14 Questions with Pierre Masse

In the middle of doing school work , Pierre Masse sits with us to discuss his latest EP Situations. It looks like a lot of things are going on inside this young man’s head and he is not even over twenty. His philosophies are reflected in the six-track effort, half of the songs sung in French and the other half in English. This Toronto hard-working Science enthusiast has what it takes to be the next ‘it’ guy of acoustic rock. He has a class and musical maturity giving praise  to Francis Cabrel as his main influence, along with Sting and other interesting composer, he carved a body of work that deserves attention. He also knows his market. Not too gooey to make it like like radio pop ballads but not too aggressive to kick the guts, he knows balance , style and wit.
What inspired you to write an EP?
Well I had a bunch of songs written and I thought they were good enough to record, and I wanted to record them to get them out of the way and focus on other things, such as working with my band, The Final Year. I had about three or four songs so I wrote a few more to complete the EP, and in the end I was happy with the material I had.
Your thoughts are quite beyond  your generation in a sense that you look at life through a bigger scope as reflected in your lyrics. Who influenced you in this kind of thinking?

Whenever I start writing, I try to find a way to express myself that would still be of high quality even if you took away the music. The influences as to the content of the lyrics themselves are the discussions I’ve had with friends, the books I’ve read, or the ideas I’ve had. I guess you could say that with my group of friends we talk about things that are slightly different that the topic of conversation of the usual North American teenager – we discuss politics, society, philosophy, and we read on those things as well. So all that influences my writing quite a bit. I also try to look at things with a very open mind so I can understand concepts and problems from as many different angles and viewpoints as possible. That’s important when you’re trying to understand the world.
Your French songs are remarkable. In the second track you reflect on your relationship with a special person. It is very romantic in a French sort of way. Do you look at life through rose colored glass? Or are you also a cynic?

I’m actually a huge cynic, as some of my lyrics show, but I also have learnt to appreciate the nice things in life, and for the beautiful things I find French is the best language to write in. That’s why some of the romantic songs in French seem very, well, romantic! But whenever I write about love or things that are truly beautiful, I try my hardest no to fall into the cheesy pop mold, and I try to express those things with genuine beauty and feeling.
The third track has a great guitar solo. Your lyrics deal with the feelings of love and the stuff that goes with those feelings. It has a kind of ‘classic’ ballad kind of melody. What inspired your song structure?

That song structure was very much inspired by a French singer/songwriter named Francis Cabrel, who’s an amazing artist. I wrote that song write after having watched one of his live DVDs, so that’s why it’s so similar. Of course I tried to make it my own, but in the end it was very much inspired by his stuff.
All I have to Say was written when you were in Nova Scotia. Do landscapes always have a profound effect on you?

Yes, they do. I have written so many songs in the car, while staring at the landscape, or sitting somewhere in the middle of Nature, taking in the awesome sights. Landscapes can be amazing inspiration that evoke many different feelings and emotions. They’re very powerful, and I try to take their effect and turn it into song material.
The Cycle has that fast beat and critical way of looking at life. Do you see this song being developed in the future in terms of instrumentation?

I’ve thought about it. This song is interesting because I didn’t know what I was going to do with it until I recorded it, and suddenly it all came together. It’s a song I would like to maybe someday elaborate on, add instruments and electrify it. We’ll just have to see…
Imaginations is a tall piece of song writing. it has all the elements of a classic. the narration, the instruments, the background…do you see this kind of style appearing again and again in future recordings?

Yeah, I think so. I was very inspired by French slammers, and I like that style of narrative lyricism with interesting music in the background. I think I’m definitely going to pursue that style and use it again, if not for entire songs, then at least for parts of them. I really like working with that because it really forces your lyrics to be strong.

When I listen to your ballads, I hear an aching groan for great arrangement especially an orchestra or string quartet. Do you thinking you will be able to pursue this when you have enough on hand…say production wise?

I’m definitely going to explore more sophisticated arrangements when I have the production capabilities to do so, but I’m not sure it’s going to be just to enhance my ballads with cheesy string movements. It’s not that I’m against the idea of an orchestra, and if I could I would definitely use one, but I don’t want my songs to turn into melodramatic pop tracks.

Have you ever thought of going into acting as well?

Not seriously, no, but I’ve been in high-school films directed by my friend and I’m definitely interested in doing some music videos, but acting as a whole is not really for me. On stage I need my music.

Who takes the photos? The cover shoot is very beautiful. It reflects the sentiments of the songs…very relaxed and deep.

All the photography is by my girlfriend, Karina Visser – she really knows how to get the right shot for everything, even though she denies it!

Are your folks ever supportive of your music?

Yes, my family has always supported me in my musical endeavours, although they keep reminding me I should pursue a “real” career before launching into music full-time.

what do you collect other than music?

Not much, actually. CDs are basically the only thing I collect for now, although I’m looking at starting a nice guitar collection, but that’s going to take some time and money!

tell me about your fashion sense

I like to seek the balance point between casual/relaxed and dressed-up/fancy – sometimes I hit it, sometimes I don’t.

what’s your birth sign?


Chillin’ to Aphex Twin

Richard David James(AKA Aphex Twin)

Richard David James(AKA Aphex Twin)

Donie Ryan from Ireland loves electronic music. He posted this on his facebook profile. I love listening to this kind of music. Aphex Twin from Cornwall is the best. Truly groovy and relaxing. Very ahead of its time- akind of music that one can listen to after a long night of clubbing.


EQ for Heavy Music

Pic courtesy of Mike's Brain Leak

Much  has to be said about heavy metal music. For one, some people on the quieter end of the spectrum don’t want to stress themselves with loud sounds and aggressive chord patterns. If you really get to the bottom of it, it’s less on music and more on sound.

Most of the time, the musical genius within most aggressive music is lost in the cloud of really explosive guitar and drum excursions. How to solve this problem? When your kid tries to turn up the volume of his Slipknot album while you are in the middle of your Yoga session, these are the things to do:

1.Check the equalizer. Most of rock music combination falls on the V shape. The extreme  left is the bass part and the extreme right or treble deals with high-pitched sounds which gets scratchy with guitars. Try to minimize these sides of the equalizer.

2. Ask him to turn the volume down. As I mentioned it is not really about the music but the sound. Tell him, the music is not the issue (insulting would not help) but it is the intensity that bothers you.

3.Try to make sure the speaker is not directly turned into an area where people are  congregating. Have him turn it the other way to avoid the blast of noise.

5. Remember it’s all about the bass and the treble. Then everyone can work happily.

Close Your Eyes and Fly..

There are treasures we keep waiting to be rediscovered years later. When kids have grown and all we have is this faint thread that connects us to the past.  Relationship has sometimes no power over the obstinate hands of time. But music takes us back.  Music for contemplation is a luxury away from the abrasive swish and swash of everyday life. We are working people and we take competitive heads. But at the end of the day, all we need is a warm massage, a nice soothing aroma and taste of Earl Gray and yes relaxing music after kicking off our shoes.

I have tried to pattern music based on my needs. I see these pieces as my flying carpet to faraway lands. The ticket is your imagination. Nothing beats a soundtrack weary times. I take this nice cool sound of Seay. May you find your own flying carpet.


This video is from the amazing introduction to the movie “Contact”, a journey through our solar system, out into the universe. I’ve spent most of my life looking up at the stars wondering what it would be like to travel through the universe or to a heavenly place. “Orion’s Gate” is a very special journeying piece of music, one that will transport you to a place of peace.I sometimes can’t believe it came from me, but maybe we’re all just messengers anyway.


Music that Transports and Heals

Picture taken from "The Healing Power of Music" http://www.search.independent.co.uk

For years now I have dedicated my heart to music that is not just there to amuse you but as a source of inspiration. There is a kind of music that really does something to your psyche and this is what I am trying to pin down here. Of course people who experience life differently would never relate. But then again have you ever heard of ‘soul-stirring’ music or such term?

You will meet more of that kind in this blog. I really don’t want to use  the term music as a main source of this inspiration. It could also be something brought about by the kind of sound- not really musical in form can also be a source of interest. But once a skillful person transform that science into organized sound then that’s where sorcery takes place.

Music that heals is really the interest in this blog. I know that musicians can make a difference in this world as a source of healing and beauty. Too long have we been exposed to violence and deterioration that we think it is cool. Just like our home situation. Abuses can be justified once prolonged. Like the ugliness of the evening news. I think that we must seek solace in something that calms and beautifies the soul.

As they say…you are what you eat.