“A tumbling funk of broken monkeys,” are the words Mason Reed would use to describe his live performances. The Seattle-based singer-songwriter is back after touring around the world for most of the past ten years with the goal of playing one show per day. He played more than 1,000 shows over the course of 500,000 miles. Though he does believe the internet to be, “an opportunity like never before for an artist to take his or her career into their own hands,” Mason Reed promoted himself by simply selling records to people face to face.
Reed has had musical inclinations from a young age and notes that he has always wanted to write songs. His initial inspiration to start was his grandmother, whose baby grand piano he would play whenever he visited her house. “She had perfect pitch. I could play any note on the piano and she would tell me exactly which note it was. She was the first person responsible for cultivating my musical curiosity,” he explains. Reed has expanded his horizons and now plays acoustic guitar, percussion, piano, organ, harmonica, and vocals. His more recent inspirations include Seattle musicians in general as Reed is continuously impressed by the amount of talent in the area.
Main themes in Mason Reed songs include, “Broken hearts, rotten chances, unfulfilled promises, women your mother warned you about, and murder.” He explains that he rarely writes a set list and, though he generally has a first song chosen prior to the start of a performance, he prefers to allow the crowd’s energy decide the order of his songs. Not every aspect of performing has been easy for him, though, as he has had to overcome stage fright which has proven to be his largest obstacle as an artist. “It took me years of playing gigs to get over my fear of singing my songs in front of people,” he explains, “Once you hear from enough people that you’re good enough you start to believe and the fear goes away.”
When he’s not performing, you can find Reed managing his favorite Seattle music venue, Tim’s Tavern which hosts live shows seven nights a week, or hanging out at home eating soup with his dog, Elvis. He describes his music-making process as, “pure magic,” and encourages people who want to begin playing to, “follow your muse.” He says that his own end goal is, “to feel all the feelings, to bask in the mystery of it all and help others do the same.”
In addition to working on a new album, his main project currently is making Tim’s Tavern, “the best little venue in Seattle.” Catch Mason Reed at the Substation on Wednesday, February 28 or at his home base, Tim’s Tavern, on March 3. If you can’t make it out, check out Reed’s music at https://masonreed.bandcamp.com.