MASS!VE DYNAM!C (stylized as M!D!) Is the award-winning “genre fluid” project by British progressive rock multi-instrumentalist Benedict Harris-Hayes. (ENOCHIAN / OCEAN THEORY).
After winning two awards in a 2016 global remix competition for his DnB reinvention of Zanga’s “I Need You” and self-releasing a few tracks, Ben returns armed with a slew of songs to power M! D! forward with their full debut album titled “Progreso”.
‘Progress’ is a 13-track musical journey through hip-hop, drum & bass, dub / reggae, EDM-Trap, chillstep, triphop, bass house and other genres and was largely inspired by his travels in Asia, before the pandemic. and write at home during the pandemic.
We have had the pleasure of interviewing MASS! VE and this has been the result.
Hi there ! Where can we find you right now? How did you start your day?
Good morning to you and your readers!
Thank you for giving me the chance to talk about my MASS!VE DYNAM!C project, which I hope some people will check out!
You currently find me on a train, as I traverse across the south-east coast of the UK to my work place, tapping away on my laptop and answering your questions!
To be honest though, I started my day by groaning very loudly as my alarm went off (because I hate getting up!), stumbled downstairs to wash and dress, after banging my big toe on the table… I then had a coffee, which made things slightly better!
I’m a bit clumsy/half-asleep first thing in the morning, so it’s no surprise I damage myself!
When did the idea of starting a project start to take shape? Has it always been something you wanted to do?
The ‘Progress’ album became a firm idea sometime in mid-2019, when I wrote the first sketches of a track that didn’t make the album; but which will be released as a single in the near future when it’s fully finished.
I had sold all my property, left the UK and was travelling throughout Asia/Australasia with my fiancée when I really sat down and decided to write a body of music that reflected my love of all the other genres I listen to that are NOT rock or heavy metal… which is what I have written under other project names for many years.
I officially started doing MASS!VE DYNAM!C as a project back in 2011, and I used to write really odd ‘electronic’ music, which ranged from heavy metal-infused dubstep through to weird guitar-based electro!
It was all quite abstract, to be honest!
I fell in love with synths/keyboards in my teens and was using them quite heavily in my main touring band at the time, so it logically overflowed into this dedicated studio project.
It’s been fun to reflect on where MASS!VE DYNAM!C came from and where it is now as a musical entity… which is now focused on creating songs that can stand on their own, whilst crossing genres!
I’m a big fan of a LOT of music…and I think it shows in the songs on this new album.
How would you define the sound of your latest work? What is the concept behind?
I would say that I refer to the album as «genre-fluid», because it covers a lot of ground, musically.
As mentioned, I’m a big music fan and love a lot of different styles, which have been very prevalent in my
musical development as a songwriter and composer.
One thing I would say is that I am not an expert in the creation of these ‘electronic’ styles, but what I do bring is my own interpretations of those styles and genres, which are informed by my listening to and loving those styles over the years.
I’m a rock/metal musician originally, who developed a love of music composition and musical scoring… who, in turn, is trying to convey his love of those styles on this album.
It’s very satisfying to hear from people who have followed my career say that the ‘Progress’ album is very different from my usual work, but that they definitely hear it is still me writing it. I’ll take that as a positive thing!
The concept was super simple if I’m honest, once I thought about it and decided what I wanted to do.
It was simply to create an album of music, using the skills I have learnt over the last 25 years, that showcased my love of electronic music…but using as many real instruments as I could to create it!
What artists are you interested in these days?
Well, I guess a lot of what I listen to currently is whatever I come across during my YouTube wormhole- journeys or that is shared by friends.
I’m really slow on the uptake of ‘new’ music because I just don’t have a lot of time to sit and listen to it like I would in my younger days.
So, some things that are new to me have been out for a number of years… and some things I liked before have new albums out, so it’s super varied and comes from all ends of the musical spectrum.
Currently, I am enjoying a completely varied musical trip with bands and acts like Dirty Loops, Methwitch, Becky Hill, Drouth, John Gomm, Alan Walker, Brian Tyler and a tonne of other stuff.
I really have a black and white filter on music now.
It’s either a good song or it’s not, for me.
Any artist, any style, any genre…I really do not mind…it’s just gotta hit that spot!
How do you manage to combine such disparate genres? How do you manage to give them unity and harmony? What do they have in common for you?
This is a very interesting question. Thank you for asking it!
This could be a VERY long answer, so please take a seat and get comfortable!
I think I would say that having very little fear of failure, very little care for anyone else’s opinion and the fact I enjoy my own music creation process is key.
I have no expectations for anything I do, and that is truly freeing.
Of course, I would like more people to listen and enjoy the music I create and I don’t see why that cannot be the way if people take the time to check it out…and yet, I also understand that there is a lot of music flowing across the internet every day, and lots of music only gets a cursory glance of 5-10 seconds, at best.
I guess the aforementioned lack of fear in anything I do musically is why I combine the genres I do.
I have never seen why you can not blend genres, if you’re smart about the process… or don’t care what anyone else thinks!
I’m from a Progressive Rock/Metal background, so that fearless, technical approach to writing music has served me well in exploring the idea of doing this particular album…in the sense that the music has to tell a tale, as much as the lyrics do.
For example, the track «Applause (Could have had It All)» is a song about love lost and the realisation around the moment when it leaves.
For me, love and trust take a long time to grow, but they can leave in a mere moment… and it can become very intense as things move along towards the inevitable ending of a close relationship.
The track reflects that emotional journey musically, as it moves from a dark and dour electro feel reflecting the demise of the relationship through to the D’n’B outro reflecting the tumultuous and emotionally-heavy end of things.
I like to incorporate elements like that into my music to keep things interesting for me as a songwriter.
The relationship of harmony is important on this album. I wanted it to be more accessible to people and not so niche…but on the flip side, I wanted people to have to work for it too.
What I mean by this, and what has been quite prevalent in feedback from people who have listened, is that they listen to the surface of the song; the bits that stand out immediately, like the vocals… But when they dig a little deeper in subsequent listens, they find a lot of layers to the music and things they did not immediately notice.
It’s those things that I like people to find within the songs.
Another thing about all the songs is that if you strip them right back to the basic chords and melodies, then you can play all the songs on a piano or guitar by yourself.
Sure, it’s all the extra layers that can really lift a song, but the core element is having chord patterns that can be played one handed.
The technical musicological approach to the music is a simple need for me to go «Look! See what I can do! I am a real musician under all these layers! «
Regarding what the songs all have in common… Well, they all have a sense of honesty about them.
What I mean by that is just what I mentioned before, in that I truly am doing this because I wanted a new challenge and I wanted to see if I could put all that self-taught learning into different music that I enjoy listening to.
I’m no expert in these genres…but I enjoy the process and the voyage of discovery.
How would you define your sound?
Nah, I would venture that the album is not always an easy listen, but the rewards are there for those that give it a try.
I’ve had feedback from people who do not listen to these styles of music and they’ve really enjoyed the journey; subsequently asking me for more acts like that…which I am only happy to share with them.
I have been referring to the album as “genre-fluid” because although you can loosely assign a style to a track…sometimes it will veer off into another realm…and that is the exciting part for me as a songwriter.
Can you tell us something about your current or future projects?
I tend to work in cycles with my projects, so currently I have 3 albums with other projects on the go.
I hope to finish another album with my OCEANICA project (progressive rock/metal), which will be coming out on the Progressive Gears Records label sometime in early 2022.
I’ve got a super heavy/extreme metal project that is nearly done too, which features guest vocalists from across the globe, which has been fun to do.
I’ve already started writing more songs for another MASS!VE DYNAM!C album, as well as writing some material for collaborations with other artists.
I try to stay busy!
Thank you once more for the opportunity to speak with you about my MASSIVE DYNAM!C project and other topics!
I hope people will check out the music.
PRE ORDER / BUY: