Alex, 23 (who goes by Sebb Masters) and Will, 24 are both upcoming musicians from London. The two combined their eclectic skills during the summer of lockdown last year to create their next single ‘Closer To You’. I had a chat to them about their new release and got to know a little more about them in the process.
1. Will, how did you react when Alex sent you the lyrics for ‘Closer To You’?
I smiled. His lyrics have always excited me because there’s so much in them – he never wastes a single word. He sent it to me in what was a tough time for most people, and in a time when I personally was struggling creatively, and so to be sent a song of that quality from such a good mate just made me super happy for him.
2. How did you find the process of recording at home for ‘Closer To You’?
Yeah it was fun! I was at home with some of my family over lockdown when I recorded it. Alex has got me involved in a bunch of his projects so we get how the other works and it’s always fun. He sends me voice notes and outlines what he wants from me and I always feel comfortable trying to add little bits to the melody or the phrasing. It was really cool seeing it all come together without any of us leaving our homes.
3. Out of the songs you and Sebb have released together which would you say is your favourite?
Ooh, that’s tricky…They’re all so good and Recreation is such a bop, but I honestly think Closer to You is my favourite. I just think he’s found a new direction that really works and sounds sick.
4. Regarding mainstream music over the past 10 years would you say it’s improved or declined?
Not by much, but I’d maybe say that the mainstream has declined a bit. I feel it’s the peripheral music that’s really great. The sub-genres of pop and the more obscure, underground electronic and rap music is what I personally find myself listening to a lot of. I guess it’s just that the trend of TikTok chart toppers kinda annoys me a bit.
5. Current artist or musician you’re listening to a lot at the moment and why?
I’m listening to a lot of A.G. Cook and re-listening to loads of Beatenburg. Both are very different, but I stumbled across A.G. Cook recently and was just blown away by some of the sounds he’s able to make. His 2020 album 7G is split into 7 parts and all the songs on there just sound so different from each other, it’s awesome. I listened to Beatenburg a bit a while ago, but didn’t really listen to them properly. I haven’t stopped playing their 2014 album The Hanging Gardens of Beatenburg. Their lyrics and melodies are some of the nicest things I’ve heard in a while – every song makes me smile. So that’s nice.
6. Out of all the artists you admire whom would you say gives you the most inspiration?
As Alex mentioned earlier, I don’t think anyone is more into The 1975 than I am so definitely them. Jeremy Zucker is another one as well. Both of them produce themselves and have really developed unique sounds for themselves. They’re both able to release hit after hit which is pretty cool.
7. If you could change anything about the music industry what would it be?
Especially at the moment with there not being any live shows, I would love for there to be more money in streaming. I think it’s ridiculous that 1% of the industry is able to live off streaming and everyone else makes pennies.
8. In 3 words how would you describe your sound?
Dreamy. Pretty. Synths.
9. Best advice you’ve been given in regards to the music industry?
Probably just taking opportunities and networking. When I first started taking it all seriously, I was just sort of looking forward and thinking about myself. But super important people are around you, you just have to look up and take notice. You never know who you might stumble across that could help do your artwork, or produce for you or play guitar on a track or something. So yeah, be friendly and open to meeting people.
10.Genre you’ve yet to experiment with but would like to?
Shoegaze-y indie rock – I’ve always been keen to make something with lots of guitars and live drums, but i’m not really a guitarist and no nothing about drums. I’d love to make some proper authentic live band stuff. I just feel like it would be a nice switch up from all the electronic, computer stuff I’m making at the moment.
11. Finally, where do you ideally see yourself with your musical career in 10 years time?
Oof, big question… I would like to have found decent success with my solo career, done a whole bunch of live shows, and maybe some festivals, because I’ve only really done gigs when singing for Alex! I’m also really keen to set up an independent label that works with kinda obscure UK artists of all genres and styles, but mainly electronic music and rap, and I’d love to run events by the label and get all the artists performing live. So yeah, would very much like to be comfortable in both the artist and the management worlds. We’ll see what happens!
By Lucy Adams