EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: 5 Minutes With… Yoe Mase
Talented producer Yoe Mase, who has gained a reputation for melodic, emotive tracks has recently released his debut album titled “Life In Boxes” via Seeking Blue Records. Shaped by a musical upbringing, Yoe Mase cites his mother’s own recordings as some of his favourite and drew inspiration from one of her songs, “Touch and Go,” for his first EP. We chatted to him about his influences, and his thoughts on the emotive forces that drive his songwriting.
Hi there, how are you and what are you up to today?
I’m actually on my way to class! I’m still in college these days. Honestly feels like I’ve been in school for ages. I study Music Production.
To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?
I guess Post-EDM? I am not too fond of genres, but I think the community who listens to my music would generally put it in the electronic category. Although, I do draw heavy influences from the alternative music scene.
What are the 5 albums that have influenced you the most?
Tough question. I mean, I can’t say the “top five” but I can say some of my favorites. Agaetis byrjun by Sigur Ros is one. I’d say Hurry Up We’re Dreaming by M83 is as well. Coldplay’s Viva la Vida and Death and all His Friends was on repeat every trip home from High School. The White Album by The Beatles is something I would religiously study in Junior High. I would hunt down clues to whether Paul was actually dead. And 22, A Million by Bon Iver is my favorite album this past year. It’s incredible what someone like him can do. There are so many more albums, too many to list.
Which other artists are you into at the moment and why?
As I’ve said, Bon Iver, but also EDEN, Crywolf, Echoes, Stephen, Lauv, and Louis the Child. All of them are so incredibly talented in my opinion.
Are there any key pieces of equipment that you are using to define your sound?
I think my favorite thing to play on any given track is piano. That is really where my love for music started. I’ve been playing piano for as long as I can remember. I also really love the atmosphere from a long tail of compressed reverb. I love throwing that in on certain tracks. It adds a real palpable wall of harmonics.
What would you say some of the challenges artists face today in the music industry?
I think the industry is so incredibly saturated. Every day there seems to be a new hot artist. It makes sense too. If you could give anyone access to a host of production equipment – just on their laptop, you’re inevitably going to have an influx of producers and artists from around the globe (many of which are extremely talented). I think this entire saturation is also good though, as with social media, the top rise above the rest. This allows for “extreme talent” to find their way to the top of the chain. In this day and age, you have to be talented to succeed. I think that is more true now than it has been in the last 30 years.
Where do you gather songwriting inspiration?
I don’t know! I just try to feel the emotion in whatever I’m writing. Whether its outright or minimal, emotion is my driving force right now.
What’s the best gig you have ever done and why?
I can’t say I have had many gigs in my lifetime. I do intend to perform, it just has to be done right though!
And the worst?
I can’t say I’ve had anything super traumatic happen to me, other than that time in 5th grade when I bombed on the piano during our school play.
How did you get into music? Family perhaps?
Music has always been an important part of my life. My mom was a really influential part of my musical life. She recorded four records and wrote music for many years. She was so passionate. I remember when she would drive me to school, she would teach me how a song works. She would say “Remember, verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus.” She would show me songs that she loved and things she was writing even when I was very young. One of my favorite and most important songs is actually one of her songs called ‘Touch and Go’ and it influenced my first EP lyrically. She often said that she recorded music while she was pregnant with me. She eventually stopped creating music because it was becoming costly and had to give up her passion. I always had a bittersweet view of the industry and never intended to write music professionally because of this. However, what was a hobby and passion has naturally become a career and I am so lucky to be able to share my music with the world.
If you weren’t a musician what would you be?
A Garbage man! I wouldn’t mind riding on the side of one of those trucks around the neighborhood…
No but seriously, I probably would be working as a Chuck E. Cheese mascot.
If you could perform alongside any other band or artist, living or dead, who would it be?
Hands down, no question, Sir Paul McCartney. You’d have to be crazy not to want to do that!
Do you have any information regarding upcoming releases, projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?
I have nothing official to announce yet, but I can tell you that this year I plan on putting out a lot of new material. (More than one might think).
Listen to “Lonely” below: