Meet Mura Masa, the British artist who’s way ahead of the game.
Imagine developing a sound that only you were known for and only you could create, not to mention landing a coveted spot on BBC’s Music Sound Of series, all at the tender age of twenty. That’s what life is like for Alex Crossan, better known as his stage name: Mura Masa. Hailing from Guernsey in the Channel Islands, the electronic music artist, producer, and multi-instrumentalist is known for his inclusion of unexpected international sounds, deeply percussive vocal moments, and dance-worthy tracks—oh, the ’90s heartthrob mane doesn’t hurt either.
Getting into music through his parent’s record collection (Joni Mitchell and Yes were two of his early influences), his sound is far from the artists he grew up with. When listening to Mura Masa’s Soundtrack To A Death and Someday Somewhere, you feel like you’ve stepped into a world of curiosity and experimentation—full of cinematic moments layered with playful instrumentation. He also features coveted vocalists like Nao, Shura, and Bonzai in innovative ways by infusing whispering flutes, warm snaps, and chiming bells to compliment their voices. “There’ve been a few suggestions about working with this or that big name singer, but I really have to think about what that says about the music and whether it’ll overshadow it,” says Mura Masa, because he isn’t just here to create songs, he’s here to create genuine experiences for artists and listeners alike.
Although, the personal Mura Masa experience might not be what you’d expect. His stage name is inspired from a 16th-century Japanese sword-smith, but his demeanor sits far from his pseudonym. This isn’t to say he’s passive—you can see the wheels turning in Mura Masa’s head the second you meet him—but he possesses a relaxed, calm exterior. He’s the kind of genius that’s always moving onto the next idea, whether it’s a floating melody, a new piano riff, or delicate rhythms being tapped under his fingertips. He wants to create organic musical moments by “having an ethos and an attitude of writing music that’s very culturally relevant, that lasts, that’s important lyrically and sonically as well.”
The result is a distinct sound that leaves us wanting more every single time. Lucky for us, he’s making a very rare North American appearance this weekend at Hard Fest, so we won’t have to wait long.