The Jamaica-born, New York-based, music buff leans back in a peculiarly creative producer's chair with a notepad and pen at hand sketching away his master plan. Observing the limitlessness of musical textures, he pieces together genres seamlessly exploring the magnificent results they can have and justly apply them in reality.
A songwriter and producer, Musical Masquerade's no stranger to music's tendered touch as it caresses your mind in unspeakable ways but the vision music once had is slowly piecing away with very few persons desperately holding it together.
Now poised to make music breathe once again, Musical Masquerade is ready to share his creative mind; wearing an array of hats and a face that'll remain unmasked 'till the time is right.
Jamaicansmusic caught up with the mystery man behind the Rayvon /Red Fox' inevitable hit No Other Like You (see below) and the Mavado/Jadakiss chart climber Just Like Magic, talking about everything from his undying love for music to why come across as a mysterious character in the musical landscape.
How do you think your childhood characteristics are reflected in your current status in the industry today?
Who I was as a child and who I am to this day as a person is reflected in the form of anonymity. I've always been the type of person who just wants to do great work excel at my tasks without worrying about hype or recognition.
How and when did you enter the world of producing? Are there any producers that you pattern your style from?
I entered the world of producing from just being around it. I've always been around music and musicians as a child. Over the years from the love for it just grew and blossomed a few years back while in college. From that point I just tried to consume music and gain as much knowledge of music as I can and I continue to learn to this day. I learn from all pattern and styles All different kinds of producers from classical to contemporary, rock to reggae dance to dancehall. You name it. I learn from it.
When you got into the music business where did you think you'd be today or where did you see yourself fitting in at the moment?
When I just got into music I didn't think about where I would be. I just decided to do music because I loved it and wanted to get my ideas out of my head into a tangible form where I could put it on a cd and hear it and share it with others. That was the initial thought. It wasn't until after a while of developing my craft I saw that I had a different approach a different mindset and a different way to deliver music. It was at that point when I started to set goals and create a path to where I want to be. And the journey is just beginning.
When you look at your sound (in terms of your production) how have outside producers and musicians impacted your sound?
In terms of my production I am definitely impacted by other musicians and producer. My ears are my favorite tools and I learn from listening music. I listen and connect with music on different levels. Whatever connects and sticks with me I try to interpret that and put it in my way in my music. For example if I am making a club song, I might say what made the club song I heard last night stand out and connect with me? The answer to that might be the subs used in the song and the impact of an 808 drum that rattles the speakers when it knocks. So I might use an 808 drum as a layer with my other bass drums. So there I am being influenced by someone else.
What's your affinity to Dancehall/Reggae music and culture or better yet what record/album/single made you say 'Hey, Dancehall/Reggae productions/songs are simply full of a vibrant lifestyle and energetic persona that I need to be a part of that'? Granted you're from a Jamaican linage but living in the states one would think you'd be more inclined to do Hip Hip/Rap/Pop productions.
lived, travelled and spent time in numerous continents, countries and cities.
And through it all I have listened and been influenced by a lot of music and
many different sounds. However none of those dynamics affect the fact that I am
100 percent Jamaican born and raised and so Dancehall / Reggae music was what I grew up listening to. So there was
no light bulb or switch that had to turn on or click for me regarding dancehall
and reggae. It's my music! It's my culture!
Every producer has their unique style of composition from Swiss Beats and Timbaland to Stephen McGregor and Rvssian; what element is Musical Masquerade's key ingredient?
I might be wrong but i don't think I have a specific style of composition. I However think the key ingredient for me regarding composing and creating music is simply finding the correct connection to the song . Each song is different and is its own entity and as such will require different chords, feelings and sounds dependent on its own needs as a song. However once the connection to the song is made the song will tell what kind of production it needs and what needs to be passed onto the listener.
Could you talk a bit on the name Musical Masquerade; why settle with that particular name and why go the route of being a mysterious figure behind your productions/songs? Do you think that the musical landscape is so open now that people gravitate more to new sounds and sights that come across as a mystery?
think of masquerade you think of masks. It's my take on the phrase and idea
behind "wearing different hats" . When
you wear different hats you are doing different jobs. So in my case I'm wearing
different masks. Not literally. But in a musical sense. Hence musical
masquerade. It just speaks to multiplicity and diversity as a songwriter
producer engineer influenced by all kinds of music with the ability to write
and produce all types of music including dancehall reggae ska R&B pop even
rock. So the meaning of the name will become more apparent as more content is
delivered to the public and more diversity is shown. And trust me it is coming. As far the mystery
goes. That wasn't even an aim. I wasn't aiming to be mysterious. I just love to
do music and I want to do it without the hype and gimmicks. I believe music is
louder than words and Essentially I want to let the music speak for itself.
It is said that musicians communicate best through their instruments, it's really the language for them; could you talk a bit on why this is noted as such.
That's because there is more to communication than words and language. There is context, body language, facial expression tone of voice etc. that is factored in. Sometimes words can't explain things. Let's take a scream for example. It's just a sound. But people associate it with someone being hurt or in danger or something of the like. So for musicians that expression is channeled through music. In the same way a painter will paint a picture of what he is seeing and what is inside of him or her. Notes, melodies, harmonies and chords are the tools of musicians. Its our sounds, melodies and lyrics we use to paint our pictures.
Could you talk a bit on some of your previous work and possibly a few projects you're currently working on? I know you did production on Rayvon and Red Fox' No Other Like You and the more recent single is Just Like Magic with Mavado and Jadakiss. There's to be a release of a project you did in Spain. Is there anything that could be said on that as yet?
Regarding the project in Spain I still am unable to speak on that due to confidentiality. I am excited for the public to get the project but I'm not in control of that. I however did another song that I have control of that includes Spanish English and patois from a multilingual, multidimensional Jamaican artiste. So that I will be sure to put out. As far as previous projects I have done numerous projects with international acts as well as Jamaican acts as a songwriter and as a producer. However there are red tape and yellow tape and politics that affect music. So I decided to take on a new challenge and create something new without using my past successes and projects as the spear head. Kind of like Snoop Lion versus Snoop Dog. Just A new path.
Are you signed to a major label at the time or are you working independently from your own label Mind of Masquerade?
My people are always in conversation regarding outlets, offers and opportunities. We are always open to conversation. The mindset, however, is to continue working independently until the right situation comes along.
You can now order his produced tracks on iTunes: