Reece Mastin was only 16 years old when he stole Australia’s heart taking out the third The X Factor series win back in 2011. After two best-selling albums, the now 20-year-old returns with his brand new EP Rebel and the Reason and a single of the same name already hitting up the charts. We chat to the man himself about finding a new sound, his fans and going international…
Let’s start with the new single “Rebel and the Reason” It’s been described to have more of an edgier, rock-laden sound than your previous songs. Why did you decide to change you up sound?
It’s always been something that I’ve wanted to do. I’ve always wanted to get the set that we do live into the studio and get it done properly. So yeah, I think it’s kind of a bit of touring and what I’ve always wanted to do.
Was there some nervousness in changing your sound?
Yeah, absolutely. There was always doubt but the vibe we got from the tour we thought that they were digging that sound so we took a risk but there’s definitely still nerves there. We’ve already tried a couple of the tracks out on the road . We’ve played one of them for about two years and “Rebel” we’ve been playing for about a year now as well. But we just seem to try them out on the road and we’ve changed [the songs] a little bit since we first wrote them but they sound good.
Were you worried that fans who like the old stuff won’t necessarily like the new stuff, and fans who like the new stuff may not like the old stuff?
[It’s] kind of a mix. People who have come through the whole journey with me and that have come in just now and obviously they’ll be people who will drop off as the time goes on I’m sure but it’s been evolving quite nicely.
What’s the song “Rebel and the Reason” about?
I wrote that one with Ben Rodgers and Jean-Paul Fung. It always sounded really quite anthemic and like it could have a really nice message behind it so we went for the journey that goes through quite a bit of hardship and the innocence that gets lost in-between. All this hardship gets regained at the end again so it’s something that could be spread across a bunch of different platforms and hopefully a lot of the fans can connect to it and take something away from it.
Have you started planning for the music video? What can we expect of the music video?
Yeah. We shot it the other day and it’s pretty powerful. It’s pretty strong and it’s got a good message behind it as well so I’m pretty pumped to see the final cut. It’s all getting edited and being put together so when I get to see the finished copy I’ll be able to let everyone know.
So why do an EP with only 5 songs and not a full length album?
We were going to just do “Rebel” at the start and I thought it’s been so long the fans deserve a little more before we do the album. I wanted to do a little bit more so I just chucked another four songs on there. They’re the ones I thought that the fans would like as well so I just wanted to give them a little bit extra.
Is a full length album expected this year?
Yeah. We’re actually going to LA tomorrow to do some writing so we’ll hopefully have a record by the end of the year and hopefully we’ll get out and tour again after this one. Just keep going around in circles.
Will the five songs be on the full length?
No. It’ll probably be new. Unless we do like a separate version or something like that but I think it’ll all be fresh stuff.
There’s a song on the EP called “NR2DIE”. What does that mean?
It’s called Not Ready to Die. We only did it like that because Ben, who produced the record, he kept sending me NR2DIE and then I couldn’t imagine it any other way so we put it at the back of the record like that. I don’t think the fans are aware of that either. It’s actually “Not ready to die in” the song, we don’t sing NR2DIE.
You do a lot of writing for your albums. How do you get inspiration for your songs?
It’s kind of everything I think. It could be anything – things that you go through, things that you’re thinking of, or made up completely. Mainly with this one, it was kind of find some good topics and good messages to put in and it morphed from there. I’ve always liked writing as well. I’ve always like being a part of it. I feel more connected to a song when I’m singing it.
Would you ever write songs for someone else?
Yeah. If anyone would take them. [Laughs] We’ll have to see.
If you pre-order the EP, you can win an Adventure Day with you in Sydney. What does that entail?
We’re doing a bunch of stuff. It’s going to be kind of a small thing down here in Sydney. It’ll be a chilled thing and cool as well for me to see the fans. That’ll be awesome.
You’re starting a tour in June. What do you like best about touring?
I love touring. We get to go everywhere and see everyone. It’s always fun so I can’t wait to get back out. It’s always cool for me too because the fans are around the venue [and] the whole show but before hand and afterwards so it’s just a good vibe the whole time. We do meet and greets and they’re always waiting at the entrances so we always run into them somewhere.
Have you had any crazy fan moments?
Heaps. But they’re always funny. They like to go crazy sometimes. We had a show in Tasmania a while ago – it’s probably one of my favourite ones. We had this show, I think it was in the hotel we were staying at pretty much, so as we went to our rooms we got in the elevator and it was just packed with pretty much anyone that was at the show. Then as we were trying to get through everyone, as we got into the lift and as the doors closed, there were girls behind us that had snuck in the lift and knew what floor we were on. And they actually, kept knocking on, not what was my door, but the room got messed up and my guitar tech was in my room so he was just getting girls knocking on his door all day.
Do you get to see the towns and explore when you’re on the road?
Yeah we get some time off. Sometimes we have to go straight through but when we do its good to have a coffee or some food or grab a couple of beers somewhere.
There is often a lot of shit said about artists who come from reality-television backgrounds. Do you find yourself constantly having to prove yourself as an artist?
I think everyone does really. It’s been a while for me as well so I’m kind of a little bit more disconnected than some others, but I think once you get to a point where you’re comfortable enough with all you’re doing it kind of doesn’t matter as much anymore. But there’s always down falls that come with it and people that wanna get at ya but it’s not too bad.
So I want to talk about One Direction for a moment because you’re around the same age as he, with the same aged fan base and the same kind of music genre. Obviously Zayn left the band and his reasoning was that he wanted to life a more normal life. Do you feel the same way that you want a more normal life?
No. I always love music and never get sick of it. And I think he’s doing a record anyway but I’ve just never really got sick of it. I miss home every now and again but still get to go back and see them every now and again so I feel happy. I’ve never really had that.
Is the next step to go international?
Yeah, we’d love to. Obviously we’re going over to the States to write the rest of the album but I’d love to go over there an play some shows so we’re definitely looking at trying to do that. That’s definitely something in the future.
Rebel and the Reason will be available from May 1st.
For more information on Reece Mastin visit his website here: http://reecemastinofficial.com/