Junior's Cave Music Interview with Kevin Masch
January 2011 Edition
Music Now Spotlight
by Isaac Davis Junior, BGS, MBA
What you will get from this next artist is real and honest music that comes from the heart. Meet Singer/Songwriter Kevin Masch who tells wonderful and colorful stories through his music. Check out what the artist had to say about his music in this recent spotlight with our publication.
Isaac: It’s an amazing time to be a DIY artist/performer/band/musician. What do you enjoy the most about being an indie performer?
Kevin: The fact that I answer to myself and to my fans. I perform my own songs in the fashion that I want to display them and people can take it or leave it. Do try to gussy up my product, yes, but I don’t believe my music is served justly by over produced staged performances; I’m not that good an actor. The audience knows when I am lying or talking about something I’ve told 100 times to 100 different towns.
Isaac: If you had an opportunity to sign with a major label, would you sign now knowing you may have to give up some of what you have build up over the years about you in the process?
Kevin: I think it all depends on what sort of deal you get. While it gets harder for major labels to make it viable for “smaller” acts to have the opportunity to be on their roster, smaller labels allow for that financial backing that allows your music to be taken to the next step. I have been seeing over time that it seems music is stepping back to the heydays of King Records, Paramount Records, and Vocalion. I am seeing smaller labels being sold by major labels and in doing so they are beginning to build in their own popularity.
The other option is to get a group of friends together and start your own label, if you can get backing and enough support from friends and fellow musicians you can automatically be on a small independent label. All that to say in the end you will almost always have to give something of your act up, you will whenever you make any major changes. I have been playing solo for a long time and that is comfortable to me, however, I am currently adding more musicians on stage and that has taken some getting used to and I have had to give up some of the things that I have developed over the years but it’s not always a bad thing. As long as you strive to keep the love for the music and the fans in mind, then that is essential to the music you make.
Isaac: I remembered Simon Cowell from American Idol talking about the “it” Factor that makes a musician/band stand out. What do you think is your “it” factor that makes you stand out from others in the music business?
Kevin: I think the ‘It factor’ is talent and truth. I think that talent comes in all shapes & sizes but if you believe in yourself, believe in what you’re doing, other people will see that & want to invest in the product you’re trying to sell. Truth is what you are selling and is what you believe in. The songs my fans seem to connect with the most are songs that deal with my core values and understandings. When I was just trying to be simple and honest, the life within the song came across the strongest.
Isaac: Why should music fans listen to your music? Describe what they are going to get when they listen to your music?
Kevin: I feel like I’m an artist for the common people. I write about experiences, things I see and it’s relatable to just about everyone. What I enjoy about music is the community I am in and the people I get to meet. The stories I hear weave into my own experiences and give me inspiration for song. I hope people gain a feeling or idea from my music that inspires them & makes them agents of change.
Isaac: Briefly describe your humble beginnings that led you to where you are at musically now.
Kevin: I grew up in church and when I got my first guitar at 17, I started writing right away. I didn’t know if I wanted to begin to write religious material or ‘devil music’ so I just started to write. The devil won that battle in the end (joking). I learned I just wanted write about life and life is trouble, love, and death.
Isaac: You have some strong iconic influences. Of these influences, which artist/band do you relate to the most and why?
Kevin: I was raised on James Taylor; he became the skeletal structure for my music. It seems no matter what style I try to master, his musical touch always seems to be evident. Ray Charles and Johnny Cash gave me my nervous system and they helped point me to that the American truth of hard work and honesty will serve you best in whatever life you get. Finally, Bob Dylan gave me everything else. What I took from Bob Dylan is that music has always been there and while you may really love an artist, to truly understand their music you HAVE to research who influenced them and you just keep researching until you have an upside down musical tree. I have discovered Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson, Skip James, Charlie Patton, Hank Williams, and one big influence John Lee Hooker through all of that.
Isaac: Do you feel that Indie music gets the respect it deserves? Why or why not?
Kevin: It’s hard for Indie musicians. There is this notion that you have to ‘pay your dues’ which you do to a certain point, but a lot of people give up because they want the recognition now. All good things come to those who wait. The reason I like ‘Indie’ music is because it’s pure & not in your face. You take it or leave it. In talking about respect – I think Indie musicians are respected but just because they aren’t on The Grammy’s or Top 40 radio, doesn’t mean they lack respect. It just means they don’t have the financial backing that mainstream artists do. If you’re true to your craft, none of the other stuff matters. If your friends & community respect you, that’s all that counts.
Isaac: If you could change one thing about the music business, what would it be and why?
Kevin: I’d spread the wealth and encourage pirate radio. There are a lot of radio stations out there that play just major mainstream music and a sprinkling of stations that play independent music. I’d love to turn on my radio and hear a radio station’s dejay just playing the music they like, from their private collection. The closest thing to that we have are podcasts so the idea is out there, I just want to have all my radio dials filled up with stations that play the music I love and the no-name artists I have never heard of.
Isaac: What type of feedbacks have you been receiving about your music from fans and music critics?
Kevin: They seem to love my “love” songs and my “death” songs. I have been very privileged to be a part of big moments in my fan’s lives. One fan, I played at her wedding reception and another I wrote and performed a song that she walked down the aisle to. A lot of fans tell me they enjoy the “road trip” quality in my music, this is amazing to me because aside from just trying to come up with some music that entertains, I really strive to create a sonic environment that allows my music to be with the listener without being intrusive to their moment. I personally enjoy songs that grab my attention in small ways, with a perfectly turn of lyric or just music that creates a room either big or small. So when someone tells me that they like to listen to me while they drive through the night or wherever around the world, I feel so privileged.
Isaac: If you knew that you would never gain fame and fortune with what you are doing now, would you continue to make music? Explain.
Kevin: I believe this is the question you have to ask yourself every day. And honestly I don’t say yes every time but most days it is ‘yes’. I believe as an indie artist you shouldn’t be ashamed of working another job, cleaning, making coffee, or working at an office, as long as you are demanding the flexibility needed for your music you should keep striving for the “Indie Truth”. I think that is, the understanding of your desire for fame and fortune and being open to that should it pass you by, while having the complete content in making the best music that no one will ever hear on any radio station.
Isaac: How do you handle negative feedback or negative energy about your music?
Kevin: Everyone is entitled to their opinion; obviously I prefer to hear from the positive but negative feedback is needed if just to keep you grounded. You have to come to grips with the knowledge that you can’t please everyone and you may make enemies along the way but keep making truth music and you shouldn’t question yourself.
Isaac: What role do your family and friends play in the equation of your pursuant of a music career?
Kevin: My family has always been my rock. They have always been my biggest fans, my parents will travel for my shows and often if I perform within driving distance for them, they will be there for the show. My wife has been the root for me here in Nashville; she has been the one kicking my butt in gear. I think we all know how musicians can get distracted pretty easily; my wife got her degree in business so she is a major force in my music career. Plus family is a great source of inspiration, I’ve written about my niece, my wife, and my grandmother.
Isaac: What is the best site/s that you can be found on the Internet?
Kevin: You can go to www.kevinmasch.com for a hub of connection and information. You can also find me atwww.myspace.com/masch for my music and then always Twitter and Facebookhttp://twitter.com/#!/KevinMasch and http://www.facebook.com/KevinMasch
Isaac: The floor is yours; final words…..
Kevin: Thank you for the interview and I hope that everyone is happy and healthy. Please check out my tour schedule, new shows are always being added. I’ve got a new EP coming out in early February “Love Songs” it is a follow up to my release last May, “Death and Taxes”. Keep up with what is happening here in “Maschville”, as my mom calls it, check out those websites and let’s be friends. If you can make it out to a show please come up and say hi, I love to talk. In the mean time if you can’t see me on stage, there are a lot of great Unheard bands just like me making great music too. Support your local music scene and sooner or later you will have the best music scene around. Our best chances of making it are you guys so please spread the word about your favorite acts; hopefully you’ll put a good word in for me too.