The first Samuel Mason record Austin and I crafted was Phases. Our approach to creating each track was different compared to previous works. To start off, we decided to keep this project a two piece unit as it is the healthiest option for the band right now. Something just really clicks when Austin and I get into a practice session and shoot around ideas for songs.
With Phases, we would have a guitar riff like “Mr. Grey'' and build off of that. Then it would undergo a few different forms before we found the version that felt right to both of us.
Next, the lyrics that were written for Phases came from places of depression, regret, and lost loved ones. Yellowstone being one of the best examples of each emotion, I lost my grandmother about 8 years ago now, and I just wish our last conversation was better than it was. I was being a jerk to her over the phone and hung up on her rudely. A week later she passed and my world changed drastically losing someone I held close to my heart. Then after a couple years I had this enormous guilt on my shoulders and it ate me up almost every day until I wrote Yellowstone as a goodbye letter for her.
Now the recording and production process Austin and I went through was vastly different than before. We worked with our go to guy, Chris Learned, of Chance Productions. He really understands the sound we want and was eager to dive into the album with us. This record we actually chose to use computational drum kits as opposed to micing Austins kit mainly due to resource constraints at the time. This turned out to be a really fun way of dialing in the perfect drum tone we wanted. Austin would make the drum parts, I would record it on my iphone then we just plugged it into Cubase and viola! Also running my guitar directly into an interface and finding new tones that were more rock oriented was an ear opening experience because I was not familiar with pedals, amps, and just a lot of guitar lingo so I loved gaining that knowledge.
In retrospect, comparing the process of Phases to our new record, Black Masses, it is warming to see the growth and differences in writing. Phases incorporated my thoughts and feelings about my dad, long lost brother and grandmother not being a part of my life. Then Black Masses comes with this huge introspective analysis about my mental health, the people who have wronged me and continue to do so, and saying “Fuck em” they aren’t slowing me down.