Interview: Shaun Mason of Dumb Angel

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Ex-Saskatonian Shaun Mason, who plays under the moniker of Dumb Angel, is set to release his new album entitled Eight Moments of Spring in March.

On his third full-length, Mason revisits his usual spaced-out folk muse, but adds a welcome layer of dynamics and musicianship. The songs drone appropriately, plodding behind a sheen of haze and introspective meandering. But despite the orchestral melancholy, these songs are among Dumb Angel’s most positive-sounding work yet.

Recorded in Montreal, where he relocated several years ago, Mason says that several other familiar Saskatoon musicians helped flesh out his songs, including Jordan Perry, Tessa Kautzman, along with Benoît Gauthier of Quebec.

“Tessa Kautzman sings on every song on the album,” says Mason. “The whole album is drenched in her and my harmonies. I think we spent two of our six recording days just on harmonies. We didn’t really plan it that way but it just kind of happened. It kind of ended up making the record what it is.”

Having spent time in Korea in addition to the prairies, Mason hesitates to cite his home of Montreal as a contributor to his sound.

“I wouldn’t really say the songs, or at least the lyrics, are reflective of my life here in Montreal,” says Mason. “There are a couple of little references to Montreal, but most of these songs encompass a long period of time. I would say there is much more Saskatchewan and Asia in there than Montreal. That said a lot of the music and structure was really fleshed here, jamming with my piano man, Benoît.

“I have never been one of those people enamored with that whole ‘Montreal music scene’ thing,” continues Mason. “I came to Montreal for school and music was an afterthought. But it’s great that it somehow worked out that I was able to record and album at Breakglass and all that. I really wasn’t expecting that to happen.

For Eight Moments of Spring, Mason teamed up with Breakglass Studio, which is owned and operated by Jace Lasek of Besnard Lakes along with Dave Smith and James Benjamin.

“Recording at Breakglass was a blast,” says Mason. “Jace and James are real gentlemen, and made the whole experience really positive and stress-free. They also really know what they are doing, which makes everything to do with recording an album so much easier and straightforward. We somehow managed to record and mix the whole thing in 11 days, which apparently is kind of a feat to pull off.

“Oh yeah, Andrew Dickson from Tricky Woo was dry-walling a new room in the studio the whole time we were recording.”