Dirty Impound Questionnaire

The Mast

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Listen to The Mast’s debut release here while you read!

The Mast - Haale (left) & Matt Kilmer (right)

Some music could exist in no other age than the current one, where information and sound fly at us in mercurial ways, a flood that’s both blessing and onslaught. Brooklyn-based The Mast is expansive, compellingly insistent and inarguably modern, a combination redolent of Rumi and Bjork, Sanskrit inscriptions and the holy urban poetry of Patti Smith, Throwing Muses and a touch of Thoreau – the gleaming arrow of tomorrow whizzing through past and present, insightful penetration and flight. For something so layered, The Mast is built by just two gifted musicians – Haale (vocals, electric guitar) and Matt Kilmer (percussion) – who keep things both densely packed and skipping limber.

The Mast’s debut, Wild Poppies (released June 21), is hypnotic but in a non-somnambulant way, carrying the listener to thoughtful depths with such a deft, light hand that one only realizes they’ve stumbled onto archetypal ground after their toes are buried in the cool, wet sand. Beginning with thoughts of other times and other lives, the album courses over lakes and hills before depositing one in a lucid dream, a final exhortation of empowerment – “I go everywhere in this empire/ I go everywhere/ I go higher.”

It’s a fine line walked with such lofty subject matter but The Mast is gutsy and rock & roll enough to escape any New Age tinge. This is spiritual practice that makes amplifiers shake while delicious drums caress and animate everything around them, an articulation in song of things hard to grasp, a luminous prayer for awakened humanity.

Sky, plant seeds in my mind
Music, keep me alive
The love I feel is the prize
The prize

Here’s what Matt and Haale had to say to our inquiries.

In true Mast-ian fashion, the answers are a mix of group and individual responses. Unless otherwise noted, a response is from The Mast.

1. Great music rarely happens without…
Inspiration, motivation, perspiration.
2. The first album I bought was…
Matt: Mötley Crüe’s Dr. Feelgood
Haale: Michel Jackson’s Thriller
3. The last song or album to really flip my wig was…
Delicate Steve’s Wondervisions, Buke and Gass’ Riposte; Juldeh Camara and Justin Adams’ Soul Science
4. When I was a kid I wanted to grow up to be…
Matt: a drummer
Haale: a singer
5. My favorite sort of gig is…
When the venue’s packed and people are sweating and dancing and digging the music.
6. One thing I wish people knew about me is…
Haale: My heroes are people researching and developing alternative energy sources – solar, geothermal, wind, hydroelectric; the Danish engineers who figured out how to turn garbage heaps into energy to power whole urban areas (that’s f-ing genius.); and people working to develop biodegradable plastic substitutes.
7. I love the sound of…
Brazillian insects doing polyrhythmic jams in the jungle. Rain on a tin roof. Malian blues. A freshly minted track we just made.
8. One day I hope to make an album as fantastic as…
Joni Mitchell’s Blue,’ Steve Wonder’s Innervisions, The Beatles’ Abbey Road, Jimi Hendrix’s Axis Bold as Love
9. The best meal I ever had on tour was at…
A Tapas restaurant in Amsterdam, and a homemade Indian feast at a friend’s house in Santa Cruz.
10. I always find the coolest audiences in…
They’re everywhere!
11. The worst habit I’ve picked up being on the road all the time is…
Forgetting to rest, eat and exercise.
12. Led Zeppelin or Radiohead, which flips your switch the most and why?
Zeppelin – classic through and through.
13. The craziest thing I ever saw was…
Matt: I saw a guy overdose on heroin on my first trip to NY at a friend’s house.

Haale: A man holding his breath for five minutes while deep sea diving with no gear on but a pair of goggles, just so he can spear a fish for lunch in the over-fished waters of the Phillipines – that was crazy!