Reece Mastin has come a long way from the teenage boy who won X Factor back in 2011. With years of experience under his belt and a true passion for his music, Mastin is heading in new directions in 2018. Shannon-Lee Sloane got to chat with him today right after he had picked up the boxes of his new EP to be released on Friday the 6th of April.
You must be on quite a high right now, having just picked up your new EP?
Yeah, it’s a mixed bag of emotions right now with the tour and just trying to wrap your head around everything, some stuff goes great and other stuff can be a bit messed up, but the good certainly outweighs the bad at the moment.
Just last month you released your new single “Not The Man For You” it’s a slightly different style to your usual style, is 2018 a year for change for Mastin?
Yeah, I have been doing rock music for a while, since I was with Sony really. It is just in the way I have been able to get it out that has been quite a bit different. The biggest change for me now, especially with this record is that I have had a few years away trying to sort my own head out. I had a lot of personal stuff going on that I needed to wrap my head around and I kind of just got lost. I didn’t really know who I was, what I was actually trying to do, I had no idea why I was where I was and why I was doing what I was doing. I worked on it for 2 years, have done a bunch of therapy and stuff and have just been mending everything and realizing why things are the way they are. On top of that, becoming fully independent as an artist and having to wrap my head around the business side of that has been another massive challenge for me over the last 2 years. I’m finally starting to understand it all now and while I have definitely not nailed it, I get a lot more of it now, I know why things are going wrong or why tickets aren’t moving or why the CD needs to take that much longer to get printed. Not knowing makes things a lot harder and knowing what is going on takes the stress out of it. All these things have helped me to understand myself a little bit more and that kind of shows with the record. For the first time I think this record really represents who I really am. The ones beforehand I think I was lost, so god knows how people would have been able to connect to them, I mean there were some things on there that you know had light shades of who I am and what I am doing but this one is exactly what I want to say and exactly the way I want to say it with rock music. Rock and Roll has always been for me a blatant genre and it tells it how it is and doesn’t give a shit what anyone else thinks about your opinion. I think you kind of have to have that freedom of speech with music. This album is a pivotal point for me.
It sounds like you’ve turned a negative into a positive in a way, because I think when anyone goes through any emotional times in life or times where you are questioning things or feeling low, you can channel that into a creative outlet like music, So it sounds like you’ve done that with the new EP, which is released tomorrow?
Yeah exactly. Yes, the EP is out on Friday.
You started playing music and singing at a very young age, what inspired you to get into music?
The first time I fully got into music was when we moved here from the UK. My Dad bought me an acoustic guitar in England and I wasn’t very interested at that point. We brought it over and when we got here I had no friends and being so young and my accent was quite thick back then as well, so I didn’t really have a means of talking to anybody so I sat down with the guitar and started playing. I played football, but even with football I was struggling to get into a team and the season had already started so I was by myself. So I found my guitar and I started playing and then I started writing and you know, the songs were pretty shit being a 12 year old, but I think looking back on it now, music is a higher means of communication to the world. It is one thing to say something. But to be heard is another. When you are that young, people don’t really give you the time of day and just dismiss it. Even now for me I have noticed people at my gigs are connecting to the things that I am saying and that what I am singing about is actually relevant to them and it means something to them, and that is what I like about this record. If people love it, they will want to come back for more, for that next record because we share that level of communication and we believe in the things that we are saying. Even writing this record I went back to some of the stuff I wrote as a kid, the lyrics weren’t that smart but I could actually remember what I was feeling and why I wrote the songs. It is really important because I look back on the first record I did with Sony after the show and some of the songs on there were a bit embarrassing, but also I can’t remember where I was, when I was writing it and they didn’t have much meaning to me. So I went back to the very first song I wrote when I was a kid. The songs I wrote back then were just simple but they meant something to me at that time in my life. All of that stuff definitely shaped this record.
You’re about to start a big tour kicking off in Sydney on Saturday, you must be keen to get it started?
Sydney is not going ahead unfortunately, they closed The Basement, which I don’t know if you have ever been down to Sydney but The Basement was one of the big venues down there and it has been bought by somebody and they are closing it down. It is a massive shame. I loved The Basement, I loved playing there and seeing bands there and it is such a shame for Sydney. My drummer and I were talking about it and we were like “Where else are you going to go in Sydney now? I mean unless you’re Ed Sheeran or Barnsey or Farnham or somebody and can fill out The Enmore, there is nowhere else that is the right size, the 300 seater was perfect for me. You can’t book out somewhere that is a 900 seater, or a venue that is too small and have to do three shows in a row and the venue can’t cater for that. So it is a real shame.
So Sydney is not happening, so then the tour will start in Tasmania?
We are kicking off in Tassie, so that is going to be really cool. We did a festival down there, a food and wine festival called Festivale. We got there and we played, it was me and The Choir Boys and it was so cool. Heaps of beer, the crowd was absolutely incredible, really respectful. So then we’ve got 18 dates after that and we are trying to add some more stuff now, just working out where to play and all that. We’ve been in rehearsals the last couple of days and yesterday with the full band sounded killer. We’ve made this tour really different to any I’ve done. We are doing a lot of sound scaping stuff and a lot of interlude stuff as well because there is one thing about talking about why you wrote a song, but the other thing that I wanted to create with this record was to put people in the mood of a musician when they are writing the song. So I am sat on the couch for an hour playing with a vibe that is going on before I stumbled across a certain section of something that becomes the song and I think people miss out on the hour sat on the couch that inspires you and the song, and I want to put all that back into the set. Yesterday my ears where ringing, it is going to be a full on and special show this one.
Last year you toured with Sheppard which must have been a good time?
Yeah I love those guys, it was good fun and George is great. It was good to play with them because obviously they have a lot of people going to their shows but also it was good for me because I got out and did some songs that people may not have been expecting me to do. And some people were like, we had no idea you played rock and roll music, we thought you just did pop. That is kind of frustrating for me but it is good to see people’s faces and recognize that change. We did the Red Hot Summers and One Electric Day last year with more rock bands and people must have looked at the bill and been like what are you doing on there!? and then they see the show and they are like wow, that is very different to what we thought it was. So it is always great fun to play at those kinds of things.
Who else have you loved touring with or working with musically over the years?
Diesel is one of my favourites. I loved watching him play live, we wrote a song on my last full length record together and that was mind blowing. We’ve been doing a lot of three piece stuff at the moment so when we did One Electric Day a couple of months ago it was cool, we went on just before him and he sat beside the stage and watched the show . I really loved working with Chris Chaney from The Living End, he is such a nice bloke. He is so Aussie and he is a freaky guitar player, just so good. He has been absolutely awesome. And then yeah good old Barnsey, you can’t go past Jimmy, he is a legend in his own right and he will be until the end of time. He is like a big soft teddy bear nowadays. It is good to hear his stories of back in the day and what they got up too. You learn from your mistakes and he is one of the guys who taught me that, you know, take it on and don’t be embarrassed by it, because it has already happened.
I think life is a journey of learning, Do you think you’ve learnt a lot about yourself as a person through your musical career so far?
Yeah especially with this record. I do love looking at things in retrospect .Even now there are things I am thinking about with the tour or the record that make me nervous or you know, upset in some ways but I have seen it happen time and time again. You do learn from all of that stuff. Two years ago I was sat on the floor in my apartment in Sydney feeling sorry for myself and doing nothing about it, and doing stupid shit and I didn’t know why. Now I get to look at it and I know I am not going to let myself get back to that point. Also knowing why I was there as well. I feel like I have learnt that and it is a shame a lot of people don’t get passed that. Music has always been there for me. In my darkest hours it kind of went away from me. When I started to get through the end of the tunnel it all comes back and it comes back in floods and your music comes back different.
I read a quote from you recently that really sung to my heart, you said:
“In my opinion, the closest things we have to magic in the world are music and love” and I just couldn’t agree with that more…
Yeah, I feel like both of them are quite similar with the way you feel. I think we have all had our heart broken and also looked at someone and can’t stop smiling. We’ve all had those kinds of things happen and I think music does that too. I love putting on a record for the first time and getting that shiver like it can do so much. I don’t think all people understand that anymore it is sad, I feel for people who can’t connect to that stuff. Like when you are walking down the street and you have your headphones on really loud and you walk and carry yourself like the world around you is part of that song at that moment. It does something to you, like you feel like a badass, your just walking down the street like I’m killing it, and then you take your headphones off and it all goes away.
Yeah back to reality!
Yeah exactly, I have learnt that over the last couple of years. Music is the only thing that has been brutally honest with me weather I like it or not and yeah that is magic.
Watching your recent performances it looks like you are always having such a great time on stage and really putting your heart into it 100%, what does being on stage feel like for you?
It just feels like home… I have moved from the UK to Adelaide to Sydney and now to Melbourne, and I’ve never really felt like I had a house or home. I have got it better where I am living now, with my girlfriend and one of my best mates and it is in a house, not a unit so that makes it a lot better. But yeah being on stage it doesn’t matter if there are thousands of people there or twenty people there, it is the only time I can fully be myself without having to think anymore. I try so hard to be as honest as I can with people but sometimes it is hard to find the words to explain the things I want to say and the way I want to say them. Music gives me that. When there are people there looking up at the stage and taking that in, they are for that moment, part of my universe. It is just so fun and sharing the stage with two of my best friends as well. It just feels like home.
So with the recent single release, the EP being released and the tour starting next week, you are quite a busy guy! What is next for Mastin?
Yeah there is a bunch of new music ready to go. We go to the UK in August and we have 3 shows there that we are putting together now. One big thing I want to do after this record is just be consistent. The world turns so quickly nowadays. I look back on the discography of some of my favourite artists which are mostly from the 70s and their collections of music that they had were so infrequent because they had the time to be infrequent. But now with Facebook and all these kid of things, it moves like a freight train. So I think I am going to work on a few more singles, maybe work on a new EP and the thing is it is all about giving people music. And that is what I want to do.
Huge thanks to Reece for chatting with GC Live today and we wish him all the best on his upcoming tour. Reece’s ‘Suitcase Of Stories’ Australian Tour starts next week and you can catch him at these venues on the following dates:
FRI APRIL 13 | SALOON BAR, LAUNCESTON | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
SAT APRIL 14 | WARATAH HOTEL, HOBART | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
FRI APRIL 20 | SHOALHAVEN BOWLS CLUB, NSW | AA | TICKETS FROM THE VENUE
SAT APRIL 21 | WAVES, WOLLONGONG | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH MOSHTIX
SUN APRIL 29 | FOWLERS, ADELAIDE | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH MOSHTIX
THURS MAY 3 | LISMORE WORKERS CLUB, LISMORE | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
FRI MAY 4 | SURFER’S PARADISE LIVE, GOLD COAST |18+ | FREE
SAT MAY 5 | THE BRIGHTSIDE, BRISBANE | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
SUN MAY 6 | SOL BAR, MAROOCHYDORE | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
THURS MAY 10 | TRANSIT BAR, CANBERRA | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH MOSHTIX
SAT MAY 19 | WINTON SUPERCARS, VIC | 18+ | https://wintonraceway.com.au/
FRI MAY 25 | GRAND HOTEL, MORNINGTON | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
SUN MAY 27| MAX WATTS, MELBOURNE | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
FRI JUNE 15 | THE GRAND CENTRAL HOTEL MIDLAND, PERTH | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
SAT JUNE 16 | THE CHARLES HOTEL, PERTH | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
THURS JULY 12 | THE LOFT, WARRNAMBOOL | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
FRI JULY 13 | THE WORKERS CLUB, GEELONG | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
SAT JULY 14 | SS&A CLUB, ALBURY | 18+ | FREE