PLANET ROCKSTOCK 2017 - Interview with MASON HILL

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MICHELLE FLYNN

(Photo Credits: MORAG FARLEY PHOTOGRAPHY)

 

From winning Highway To Hell last year, Mason Hill have appeared at Ramblin' Man Fair, Hard Rock Hell, Download, and Rockstock, and signed a multi-album deal with Frontiers Records. The band's extra special blend of classic meets modern hard rock and high energy live shows, means that Glasgow's finest are hot property right now!

 

In 2008 school friends Scott Taylor (vocals) and James Bird (lead guitar) hooked up to write songs together and the duo found almost instantaneous success, winning the Scottish section of the European battle of the bands Surface Festival. They went on to form Mason Hill in 2013 with Craig McFetridge (drums) joining. Matthew Ward (bass) settled into the role in 2015, with guitarist Marc Montgomery completing the current line-up in 2016.

 

In December 2015 the band released their debut E.P, the self titled 'Mason Hill', which has been critically acclaimed amongst the music press and fans alike. They have now played some amazing high profile shows supporting the likes of Graham Bonnet (Rainbow), Snakecharmer, Airbourne, Inglorious and most recently Gun.

 

​Shelly from Down The Front Media caught up with Scott and James from Mason Hill after their set at Rockstock 2017.

 

Shelly: I'm with the guys from Mason Hill who've just come off the stage at Rockstock

 

MH: Hello!

 

Shelly: How did you find your set?

 

Scott: Oh wow. I still can't believe it. I did not expect it. We were so excited to come to Planet Rock and we thought, you know, second stage in the middle of the afternoon, perfect for a first-time band. What we thought was we're going to go in there and maybe see, what a hundred people or so, and try our best, and then next year we're going to try and …

 

James: Come back somehow.

 

Scott: But that's just blown out of the water! 

 

James: It was better than we expected for sure.

 

Scott: So many people! Yeah. So many lovely people. And they all seemed to enjoy the show so I'm over the moon right now. I love it.

 

Shelly: The look on your face was a picture.

 

Scott: I didn’t expect that you know. A long drive down and you get here 7 in the morning and you're mostly freezing, thinking let's just do the show… and then the moment you see the place all of that  just goes and you're just like "Wow." 

 

James: The adrenaline's back again from last night. 

 

Scott: It was incredible. The people that came to see us at this time of the day… I'm always astounded by it. It's happened to us once before at Hard Rock Hell last year and we played about 1 o'clock, and by the end the place was nearly full, and it's just humbling. It's very humbling.

 

Shelly: What was the point in the set where you stood there and thought, wow?

 

James: Well, I have my bit…

 

Scott: For me, it's the new song cos we played some of the songs we've played for a while and you can sometimes tell the kind of reaction you'll get. But with the new song it was so scary. It's just, you don't know, so if they like the new song I feel so at ease cos I think, right cool you like that!

 

Shelly: I think they liked it!

 

Scott: They seemed to like it. It's a bit rough, it's still not right, we're still perfecting it… so when they liked that…

 

James: Of all the songs we've done it was the least one I thought we'd be playing first…

 

Scott: Yeah cos we've wrote like 20 odd songs in the last few months.

 

James: 25

 

Scott: 25!

 

James: We've been busy… (all laugh)

 

Scott: Very, very busy.

 

James: It's been tough. But that was one of the first ones and when I first started that I thought 'er…it's alright…' but now it's the first one we're playing! My moment, if I can just get back to that, was when we played ‘Now You See Me’ cos obviously that's on YouTube.  At the end of it, when we got the applause, I'm not sure if it's because they thought we'd finished… it was a pretty big rumble. And even if they did think we'd finished the set, to get it again after the last song was so cool. I'm really, really happy.

 

Scott: We're so thankful. It's unbelievable.

 

Shelly: This year has been quite big for you hasn’t it?

 

Scott: Yes. Yes.

 

Shelly: So what’s been your stand out moment this year?

 

Scott: Woah. Stand out on a personal level, Download. Had to be Download festival. We done the Boardie Takeover stage and, again, I don’t know about you but I love being in situations where no-one knows who we are, or they might have just heard the name or something like that, so the challenge is to bring people and keep them there. That's what we done at Download. It started off, you know, we were playing to not a lot of people, and it's a big massive tent…

 

James: It wasn’t a lot of people.

 

Scott: Compared to the end

 

James: Oh yeah, compared to the end

 

Scott: Compared to the end, it was not, and in the end it was the whole tent!

 

James: There was two moments during that time at the BoardieWalk Takeover stage that it was like that, and it was for us and another band - I can't remember the other band but I know another band got it as well. And it was just rammed. It was awesome.

 

Scott: Och….I dunno [who it was]. To be honest Airbourne screwed up my mind for that trip cos of what happened. We played on the Thursday night, partied on the Thursday night… Why not…

 

James: Yeah cos we were celebrating, we were at Download!

 

Scott: Cos we thought okay we were going to go see System of a Down tomorrow, we’re gonna see all this…

James: Aerosmith

 

Scott: No this was the Friday, the Friday James

 

James: Right okay…

(all laugh)

 

James: I stand corrected

 

Scott: So then we wake up on the Friday and get a phone call from our manager saying you need to get to Edinburgh to play with Airbourne. And you can’t say no to that. Ever. You can't say no to Airbourne.

 

Shelly: You can’t say no …

 

Scott: Yeah

(all laugh)

 

James: So we boosted straight away in our wellies and pyjamas, well not pyjamas but whatever we were wearing to bed, we just got it all and went! And we turned up to the venue with like 20 minutes to spare in our wellies and…

 

Shelly: Pyjamas! Wellies and jamas.

 

Scott: We covered the whole stage in mud and everything, it was ach…

 

James: That was a spinal tap moment. That was fun.

(all laugh)

 

James: I don’t know what mine is, I really don’t. See Download, I would agree it's pretty cool and, granted it's not like in the main arena, but it's still Download! But for me, and I know it was only last night and I'm not trying to cop out but last night was pretty damn cool, ya know. Cos I just relaxed, on a personal note, more and so I was able to take it in more. Download was just (snaps fingers) done! We were on stage and then it was gone. (snaps fingers) I don’t even remember now ya know, it was so…

 

Shelly: Yeah but last night you jump in a van and then drive all the way down here!

 

James: With experience now and a little bit more comfortable with playing live, last night was pretty awesome, and selling out The Garage. That was good.

 

Scott: A stupidly great year! Just, phew…

 

James: Lucky. We've only got one EP

 

Scott: So fortunate. Like, on one EP and one music video on YouTube. One EP

 

James: That we're sick of (laughs)

 

Scott: That we are sick of now cos we need to get more stuff out

 

Shelly: But we saw you when you were supporting Inglorious and, I mean you knocked us for six. Totally.

 

Scott: Inglorious, ahh..

 

James: That was another good moment

 

Scott: It was a great one cos, we've been around this circuit for nearly 2 years now, and they're the top. Ya know. Maybe now you’ve got Stone Broken and Inglorious but it was Inglorious, so for us to get that support slot - that was incredible for us

 

James: Yeah, as far as Planet Rock at the start of the year, and a year ago, Inglorious were really quite huge. They were everywhere, kind of

 

Shelly: Yeah

 

Scott: They were THE band we wanted to support… what a night. We love Billy Taylor as well, who is ex-Inglorious, so we got to see him. He's always been so kind to us , which is why we're going out on the road with Deever as well.

 

Shelly: And Departed.

 

James: I'm really excited for that

 

Scott: Ach it's going to be great

 

Shelly: I've been telling everyone [about the tour] (all laugh) You’ve got to come!

 

James: I'm really nervous about that because we need to do it because we need the experience. Whether there's 5 people standing there or 500, we need the experience to at least go and do a bunch of gigs in places we've not really been right. So we're kind of nervous about it.

 

Shelly: I don’t think there's any need to be nervous.

 

James: It's new to us

 

Shelly: I mean, it's a top line up. You think you need to get out and play more but that’s a top line up. I'm happy.

 

Scott: It's just we've never done it before. We've never went out and done our own headline tour.

 

James: People don't really know us yet, they only know us from gigs.

 

Scott: Yeah cos some of these things that you mentioned have happened are flukes, they have been flukes.

 

James: Not flukes but word of mouth.

 

Scott: Word of mouth, not for us, that you would expect bands a bit higher than us, so when people say, when people find out that we've not even went on tour for ourselves, we've not done anything like that.

 

Shelly: But look at the reception you’ve just had.

 

Scott: That’s what's incredible.

 

Shelly: I don’t think I've seen that on stage 2, the whole weekend.

 

Scott: I've been buzzing since I watched Stone Broken cos they were Thursday night.

 

Shelly: Yes

 

Scott: When I saw it I thought 'I can't wait to do that'

 

James: The question we get the most I think is, we don't see the album- where can we get the album? And we're always like, er um…

 

Scott: It's coming, it's coming

 

James: We technically should have had an EP II this year

 

Scott: Yes. But we went for the record deal, we shot ourselves in the foot a wee tiny bit. Our plan was to do two EPs then come out with the album with a label, but the label came a bit earlier and it took us about a year to actually figure it out. So that was the worst part. So EP II went out the window and the album has to come but there's a gap. We're in that gap right now. No, we're kind of over the gap cos now we're actually, the album's pretty much wrote and we're going into the studio in February, on a different continent. But I can't say any more.

 

Shelly: Ooh, a different continent

 

James: Well that's why there's a slight gap

 

Scott: There's a slight gap

 

James: We're just figuring that out as well. Ideally it wouldn’t be on a different continent, it would be better if it was down the road but…

 

Scott: But who it is, you’ve got to go to…

 

James: We're trying to work with someone and we're almost there

 

Scott: We've tried not to self-fund this, we tried to not go down that route, we thought this is our debut album let's do it right. Let’s get the best producer we can, the best master…Everything we can to make sure that the start of our… cos technically, you know, with bands it's the start of your career with your debut album. We're not there yet. So we've got to make sure it's absolutely perfect so take that bit of time, saving up that money and making sure it’s the best it can be. That’s what we want.

 

James: The songs are definitely pretty good

 

Scott: I would say they're better. The songs are there, it's just cos we've heard them for years and we've been writing them, but I would say it's getting there

 

Shelly: Are we going to hear some more of the new stuff on the tour?

 

Both: Yes

 

Scott: Yes you are. I would maybe expect a couple of songs, with working titles for now, but a couple of songs called ‘Blame’ and ‘No Regret’. And this new one, ‘I Don’t Care’. We're going to be sampling them. You know, we had two of them tonight so we've got another one. And we might try and throw something else in, just to see… see how it goes.

 

James: The thing is it's cos me and Scott are the ones that have been doing it. So we're at his house or my house and we have like midi-drums and stuff, so we're not even with the other guys when we're doing it. So they then need to learn the songs

 

Scott: Yeah they need to catch up (all laugh) We live relatively close so meet up multiple times a week

 

James: So then we have to say, right guys can you learn this one…

 

Scott: Can you just go over that…

 

James: We'll try and make sure we can play something else

 

Shelly: Brilliant

 

James: Cos we need to air them. I can't wait.

 

Scott: I can't wait as well, I love playing the new songs

 

Shelly: So now the really daft question, that we've been asking everyone this weekend, what's your favourite sandwich?

 

Both: hm…

 

Scott: What's my favourite sandwich… I know what you'll probably say, your own homemade tuna and cucumber… okay I'll go with the sandwich I had last night, I had two meal-deals last night and I went for chicken and stuffing

 

Shelly: Oh, chicken and stuffing. We had a chicken and bacon earlier

 

Scott: Fair enough. very nice as well but I think I'm going to go with that one cos I had a choice of every sandwich and I chose that twice!

 

James: I'm very indecisive…I'm just going to go for the first one that came into my head, salmon and cucumber

 

Shelly: Ooooh

 

(Scott makes retching noises)

 

James: Well I got an oooh over there so…

 

Shelly: It’s a bit posh that one, salmon and cucumber

 

James: Well, as we said we were buying sandwiches last night and it was there and I didn’t choose it but I just really like it

 

Scott: You chose Ploughmans last night

 

James: I chose chicken and bacon as well though

 

Scott: Oh yes!

 

Shelly: Chicken and bacon again

 

James: I did have chicken and bacon. I've became fond of egg. that's weird though init. Egg mayo and cress or something.

 

Scott: It's weird. I say it's weird

 

James: Is that weird?

 

Scott: Egg on a sandwich?!

 

James: It is odd, I give you that but it's good for you

 

Scott: Fair enough, fair enough

 

James: Sorry guys, egg on a sandwich, I don't know. Raw salmon is disgusting to me, that’s wrong. By salmon I meant the way it's in a tin

 

Shelly: Yeah

 

James: Raw salmon is disgusting though. I have a bad memory of it so…absolutely starving, going in at school, packed lunch - oh yeah salmon - bit into it, “ARGH WTF IS THAT”. I was starving the whole day and I've never let my mother forget it…

 

(all laugh)

 

Scott: Gosh she's gonna kill you

 

Shelly: Right well thank you very much for the sensible interview. We'll look forward to seeing you in December.

 

Both: Thank you so much.

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