an album. It’s just what I do. I wake up, eat, smoke fags and make music. Everyday. So, I’m always just trying to stretch myself, my mind and my boundaries. That’s what drives me. To keep moving forward and try to be better than anyone else and do what no-one else is doing.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?

With this album it was mostly lead by the beats. I would make a beat, then maybe a little melody, something simple. Eventually a vocal melody appears and you get some chords together. Writing lyrics is harder these days as I’m older and travel less in my mind, but I have not traded in my magic carpet just yet.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
As far as I’m aware, no other musician has ever really influenced me. I try not to be influenced at all. That’s very important to me. But I am influenced by the feelings I get from hearing the music of others and want to try to bring out the same feelings and emotions in my own music. For this album though, two producers sparked initial ideas, Jermaine Dupri and Darchild (Rodney Jerkins). Both are R&B producers with different styles, but both record great vocals and have great rhythms. I wanted to make an album that, if you stripped the vocals, piano and guitar off, you were left with R&B backing tracks. And if you stripped the beats and bass off, you have a singer-songwriter acoustic album.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?

Have you paid for it??? NO! I would say, throw all your other music away, you don’t need it any more. This album will break you heart. Then fix it.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
My ambitions have never changed in twelve years. I want to be a huge success, without betraying my personal beliefs. In the future? Well, I will be a huge success. Finally! As long as I don’t go mental again!