Braggadocio meets ‘Blade Runner’: Desmond Masé releases new future punk inspired track

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Braggadocio meets ‘Blade Runner’: Desmond Masé releases new future punk inspired track

Desmond Mase

With his track ‘REBEL’ set for release tomorrow, we speak to Desmond Masé about his inspirations, music making and sci-fi films.

Documenting mankind’s legacy of self-destruction, Desmond Masé is a Melbourne-based artist, writer and producer. He’s unleashing his latest sci-fi inspired rebellion song ‘REBEL’ tomorrow, his follow up to his well received dystopian soul groover ‘MOVES’. You can catch him headlining The Boîte’s show at Open Studio in Northcote tonight, playing as part of ‘Portfolio Project’. He’ll also be appearing as part of The Boîte’s big showcase in October at Music Market in Collingwood Yards.

The broader project in which ‘REBEL’ (and ‘MOVES’) exists is very much a love letter to the filmmakers I admire, the ones who helped shape my creative stylings, who showed me the power of escapism, who provided the spark and source material for the current audio journey I’m carving out,” Desmond Masé says.

Check out Melbourne’s most comprehensive gig guide here. 

I studied film and television when I was younger, and have always been a full on sci-fi nerd, those extra features on the blu-ray/dvd discs… that’s my favourite post movie pastime, I’m that guy. Once I’ve watched a film, I try to understand as much about the process and practice of creating it as possible.”

My mood/vision board has images of Spielberg, Cameron, Scott, Nolan, Villeneuve, as well as Luxo Jr. on it… themes, narrative, concepts, characters, story, I get off on all of that stuff. When I start a song, I don’t just think of that few minutes of sound, I think of the world that those sounds can exist in, the sonic universe, the space and time that the song inhabits.”

“‘REBEL’ is an incredibly personal statement for me, more so than anything else I’ve done, a piece about my place in the musical landscape, my visions, and my intent to establish my own sound. I guess I just see scenes when I make sounds – perhaps it’s some sort of synesthesia.”


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Building upon the genre-bending foundations set by 2021’s self produced album ‘The Outsider Project’, ‘REBEL’ finds Desmond and long-time collaborator Jan Skubiszewski doubling down on the alt rock 90’s aesthetic, and layering on contemporary urban aspects for this raucous number. Think Run The Jewels meets Rage Against The Machine, Kendrick Lamar meets Nine Inch Nails, N*E*R*D* meets Radiohead.

“‘The Outsider Project’ was all done ‘in house’ at my apartment, while navigating lockdowns, and self imposed deadlines, a completely self indulgent, self performed, and self produced passion project. ‘TOP’ was pure reflection on what I was witnessing and experiencing, the musings of an outsider struggling to understand the world. 

There were no real rules, expectations, or lines to stay inside of, so I just took the broadest strokes possible, threw everything at it. In a very turbulent time ‘TOP’ was like my thesis and my therapy.”

“’REBEL’ and ‘MOVES’ on the other hand was a collaborative effort, both were recorded at Red Moon Studios with long-time collaborator/mentor, Jan Skubiszewski (Lemon Tree Music, John Butler, Illy, Dan Sultan, Red Dog: True Blue, Two Hands) providing guidance and expertise from behind the producer’s chair. Having Jan in the room allowed me to free myself of the pressures of having to consider all the aspects, and provided a welcoming sounding board for different approaches and takes.”

“I could just focus on being the ‘artist’ and knowing that whichever way I chose to steer the ship, Jan would get it to the destination in a way that still represented my sound while stripping all the unnecessary ‘Desmondisms’ away. Jan was a trusted co-pilot that helped bring a more focused vision to the forefront, and I think the 2 tracks we’ve completed show much more clarity in the composition.:

‘TOP’ helped me build the foundations, and I’ll forever be proud of it, but Jan’s experienced hand has helped lift me to another level.”

There’s a clear sonic identity emerging within ‘REBEL’, and Desmond Mase is using these recent releases as a way to showcase his unique artistic vision, and stake his claim for a more prominent place in the musical landscape.

I’d describe my sound as ‘FuturePunk/DystopianSoul/Sci-FiHip-Hop’ which all makes sense to me in terms of the vast array of influences I had growing up (science fiction, a nomadic childhood, concept rock, 90’s pop, 00’s hip hop, an over enthusiastic imagination). 

I came to realise over the last few years that I wasn’t exactly going to slide straight into any of the popular contemporary genres, so I decided to go with what came naturally, and that turned out to be wailing, crooning, and flowing over distorted guitars and big beats, for the most part.”

“It wasn’t really my intention to find myself borderless stylistically, but I’ve never been a genre warrior, and this mashup is where I ended up.”

As well as headlining the performance at Open Studio tonight as part of The Boîte’s ‘Portfolio Project’, he’ll also be a part of the big showcase in October at Music Market in Collingwood Yards.

It’s been great to be back at it. I did a launch for MOVES on my birthday, and obviously that was in a room full of my favourite people on the planet,” he says on performing live after being in lockdown for so long. 

I guess there was a tiny bit of nervousness initially, but I genuinely love what I do, and am grateful every chance I get to do it. When I think about it that way, any fear turns to excitement.

The team at The Boite have been so wonderful. From a totally personal level it’s felt uplifting to have others enjoy and understand what I’m trying to do, to have industry professionals give feedback and champion my work definitely adds fuel to the fire. I’ve kind of always just done what I’ve done, but to have some backing and investment through The Portfolio Project, it spurs me on to do it better.”

Supporting excellent artists from diverse cultural communities, The Boîte is an organisation that has been celebrating cultural diversity since 1979.  Creating opportunities for 10 emerging culturally diverse artists, their Portfolio Project showcase is a series of gigs that aims to amplify the voices of Melbourne’s best up and coming musicians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Through their dynamic presentation of unique cultural experiences, The Boîte have presented and promoted hundreds of excellent and diverse musicians born in over 100 different countries.

Grab your tickets to Desmond Masé’s performance at Open Studios tonight by heading here. Pre-save ‘REBEL’ by heading here