Last week I had the opportunity to interview NewSickMusic favorite, Mase Well. Fresh off the release of his latest project, the Once New Vintage EP, Mase and I talked about everything from who he is, what he’s trying to do, and why we should listen to his music. Check out the full exclusive interview below and try to give me one reason why you shouldn’t respect Mase’s work… because you can’t.
Stream the Once New Vintage EP now and check the brand new Mase Well website for all the latest updates!
Bryan: Why don’t we start by having you tell us who you are and where you’re from?
Mase: I’m Mason West aka Mase Well aka Mr. StealYoGirl just kidding on the last part. But I’m a 22 year old from Newtown, Connecticut though originally from Atlanta, GA. An Alternative Hip Hop Artist cause I feel like rapper got too much negativity.
Bryan: When and how did you decide to start making music?
Mase: I remember the day well. It was December 2012 I was coming home on the Amtrak train from college [The University of Vermont] my freshmen year and unfortunately this was the same day my town went through the Sandy Hook Tragedy. Vividly remember how crazy of a day it was with CNN and all these networks talking about my little New England town like what. It was that day I thought I needed to do my part for my fellow man and to me music was that calling. I think I already had those types of thoughts cause I’ve been through a lot myself in life and had to mature quicker then I liked so Music seemed like the most impactful avenue I could attempt. I just didn’t know I’d still be here to be honest.
Bryan: So music is sort of like therapy for you?
Mase: Exactly. Music is the best therapy, better then anything a Doctor or Psychiatrist can ever do for you. There’s honestly nothing more powerful then taking something and transforming it into this final product that until this point never existed. Music has made me at peace with myself finally and I think honestly for a lot of years I didn’t have that. There were some dark moments and we all have them, but if anything Music helped me learn to move on from them and hopefully I’m now doing that for others. The only difference nowadays the therapy is for me and then hopefully prescribed to all the cool people in this world who one day find me (hopefully).
Bryan: So there you are an 18 or 19 year old with a vision to inspire people through music. What was your next step? How did you begin the journey?
Mase: Mhmm. honestly not sure. I knew soundcloud was a thing but I know the first thing I ever did was this stupid video of me singing it was cringe worthy looking back on it now haha. But yeah I got a soundcloud started messing around with that but having no idea what I was doing. I spent 2 and a 1/2 years making crappy music. But I think with everything there is a learning curve. I started to find my direction back in November 2014 after working on a old project The Complex EP with my friend Zach whose a producer in a group called New Subject. He’s from my hometown. Anyways, he was the first real person to give me that talking to that if I wanted to be taken seriously I need to start taking my time, focusing and learning how to write properly. I mean that seems easy to say but when you try to do something you’ve never tried vocally, it takes a couple years of learning windows etc. and well, finding your voice. And then through time its been a free for all, posting music on facebook and hoping friends from college and high school could dig it. That part took awhile if I do say myself. Just people taking me seriously took 2-3 years which is understandable. But I had to learn to take myself seriously and start believing that this was more than a hobby. I treat it with the upmost urgency now, every moment I think about the life I’d prefer over the one that the world tries to prescribe for me. I want music to become my full-time job and its crazy to say but I found thats what I want and if you find what you want you’ll know it.
Bryan: I remember the first time we at NewSickMusic heard about you, you were still going under the name “Stirling DuBois”. The first track of yours I heard was “Fly With Me”. How has your music and name evolved since then and what sparked the name change?
Mase: Man “Fly With Me” was sweet. That low key Tom Misch beat. I mean I think that was one of those times I switched from going on beats that weren’t suiting me to starting to find a lane I liked that I could own. I’d say that was definitely a song where I could hear my style changing and that it sounded way better. My fraternity was the first to really feel that one. Crazy too that was like Feb 2015. Less then a year ago and now I see myself in a completely different place. The name change made sense “Stirling” is one of my middle names but I wasn’t feeling it. My whole life people have called me Mase and I knew that was something I could get behind confidently. It was my calling to really start showing who I am as a artist that wanted to be taken seriously. I threw on the last name Moniker (Well) because I didn’t want to copy the already famous artist Mase. I still have thoughts of using my real last name but I’m pretty happy with who I am branded right now and I think its ready for the long haul. Young Boy Welly in your speakers boys and girls. My Music now is like “Fly With Me” with way more confidence, direction, way better writing abilities, and understanding the pieces of a song that are so critical to make it what it is. I’d say honestly I’ve fallen for that raw Boom Bap Jazz/Sample type Hip Hop and that Chill Lowkey Hip hop blended.
Bryan: It’s clear these last few years have been quite a journey for you. Segueing into current day, you just released your latest project, the Once New Vintage EP. Tell me about what this project means to you and what went into the process of making it?
Mase: For sure. I came up with Once New Vintage from the phrase “Everything New Once Becomes Vintage”, and to me that was the perfect describer of me as a artist. I’m still new as anything still trying to find a way but there’s no doubt I think others and myself believe I have the tools to go down as one vintage dude in this game. As far as the process, I started it end of July beginning of August. It came about even more through the success of the two singles “Small Talk” and “Sunshine State” , two records that became a crazy indicator I can find the right formula, just need to do it consistently. Anyways the rest of the songs took a while, I was going through a lot of beats and I took some time off to clear my mind and write. This past fall I was balancing a crazy class schedule and I was entirely frustrated so it took longer than I wanted but there were certain stories I wanted to portray in a manner that seemed as a intro. And so here we are with the EP! And becoming vintage takes years and years so I guess I thought of myself as a piece of hipster thrift shop clothing if that makes sense hahaha.
Bryan: Haha well I see you’re a fan of the fade hairstyle which I now rock myself. It’s a classy look that’s definitely making a comeback.
Mase: It is my dude. Gives off that I mean business but its also just classic and what I feel like matches with who I am from personality to my interests. I’ve had many hairstyles over the years haha, been blessed with some good hair shouts to my Dad.
Bryan: Hahaha, I’d give shouts to my dad too, but he’s basically bald… which is always a running joke in the family. So Dad, if you see this.. Sorry dude! Mase set me up for it.
Mase: Hahaha oh no my B. Male Pattern Baldness is cool too. Vin Diesel esque shouts to all my friends in that position now, sorry Rob, Mike and Trev.
Bryan: So now that we have a good idea of who you are and what you’re about, let’s have some fun.
Mase: For sure fun sounds good.
Bryan: If you could pick any actor to portray you in a movie, who would you pick and why?
Mase: Oh man. I would have to go with Leonardo DiCaprio. He’s the man honestly. Wolf of Wall Street is one of my favorite movies and I just love that he’s got that well spoken edge to him but he can be a low key goof ball and be outspoken haha. Thats me in a nutshell, I’m outspoken and I can be blunt but thats just cause I’m trying to keep it real. And at the same time I know when I got to observe and find my moment to speak at a later time. I swear if he doesn’t get a Oscar or Grammy or whatever Award show he needs, then its 2016 for him.
Bryan: Celebrity crush?
Mase: Man Celebrity Crush thats a tough one I go back and forth. I would have to go with Jennifer Lawrence or Anna Kendrick. Different people but both seem crazy chill and self aware of who they are as people which is attractive as hell. I think I could be the biggest idiot on a date and they’d be cool with it.
Bryan: Love them both. Two beautiful, smart girls. They’re incredibly witty too.
Mase: Yeah man completely agree. They are my girls. Sorry if I chose two over one too hard to choose between them.
Bryan: Completely understandable. So, I like to ask this question in interviews. 2015 was a big year for hip-hop and music in general. What was some of your favorite, and what’s something you rock with that people wouldn’t expect? Maybe like a guilty pleasure.
Mase: Ah good question yeah 2015 was good. I’d say my top 3 of the year was J-Cole, Kendrick and G-Eazy. I’ll be honest I was kind of late to J-Cole but he got me with FHD, I think thats a piece of me that tries to embody the amount of story telling and soul he puts in. Kendrick I’ve been on forever and TPAB was culturally needed. G has been my dude; grown up with his stuff since Big and when he was trying to do what I’m trying to do by generating some buzz via blogs etc. When Its Dark Out was dope although I gotta say I miss his old sound, but I know theres that point where he had to elevate. Guilty pleasure I would say Devon Baldwin, G’s ex actually. Her LUNGS EP was my favorite from a female songwriter honestly. That girl is also my woman crush, she seems like an incredible, pure soul. I dig her style and def trying to wife her if she’s down. She’s an impeccable artist.
Bryan: Last question. Riding off the momentum you have from your latest release, what are you hoping to get out of 2016? What can we expect from Mase Well this year?
Mase: Well you can definitely expect more music. I think I’m going to have a lot of single song releases but for sure will feed into a Mixtape and/or another EP. I think you can expect a better sense of me musically, I just want to improve and progress by years end. I’m moving to NYC this summer actually so I think that could be the beginning of a new chapter that could be extremely critical. Making friendships being in the same city as a lot of big labels and other dope NYC artists. Def some collabs I want to get done and have one coming soon actually with my boy Billy Chambers. And lastly, expect me to want to come find anyone whose heard my stuff for a show! I’m trying to see some new spots this year, tryna start building some shows in NYC and Boston to start. I think you’ll get the day in the life of a new 22 year old and soon to be college grad with this next stuff. The ups and downs that life has to offer really as we grow up. Lastly shouts to Bryan and NSM y’all been there since the jump and in a industry of blog politics and loser rappers paying for posts, I’d like to say thanks for just appreciating music and finding me. Family for life seriously.
Bryan: Mase, it’s been a pleasure my dude. Happy to call you a friend. I appreciate the time and as always, I’m sending you the best vibes for success. Once New Vintage EP out now, check it out and keep it locked here at #NSM for more hot music that you need to know about.