As he drops his feel good new single, we grab a few minutes with Soundcloud King Mura Masa.
At only 19, Mura Masa (Alex Crossan) is well poised to take 2016 by storm and entrench his position as one of the country’s most promising newcomers. Hailing from the charming but quiet depths of rural Gurnsey, he grew up on his Mum’s Joni Mitchell records and his Dad’s passion for Scottish hard rock bands; not the most conventional of backgrounds for an underground superstar, but hey, this is the era of the bedroom producer where the most unexpected of artists can rise on pure talent.
And talent is what Crossan’s got in spades: since discovering Electronic music at 15, he’s been consuming whole discographies and building links with fellow Soundcloud beatmakers, a process which eventually led to last year’s polished EP, Someday Somewhere: a well crafted taster of what this guy can do, the record spawned online success stories like “Firefly (ft. Nao)” and “Are U There” which were soon followed up with the instantly likeable “Love for That”. Now, Mura Masa is building on that buzz with his newest single, the steel drum heavy banger “What if I Go”. Trust us when we say, you’ll want to hear this one – not least because it features the buttery vocals of Bonzai and some impeccably chosen World influences. So, plug in and check out our interview below, where Crossan talks Gurnsey Metalheads, the power of the internet, and why Elvis is his dream live act.
‘Love For That’ has blown up in a huge way, featuring the stunning voice that is Shura. When was this track originally created, was it a while ago now or has this all happened really quickly?
It happened really quickly, actually. Shura and I had never met before so went to Westfield shopping centre and back to Shura’s house to hang out. We were just talking for hours, smoking cigarettes and eating curry. We came out of that day with one idea, which was ‘Love For That’, and I went off and worked on it. We met up once more to record the final vocals, and that was it – it was done.
What made you want to have Shura feature on your track – did you know her previously or how did you come across her?
I’d been into Shu’s music for a while, ever since the Touch video. I think we were just fans of each other’s, first and foremost, so it felt natural to want to work on something together.
The art works/illustrations on your website are brilliant – can you tell us the story behind them?
For all my artwork, I either draw it myself or spend a lot of time digging around Tumblr for backyard creators who’s nobody heard of yet, or haven’t developed a huge following. We curate it so it all looks uniform, but there isn’t really a story connecting the separate images yet. I love tattoo art and line-drawings: quite simple and bold designs, within a certain aesthetic.
You’re only 19 – a stage at life where most are completely lost about what they want to do. How early on did you know that music was your thing, or that you wanted to dedicate your life to it rather than a hobby?
I guess I was always taking music seriously, but it was only last year that I dropped out of my English degree: I was looking to do music journalism or become a writer generally. But I’ve always made music in my bedroom, and that ambition hasn’t changed: people just happen to be listening to it now.
You grew up in rural Guernsey, not exactly a place at the cutting edge of the music industry. Where does your influence come from? As I’m guessing it’s the reason behind your unique sound.
When I was a teenager, all my friends in Guernsey were into metal, so being in a lot of local bands growing up was a musical influence, actually. Other than that, though, using the internet to do my homework on early hip-hop was a big factor, as was the burgeoning Soundcloud scene which emerged a few years ago. So you can blame it on the internet.
You’ve recently announced an intimate 4-date tour. Have you played anywhere before that you’re excited about returning to?
The reaction’s always been great in London: I’ve got an Anchor Point night at Oval Space which is going to be really exciting. But generally I’m looking forward to going to lots of new places.
If you could see one musician/ act live, throughout time, who would it be?
I’d like to have been there the first time Elvis did his thrusting. That would’ve been an interesting room to be in. Actually I haven’t seen Bon Iver yet either, and would love to have seen him really early on.
The name Mura Masa was apparently quite a serendipitous idea – did you have one day where you sat down and wrote a list or did this one come to you out of the blue and that’s the only one you’ve thought of?
Mura Masa came out of the blue, really. It’s the opening track of a metal album by a band called Periphary, which I thought sounded cool. I did a bit more research into the background of Mura Masa and it fit with the Japanese influence in my own stuff…so it stuck.
Mura Masa will be playing Field Day London on Saturday 11th June 2016.