He was introduced to Australia as Reece Mastin, he was then moulded by the industry he almost turned his back on. After a few years of being the mouse on the wheel, then breaking free and soul searching, the man known as Mastin is now back with a brilliant new EP and Tour to follow. We chatted with Reece about all things Mastin
H2Z: Hey Reece, hows your morning going?
RM: Hey Andrew, pretty cruisey thanks mate, Im just chilling out in my back yard, in my new place in Melbourne I just moved to, so I am relaxing and settling in
H2Z: First off, congratulations on the EP, I am really loving the way the songs are put together, and im picking up on a few varying styles, so how long did it take to all come together?
RM: Thanks Man, thanks very much. Its been quite a while since I have released anything, and I went through a s@#tload of songs, to pick the 5, and like you just said they all have their own vibe, that’s why with doing an EP as opposed to a full length album I wanted to try and get across as many different styles, but also tell the different stories, and touch on the different things that have been happening in my life. It does span over a couple of years, but I also wanted to be more consistent with the songs, so a lot of the songs that didn’t fit with this EP will come out down the line.
H2Z: In saying that, do you see yourself just releasing EP’s as opposed to full length albums?
RM: While I would love to release full length albums, being an independent artist the two factors that tend to run against us are time and money, and the last full length that I released a few years ago, I didn’t really have things run the way I would have, so while I cannot change that, I can do more moving forward to make sure good songs don’t get lost. While I love albums I see myself releasing singles and EP’s and hope that the love for full albums returns the way the love for Vinyl does.
H2Z: You are now going just by the name “Mastin” now, was that a deliberate decision to rebrand yourself and distance yourself from the way you were made into a character in the past?
RM: Perfectly nailed it there. I wanted people to look at it with fresh eyes and ears because people have preconceived notions of who I am and what I do. Which made it hard for me to connect with the people I wanted because the first thing people did was go “Oh f@#k , its that kid from the show”. Being fully independent now and in charge of everything business wise and music wise I wanted it to be given a chance for it to be listened to as a rock record rather than what people thought it would be. The way I came into the industry and being on bigger labels, you are sheltered, and left in the dark about whats going on.
H2Z: These songs have some really huge vocals, did you draw inspiration from somewhere or go for a particular vibe?
RM: The main thing for me, is I actually struggle to sing quietly, it takes me more effort to be quiet than to be myself. For me it was about the music I love. The 70s and 80s rock and the way people sang back then, you had to do the work, you were the software. The songs on the record just wouldn’t have worked if I wasn’t myself or tried to sound like somebody else.
H2Z: It’s a very analogue sound, which as a 70s kid makes me happy, analogue makes your ears go to a different place. Tell me about the production?
RM: Its hard to explain, and I feel so f@#king lame saying this, but it feels like magic, when it’s the people actually doing it, as opposed to computers. And I love all music, If a songs good, a song is good, and there is something about watching 4, 5, 6 people on stage, and knowing that’s actually happening in front of me, so that’s what I tried to capture. I did this record with Ricki Rae a f@#king killer producer, who does Electric Mary, we had so many amps and guitars and Brett Wood by friend from the Mary’s bought down a bunch of amps for me to use. We ended up mic’ing it up with this really nice new mic, and it just sounded wrong, we went through a tonne, before we ended up with this real piece of s@#t microphone, but it just sounded right, and I think working with Ricki is how things changed for me, because we just kept working to a point, where we got the sound in the studio and we knew we could get to a gig and make that exact same sound, and by capturing it all analogue allowed that to happen. At the end of the day we know we made a great record that’s all recorded live, and what was played is what was played. It wasn’t touched or f@#ked around with, and its not perfect which I love as well, there are flat moments, and there are pops and squeaks, but that’s real and that’s the magic for me. And I met with a lot of other guys but Ricki just knew what I wanted and the suggestions he brought up for songs were right there, and when we talked about old Edgar Winter and Free records I saw his face light up and I knew he f@#king got me
H2Z: Well its one thing for a producer to be talented but they really need the vibe or else its not there
RM: Exactly, and you know Ricki, he creates such a great vibe, a beautiful studio, and he has a great family looking after him, and he is just a f@#cking absolute legend and a genius producer
H2Z: You played the song “The Problem” a lot previously, but you chose a different lead off single for the album, was that because you wanted a fresher song out there?
RM: What happened was we recorded the 4 songs, and “The Problem” was always going to be the single, and its not that I didn’t like it, part of it was, we were listening to the EP a lot in the car going to gigs, and 4 songs just didn’t feel right, and I think its because I am used to the old EP’s from the 70’s, which were always 5 tracks, and so I went home to Sydney right before I moved here and I found all these songs, and I found “Not The Man For You”, which sounded totally different as it was all my production, and it sounded completely s@#t (laughs), but I sent it to Ricki, and we were backstage at a show, and he said, “We need to do it, I can hear it like this and like that”, which was stuff I didn’t even think of, and that song, with his ideas and production became the missing element, and there is a lot of anger on the record, plus the up tempo stuff, and then the cheekiness of “The Problem”, but there wasn’t anything that was just easy , rock n roll fun, that was missing, and in this day where people fight to be on radio, playlists and streams, I wanted a song that caught the listener from the get go, with massive riffs, three part harmonies, and it keeps you wondering until you get to the chorus, and once you get there, its just so catchy. We needed that great rock chorus and nothing that was melancholy or sombre, but have the undeniable rock edge to it. I am really glad we thought about it before we finished, and I am glad Ricki told me that we had to do it.
H2Z: Its funny you say that, do you think sometimes artists don’t take their music seriously enough?
RM: I make sure I do, I probably take it way too serious sometimes, just because it means so much to me. For me, as a songwriter, its who you are, and while that might be cliché, I feel this record is a real close representation of who I am as a person, or the way I think about these things. Like the way I feel about love, or how I feel when I get f@#king angry, so I do take it very seriously in that regard, because it is all a part of who I am. Music has always been like that for me. I remember leaving the UK, and the Daniel Powter song “Bad Day”, was number one in the UK, and I don’t really like the song, but I hear it and it takes me back to hearing it every day going to school. Or my grandad passed away not long ago and I did a version of an old Irish song he really loved and that song just gets to me, so in that regard, music is the soundtrack to my life, and I take it seriously as it shapes moments for me. To put it in perspective, I was listening to the album before, while grabbing a coffee, and I said to myself “I fucking did that”, while I wanted to pull my hair out sometimes, but look what happened, look what we have done, and that’s enough.
H2Z: Lets talk about the show and tour, what can the fans expect?
RM: The biggest thing for me, with these shows, is I don’t want it to be just a gig. I have been playing a lot more over the last 2 years. So to explain it, it will be me, it will be my sound, but there will be a lot more story telling stuff. I know I cant have a conversation with everyone in Australia the way I am having a conversation with you now, so these shows kind of do that. And the band, Im absolutely loving my band, with an analogue record I have a band that can pretty much replicate that sound live, and while we are pretty much go go go, there are some tender moments in the show, but its also f@#cken grungy and dirty rock n roll. We have a lot of guitars, a lot of amps and a lot of rock n roll. It’s a really good show.
H2Z: We will leave it at that for today. Thanks for your time today and look forward to seeing you at one of the shows
RM: Thanks so much for your time, look forward to seeing you then.
MASTIN ‘SUITCASE OF STORIES’ AUSTRALIAN TOUR
SAT APRIL 7 | THE BASEMENT, SYDNEY | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH MOSHTIX
FRI APRIL 13 | SALOON BAR, LAUNCESTON | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
SAT APRIL 14 | WARATAH HOTEL, HOBART | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
FRI APRIL 20 | SHOALHAVEN BOWLS CLUB, NSW | AA | TICKETS FROM THE VENUE
SAT APRIL 21 | WAVES, WOLLONGONG | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH MOSHTIX
SUN APRIL 29 | FOWLERS, ADELAIDE | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH MOSHTIX
THURS MAY 3 | WORKERS CLUB, LISMORE | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
FRI MAY 4 | SURFER’S PARADISE LIVE, GOLD COAST |18+ | FREE
SAT MAY 5 | THE BRIGHTSIDE, BRISBANE | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
SUN MAY 6 | SOL BAR, MAROOCHYDORE | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
THURS MAY 10 | TRANSIT BAR, CANBERRA | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH MOSHTIX
SAT MAY 19 | WINTON SUPERCARS, VIC | 18+ | https://wintonraceway.com.au/
FRI MAY 25 | GRAND HOTEL, MORNINGTON | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
SUN MAY 27| MAX WATTS, MELBOURNE | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
FRI JUNE 15 | THE GRAND CENTRAL, PERTH | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
SAT JUNE 16 | THE CHARLES HOTEL, PERTH | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
THURS JULY 12 | THE LOFT, WARRNAMBOOL | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
FRI JULY 13 | THE WORKERS CLUB, GEELONG | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
SAT JULY 14 | SS&A CLUB, ALBURY | 18+ | FREE