- Words Cal McIntyre
- Photography Phoebe Cowley
- Styling Doug Broad
- Grooming Rebecca Shuttleworth @ Creatives Agency
- Production Studio Notion
Born from the 0161 raving scene, Mason Maynard is highly regarded as one of the greatest young artists to leave their mark on the electronic soundscape. We caught up with the supernova star before he dominates at Hideout Festival 2020.
There is a reason that Manchester is considered one of the greatest melting-pots for talent within the UK music scene, no matter the genre.
The admirable attitude to independently work on their callings, coming together as collectives to support one another and the sheer legacy that Manchester has cemented over the decades is an ideal combination for young artists to blossom and bloom as they step into their own spotlight.
When it comes to the historical impact that Manchester has had on the electronic soundscape – from the infamous Hacienda that we look back at with glory, to the now iconic The Warehouse Project that is a pivotal stage for any selector, DJ and producer to perform on, which Mason has done many a time now.
Mason Maynard’s trajectory is one destined for the history books – performing in front of 16,000 people at Leeds Festival, headlining on his own turf at Parklife Festival, The Warehouse Project and storming the international stages abroad – Maynard is showing absolutely no sign of slowing down. Speaking of international stages, Maynard will be doing what he does best at Hideout Festival this summer between the 21st and 25th of June. What’s so important about this performance will be that Mason has been quietly tucked away in the studio perfecting his craft for some time, resulting in the creation of his latest EP ‘Lookin’ At Me’. Much more, Maynard is known for having a few tricks up his sleeve, leaving the audience in anticipation for what he is going to play next.
There’s a sense of maturity surrounding Maynard and his impeccable work ethic that is clearly guiding him through being launched into stardom. We caught up with the boy wonder to talk all things Manny, the importance of raving, what’s to come next and how he creates his addictive tracks – dive in below.
Speaking with Mason, there’s a sense of stillness about him (something we all need in these dark times we are sailing into), but you can feel the excitement and sheer passion he has for his craft. However, for the young Mancunian, it all started from a moment. “It kinda happened by experience.” Mason tells me, “I went to Parklife five years ago and ever since then it opened my eyes and I’ve been doing music only.”
It seemed to be written in the stars that it would be Mason’s attendance of Parklife five years to jumpstart his career into music as only a few years later he would be headlining that stage himself. “Parklife kicked it off entirely,” Mason reflects, “Before that, I’d never put out any songs or anything – I’d tried to make music before but the ambition to dive into music and its business came from what I saw that day.” Mason has always had his head screwed on it seems, as much as he is talented, his understanding of the world and how it operates is important to the career of any artist. But hey, that’s no worries for this young champ.
That’s not to say music wasn’t always apart of Mason’s life – growing up, his formative years as a child were soundtracked by his Dad’s love for music, and watching his dad “make anything R&B”. Keeping it in the family, Mason and his cousin used to spend those years “keeping up with what’s going on with the hip-hop world and baseline” as that was what they were into at the time.
Growing up in Manchester, a city steeped in an enriching scene that spans everything from acoustic indie music pioneered by The Smiths to the shimmering rave scene that dominates the city’s beating heart, comes the Mason Maynard effect. Speaking about coming of age in Manchester, Mason revealed, “Parklife and Warehouse both have had an influence for sure. Going to those places as a raver tweaks your ears towards what you want to hear. In the old Store Street, when a song was going off there would be a roar from the crowd that was difficult to explain.”
It’s an important feeling having hometown glory, but Maynard puts it perfectly by confirming, “London is the capital by name but Manchester is the city to be in. If you’re not from London then you look at Manchester as being the best city. Being from Manchester means you don’t even have to look for inspiration, it finds you. The people, the way it looks, the way everyone acts, it sparks little things. I don’t really listen to new music – I feel like I was born a bit late.”
It’s not hard to know (or hear) that Mason’s career essentially launched into a trajectory that will be bright and burning for as long as Mason is in the studio. Upon reflecting, Mason revealed,” I think when it first started, you’re just one of those wide-eyed kids who is trying to take everything in. I’ve had a good experience – I’ve not had to deal with dodgy promoters or getting taken into bad contracts. It’s come from me being quite a smart person, I’m not just being naive and jumping into everything. I make music every single day so I feel like what you put in you get out. If I’ve had an expedited rise it’s because I do this every single day.”
When it comes to the progression of the soundscape that Maynard has crafted over the years, there is no stone left unturned as every detail is treated with importance. Talking about his current process, although it’s everchanging, Mason revealed, ” I think the hardest challenge is having a vocal at the right point. If you’re using a sample then there are always complications with that. I recently got a vocalist and we are banging out songs – she’s able to say or sing nearly anything. Vocals are important but they’re not necessary.” Looks like we should expect some more bangers that will be the soundtrack to our summer once we are out of self-isolation.
Adding to the list of accomplishments Mason Maynard has deservedly acquired over the years is the creation of his own labels such as ‘Fantazia’ which was “another avenue for me to be putting music out.” Mason tells me, “Last year, I shut myself off to just make songs that try to get signed on the label and I didn’t really release anything. Now I want to be able to do the same for other people but also be able to release my own projects at will. If you have songs that are ready to go there is no point holding on to them.”
The collective unity that raving brings is at the core of what Mason is about. “Rave culture, in particular, is the freedom of a large group of people.” Mason begins, “The music is the backing track to the best night of their lives. I wanna be able to contribute to that. You can get lost to relive the “old times” that I wasn’t even more born for.” The old times Mason is referring to is when the majority of working-class people got together to find escapism from the societal structures holding them down if only for a night (or two).
It’s this act of rebellion that Mason wants to inspire through everything he does, and I’m sure we will see plenty of it with another EP on the way and a trailblazing journey of performing once this storm has passed. But for now, dive into what Maynard has already created as we will look ahead for brighter times.