On the spot with Ally Morton (Massa Confusa) – INTERVIEW

I heard about a rather interesting project/release from the lads behind Massa Confusa. Massa are heavily involved with the local scene in the Northeast and I regularly spot them around at gigs (not only as a band and promoters but as punters too!). Intrigued by the long list of great bands on the compilation, I had a quick on the spot interview with Ally to find out more.

massa confusa cover compilation

What is the concept behind the compilation release? How did it all come together?

“As this is Volume 2, the concept actually came about in 2014 when we decided that every band that plays a Massa Confusa Presents show is given the opportunity to donate a track to a compilation that we hoped would show how strong and diverse the North East scene is. There are a lot of great bands here, but we felt that some of them weren’t getting the press they deserved, or were not getting heard outside of their usual audience. We released Volume 1 in January 2015, and started compiling Volume 2 in August. It’s taken a lot of hard work!”

Who will feature and are they all Northeast based acts?

“All of the bands are based in the North East except Kapil who is from Glasgow; and Idiot Box and Fingers Crossed who are from Leeds. The North East bands include Ilser, Knots, Zeerox, Skull Puppies, Mouses, Baker Island, Apache Viking, The Smokin’ Coconuts, Nomihodai, Casual Threats, Euan Lynn, BCxDC, Mama Lips, Fractions, Topaz Gang, therunningchelsea, Five Pence Game, Spacehawke, Waheela, People Making Noises, Novotny, Fret!, Lump Hammer, Sagan Megadrive, and ourselves.”

It looks like a very strong compilation, lots of great bands on there. Was it difficult finding bands good enough to include?

“Not at all. We only pick bands to play with, and to subsequently put on the compilation, that we like from seeing a previous live show, or from the strength/potential of their recorded material anyway. And we never choose or put on bands just because we know they’ll bring a crowd or sell the compilation. In fact we like to take risks and do the opposite; giving bands a headline and showcase opportunity they may not get elsewhere at this stage in their career. All of the bands have strong material; and Skull Puppies, Lump Hammer, Waheela, Casual Threats, Mama Lips, BCxDC, and Spacehawke even gave us exclusive tracks to feature. Some bands unfortunately couldn’t contribute due to label ties, and bands like Bad Amputee didn’t have any recorded material for us to put out.”

Massa Confusa seem to be very prolific in the local scene at the moment (which is refreshing to see!). Where do you get that enthusiasm and drive to put on such great gigs?

“We’re both artists, and consequently we have always had a drive to feel productive or creative in some way, so the enthusiasm naturally stems from that really. But the drive is also fueled from the ongoing positive comments we receive at shows, and the increasing press we are receiving from local media like NARC. We hope we’re making a difference to the scene.”

How will the compilation be distributed?

“Both. It will be available as a 28 track digital download; and split across a limited 22 track CD, and 6 track tape. There were too many tracks to all go on CD, and we felt that the more instrumental, noisier, or doomier themed tracks would sit better on tape, particularly as some of the bands on there have other tape releases, and there is a subculture of tape releases for that genre generally.”

Any other interesting projects coming up?

“Our new album. We demoed it last year and we are now in the process of doing final takes. We’re hoping for a summer release. Aside from that, I have a recording project called Five Pence Game in which I invite members from local bands to write and record a track with me. There’s a track with Jack Fallows from Skull Puppies on the compilation and I’m hoping to put the tracks I have recorded with other people out at the end of the year too. Also, Matt does all the posters and artwork for Massa Confusa and the Massa Confusa Presents shows, so we’re going to start showcasing the amazing artwork he has produced so far both online and in print form.”

There will also be a launch gig coming up at the end of the month at the Northy. Well worth a punt.

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