The 19-year-old Utah native exploded onto music when his hit single, "Psycho!," dropped in January 2019. The track went on to garner 99 million worldwide streams and more than 1.5 million TikTok videos. Earlier in 2020, he released the "Psycho!" remix featuring Trippie Redd, which marked his first release with RCA Records.
MASN has a creative palette that results in a melting pot of lo-fi beats, indie experimentation, hip-hop fluidity and lush pop. "When you're listening to my music, I want you to come into the same world I was in when I wrote it," MASN said. "I try to create a refreshing world you can experience through the music. It's a safe space for you to go whenever you need to."
Prior to his debut How To Kill A Rockstar EP, which premieres on August 21, and following his most recent release, "Hate Me!," his newest song, "Fire," brings the vision of a person who is extremely desirable — and almost dangerous. The companion video is just as compelling.
PAPER caught up with MASN to talk about "Fire," his TikTok fame and what's next on his agenda.
First off, how are you?
I'm doing pretty well! How are you? I am pretty tired these days, I barely sleep. I need to fix that, but I just make music, play guitar and order Postmates. Nothing to complain about on this end, I'm very grateful.
This is such a weird and chaotic time in general, but as a musician, have you found that quarantining and living through a pandemic has brought out creativity or hindered your process?
It hasn't really changed all that much for me, honestly. I still go to the studio, I just go in alone and I still see my small group friends, but we make sure to be distanced and careful and are lucky to get to hang out outside here. It's beautiful this time of year in Utah, and I'm mainly inspired by them and the crazy things we do... so not much is different. I've never been one for big crowds anyway.
Tell me about your new track, "Fire," and the meaning behind it.
For me, songs come out of nothing. It's this weird thing, like I'm not even the one doing it. It's like it's given to me. "Fire" seems like it's about heartbreak, but to me that's not what it's about at all. It's about a person who is like fire to you. Fire is dangerous. And hot.
I'm loving the music video. What was the the creative process?
My girlfriend and I were brainstorming ideas one day in her car while listening to the song and I was just like, "I wanna be in the middle of nowhere at a beautiful vista while the sun is setting." I had this cool vision for it out of nowhere and brought it to my director Brendan Vaughn, and we were able to do it exactly as I envisioned. I'm really happy about how it came out.
Have you always been drawn to natural elements? How does this show up in your music?
Yes. Growing up in Utah my backyard has always been a field. Catching lizards was my normal daily activity growing up. I think the themes of nature show up in my music so much because it is intimate, raw and vulnerable, which are things that I value and hope people can feel when they listen.
Who are your big inspirations when creating music?
Jeremy Zucker has been one of my favorite artists for a long time. I've also had some cool experiences at live shows that inspire me from local bands like The Backseat Lovers to Briston Maroney and then Juice WRLD. Also, growing up I listened to a lot of My Chemical Romance, Metallica, Green Day Blink-182 and then the occasional random country song I'd hear on the radio.
Your song "Psycho!" has been a huge hit, but namely on TikTok. Where were you when you found out it went viral?
I was with all of my friends at a rented house in Beverly Hills, a bunch of us had all chipped in to rent an AirBnB (this was before the lockdown measures started). I just saw it at like 1,000 videos and then 2,000 and then 10,000, and it just went up so fast it was insane. All my friends started texting me that they'd see it on their pages and everything, it was wild. I still can't believe it's gone as far as it has.
How has your song going viral impacted your career?
It was a definite stepping stone to a lot of great opportunities. I've got a lot to share and now I have a platform where millions of people will be able to experience that with me, so I'm super grateful. The internet, man. What makes it cool is the fact that everyone has seen it and related in some way through their life or someone else's. The human connection part is mind blowing.
Do you find that music has been a good distraction with everything going on right now, or has it been difficult to stay motivated?
It hasn't been either. It's my main path and I stay on it, that's it. Motivation doesn't ever work cause it wears off. You have to stay disciplined. That means following your purpose whether you feel like it or not, because you know what you're doing it for and you know exactly what you want.
Will this busy streak continue for you?
Yes! Between "Hate Me!" and "Fire" and their music videos it's been hectic, but my EP drops later this month and I'm already halfway done with another project I hope to release later this year.
Watch "Fire" by MASN, below.
Photos courtesy of MASN.