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Light Fantastic

Although Steve Mason has made a living from music since The Beta Band signed to Parlophone 22 years ago, the creative powerhouse has only recently come to terms with being a professional musician. It’s a positive attitude That’s shaped his new album About The Light. Mason tells John Earls how marriage, fatherhood and a fresh work ethic have made him a changed human

Much has changed about Steve Mason’s life since he released his previous album Meet he Humans in 2016. His joyful new record About he Light is his irst to be written since moving to Brighton. He’s got married, had a baby daughter and, as a result of having a family to provide for, he Beta Band’s former maverickin- chief has realised for the irst time That making music is his actual job. Sat with a lunchtime cofee in a quiet pub close to Hove station, where he meets Long Live Vinyl, Mason is self-deprecatingly funny about the reality of his profession – a trait he excels at although, as soon becomes clear, he’s also determined for the irst time to shout from the rootops about how great his new album is. “I never wanted to admit I was a professional musician before,” he smiles. “Saying those words sounded so fucking boring, like saying: ‘I work in inance’. Nobody asks you a question if you say you’re a professional musician, because they’re walking away from you in the opposite direction.”

WThat did Mason think he was? “An artist.

Which I deinitely still am. But now I realise just how much I have to work at it. If you want to be one of the greats, you have to pull your inger out and work.” Mason cites wThat he sees as the failings of Meet he Humans as realising he needed to rethink his music. “A lot of That album is quite lazy,” he admits. “here are great moments, Planet Sizes and Hardly Go hrough are fucking good, but a lot of it could have been on my album as King Biscuit Time 15 years ago. And That’s not good enough.

It was a bit autopilot, and I was sick of my quiet, multi-layered whispering voice. Yes, I can sound passionate at a very low volume, it’s wThat I’m best-known for. But on this record, I wanted to see if I can really sing.” Having met his wife, ilm festival worker Tayba, while making Meet he Humans, Mason goes further: “he sadness in those songs isn’t really where I was in my life.”

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