Amelia’s Magazine | The Sounds of Ghost Folk: an interview with Samuel Mason of Die Man Die

Die Mason Die by Daisy Steele
Die Mason Die by Daisy Steele.

Die Mason Die describe themselves as ‘Making ghost like noises with bearded grins‘ and they are set to make major waves on the UK music scene with the release of new single You’re Lonely, accompanied by a dreamy video featuring a little girl, metaphorical fish and exploding patterns of animated colour. You’re Lonely perfectly showcases the woozy vocals of singer Samuel Mason, and it’s a fine example of what they term Ghost Folk. I spoke with Samuel to find out more.

What prompted the creation of You’re Lonely? Can you tell me the story of the tune…
I wrote You’re Lonely at 17. It was a simple song written acoustically about the pendulum swing of dynamics in a certain relationship. I felt it had a lot of space to build a strong bed of textures and create a strong sense of character for each section. Our producer Bryan Wilson helped us to achieve the lush sound we were looking for and we really enjoyed the freedom of throwing everything into it and seeing what stuck.
Die Mason Die
What typifies ‘Ghost Folk’? 
The tag was coined as something not too constraining and slightly intriguing. We’re just as interested in soundscapes and textures as we are in the powerful, traditional aspect of folk music. The personal aspect more than the ideological. Much of our live set is as much about the atmosphere as the song. Although some of our melodies and progression have their roots in folk, I wouldn’t say we’re a folk band. Folk has odd connotations these days and what passes as folk isn’t really folk music as we understand it. We wanted to show our debt to it nonetheless.

When did you start creating music, and what were your early inspirations?
I started writing when I was about 13, I was heavily into progressive rock. Bands like Pink Floyd, Rush and Mars Volta. So up until about 17, I was writing sprawling 15 minute epics, they were pretty dreadful. I started listening to Tom Waits, Waylon Jennings, The Band (to name a few) and quickly fell out of love with the 15 minute prog behemoths and started writing actual songs.
Die Mason Die by Shoga Studio
Die Mason Die by Shoga Studio.

How did you hook up with the other members of Die Mason Die? 
Stefan was running a bar with his brother and I knew his musical skills from his days with Citadels. George and I went to secondary school together in Sydney and Dave and I met through a friend who knew we were on the lookout for a drummer. It came together very quickly and we’d recorded a live EP within a few weeks.
How did you come to be living in London, and what do you most miss about Australia?
I only lived in Australia for around 4 years after moving there from North Wales so it was never truly home. Most of my family are still over there so it’s been a long time since I’ve seen them, but three years ago I felt I should move to London to pursue music.

YouTube Preview Image
What can viewers expect from your ‘cult travel documentary?’
My friend Jordan Cross put together the trip, it was simple, 12 friends on a 1950′s double-decker driving across the globe from London to Sydney, it was an experience like no other and I’m just excited to see the film as anyone else. There is an ocean of footage so it’s still in the editing stages. Our video for Lost was shot during the trip when we were in India.

Die Mason Die - You're Lonely Artwork
What next from Die Mason Die?
3rd September is our single launch hosted and released by Young and Lost. Then it’ll be a combination of live shows, plans for the next release and constant development for the rest of the year and beyond. We haven’t been together for a year yet so we are just pushing forward, keeping our heads down and staying out of trouble. There’s lots of exciting news to come.

You’re Lonely comes out on the 9th September with Young & Lost Club. Details of the launch party at the Seabright Arms can be found below:

Die Mason Die launch party invite

Categories ,australia, ,Bryan Wilson, ,Citadels, ,Daisy Steele, ,Die Mason Die, ,folk, ,Ghost Folk, ,interview, ,Jordan Cross, ,Lost, ,music, ,Seabright Arms, ,Shoga Studio, ,The Band, ,Tom Waits, ,wales, ,Waylon Jennings

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Amelia’s Magazine | My favourite finds from the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition 2014

Ellie Ford by Daria Hlazatova

Ellie Ford by Daria Hlazatova.

A few weeks ago the final showdown between 8 finalists was held at Pilton Working Men’s Club, with the ultimate winner of the 2014 Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition announced as M+A with their super catchy tune Down the West Side, below.

When I wrote about my top picks for the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition I promised to also share some of the great bands and tunes that did not make it on to my short list. I was given a long list of 140 bands and musicians to listen to, from the genres of folk, country, dance, electronic, dance, indie, pop, acoustic and singer/songwriter – so obviously this selection reflects that choice. The eagle eyed amongst you may note that I was mainly given those bands with names starting in the early or late sections of the alphabet. I hope you’ll enjoy these finds as much as I did – you can hear all the tunes I like in no particular order on my soundcloud playlist, embedded directly below. I have a feeling I might be making more of these, and I am certain we’ll be hearing more from a few of these bands too.

I was really taken with the giddy oddity of Maxine, We’re Alive! by Liverpool duo A Lovely War. Unusual, weird and wonderful.

Sunsets is a great tune from Irish singer songwriter Wendy Jack, based in County Tyrone. Over the years she has worked widely to raise awareness of human rights and environmental issues.

Beautiful folk with a harp; Low is from Brighton based Ellie Ford, who is playing at this year’s Wood Festival (listing here).

Who Made Heaven is a beautiful slice of subtle country infused folk from Charlie Law, released through the The Davenport Collection folk label late last year. Despite a foundation in tune making of yesteryear the bittersweet lyrics tell a very modern tale of cross cultural love.

Bless is a slice of Japanese ambient electronica by Akisai.

Live For is a stunning banjo driven duet between Elvina and I.

Horses in Midstream by You, Me and Him was one of my favourite tracks, featuring a distinct 80s vibe in this epic tale of deception and greed.

Firewoodisland by Daria Hlazatova

Firewoodisland by Daria Hlazatova.

Simon is by the enigmatically named Firewoodisland, rollicking ‘celtic viking’ infused folk music made in Cardiff with a Norwegian lead singer.

A strummed guitar is the back bone of Stranger, a luscious slice of folk from Fenne Lily.

A harmonica opens a sweet little ditty called Back On The Bike by Four People.

Think Again is rollicking folk from Welsh singer Geraint Rhys.

And We Disappear is a prime example of 80s influenced dark wave electropop by AlterRed.

Alaskan Faction by Catherine Pape

Alaskan Faction by Catherine Pape.

We Disappear is super twinkly indie from Alaskan Faction.

A touch of the Cure, no? The Heart Transplant by Adam Clark has a subtle start but soon takes on their trademark wobbly vocals.

Like Ted Dexter by Alex Moir is feel good indie a-go-go with a psychedelic interlude!

Lost is by North Ireland based band Amidships.

Empty My Head by Youdid is a catchy piano tune with a female vocal from German singer Judith Severloh.

SwanSong is another cool indie tune featuring soaring vocals and a curling fiddle, from the London based Amberlandband.

There’s something about this that I quite like… Blackpool based Avishek Choudhury sings of the Journey Of A Lifetime in this jaunty tune featuring a female backing singer with bleeps and sirens set against a piano and driving electrobeat.

I like the jazzy big band sound and sultry vocals from rising star Ally Kemp in The Tardis.

Freya Roy is a very young Suffolk based singer songwriter with an ear for a bouncy tune, as shown in her entry Tomorrow.

Local Town comes from Brighton boy Ally Jowett.

They’re going to turn me into sushi & chips…” So goes The Whale Song by All At Sea… overly chirpy or an apt way to draw attention to a big issue?

Kids from the Sky by Young Stadium Club features jangly guitars aplenty in a soaring tune that features a veritable choir of backing vocals.

A Drastic Love by Younger Hall features a grungy baseline combined with a pounding piano. They hail from St Andrews in Scotland.

I loved the soaring Ten Years by Baby Gold, a duo from Leeds, but for some inexplicable reason it’s a private link on soundcloud so you will have to trust me on that one. Their lack of an online presence is a serious down point, but I look forward to hearing more from these guys.

Similarly I can’t share Only One by Devon based Alice Jemima, featuring a lovely breathy vocal over carefully picked chords and a nice little beat.

Finally, I can’t finish without including my favourites: firstly the clever Memphis by Alev Lenz.

George Boomsma by Simon McLaren.

George Boomsma by Simon McLaren.

And the wonderful folk sounds of George Boomsma in How High the Mountain.

Sadly my first choice disbanded just as I chose them to go through (brilliant timing!), hence my renewed desire to give some promotion to all the other bands that impressed me.

Categories ,2014, ,A Drastic Love, ,A Lovely War, ,acoustic, ,Adam Clark, ,Akisai, ,Alaskan Faction, ,Alev Lenz, ,Alex Moir, ,Alice Jemima, ,All At Sea, ,Ally Jowett, ,Ally Kemp, ,AlterRed, ,Amberlandband, ,Amidships, ,And We Disappear, ,Avishek Choudhury, ,Baby Gold, ,Back On The Bike, ,Best Of, ,Bless, ,Catherine Pape, ,Charlie Law, ,country, ,dance, ,Daria Hlazatova, ,Down the West Side, ,electronic, ,Ellie Ford, ,Elvina and I, ,Empty My Head, ,Fenne Lily, ,Firewoodisland, ,folk, ,Four People, ,Freya Roy, ,George Boomsma, ,Geraint Rhys, ,Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition, ,Horses in Midstream, ,How High The Mountain, ,Indie, ,Journey Of A Lifetime, ,Judith Severloh, ,Kids from the Sky, ,Like Ted Dexter, ,Live For, ,Local Town, ,Lost, ,low, ,ma, ,Maxine We’re Alive!, ,Memphis, ,Only One, ,Pilton Working Men’s Club, ,pop, ,Simon, ,Simon Mclaren, ,singersongwriter, ,Stranger, ,sunsets, ,SwanSong, ,Ten Years, ,The Davenport Collection, ,The Heart Transplant, ,The Tardis, ,The Whale Song, ,Think Again, ,Tomorrow, ,We Disappear, ,Wendy Jack, ,Who Made Heaven, ,Wood Festival, ,You Me and Him, ,Youdid, ,Young Stadium Club, ,Younger Hall

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