Thanks to the Crossroads Festival, which has just started this week on social media, we’ve had the opportunity to ask a few questions to some artists in the line-up. Today, as a bonus interview, we’re with MASSTØ, a rock and blues band from Hauts de France region. Interview.
Unis Son: How it was to work during the lockdown period and the pandemic crisis?
Timothée: It wasn’t too rough for me but because I was coming back from New-Zealand just before moving and living in Arras, I didn’t have any instruments at home. The moving was done and we went into lockdown just after. I didn’t have an excuse to see the boys and do music. We exchanged lots of music, we cheered each other up but yeah, it’s true it was a bit complicated for me. But we’re here and we’re surviving.
Matthias: It was special. We’re not doing electronic music. There are other artists who’re doing electronic music and who can send tracks or recordings to each other. It’s not our case. If we want to work, the three of us need to meet. So it was a bit peculiar. We’ve spent two months, two months and a half not playing. So when the end of lockdown was announced, I think two days after we met again to play.
Us: You’re taking part in the Crossroads Festival, and you’ve already recorded your live session. How has it been for you? How did you organize for this?
Thomas: It was our first experience. It was a nice experience because it was the first time we were playing without an audience. It was quite special because we’re used to be into contact with the public. That was quite experimental.
Matthias: And just before that, we’ve spent five days in the studio recording our second EP. We arrived for the capitation for the Crossroads with five days of music behind us, it was a bit the top of the week. We also had the imposed format of thirteen minutes plus two or three minutes for an interview. It was quite complicated because when we play in venues, the format is around forty-five minutes; and when we play in bars, we generally play around an hour and a half, an hour and forty-five minutes, sometimes two hours when we’re really excited. So that’s true that thirteen minutes that was a bit short. But the studio time got us to re-centre, focus ourselves and play together, and you can see it on the capitation, we’re really connected and that’s great.
US: Would you do the whole digital gig experience again?
Matthias: With great pleasure in these conditions!
Timothée: We’ve been warmly welcomed, well-directed by the team. It was the first time in this exercise. And it’s true that to find ourselves in a venue we’ve already played at, to be in the stalls when normally it’s the public who should be there and us on the stage, it’s strange but we’ve been taken care of, well driven, it went really great.
US: You mentioned a second EP, what’s the next step with all this?
Timothée: It’s war! [laughs]
Matthias: The second EP we naively thought before the lockdown that we would release it around the Crossroads, and use the festival as a release point. Then we understood that because of the COVID-19 and the impossibility to do shows in venues, at least in standing capacity, it made no sense to release it at this moment. We wouldn’t be able to defend it in live, our sales are done solely during our shows, not that much on Bandcamp etc., so getting 500 or 700 CDs without being able to distribute them and exchange with the public… it was making no sense. We decided to move it to the beginning of 2021, in the first quarter. It gives us a vision when during lockdown we had no vision on the future, and on what we could do for the rest of the year. This strategy to release the EP gives us a vision or at least something to keep existing even if we can’t do shows.
US: It’s already my last question: what is your earliest musical memory?
Thomas: I think it was Isaac Hayes in 7” EP, I didn’t know him at all and I discovered him when I was very young. The cover with big golden chains on him and sunglasses, probably…
Matthias: I’m going to go even further: it’s my mom who sings lullabies to me… And I believe she sang lots of them, she had an enormous catalogue of lullabies, so I think it’s my first memory… singing.
Timothée: I’m part of a musician family and I think my first memories are like my father playing the guitar in parties with friends… there many like that coming to my mind. Like a CD, not even a CD, an audiocassette mixtape, when we came back from holidays in the South, my father played this mixtape in the car, and I think it was the last one he could put in, and it was what was playing when we arrived on Amiens…
Thanks to MASSTØ for their time and answers. The band is playing at Crossroads Festival on the 10th September 9:50 pm (GMT+1). Don’t miss it (the video is available on our Facebook page).