Adam Masterson worships John Lennon, David Bowie and all the early “rebels” in “Bring Back the Freaks”
On November 7, 2016, Leonard Cohen passed away, but his passing was somewhat overshadowed by election night consumption in the United States. At that time, Adam Masterson remembered how easily some of our cultural icons are forgotten. “It was just the news flash in the middle of this election,” the New York-based singer and songwriter said. “These great artists leave, and then we just have algorithms and playlists. “
Immersed in the world of counterculture and pre-hour 60s movements, London-born Masterson began writing his postcard against the counterculture on ‘Bring Back the Freaks’, a tribute to those which preceded a more marked and digitized world which replanted the art of its most popular.
“These artists, maybe they weren’t changing the world, but they were definitely changing consciousness and moving it forward in a way that felt healthy where ‘wow people go somewhere,'” says Masterson. “Then they started to come out of the building – Prince, David Bowie. “
Originally recorded live in March 2020 at co-producer Craig Dreyer’s Mighty Toad studio in Brooklyn, New York, with drummer Charley Drayton (Bob Dylan), bassist Brett Bass and Ben Stivers on piano and vibraphone, the song was then mixed. by Paul Stacey at Realworld Studios in Bath, England during the lockdown. “It was a spare moment collection of wonderful talent at a time quite disturbing for the world,” Masterson said of his ensemble, “recorded just in time”.
Moving to the UK to overcome the pandemic, Masterson continued to polish two additional songs from the session, “Wild Wolves” and “Trap Door Heart,” which were due for release in 2022, while adding the finishing touches to “Bring Back the Freaks ”, including a string arrangement by James Hallawell, which was followed via Zoom.
Driven by the idea that geeks took over the world and that freaks – the early pioneers of culture – were forgotten (the high mystical priests of which the voices have ceased), the song goes through more questionable states and is a roll call of “rebels of the past,” names like John Lennon, David Bowie, occultist Aleister Crowley and novelist Charles Bukowski.
“It all comes down to the monsters,” said Masterson, singing bring back the monsters .. where are our beautiful beasts. I can’t get used to you geeks. “When they were school kids they were a little weird, and they grew up to be those kind of heroic characters who just believed in themselves. You look around now, and there’s no more room for it.
“Bring Back the Freaks” also explores life in a digital, social media-driven world. “Our lives are increasingly online, and it’s a paradigm that’s kind of designed for us,” says Masterson, who referred to producer T Bone Burnett’s take on the danger of tunnel vision. to be programmed in a digital world. “He was talking about how the ‘Worldwide Web’ was this really exciting time for humanity, a great peer-to-peer democratization simpatico, and this great interface where we could communicate, but it was picked up by six companies that guide all of our living. It’s gotten to the point where if people want to leave Facebook, they don’t know where to go.
Life and art rely more on self-marketing and branding. “We become less and less Luddite over time,” says Masterson. “Now music and art are more about branding. Back then, freaks had their own brand, but they didn’t think of it that way. They were just those naturally charismatic individuals. It goes against the trend today because people want to steal that cool from them. They don’t want someone to find themselves in a situation that hinders branding.
He adds, “We all embrace this convenience, but our world is changing. Culture is more of an add-on, but it’s very healthy for all of us mentality and psyche. The fragment is what we feel now.
Visually, the video, hosted by Callum Scott-Dyson, follows a character wandering through the many themes of the lyrics and ultimately portrays the power that music must unite.
“Music brings people together,” said Masterson, who is also releasing a holiday single “Don’t Be Alone on Christmas,” released Dec. 7 as Greensmith & Masterson, with all proceeds going to Save The Children. .
“Some may say it’s a spiritual thing, but it’s definitely something that comes from their natural elemental source,” Masterson adds. “You engage with someone, and it’s given to you as a gift, as a blessing, and it’s a lesson in humility. The audience is connected, and that kind of engagement, it’s a very natural thing, and it kind of bypasses whatever we worry about, what we think about, and pulls us away from that.
Photo: Robert Ascroft