Masker is back in the place with Serial Killaz and his highly anticipated ‘Fully Armed’ EP. Check the exclusive mix and his thoughts on who to watch out for coming into Autumn.
It’s been a busy year production wise for you. How do you find the time to get so much done, avoid writer’s block and still hold down a full time job?
“It is very hard! What I find most productive is not to spend too much time on a project unless you are really catching big vibes from it. I have spent hours and hours wasting time trying to make ideas work (which aren’t bad ideas) but I’ve not been in the right frame of mind for that specific idea.
It’s quite difficult to explain – you basically need to write tracks from feelings to get the greatest results! If you have any doubts, scrap it and move on until you get an excitement from the track.
I’ve actually been very slack in the studio this year compared to 2018. I wrote the ‘Fully Armed’ EP last year and finished it in June this year. A lot has happened in my personal life so my music had taken a bit of a back seat but I’m now back in full swing ready for 2020.
Basically writers block is unavoidable! Get out the studio, go for a walk or do something non music related otherwise you will find yourself in a hole and get stressed. Tomorrow’s another day!”
‘Fully Armed’ was created especially for the Serial Killaz label wasn’t it? What was the main attraction for working with Tobie and Graham? Anything else planned for the future? A 3 way collab would be big!
“When Tobie hit me up asking if I would write an EP for Serial Killaz the first track I wrote was ‘Fully Armed’. I wanted to bring the authentic Serial Killaz vibe which I love and have done for years! Yes that would be decent! I’m game!”
When producing solo, what do you find are the biggest hurdles? Especially when you have EP deadlines looming.
“Getting tracks totally finished can be stressful. It’s all the small parts you need in the track, fills, fx, transitions etc. These vital parts are so important and if they don’t fit well, the track will lose substance.
I can’t commit to deadlines! Fortunately the labels I have worked with have been very laid back. The music has to be as good as it can be and by rushing it you will end up using all the same sounds which I’m not a fan of. Each project I will start from a blank canvas to keep things fresh.”
What’s the best way to overcome these hurdles?
“Take your time and keep your fingers on the buttons. Listen to different genres of music for ideas and sample hunt. You will get there eventually.”
As a fan of drum and bass music and a DJ, what’s your top 3 tunes doing the rounds at the moment? Unreleased or released, whatever you fancy.
Enei – Widowed
Voltage – Between the Lines
T>I & Serum – Swington
When you’re listening to other producers music, do you find yourself trying to figure out how certain aspects of the track has been put together or are you just in it for the vibe? Must be hard not to pick apart certain tunes though – especially the ones with a copied and pasted 16 bar loop!
“Yeah of course. I think with all music producers it just comes naturally. For instance you could hear somebody else’s track and think ‘that hat is really harsh and needs some treatment’ but then the bass sits in the mix perfectly.
Everyone does things in their own way but this is what makes music personal.”
2019 seems to have been all about Instagram stories where producers zoom in on their monitors and shake their phones around to the bass. This can’t carry on to 2020 can it… seriously? Something has to take its place?
“Come on Jamie are you trying to give me a dig? Ha ha!
I am a culprit for this apart from shaking the phone around part! I do like to share ideas with people on Instagram. It can give you a good indication to whether your idea is any good or not.
It seems that SoundCloud is unfortunately dying so I hope something else comes about in the near future to help self promote your own music.”
Talking of identifying new trends – who’s in the top 3 producers to watch out for in 2020? It’s only 4 months away now.
“Obviously T>I. He is rapidly working his way up the chain. His production skills are amazing as well as his ideas. I’m really pleased things have been going so well for him. He’s been in the game a long time and he is finally getting the recognition that he has grafted for.
Particle. This guy is making some big tunes at the moment. I’m a massive fan of his sound and his mixes. I would say he is going to go far in the scene.
Leaf has some bangers behind him. I’ve been caught out a few times when one of his tunes is playing and I’m like “wtf is that!!!” then later on find out it’s one of his tracks. I also think he is going places. Big up Leaf!”
What’s next for Masker? Any other labels on the horizon?
“I’ve got a few little bits and pieces in the works. A load of unfinished projects that are sounding pretty powerful. My next scheduled release is on Heist & Benny’s label Co-lab. I’m really excited to show what I’ve been working on. I have a couple of other things bubbling away but that will all be revealed soon!”
We always talk about vinyl in a drum and bass conversation these days – is this something you’re keen to link into your releases?
“As you know Jamie I love everything about vinyl! I really hope it keeps on growing as it is currently. There is much more skill involved when mixing and this makes it much more enjoyable when you are playing out! Bring back vinyl.”
Finally, any shouts or big ups?
“Firstly big ups to the Serial Killaz!! These guys were a big inspiration to me when I was a kid and now they have signed my music which is amazing. Big ups Graham and Tobie. Shouts to the Warning gang and a massive thanks to Drum&BassArena.”