Mason Taylor on a’tris and beyond.

Mason Taylor of a'tris

 My life had undergone a turbulent shift around April last year. My plans of further working with New York-based artist Mason Taylor for another  interview was put aside. Everything just blew apart. Only today whenI went back to my old account that found this in my mailbox. I was shocked because I was asking Mason Taylor for an essay eleven months ago.  Only that by time he sent it, I was not functional. So here it is. Dug up from my box of memories from last year. Mason Taylor wrote about his music, his band and beyond from last April of 2012. The HTML doesn’t work with my wordpress so I had to strip away the coding. But thank you Mason for your efforts. They are very much appreciated. And I am glad to read about what already happened.

Thanks Jose! I really appreciate you saying that. I just finished a little post for you. I’ve pasted it along with some HTML tags below to hopefully make your life a little easier. Let me know if this works for you!


Guest Post by Mason Taylor from a’tris “

Thanks for having me here, Baxter! I get a lot of requests for interviews, IDs and things but it’s not every day that I get an offer to write a guest post. I really appreciate this opportunity to give back to you and to hopefully create something interested for your readers.

For those of you who may not be familiar with the a’tris name or what my friends and I are up to, I’d encourage you to check out Baxter’s post on us ““In a nutshell, we are a collective of artists who love alternative music. We make obtuse indie stuff and draw a lot of influence from bands like R.E.M and Radiohead so, if you dig what they’re doing, we hope you’ll enjoy the noise we’re making too.

Over the last seven years or so, the guys and I have released two full-length albums and two EPs “” . Last year, we undertook our most daunting challenge yet and set out to create a new song every week. We called this our #songaweek project and used this hashtag on Twitter to keep people updated with our progress. Not content to simply share rough ideas, we endeavored to create fully fleshed out demos of the new material including music video components and custom logos. We wanted our fans and newcomers alike to really be able to go behind the curtain and see what we were thinking and what we were creating. It was crazy stuff, but we had a lot of fun. After the ball dropped in Times Square and this new year was rung in, I wrote a post on the a’tris blogs about the results of our project, which you can read ““. The main takeaway for us was that, over the course of 2011, we successfully wrote and demoed 22 new songs, over 2 albums’ worth of material.

Now what do we do with all of these new songs? Well, the first challenge an artist faces when putting a record together is sorting through his or her production to find the material that really stands out. While this may sound easy to some, it can be pretty difficult for many artists. Have you ever had trouble deciding which flavor of ice cream you’d like to buy? I always have a hard time settling on a sub sandwich (or grinder for you North Eastern readers). It seems like there’s a bodega on every street corner in New York City and they all offer more choices of combinations than I can count. The problem artists face is not too dissimilar. We all have our favorites, but we have to consider if those favorites work well with the rest of our material. I love chicken salad. I also enjoy jalapeños. I can’t say I like the sound of a jalapeño and chicken salad sandwich. Maybe that’s just me. Fortunately, our fans have made the selection process for our next record a little easier. The #songaweek demos that had the most likes and comments on YouTube are now getting a free pass on to our new album. We think that these songs work really well together. But we’re not content to just release a record of great songs. We want to create experiences. And that will require new material and a lot of studio time which – in turn – will require a lot of capital. The next part of our journey is to create a great product that we can share with you. We’re currently working on the logistics behind that and we hope to have more information to share with you soon.

I recently had a chance to go behind the scenes of one my favorite television shows. The guest who was being taped was a well-known director and I was interested to see what he had to say about his latest film. What stood out to me the most during his extended chat with the host (a good portion of these interviews always hits the cutting-room floor when they air on TV) was that, despite his name and past successes, it took him over five years to get his new movie made and he said he forgot how many studios passed on the project. So I think it’s fair to say that it’s never easy to release an entertainment product, regardless of the medium. With that said, I’ll end this post with something else the director mentioned that really rang true to me too. Regardless of how many countless hours one puts in to a creative work, it’s always worth it in the end. We’re very fortunate to share our art with you. You are the reason that we make it and we’re grateful for your support.

I hope you enjoyed this post and that you’ll reach out to me on Twitter @atris” “” or on the “a’tris blogs”“or “Facebook” “


Finding Clarity in the Obtuse:Mason Taylor Describes a’tris

front:  Mason Taylor, l to r: Nate Lueck,  Ben Azar, Travis Abel.

front: Mason Taylor, l to r: Nate Lueck, Ben Azar, Travis Abel.

New York- based group a’tris draw from myriad of influences….

Hometown: Clarence, NY
Genres: Alternative / Rock
Members: Mason Taylor – Vocals/Keyboard, Ben Azar – Guitar, Nate Lueck – Bass, Travis Abel – Drums

 “The songwriting process really depends on the song. Our goal is always to do what’s best for the tune, so the process is pretty fluid. Usually Mike and Nate will bring an idea to me from which I write a melody and lyrics. These ideas are usually presented in the form of music beds, or rudimentary arrangements.”

Listening to a’tris reminds me of the time I discovered Aphex Twin and Radiohead. Sophisticated beats, smooth synths and  psychedelic guitars   create a suave atmosphere that is distinctive and also pleasurable listening experience. a’tris is the brainchild of Mason Taylor, from the Berklee College of Music, and producer/songwriter Michael Kreher. Taylor and Kreher added co-writer/guitarist Ben Azar,then came Nate Lueck on Bass and Travis Abel on drums. Since then the band have drawn from interesting styles to create their own music that not moves the crowd to their feet but also makes on ponder about existential angst .

Mason Taylor talks to Sphere Music

Your music is very atmospheric and I love your occasional use of female vocals . What influenced you to create this direction as opposed to the current trend in your bands right now?

Thanks! We honestly just try to write and record music that we’d want to listen to. Our thought is that, by taking this approach, regardless of how different the arrangements are or esoteric the music may be, there are going to be people like us out there who will want to buy it and share it with their friends.

You seem to be doing a lot of things left and right. What are your rules about performing, composing and taking time off?

This is a full-time job for us. There just aren’t any medical benefits or vacation days. This year, we launched a project that saw us releasing a new song and music video each week. That is currently on pause as Nate is touring with Ted Nugent. Usually we take breaks when opportunities for collaboration come up or members tour with other artists. The Ted Nugent tour, for example, was something that we just couldn’t let Nate pass up. If your readers would like to check out what we accomplished so far with this project, I hope they’ll take a moment to visit and/or

Please describe a’tris and how you got that band moniker?

a’tris is a collective of artists that make noise. Some people call it alternative. We wanted the name to be as obtuse as the sound. Hopefully people will like what we make and share it with their friends or dislike it and share it with their enemies. If people feel compelled to share it, then we’ve done our job.

I heard about you through Pierre Massé. He is from Canada and you are in New York. Social Networks are really good in building projects across domains and locations. Do you other musical projects based on interactions in cyberspace?

That’s great! We’re big fans of Pierre. I believe we met him through ReverbNation, although I may be mistaken. I feel like we’ve known him a while and we still haven’t had the pleasure of meeting in person. Social Networks are pretty cool. Pierre and I are friends in Facebook and, you’re right, he’s from Nate’s home country. That is pretty wild, huh? As a collective, we definitely use web tools a lot for creation and collaboration. We recently worked with Tiger Darrow digitally on a cover of Jonathan Seet’s “A Million Hungry Eyes.” We met Jonathan online as well and we’re big fans of both of those artists. You can check out that tune at Hope you enjoy it!

Whither one is listening to headphones or big speakers it is easy to notice sound details.You create atmospheric music that’s edgy and at the same time good in terms of the recording quality. Please tell us about your studio gadgets.
5. Thanks! I’m not really the best person to answer that question. My focus is more on the songwriting than the production and engineering. However, I know that Mike and Nate are big fans of Digital Performer and Logic respectively. In terms of the microphones and other equipment used, Shure gave us some pretty sweet gear a while back and we’re really enjoying using those products. With that said, I really believe in the adage “it’s the ear, not the gear” and I’ve heard some really great recordings made with shockingly inexpensive tech.

What’s the song writing process?

The songwriting process really depends on the song. Our goal is always to do what’s best for the tune, so the process is pretty fluid. Usually Mike and Nate will bring an idea to me from which I write a melody and lyrics. These ideas are usually presented in the form of music beds, or rudimentary arrangements. Although, sometimes they are pretty far along by the time they get to me. From there, I may or may not chop those ideas up and add my own. And, once I’m finished, they may or may not dice my ideas up and add theirs. In some cases, Mike brings lyrics to the table or a melody for certain sections. In others, we virtually write the songs on our own before presenting them. Regardless of how the song comes to life, more often than not, we end up ripping each other’s ideas to shreds somewhere along the way. Expletives are hurled. Knives are drawn. It can be a pretty a very graphic process, honestly.

Interesting! Last question how do you see yourself a few years from now in terms of being in the music industry and also projects?

Thanks! I couldn’t tell you, really. Our goal is to share our music with as many people as possible and to make a living by creating art. My hope is that, down the road, we might get to a place where we are able to sustain ourselves entirely through the creation of music. It would be an honor to support other artists as well. I guess we’ll see. The most important thing to me now is to focus on the present. I’m happy with where we are today and we are creating great new material. I think that’s what matters the most.

Thanks again for taking the time to speak with me! I hope your readers will enjoy what we’re doing and invite them to visit us on the web at or to search for us on their favorite social networks.