Dec 12, 2022
T. Mason and the Bricklayers
My late teens and early twenties were filled with nothing but punk music. At 41 years old, getting to hang with punk bands while conducting interviews for Mixed Alt Mag, I feel I am getting a chance to rediscover my youth and it’s almost as if I’m listening to punk music for the first time.
Travis Mason has been a fixture on the South Louisiana music scene ever since I can remember. I first was acquainted with his talent and stylings via a friend’s punk band, The Skullniks, when I was 19 years old. With the nickname, “Tiny”, this man is nothing short of even being remotely small and that includes his talent. Getting to hang with him and learn a bit more about what all he brings to the music scene was a hilarious experience and I, literally, look up to him now. No, seriously, he’s so tall that I must stretch my neck to look up at him. Tall, dark, and handsome and oozing talent and he’s single, ladies!
May I present T. Mason & the Bricklayers.
Taking their band name from a combo of his own name and that of his beloved canine friend, this group of guys are full of personality, so get ready! Bricklayers, mount up! The next big band on the scene. I can feel it. The time is long overdue for some new and fresh good old-fashioned pop punk music.
The band is comprised of Travis Mason of Justin Bailey on drums and vocals, Josh Selser of DeadCentered on bass, and Andy Clancy, formerly of Starscream’s Revenge, on guitar. Using the three-piece band formula made famous by many others before them, these guys bring the noise both musically and personality wise.
When Travis is not focusing on T. Mason and the Bricklayers, he is heavily involved with Justin Bailey, Audrey Seymour, and iLiaka, all of which have different sounds and are of different genres making him a very well-rounded musician. He also runs his own studio out of the house called Volcano Studios, which I had the pleasure of seeing and this beast of a set-up was impressive.
What does this man NOT do?
Growing up in a strictly country music household where he began writing song lyrics when he was an adolescent and citing Tre Cool from Green Day as the reason for his want and need to play drums at 13 years old, Travis is one of the most ferocious drummers on the kit locally.
Not to mention, his sense of humor will leave you in stitches.
NB: So, I’ve been checking out some of your stuff and you are so talented. Anyone that can play drums and sing at the same time, do you know how incredible that is?
TM: Well, thank you so much.
NB: No, dude, I’m just being serious. First, love the band. Love “Future Retro”.
TM: Have you gotten a chance to listen to the three-song demo? “Future Retro” is the single, bay-bay.
NB: Yes, love it, too. Not sure if you’ve gotten this comparison, but if Fat Mike from NOFX joined Face to Face, that’s T. Mason & the Bricklayers.
TM: Oh, honey, that is high praise. Thank you so much. Face to Face is like my favorite vocalist.
NB: Your music takes me back to those days of skateboarding and just listening to music and just hanging out and it’s that feel good punk rock sound that we need these days.
TM: Because when you’re young, especially in those times it’s like every day was an adventure and anything could happen and you’re on the edge of eternity. You get together with your friends and every day is a new exploration into something amazing. You’re working at McDonald’s three days a week, not giving a damn. Yep, I can see that.
NB: I see good things for your band, because I don’t know if you notice, but the type of punk you play is making a comeback. It’s like there is a nostalgia for it. They say time repeats and it’s coming back, dude. So, Demolition demo, you have it on Bandcamp, but are you doing physical CDs at the shows?
TM: Right. Exactly. I’ve got a CD burner and I’m burning them myself and putting in the work, writing on them, the whole handmade feel to it.
NB: Well, you know that’s the whole punk aesthetic, the DIY attitude. Just do it yourself. So, production. Did you do all the production and recording on this yourself, too?
TM: Absolutely. Very proud to be able to work on a lot of that self-sufficiently. I have a lot on there that I recorded myself, but I also had some other people help me mix it and finalize it and all. I’m finally getting confident enough to put out stuff I did solely in house, which is an achievement. It might not be as good as some of the other stuff, but I take a lot of pride in the fact that I took it from conception to production and then a final product.
NB: Knuckles, homie.
TM: That’s right, knuckle up! The thing I’m most proud of is the band I’ve put together. We’ve got Josh Selser on bass, kind of like a secret weapon, but it ain’t no secret that guy gets right out front with it. Everybody tells me after they hear us play or hear a recording, “Man, your bass player”, and I’m like, “I know”.
NB: Josh is so talented as a musician, and I keep telling him that.
TM: Yeah, I recognized his talent when I first met him probably when I was 15 years old. Before I was in the Skullniks, I was in another band. He was in a band called Bleeding Power with Michael Poole. He’s always played with Michael Poole.
NB: They’re like a duo.
TM: Yeah, they’re like a duo. Yeah. Mike inspires me because his bands have put stuff out. They’re out there recording. Audrey Seymour hasn’t recorded anything and iLiaka has a few things, but nothing comprehensive. [Justin] Bailey is kind of coming back from extinction.
NB: Now, let’s turn to current. As far as currently, are there any current bands on your playlist inspiring you?
TM: Oh boy. Man. Yeah, sure. One of my favorite bands is a band called High and they’re from New Orleans and they’re comprised of all kinds of dudes from way back in the day that I know from New Orleans. I remember the first show we ever played. It was at Library Joe’s. Those guys played in two different bands and we just kind of put on a show and then we recognized each other from other bands and so they’re like us. Guys that have chosen this lifestyle and persevered to do cool shit.
NB: Well, that’s the best lifestyle to have, to be quite honest.
NB: So, I want to ask you one more thing. Everyone wants to know future goals. What do you want to achieve going forward or what would you like people to know about you and your music?
TM: Well, a lot of my material is quite personal and draws from my personal experiences I go through and a lot of it is very relatable because we all go through a lot of the same stuff. I like to make light of it. Light of some of these heavy issues to make them not so bad. A lot of it deals with loneliness or other things. I feel it puts a positive spin on these things, though. Through the process of the lyrics and making sense of it, by the end, you have something you can be proud of that brings you joy, and I think, man…if I hadn’t been through that trying circumstance, then I wouldn’t have this final product. I like to take a feeling and make something great out of it. I want people to connect with the lyrics and concepts and be inspired by it. I want to get deep, but not over people’s heads. I want them to be able to relate. On one level, you can listen to my music, and it hits you one way, but then in another way, people can listen and go, “Whoa, this dude’s kind of insightful here”.
To hear T. Mason and the Bricklayer’s newest release, head on over to their social media pages, Bandcamp, or YouTube. “The Demolition Demo” is out NOW!
*All photos by Gary Governale*
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