Music Editor


Mason Hill frontman Scott Taylor reflects on finding success in lockdown and chasing childhood dreams

Five years after their self-titled EP made waves in the hard rock scene, Glasgow five-piece Mason Hill are back with their debut full-length album, Against the Wall. The band formed from the long-time friendship of lead singer Scott Taylor and guitarist James Bird, who began writing the first Mason Hill tracks over a decade ago. With the addition of Marc Montgomery, Matthew Ward, and Craig McFetridge, the band is set to tour the UK with 18 months of pent-up, locked-down energy.

I caught up with Scott ahead of the tour to discuss Against the Wall, the Cathouse, and whether it’s acceptable to be a Phil Collins fan.   

The Glasgow Guardian

How have you found the song-writing process has changed since you and James’ time at Clydebank High School versus writing for Against the Wall

Scott Taylor

I was 17, and it was probably from that age that we started the first kind of actual songwriting, and it would be just us getting drunk together and on a Saturday night with his guitar. He would always make these four-minute-long intricate guitar solos. But then Where I Belong  was written, and that was one of the first times we realized we had actually made “songs”. From there, it got more professional and now we’re at the point where we’re not even together when we do it.  

GG

Do you find it harder working together remotely?

ST

It’s actually suiting both of us because I can work on something, send it over, and he can patch me for a week and just listen to it until he has something to send me over and I can do the same. But when you’re together on paid time and the pressure’s there to come up with something, we’d just be sitting there going “we’re wasting money”. We’d always come up with something, but it wouldn’t be good. And in Mason Hill, we know how to write a bad song, trust me. 

GG:  

I don't believe it. 

ST:  

It's so easy to do. I can make you a bad song in 10 seconds, but I feel like that part of our life is gone and I'm so happy about it. Because now that the album came out and had some success, we finally have some confidence, which is something that we've never had. The week before the album came out, we were terrified we were going to go down like that Cyberpunk game. 

GG

No one wants to be Cyberpunk 2077

ST

Exactly, and no one wants to be the Star Wars of the 2000s, and you're just so scared that you've built yourself up too big and you’re gonna fall down that approach.  

GG

Because some of the songs on the album, like Broken Son, you’ve mentioned in the past were written “on a rubbish sofa on a Friday night” years ago. What’s it been like getting a song written eleven years ago into the public eye? Have you enjoyed the reception? 

ST

It was weird for the first six months because I felt nothing changed in my life. I was stuck in my house and staring at the same monitor and just reading emails - and they’d be nice emails but it's still an email. But now we’ve done four shows since we’ve got back and I’ve got people singing these songs to me that I’ve performed for eight years and no one had sung them back, it’s a bit emotional. I need to try and put it to the back of my mind and finish the song. I'm too normal to be a front man.

GG

Definitely. And do you see going away over time? 

ST

I see it growing actually. I feel like the nicer the audience is – and they’re just so nice to us – the more it grows. We’re just these five guys from Glasgow that lived around semi-poverty. Sometimes we have to pinch ourselves thinking that we did go for this dream as children and it's slowly fermenting itself and we never expected it to. So maybe we’ll learn as the years come, but right now we’re just standing up on that stage as just five humbled guys from Glasgow. And we never want to leave. 

GG:

That’s incredible, and your horizons must seem like they’re opening up. Are you considering a global tour in the imminent future? 

ST

We’re taking one continent at a time. We’re going to Europe next, and we have plans which we haven’t released yet due to timings, but that’ll be our first time out there. We’re looking at the States hopefully in 2023 – we've been getting a lot of good feedback from there, more than we do in Britain in some ways. Britain’s obviously been incredible for us as well, so we know we need to start putting in the same effort out there as we do here. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting to the point where music can be a full-time option for us. It’s the snowball effect, really. We’ve been gigging up and down the country for five or six years now, but one successful album and we’ve doubled all our achievements.  

GG

Absolutely. And speaking of achievement, to bring it closer to home, which Glasgow music achievement would you say has made you proudest: playing TRNSMT with Queen in 2018, or selling out the first ever Mason Hill gig at the Cathouse within three days. 

ST

Cathouse. It has to be. DF [Download Festival] and TRNSMT were wonderful, and it was an incredible day, but the Cathouse is what we’ve done ourselves and it was our first ever glimpse of that. Like, maybe Mason Hill really could be a band. And there we were – my granny was there actually, it’s the one time she’s seen me. 

GG

How did she find it? 

ST

She thought it was a bit loud, but she loved the fact that there were all these people – well, “grown arse men” was what she said – she loved that all these big guys were crying during Where I Belong

GG

And speaking of the Cathouse – now that you’ve played there, King Tut’s, and will be making a return to Garage on the 3rd, is there one Glasgow venue particularly that makes for the most memorable gig? 

ST

It’s between the O2 and Garage – they're the two places that I’ve seen bands I’ve really loved. I remember seeing Five Finger Death Punch there, me and James in the front-row just loving it. 

GG

Finally, the band has mentioned rock legends like Alter Bridge and Black Stone Cherry as some of their influences, but controversially you’ve also been vocal about taking inspiration from 80s pop legen- 

ST

Phil Collins!!  

GG

Phil Collins! Are there any other left-field artists we can hear coming through on Against the Wall

ST

Ah yeah, I’m so weird with my influences. I’m still saying to this day: Phil Collins has a rock voice and he sings over pop music and he just blows up the stage. I’m always trying to bring a mix of past and present into my performance: Alter Bridge’s Myles Kennedy, the rhythm of Brent from Shinedown, anything of what Chester Bennington was doing in Linkin Park. It’s all about taking the elements and distilling them. 

GG

Into a sort of musical cocktail? 

ST

Yeah! Or die trying. 

Mason Hill’s album Against the Wall is available on all streaming platforms, and the band will be hitting Glasgow Garage on 3 September. 

Find them online:

Website: https://www.masonhillofficial.com/home

Twitter: https://twitter.com/masonhillband

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/masonhillofficial/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/masonhillofficial/

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1Q5a7RgdzBt8OmYq5ZSlO9


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