Let me introduce to you Mastin. You might recognise him, he does look uncannily alike Australia’s 2011 X Factor Winner Reece Mastin. And the vocals in MASTIN’s single ‘Not the Man for You’, sound faintly similar to the vocals in Reece Mastin’s debut single ‘Good Night’.
But 2011 was a long time ago. And Reece Mastin, now known to the music world as Mastin, and now with much more life experience under his belt, has come a long way since then.
This transformation has since allowed Mastin to delve into other genres, and explore the music he truly wants to create. His sound will without a doubt reignite Australia’s ‘Rock n Roll’ scene, an area he is particularly fond of- “’Rock n Roll’ has given me the opportunity to be all I can: good or bad; pissed off or over the moon. If it were a woman, I’d marry her,” he tells The Real Songwriters of Melbourne.
“The music I’ve been making is exactly how I feel. For the first time singing and playing this record, I don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed of who I am as an artist! The past few years have shaped me more so than ever, I’ve met an amazing group of people on the way and me and the missus (‘Rock n Roll’) are ready to face the music industry head-on. Bring on the wall.”
After realising that ‘Rock n Roll’ was the direction he wanted to take, Mastin found himself struggling to break away from the pop scene, and the ‘reality TV show winner’ façade. Whilst he doesn’t regret his time on the X Factor, he also doesn’t want to be constantly looking back into the past.
“Look, I’m not ashamed of any part of that life, but it is nowhere near what I am, or who I am; what I’m creating, or will be creating, in the future.”
Moving forward, and getting to know himself and his artistry better than ever, there is no doubt that Mastin’s confidence has soared. Admitting that being in the studio felt right and familiar, he says that music is very much a part of him, and particularly rock music, which requires certainty. And whilst this new record is a truer reflection of himself than anything he’s created before, he doesn’t want this to be the end of this road in his musical discovery.
“I’d hate to think that I am right on the money because it’s so exciting growing your craft and looking back and seeing that journey. I have one-hundred percent found the right road, and I’m hell-bent on sticking to it.
“Changing to the name Mastin has hopefully given people the change to look at this record as what it is, and not what they may have thought it was. You only have to click play to hear that drastic difference.”
Despite the revelation of his current sound, and despite finally feeling like his music is his, this development has not come easy for Mastin. Opening up and admitting that the past few years have been some of his toughest years to date, he knew that if he wanted to keep making music, he was going to have to make changes. These changes included leaving his label, falling into the vicious cycle of not knowing what he wanted to do, and not only dealing with but having to overcome his demons.
“I’d been struggling to find my feet after leaving big labels. No doubt, it was something that I had to do, but coming out the other end, I felt like someone had taken my sight and I was wandering around aimlessly in the music industry. I knew in my heart deep down what I wanted to achieve, but had no road to walk down, only a little to guild me for any reason.
The drinking and the drugs seem to mask the depression and anxiety for a fleeting moment before it all flooded back in a wave of well… just shit! I just wasn’t ready to face the music. And then it happened, I can’t put my finger on the exact moment. Well, I think it happened over time. But I found the truth: what I wanted to say; how I wanted to feel; how I wanted others to feel when they listened to me, and when they were around me. Since then I’ve pushed and pushed to meet myself.”
Finding himself, Mastin now wants his music to truly exhibit his feelings, and his listeners to feel alongside him. He believes in marrying the music he creates with the lyrics he writes in order to achieve this. Pairing the two, sometimes as opposites, to create a new world, or a new feeling, and an understanding of that feeling.
“I love the moment when you can hear a bit of cheek from a song, the lyric seems harsh but the music so joyous. Or when you can hear someone on the edge of losing it lyrically, but the music has an augmented, unsettling feeling. Marrying the two brings it to life. I’ve always said songs can be like little universes when you get it right. If these songs can put someone right where I was when I was writing them, I’ve done what I set out to do.”
With brand new EP ‘Suitcase of Stories’ coming out this month, Mastin hopes that it will be an embodiment of his musical development. If the rest of the EP is anything like it’s current single ‘Not the Man for You,’ no doubt his goal here will be accomplished. The basis of the song is a reflection of Reece himself, along with his best friend, drummer and co-writer, Mitchell Rodgers.
“Not the Man for You was actually a late addition to the record. We had recorded the EP about a month earlier but felt that we were missing an element of fun, with a straight down the arrow ‘Rock n Roll’ track.
We love a good Saturday night out after a gig, having an adventure and creating some new memories. But we have also seen, and I’ve been in one of these relationships, where the other half (of a relationship), just wants the couch, a bottle of wine and a TV show. Look I’m all for that, but on a Sunday maybe, after the Saturday’s debauchery.”
A perfect example of how he marries music and lyrics together, Mastin admits that the lyrics were very much inspired by the music. Following a night out, just as he described, singing old rock n roll, and country songs, it all came together.
“The bass just pushes the song on like a freight train whilst the guitars dance around it. Mitch’s linear sugar coats it with so much fun. The three-part harmonies add the comradery as does the middle eight, where the whole band plays in synchronicity. It was a late addition, but a perfect first song.”
Fans both new and old won’t have to wait too long to see Reece back on stage performing his new music. Mastin’s tour kicks off in Sydney, at The Basement on April 7, touring nationally until July 14, where he will play his final show in Albury. Whilst we’re sure his fans are excited, there’s no doubting that Mastin himself may be even more so, saying it’s unlike anything he’s done before.
“The band is a killer! We have been playing together for a long while now and every time we get off stage, we are that little tighter. I will be opening the door wide to everyone that cares to come hear some stories. Playing live is that extra theatrical arm to those songs’ universe, and we want to capture that. It’s going to be a good old-fashioned long night of ‘Rock n Roll’ and storytelling.”
Reece will be playing a stint of shows in Victoria, including at Winston Supercars on May 19, and at Max Watts in Melbourne on May 27. Regional shows include Warrnambool and Geelong in July. For more information and tickets, visit OZTIX.
Written by Jordyn Hoekstra.