Giving one big finger to trends, genres and mediocrity has been Mason’s mantra for over twenty years. His studio creations and energy behind the decks are a direct reflection of this personality. Equal parts groove, melody and eccentricity the Dutchman avoids jumping on electronic music bandwagons at all costs. “I could make club music fodder all day, but that would just bore me shitless. I like to challenge myself and my audience a bit more than that!” says Mason on his production ethos.
There aren’t too many producers out there capable of making credible underground bangers and radio-friendly hits simulta- neously but Mason is surely one of them. With a palette borrowed from formative years immersed in hip-hop, house, electro, funk and disco there are no rules to his musical alchemy. Its really just about having fun and avoiding the usual clichés of the scene.
Born Iason Chronis, entertainment is in this boy’s blood. All of his family ply their trade in the arts, with an actress mother, a sculptor father and a sister on stage, film and TV. It was inevitable that the young Iason would also a similar creative path entertaining people somehow. After singing in a famous kids TV series in The Nether- lands at the age of seven - think Sesame Street without the puppets - the boy started to hang out in big recording studios. Fascinated by the huge desks and banks of gear his love affair with music and its technology began.
By the mid-nineties, the young Mason had started to DJ, albeit from humble beginnings. He’s proud of an early residence in a seedy Amsterdam dive where off-duty hookers and various freaks gathered to dance in the early hours. It certainly gave the rookie DJ a chance to hone his skills in front of a very tough crowd. Fast-forward a few decades and the unassuming Dutch producer/DJ is fulfilling his ambitions by creating music and playing clubs and festivals in over 50 countries and counting...
Given the Dutch trait for not shouting about one’s achievements too loudly, we’ll try and keep things low key here even though there’s a lot to tell. You may know Mason from his breakout single back in 2007 (‘Exceeder’), yet he would be the first to tell you that things have moved on a hell of a lot since those times. In only the last two years he’s had releases on respected labels such as Island Records, Defected, Kittball, Sweat It Out, Skint and Bunny Tiger.
There have been two fully-fledged artist albums by Mason, featuring a plethora of guest artists. He’s so far managed to persuade the likes of Roisin Murphy, The Noisettes, Aqualung, Hercules & Love Affair and Jocelyn Brown to join him. Even hip-hop royalty the like of Daryl “DMC” McDaniels, Kurtis Blow and Sway have found themselves on Mason records. More recent partners in crime include Stefflon Don, Alex Clare and The Manor.
Then there’s his own label, Animal Language; a musical menagerie for Mason’s weird and wonderful creations. This is usually music that is just too damn strange and obnoxious for most labels out there. It has featured ‘Refurbs’, the ‘Nite Rite’ series and scores of knarly tunes from a host of producer mates. The Animal Language boys tend to celebrate by throwing weird and wonderful guerilla raves in strange spaces. They are drunken guided tours hosted in unfasionable bars, empty stores and even buses. The so-called ‘Animal Language Raves’ have become legend on the word of mouth party scene in Amsterdam. They are very messy affairs.
To say this boy is prolific is a bit of an understatement. There have been scores of singles released since that one tune dropped over a decade ago. Beatport number 1’s, BBC Radio playlists and “Hottest Record In The World”, Hollywood movie features and numerous TV ads. There’s been no slacking in the studio Iason refers to as ‘the cave’.The guy is a self-confessed workaholic who thrives on the graft of creating.
This year sees Mason ramp up his activities with world-renowned features. First up is a house banger with The Noisettes front-woman Shingai Shoniwa. Also in the pipeline are some collaborations with producer peers and more off-kilter club ammunition for his fave underground labels.
In what is becoming a very trend driven, genre-specific world Mason constantly strives against the norm by creating music on his own terms. The most important thing is simply making what he’d like to play that will also engage his fans on a dance floor or over the ether. He pays no heed to what this month’s current media darlings are dropping nor does he wear a baseball cap or have full sleeve tattoos either. What Mason does have is a unique vibe and ‘fuck you’ attitude to making music that is infectious and refreshing.