Mura Masa

Monqui Presents

Mura Masa

Fri, September 22

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

Wonder Ballroom

Portland, OR

$17.00 - $18.00

Sold Out

This event is all ages

Mura Masa
Mura Masa
The story of Mura Masa is one to remind people that there’s still room for optimism about the “internet generation”. At just 19, Alex Crossan has shown how someone with an appetite for knowledge, even if their upbringing has been isolated, can make full use of having the world at their fingertips without getting overwhelmed by “too much information”. Not only that, but again and again he’s proving that it’s possible parlay the myriad of potential influences that are available to anyone with a broadband connection into something unique, coherent, future-facing and very, very popular. Like, Diplo and Skrillex co-signed popular. 30-million-plays on SoundCloud popular.

Alex grew up on the island of Guernsey where “everybody knows each other” but the opportunities for young people, as he laconically puts it, “are basically: hang around beaches and drink.” Most people who’ve grown up in small-town or rural environments can probably relate to the outdoor… socialising – but this was an extreme case. It’s not like you could even get a bus to the nearest big city if you wanted to go to a gig: the equivalent would be a five-hour ferry trip to Southampton. So culture tended to be a DIY affair out of necessity: Alex surfed (not to “be a surfer”, but just because literally everyone surfs there), and played in a variety of indie bands with his friends.

“I think I was very disconnected from British music,” he says. “My mum is American and I was exposed to a lot of her records at first – Joni Mitchell and stuff – and from there I think I assumed pop culture was American. I certainly didn’t know anything about dubstep or grime, or club music – I guess if I thought about that stuff it seemed pretty far away from what I knew. I’d never been to London!” He wasn’t exactly conservative in his tastes, but felt no need to investigate anything far removed from a standard diet of indie and rock, seasoned with a little radio pop.

Then two things happened: firstly, around the time he turned 15, Alex “heard Hudson Mohawke’s ‘Thunder Bay’ and discovered that electronic music was a thing,” and then he stumbled on James Blake “and realised how far you can go with it!” And that’s where the internet-digging began. “I like to do my homework,” he deadpans, before explaining how via YouTube and streaming he steadily inhaled first the entire discographies of these artists, then of musicians in their circles – SBTRKT and Cashmere Cat were early favourites – then of the sounds that influenced all of these. Flying Lotus style psychedelic beats, grime, WARP style electronica – but also bands like The Smiths: it was all grist for the mill as he furiously processed beatmaking and songwriting.