Meet Atlanta singer-songwriter Mason Embers, who recently released the music video for “Rush,” a track from his forthcoming debut concept album, The Good, The Bad, The Everything In Between.
Mason is one of those extraordinary people, the ones who not only have ‘the look,’ but are effortlessly talented and intelligent, and have that magical aura about them – you just know they are going to be super-successful at anything they try.
“Rush” mirrors the relentless forward motion of modern life, where everyone rushes both mentally and physically, always engaged in activity of some sort. We’re always doing something, but never slow down to just ‘be’ and recognize the beauty of life. On “Rush,” Mason reminds us to pause every now and then.
“It’s like we’re always in a rush / The world wants us to keep on speeding up / Oh yeah / It’s like it’s always in a rush / No time to stop / Consider it a fuss / Woah.”
XS Noize caught up with Mason Embers to talk about his influences, his songwriting process, and his upcoming album.
What three things can’t you live without?
Oxygen, food, and water. Not having accessibility to listen to and create music would be a big bummer, though.
What’s your songwriting process? Melody first, or lyrics?
Melody first, with no exceptions since the beginning, really. I always start a song on an instrument and impose lyrics on top of an instrumental second. I also write poetry, so I am comfortable with putting words together on their own, but it seems much more difficult to impose rhythm and melody under a line of lyrics. Maybe I will try it someday as going out of comfort zones is very appealing to me.
What do you hope your fans/listeners take away with them when they listen to your music?
I’ve realized over time that I really can’t speak for anyone else, or even hope for anyone else. Not even something as simple as “I hope they like it” because I honestly wouldn’t wish that absolutely everyone would like my work. I can say what takeaways I have from my favourite music, though. My favourite songs are always the ones that I think get closest to capturing the embodiment of emotion or atmosphere in the form of sound. At least, the embodiment of what I perceive them to be. In addition, my favourite songs are ones that make me dream. If something makes me dream, I take it and run with it, always.
What is your definition of tone? Has your tone changed over time?
Well, tone is the timbre, the harmonic make-up of frequencies that allows for sounds to be differentiated. For me, that applies to the sound of my voice. Since I started singing so young, I had a natural change in tone as I got older, but I’d say it has hit a plateau since I’m in my late teens. I do believe voices undergo tone changes up into the mid-twenties, though. That aside, I also like to manually change my vocal tone depending on what song I’m singing. Vowel sounds, tongue placement, and the like all let me add different flavours. Whether it’s more nasal, biting, or warm and round, I like to play around and not let myself get too comfortable with one tone for too long.
How did you get started in music? What’s the backstory there?
I’ve always been an avid listener to music since I was a small child, and I’ve also always been able to sing. The first time I thought “hey, I want to do that” is when I first discovered the work of Skrillex in 2010-11. Obviously, I didn’t become an EDM producer, though. The summer of 2016, I finally decided to learn guitar, with no direct guitarist inspiration whatsoever. Less than a few weeks into lessons, I wrote my first songs. The rest is mostly a blur between learning more instruments, writing continuously, recording continuously after realizing I’d like to become a recording artist, and doing gigs.
Which musicians/vocalists influenced you the most?
First and foremost, Thom Yorke of Radiohead. Sometimes it scares me how much I’ve picked up his falsetto subconsciously over the years. No one will hear mine on recording for a while, but it’s there and I’m starting to use it more. Some other vocalists that have influenced me most are Bono, Jeff Buckley, David Bowie, and Ruban Nielson of Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
Which artists are you listening to right now?
King Krule (as always), George Clanton (synthwave artist), and Misfits.
What inspired your new single/music video “Rush?”
The theme of the song is about the constant cycle of modern life to work intensely, have a false sense of relaxation, and go back to work again. It is about the need to slow down, whether physically or mentally, and enjoy smaller aspects of life. Though the song itself is actually about quite a serious matter, I knew I wanted something fun and colourful. The thought of having a contrast between visuals and the lyrical theme was appealing to me. There was no specific influence as to what I used in the video, none that I can name here but are probably stored somewhere in the back of my mind.
You will be releasing your debut album soon. What can you share about the album?
I wrote the entire album when I was fourteen years old, so three years ago. It’s been that long in the making, and it is finally almost here. Expect a story, a narrative, even if it doesn’t entirely fit together on first listen. It’s a bit open-ended, as I tailored it to be. Expect a lot of variety between each song. I wanted to find a balance of cohesion and difference, and I suppose it’s up to the listener to decide whether that balance is there.
Do you have a guilty music and/or entertainment pleasure?
I don’t, actually. Though I know guilty pleasures are still usually light-hearted, there is really nothing I enjoy that I feel like an odd-man-out on, even if I really am in the minority. In that case, if I enjoy it, I feel like the lucky one and not the black sheep, haha.
Why do you make music?
You know that feeling when you are a small child, that substantially more magical and whimsical perception of this big, big world? The one that makes you want to explore and adventure fearlessly? I feel like every person has at least one activity or thing to indulge in that retains a consistent spark of that feeling, and that’s making and indulging in music for me.
What’s next for you?
Apart from releasing my upcoming full-length soon, I graduate high school this year and plan to focus on scheduling many more gigs and booking headliner shows. In the meantime, I am going to self-record song demos that I intend to pitch around. Ultimately, I’m looking for a publishing or recording deal, and I’ll be content with whichever comes first, really. No matter what happens, though, expect me to continuously write, record, and release; I’ve got a lot to say.