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A Dirty Dozen with JAMES BIRD from MASON HILL – April 2021

| 14 April 2021 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Glasgow, UK based Rock band MASON HILL has released the official music video for their blistering metal single, “D.N.A.” Directed and produced by David Barras and Scott McKay for Strangeboat Productions, “D.N.A.” is the third single off the band’s chart dominating debut album, Against The Wall. MASON HILL has also announced UK tour dates. The 17 date UK & Irish tour will head out in early September with support from Hollowstar and Empyre. Despite never having headlined a club tour before, the band has sold 1,800 tour tickets in just 2 weeks!” We get guitarist James to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Our debut album, a selection of songs which represent a journey and time stamp back from when we first started right up until now. In my opinion it’s got everything that I look for in an album as a music fan from heavy songs to one or two slower tracks all whilst maintaining a solid melodic rock vocalist throughout. I’m a huge Alter Bridge fan and I feel this is something they do well which inspired me to take on board the same approach to our songs. As far as I know there aren’t any hidden nuggets in the album, haha!

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I know the guys each have different reasons, but my parents were huge music and rock fans. I would dance around the living room as a kid to Van Halen “Jump” whilst watching Eddie Van Halen play. It was actually my brother who had a guitar first and I had a drum kit, but I think I was jealous of my brother, so I opted for a guitar. I just wanted to get up on stage and play music like the people my mum and dad were listening to.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

There isn’t necessarily specific songs or albums, apart from “Jump” being significant to my memory of how the desire to play music came however a few artists such as Zakk Wylde, Slash, Iron Maiden to name a few were prominent figures in my tastes as a kid and definitely guided what kind of music and lessons I was having. I even ended up having classical guitar lessons because of how much of a fan of Randy Rhoads from Ozzy Osbourne I was.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

I’d probably say Alter Bridge, Shinedown, Black Stone Cherry, Bring Me The Horizon, and Foo Fighters.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Tricky question! haha So many to choose from but as of late I love the sound quality Bring Me The Horizon produce to music. I feel like if we gave one of our songs from the album or even newer ideas destined for album 2 they’d take it and surprise us with it which is what I like.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

A comparison I have seen before was ‘Black Sabbath’ which did take me back a moment haha! First of all, nobody sounds like Black Sabbath that’s a completely unique sound and secondly we are absolutely nothing like them haha!! I’d say we are the in between band for rock and metal as we have heavy moments throughout the album which perhaps don’t class us as a metal band and also some softer songs. It shows we are able to do various sounds all whilst maintaining catchy vocals. Nickelback gets used a lot as of late which surprised us! We didn’t think we sounded like them, but it’s used as a compliment by some and an insult by others which hey music is subjective, so we take it all! I personally don’t mind being compared to a multi successful global arena playing rock band!

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

I’m the one to get the acoustic guitar out and try to force Scott to sing! Marc is the one who will actively seek out the drinks which is saying something given myself and Matt were those guys until Marc joined. The cooks in the past was Craig and Matt but I think when we go on our next tour we’ll see all of us having a go as it’s been something that lockdown has allowed time to get better at! haha

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

When we met Brian May backstage at a Scottish Festival called TRNSMT. It was a surreal moment; he was surrounded by security, but our bassist Matt called on him and he stopped to greet and chat to us. Had a quick pic and we just went on with the rest of the festival!

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

I think being able to create music and then see what it can do for people. Getting up on stage with a bunch of guys you spend all your time with, through good and bad is like nothing else. It’s very hard to explain but it’s such an addiction I can’t imagine not being a guitarist I simply love it. My Dream job, hmm all I’ve ever envisioned is being a successful guitarist but if I had to pick something else, I was guaranteed to be I think working in the secret service would be pretty fun! Seeing what really goes on behind closed doors to keep the world spinning.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

The question we use to be tired of answering and only because we were so eager to get the album out was “when is the album coming” haha. It’s been a long time without an album, so we were asked it a lot all whilst trying so hard to get it out. I’m glad we aren’t asked that anymore but in all seriousness there are no questions I am tired of answering, I love doing interviews.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

No not really because I look at any bad or good moments as valuable work experience and teachings on how to be better. Nothing is and nothing ever will be perfect so it’s how to use the experience be it bad or good to make positive steps going forward.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Off the top of my head I would love to go back and be a part of Guns N Roses Appetite for Destruction as I think that is not only an amazing album which has stood the test of time for rock music but from having read the bio it sounds like one hell of a time went down!

BONUS QUESTION – Due to the current world situation with COVID-19 / quarantine / shelter in place, what have you discovered you miss the most from your life before the pandemic struck?

I miss the ability to do the most basic things that were taken for granted beforehand such as going to a restaurant with your family to catch up or being able to plan life experiences such as trips away to see other parts of the world.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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