written by Maria Arroyo
Recently, I got a chance to chat with musician, Adam Masterson! This rock n’ roll UK artist had much to say about his experiences in the music industry and I was all ears! Talking with Masterson was both eye-opening and inspiring. His knowledge and advice were so well put which made for just an overall great time.
The first thing we touched on were some of the opportunities he’s had, and how he has dealt with ones that have gotten away. He says that “sometimes these missed opportunities are blessings” and that “when you’ve fallen off the horse, that maybe that’s not the horse you’re meant to be on.”
After sitting on his comments for a while, it made me realize times in my life where I swore something should have been mine, and in hindsight, it was best I didn’t get the opportunity I thought I wanted. As we continued our conversation, I realized why almost every interview I read with Masterson said that talking to him was so cathartic and exhilarating.
THAT MUSIC MAG: As a touring artist, how do you handle your time to write music and what do you do with your time that isn’t spent songwriting?
Adam Masterson: “I spend my time when the world is a bit dry to really catch up on things and use my downtime as a chance to get better at what I do. The times that I am already busy is taken up with other things in my schedule, but I think it’s important to keep working on your craft and continuing to get better.”
TMM: Being a musician myself, I know how precious that time is to work and exercise your mind to get better at what you do. And seeing it being put into real-life practice is promising to me. I’ve been fascinated by music for as long as I can remember and always knew I wanted to be one when I grew up, so I’d love to hear about your experiences with those same situations.
Masterson pauses, then begins to tell me about his early years as an artist, along with some different things that he’s learned over the years. He says that “people will start telling you who you are at a very young age, but as you grow up, you realize that who they say you are is not necessarily who you have to be. It has nothing to do with who you are.” An Irish poet by the name of William Butler Yates said it best when he said “you just create yourself into this person you want to be” and that has always stuck with me.”
TMM: So tell me about your experiences on stage. Do you find being on stage a challenge or are you on stage?
AM: “The stage has been a place of comfort for me. When I first when on stage and started singing, it was new to me find out I had a voice… I went straight up and did it without a second thought and all i know is from that moment I felt different and I had never felt this way before.”
TMM: As a musician, what are your thoughts about music theory? Do you incorporate it into your songwriting at all?
AM: “Well, I tend to write simple songs. I’ll get a melody in my head, then work out what chords would work underneath it, and funny enough, they end up being the simplest chords, so I always just go with that… It doesn’t always have to be this elaborate mix of chords. I remember we wrote a song “Desire” and we just pressed the record button and started strumming. it doesn’t have to be difficult, just play the chords and forget the rest… this concept of just pressing the button and not looking at what the bloody chord is going to be felt like we had just opened Pandora’s box.”
He talks some more about his experiences in the studio and playing around with different sounds that he hadn’t thought about before. He’s written songs with a more psychedelic feel with no real instrument that he compared to Alice in Wonderland because of there not being an obvious tone.
AM: “James Hallowell, my producer at the time, was great at picking out microphones for my voice… In one session, he created this sonic sound that was very echoey and reverb-like that had a real feeling to it and sort of made me melt into it. He was very open to letting things happen and going with the pulse of what was happening between us and the other musicians and so everything came together really well.”
TMM: And so what about your lyrical writing?
AM: “If you can have words that have a simple beauty to them, then they’ll be absorbed by people in a way that means something to them.”
Being on the topic of lyrics and songwriting, he mentioned that his wife is a filmmaker and they have done a lot of music videos together.
AM: “We both support each other… We both found each other and supported one another and that’s not easy to find. We find a way to work with each other. Having a second or third look is really cool. She’s got an ear for hearing and for songs when her eyes light up, you know this is going to be a song that other people will like: her eyes light up to the ones that will communicate with more people.”
As we brought the interview to an unfortunate end, he mentioned a possible future show in the Philly area. That’s definitely something for people to keep their eyes and ears out for. Adam Masterson is truly a man of his time, and while he’s been at it for quite a while, I imagine he will continue to keep breaking barriers and creating new music that will continue to surprise us.