Image via Lillie Eiger
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Staley Sharples once tried the Hot Ones “Apollo” Hot Sauce and barely survived.
Released only in Japan, the Spice Orange GameCube model is possibly the most hotly debated console release among GameCube hobbyists and fans. The issue itself, which inspires both love and hate among collectors, was never sold in the US, although US players were able to snag a controller of the same color. The bright titanium hue is reminiscent of Nickelodeon cartoon logos from the 2000s or heaping bowls of Pokémon-shaped Kraft maca potatoes and cheese.
The Spice Orange GameCube is a proudly presented conversation starter in the home of Alexander Crossan, better known to the world as Mura Masa. The subversive nature of the Spice Orange GameCube elicits an immediately sentimental reaction to the playful piece of now-defunct technology, and is symbolic of the ethos behind Mura Masa’s current creative philosophy. The producer returns to the club with his new music, ready to dance away fears of modernity with a firmly electronic sound that values the good times above all else. Talking about his prized console, we delved deeper into the Y2K burst of authentic nostalgia that influenced his third full-length album. demon time.
At the tender age of 26, his list of awards is long. Crossan first attracted attention with his hybrid sound, which weaved together both the heavy 808s that drove the EDM trap craze and lush, majestic casual upload instrumentals of the mid-2010s. Along with young electronic tastemakers Sam Gellaitry, Cashmere Cat and Flume, Mura Masa prospered in developing a signature melodic futurism rooted in the warm familiarity of pop music. His self-titled debut in 2018 became the first artist to be nominated by the Grammys as musician and creative director on the same album. The following year he won his first Grammy for his remix of Haim’s “Walking Away” and currently holds his fourth nomination for his remix of PVA’s “Talks”. One might assume that the amazing young musician has an air of smugness, but Mura Masa seems unfazed by the international acclaim of industry critics and decision makers.
Growing up on the island of Guernsey, Crossan unintentionally found his love for music through the tedium of small town life. He formed a variety of bands and took on any back-up role that was needed – usually as a frontman. This musicality evolved along with the unfettered childhood optimism of a pre-TikTok internet where Crossan sought connections across electronic and hip-hop music. As social media entered its neophyte origins, Crosson scoured YouTube for samples and practiced his production skills with flips, which he later uploaded to SoundCloud.
He left the island at 18 and embarked on a stratospheric launch in a changing landscape of extreme online music. Its uploaded to SoundCloud Soundtrack to a death The EP contained an unforgettably banging but beautiful track called “Lotus Eater”. The single broke out among British personalities Zane Lowe and Annie Mac, and acted as a springboard for the launch of his Interscope and Polydor partner label, Anchor Point Records. The label’s 2015 release Sometime somewhere The EP contained the original instrumental for “Lovesick,” a song that would become Mura Masa’s breakthrough song in the US. “Love$ick” was reimagined by A$AP Rocky and featured as the second single from their 2016 debut album Mur MasaChart placement on the Billboard Hot Electronic charts and platinum status in four other countries.
A critical darling at the height of pop culture’s electronic music fixation, Crossan found himself producing for Stormzy and Chic, putting on a Coachella performance with guest appearances from Charli XCX and A$AP Rocky. But in search of something more authentic, Mura Masa’s second album has revisited the restless fuzziness of teenage feelings Raw youth collage. Crossan’s refusal to be forced into a box after his mega-hit in commercial indie dance led him to discover one of his most trusted collaborators, Slowthai. In this work, Crossan explores the role of technology in his mental health. There are diary confessions revealed through guitar-packed tracks sung by Clairo, Wolf Alice and Ellie Rowsell. Lead single “No Hope Generation” is a meticulously layered, driving rock song featuring vocals by Crossan. This idea is a mirrored reflection of his headspace, with the song functioning as a portrait of a dark and cynical grief that surrounds young adulthood. The loss of anonymity on an increasingly warming planet added to the grief. Then 2020 happened.
Lost in nothing but his own thoughts for the first time in over five years, Crossan found himself in an abyss as the pandemic began. He slowly realized that his philosophy of life was changing and that he was turning to therapy and self-employment as a guide to the brave new world. During this time, Crossan found new ways to challenge himself and began to act on his gut instincts. “FUN” is the concept surrounding his latest album, demon time. Sharing the energy of the No Hope Generation demon time is the playfully hedonistic snapshot of Mura Masa today. The thesis of the album is that the world is going to end eventually, so fuck it, why not go a little crazy? [Insert Joker still here]
Mura Masa’s revival of the British garage in the United States first broke with the inevitable 2021 hit “Just For Me” with PinkPantheress, who guest-starred with Lil Uzi Vert on the album’s lead single “bbycakes”. Channel Tres, Shygirl, Skillibeng, Pa Salieu, Kali Uchis and more also join the party, bringing the multi-hyphenated creative to a more instinctive and relaxed mindset.
Making pop music is a back and forth,” he muses. “You want to present people with something original that subverts their expectations, but you also want to have an accessibility and a kind of listenability that makes it feel familiar and gives it staying power. There’s always a back and forth between those two philosophies, but I like the tension between those two things.”