Today, we are speaking with Ann Arbor’s Mike Masch. Can you give us a little background information about yourself?
I’ve been playing the piano since I was about 5 years old. My dad also sings in a choir and music was always a part of my life growing up. Most of my best friends have all been musicians as well, which has exposed me to a wide variety of musical styles and techniques. Music is my creative outlet such as how a painter or sculptor finds their release. With it coming very naturally and such an enjoyment to me, it only made sense to continue an education in it and work to perfect my craft.
You have just released The New Instrumentals; what was the writing process for the album like?
My writing process always starts with the beat. That is my passion and I’ve always been a fan of background music in movies that can completely affect the mood and alter various scenes. So, I wanted to create something that people could use to form their own movie as they listen and take them away from whatever is on their mind. A lot of the tracks are instrumentals from an album called ‘The New Amplifier’. Listening to those particular tracks opens up an entirely new album and I’ve always enjoyed being able to hear and appreciate new sounds & themes just by removing lyrics. The writing process centers around an up-and-down, fast and slow journey that includes several, never-before-heard bonus tracks that people are going to be really excited about as well.
How has Ann Arbor helped and hindered your career?
Growing up in Ann Arbor was great. It has a small town feel with a relatively big music scene. Ann Arbor has been rated a top ten campus scene that rocks for music by Rolling Stone and music venues such as The Blind Pig have featured big-name bands such as Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Nirvana. It’s also right next door to Detroit, which is a great place to hear a large variety of different music and is the birthplace of techno & electronic music. I ultimately needed to relocate to a bigger market though, and moved to Philadelphia, where I spent a lot of time getting brand new exposure & opportunity from a much bigger area, including New York. It took my career to the next level and I received opportunities I couldn’t have normally gotten from just staying in Ann Arbor.
To get into a bit of the technical, what does your recording set up look like (what do you use to record, what are your favorite instruments)?
I have drum machines, keyboards, MIDI controllers and multiple software programs that include Reason, Ableton, ACID, and Pro Tools to record. Mixing all these components together gives such a unique feel to the music. Then, I add in live instruments such as guitar, piano, drums, and vocal harmonies to add depth as needed. My favorite instruments are definitely the piano and drums. I’m also a fan of classical music, so strings are another big component in my recordings & music.
Which artists are the greatest influences for you and your music? Is there a dream lineup of performers that you would like to perform with if given the chance?
I’ve always been a fan of the passion and freedom that seemed to flow from early hip-hop. A Tribe called Quest, Eric B & Rakim, Beastie Boys, De La Soul, EPMD, Run RMC, Wu-Tang Clan, and The Roots. Mixing this hip-hop with instrumental trip-hop & electronic music DJ’s such as DJ Shadow, Portishead, Massive Attack, Zero 7, Parov Stelar, and Bassnectar seem to hold the greatest influence on myself & music. I would love to mix & perform with these groups all combined. Definitely would be something for everyone there!
How has your style evolved and changed over the time since you first started playing?
It has definitely evolved to include not just hip-hop but a fusion of genres that include electronic, trip-hop, classical, downtempo, and cinematic touches. I’ve always wanted more from today’s music, content, and stories and my style has changed to things that are much more new & fresh. Something enlightening and inspirational instead of the broadly predictable and imitative styles of yesterday.
Which sort of social media website have you had the best successes with? What about these traditionally online services are different from the traditional face to face meeting that musicians utilize?
Facebook.com/MikeMaschOfficial continues to provide a lot of success and interaction with others, as well as soundcloud.com/mike-masch and Reverbnation.com/mikemasch. With the traditional face to face meetings, there is generally a limit to the amount of information that can be reviewed & exchanged. With social media, it makes it easier for me to reach a much broader audience, where all my background, updates, music, and photos can easily be seen & heard.
As 2015 is coming to a close, what are your plans for 2016 and beyond? How can interested NeuFutur readers locate samples of your music?
2016 is going to be huge. I have two other releases already completed for 2016, including a double-disc re-mastered version of “Rediscovered Worlds” with 10 new songs. The other release is completely secret but I can assure you that it is one amazing album. Production has also already begun for a follow-up to “The New Amplifier”. It’s going to be a busy, yet fun year with some amazing music to be released. All previews and information can be found at your favorite social media sites and the absolute best place is my official website: www.MikeMasch.com.
Thank you so much for your time. Finally, do you have any additional thoughts about life and the universe for our readers?
I really hope we can find more peace in the new year. Life is definitely way too short. I plan to be a new voice (for music in particular) that helps bring truth and inspires as opposed to the broadly egotistical and often, vulgar nature of today’s music, in particular hip-hop. I hope others can join me in this new brand of music. Big things are on the way and can’t wait to see the results. Jump on board! Thanks to everyone for the awesome support.