We catch up with Mason following the release of his funky album, 'Frisky Biscuits'.
It's not often we come across an album that sounds completely different from start to finish, maintains it's own indenity throughout and floats across a range of styles whilst inkeeping the same high production values and creative energy. So we lost out minds after hearing Mason's latest album, 'Frisky Biscuits'. For 25 years the Dutch producer has been following his own path, not fussed about following the trends -he’s kept to his own and has rightly earned a solid reputation. A testament to this work ethic is the producer’s third album, 'Frisky Biscuits'.
A rare full lengther released on Toolroom Records, it's Mason's lockdown project seeing him delve deep into his musical tastes and influences. The end result is an album of incredible tunes which traverses between house, funk, and disco in the funnest and most unique way possible.
In the midst of a global pandemic, Mason has given us reason to smile with an album bustling with positivity and fun. Flaunts his groove throughout each and every track, keeping things fresh and optimistic, it's the perfect cure for the lockdown blues. We have loved every track, if you’re looking for something against the grain, and unique to itself than Mason’s 'Frisky Biscuits' is exactly what you’re looking for.
The album is a far cry from his earlier work, such as his internationally loved dance music crossover, 'Exceeder' but only goes to show how Mason has developed his sound. He now can boasts three albums, his own label Animal Language, and records on some of the biggest imprints in the game including; Toolroom, Skint and Defected. None of this would be possible, however without the one thing Mason truly cares about; and that's his cheeky signature sound that's had dancefloors and Zoom parties shuffling for years. Following the album’s release, as well as the sick playlist he shared with us earlier this year, it was only right we caught up with the man, the legend, Mason.
Hey, how are you doing, been up to anything interesting recently?
I just returned home from a most dreamy garden estate in France, where we spent a holiday with a bunch of friends. Two of them being chefs, kids running around the garden, an overkill of good wine and food, my sense of heaven really! Not how I spend my usual summers, but the lack of shows and tours also brings new opportunities. Never expected I’d be into gardening…. ever.
What’s got you motivated right now?
I got a bit struck with a jazz virus (oh sorry, shouldn’t say virus: ehh jazz ‘bug’? ehh…). I’m also, much more than in the past, motivated to do the mixdown part of my tracks with a lot of attention and dedication. I do realize nobody cares about that extra 1% sound improvement but me, but it feels rewarding to get stuff sounding as classy as possible.
You’re hot off the heels of releasing your latest album 'Frisky Biscuits' - loving the title, and imagine there’s a funny story behind it?
It’s playful, like my music. I also started out in the 90s under the impossible DJ name Jason The Mason He Ain’t No Cookie, so to have a cookie theme is quite full circle. People - I'm not using that DJ name anymore so you can claim the URL.
The album itself is full of absolute bangers across the spectrum of house, dance and disco. Is there a particular track that really stands out for you, what makes it so special?
Thanks! I don’t think I have any particular favorite. However it was really inspiring to work with artists such as Jem Cooke or Shingai, who have so much talent and ideas. I do like to write stuff across the spectrum of house. I find it boring to focus on one genre only and never have cared too much about what's trendy. I just like to create and see where it leads.
You produced this album throughout the lockdown period, did you just wake up one morning and say to yourself, “I’m going to make an album” or was it something you had been thinking about for a while?
I tend to demo a lot, without genre limitation. Sometimes literally a few hundred demo’s a month - little 8 bar loops and bits. For the singles I release, I take into account that it needs to work on a dance floor. So there are always a lot of demos that I love, which I can’t really release as singles. So making an album really suits me, as it gives so much more creative freedom to also release those slower or weirder bits.
For an album that was produced in lockdown, the sounds and styles are a stark contrast to the emotions many of us felt in this period. How did you manage to tap into these more joyful, uplifting feelings and get them down into the music?
For me personally it was the perfect way to spend lockdown: a good chunk of work to focus on and somewhat forget about the outside world. Musically the album is indeed joyful, and I think people can use some of that, as the world is serious enough as it is.
You featured a range of vocalists throughout the album, how did you go about selecting what voices you wanted?
I had recorded vocals in Paris, London, Amsterdam and New York last year, so there was a lot of material to work with when I started on this album. A few bits and pieces had to be re-recorded during the lockdown, which led to all sorts of practical problems: artists not being able to travel, having to be in a studio with an engineer while keeping distance etc. But we got there in the end. The last bit of vocals literally got added onto the album a few days before the release.
The album is a rare full length album on Toolroom, were you surprised they released the whole project?
We started dating a bit last year, with a single and some other bits. This year we’re going more ‘steady’, meeting parents and all that! I had played them a few other bits I had been working on, and as it’s so much wider than just the straightforward club stuff we decided together it would be a good idea to turn it into a full album. I gotta say it's been an absolute pleasure working with their team.
What does the world need more of right now?
A sense of reason and calm. The more extreme ideas, whether they're political, racial or environmental, get a lot more traction online, which is dividing nations, in a time where we have enough political, health and environmental challenges already. I also believe we need to maintain and have more confidence in the institutions we’ve worked centuries to create: a strong independent judiciary system, free press, governments that have healthy checks and balances. The more skepticism people have for those pillars of society, the more it’ll crumble down and we head backwards towards chaos.
What are you most in love with right now?
Two toddler boys who wanna become firemen, unlike their father.
What event / club do you want to go back to first once venues have reopened?
At this point I don’t care anymore, anything with a strobe machine, somewhat decent speakers and coloury blinking lights, and I'll be down.
Mason’s new album, 'Frisky Biscuits' is out now via Toolroom Records - Buy/stream
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