by Jeff Milo
So when you record your album, what's going through your head? Some thoughts from a local song-maker...
Don’t worry about anything else but being an artist. Just be creative
in however way that feels right for you. You're in the studio. Be in the moment. Don’t worry about anything else but the song. Scott Masson will worry about the rest for you.
That snare drum part will sort itself out. Scott’ll pinch those frequencies for you and he’ll even help with harmonies if you need, but, just relax. Be creative. There’s no schedule and the rates are fairly cheap. What do you have to worry about? Nothing. Just make music.
Welcome to Scott Masson’s studio. Well, welcome to his basement - the new-norm HQ for headphone-snug home producers. Masson's in the middle of a metamorphosis, from just-barely-almost-indie-rock-pop-star to utterly humbled, under-the-radar, almost-homebody-type crafting his own music and all-too-happily helping myriad local musicians craft their own recordings with his freshly-attained studio equipment. He's learned a lot over his years as a songwriter, been in plenty of studios too. He knows how you worry, he knows what you're probably worrying about...
Is this going to get on the radio? Is that reverb dialed over too far? Does this sound too much like neo-post-punk and is that still marketable? Oh, just relax. Masson’s here.
This guy, a lifelong music maker who could always find kindred spirits in stupendously-jaunty orchestral pop magicians like Brian Wilson or George Martin, knows all too well the stresses of songwriting and recording – frustrating and exciting, yes. But, beyond that, he knows the travails of an indie-artist negotiating delusions of trying to “
He once had a band, a pop group that very nearly became a “buzz band.” They were called OFFICE and the album he made, modest but affecting new-wave-dashed power-pop ballads cut as bedroom demos, got pumped up by some corporate types under a major label trying to craft him into the next Strokes or the next Interpol or the next Tapes N' Tapes or Clap Your Hands Say Yeah or some other indie-darling for the blogs to bite and spew.
He survived a fair fit of depression after leaving that label and breaking up the band. He was crawling out of the depths of his parent’s basement, deflated, feeling a bit failed, songwriter on the wrong side of 31, on the wrong side of “buzz band” relevancy, way off the radars of the cool kids in the Facebook-Cafeteria, not even at the table, reeling, yes, let’s use that phrase, reeling, from the rigors of those corporate-types watering down and wreaking outright havoc upon his art with the ruthlessness and apathy of an exterminator pumping poisonous gases over his works in the form of faulted formulas and malignant business models.
Or something like that. Definitely not that dramatic. But...surely the way the music world was working before was inherently...well, fucked.
Those kinds of things happened back in the dark days of 2006 and 2007, when sites like Pitchfork began its reign of the hipster world.
Well, in part two of this series of interviews, Masson, now based just north of Detroit and quietly developing new albums by locals like The Oscillating Fan Club, will share some of his perspective on what, at the end of the day, really matters -when it comes to the creation and capture, the writing and the recording, of music. You won't see him singing on local stages anytime soon, but you may hear his own solo album pop out around the end of Summer.
More thoughts on the future of DIY basement studio work forthcoming...