Mura Masa, is a young, exceptionally talented artist from Guernsey whose blend of hip-hop, electronic vibes and a great sense of songwriting has won over many music aficionados in the two years he’s been active as a fully fledged artist on the British scene. He’s himself an important part of the new wave of artists emerging from the underground with the creation of his very own record label Anchor Point Records. Signing some real talent to his roster such as Jadu Heart, Bonzai and coming up with stunning remixes for Nao, Denai Moore and Shura to name a few. Mura Masa, born Alex Crossan on April 5, 1996 is a millennial to be keeping a close eye on. Sophie was well onto his case, from the moment she saw him at the Pitchfork Music Festival opening week last year and has since vowed to get an Interview with the kind lad. That day came when his second festival appearance was due on the first day of We Love Green 2016 in Paris. Sophie and Mura Masa got to chat together he was kind enough to redo the interview as Sophie’s microphone wasn’t working too well the first time round, (s*** does happen). Not Everyone would have done it !
Interview by Sophie. Introduction by Sodwee. Photographs by Michela Cuccagna.[separator type=”space”] [separator type=”thick”]
We Love Green is your second festival in France after the opening party at the Pitchfork Festival. Do you prefer proper concerts or sets on events like this?
They’re different things really. In a venue it’s much more intimate and there’s a lot more chance for audience interaction and that kinda things whereas in a festival, people are more excited and more committed cause it’s like a whole weekend. I just think they’re two different things and I don’t prefer one or the other.
“My dad used to play me a song called “Roundabout” by an english rock band called Yes” – Mura Masa on the first track he can remember hearing.
Don’t you feel less pressure on festivals since people might not be expecting you?
Yeah, that’s true! You can make new fans I guess, which is good! And it’s a chance to kinda play for people who don’t know who you are, which is most people for me at the moment! (laughing)
You’re just 20 and you created your label when you were 17. Have you always wanted to make music?
I think so… I grew up around a lot of music. My dad is a musician and my mum managed a few bands in America so yeah, it was always a kinda goal but nobody ever thinks that they’re gonna be able to do what they love for a living (laughing). I created my own label for fun! (laughing) I thought it would be good to have my own place to be creative and not to have any outside influence. There are other acts on my label now. There’s this Irish artist Bonzai who sings with me live and I’ve just signed Jadu Heart.
What is your first musical memory?
Ooh gosh… There’s a band from the 70s called Yes and they’re like an English rock band and my dad used to play me a song called “Roundabout”. That’s one of the first songs I remember hearing. My dad was also a very good pianist and I used to ask him to play some melodies and that kinda made me wanna try a bit of music.
I guess growing up on Guernsey isn’t the ideal place to make electronic music!
Yeah… (laughing). There isn’t a real electronic scene but there’s a very tight community of musicians doing all sorts of music : folk, rock music, mainly like band stuffs. I only really got into production a few years ago thanks to the internet.
What were your influences when you started making music?
I was listening to a lot of James Blake, some Jamie xx.
You’ve collaborated with Shura, Nao, Denai Moore or Bonzai. Did you have their voice in mind when you started working with them ?
Ça dépend! (laughing) Sometimes you go into an idea with this specific person in mind and I always try my best to make it happen. But sometimes you just try things in a studio and see what comes out.
What about your own voice?
I’m gonna be singing a lot more on the album, which is scary but it’s something that I wanted to do for a while.
Since we’re on a festival, what is your memory of a festival, either as an artist or as a festival-goer?
I’ve only been to one festival as a spectator and it was Reading. It’s like the first time I had really seen live music. Watching Bombay Bicycle Club at Reading was a very good memory and then I actually ended up working with Jack Steadman and it just came full circle, going from watching them on stage to hanging with them and making music.
Do you intend to see anyone tonight?
Since Sodwee stands for Sound of the Week, what is YOUR sound of the week?
It would have to be Van Morrison, Crazy love. (click here to watch) I’ve been listening to this song a lot.