DS Interview: Dave Masud (Vampirates) on His New Solo Album “False Island”

Dave Masud is a multi-instrumentalist from Reno, Nevada. You may have heard of his amazing band Vampirates before, but this time he’s striking out alone with his solo album False Island.

This ripper of an album comes in at just about 12 minutes long. Opening with the chugging freight train of a track, “Meh”, which perfectly captures the ire that comes with looking upon a punk past filled with self-destruction, “Looking back I can’t believe that I survived this kid.”

I was immediately pulled into the emotion of this album. Dave Masud’s gritty baritone featured in the track “Jenni’s Song” and contrasting screams in “November” make this short 7 song journey feel more full than some albums double the length.

I had to reach out and ask Dave some questions about what went into making this album.

Dying Scene (DS): What was the catalyst behind this solo album?

Dave Masud (DM): I’ve been a multi-instrumentalist since I was a kid and it’s always been a dream of mine to do an album where I play all of the parts. When quarantine came around I had time to teach myself enough home recording basics to finally get this thing going.

DS: Please explain the dramatic switch to harp during the album, I love it.

DM: I got a wild hair to learn the harp last year so I found a teacher and have been taking lessons since. On the album, it represents a transition from a time of major loss and deep grief to starting new chapters and finding (or at least seeking) peace. Since tracking it I’ve grown as a player, but I wanted the song to be a sort of stamp in time.

DS: How did you approach the songwriting for this album?

DM: I wrote the songs during quarantine and while navigating my mom’s rapidly declining health, and my brother’s eventual suicide. I was massively depressed and was drinking more than I ever have in my life. I’d stay up all night learning how to use the recording software and tracking parts until sunrise every day. I took some time off and came back at it sober and wrote the words after my mom and brother passed.

DS: What themes and emotions drove the naming around the tracks and the album itself?

DM: False Island is a play on one of my all-time favorite bands, who also happen to be from Reno, Fall Silent. It also took on meaning given the circumstances in which it was written. Isolated with everyone just out of reach. Some of the song titles are based on the lyrics while some are based on what and when was happening when I wrote them.

DS: How did recording all the instruments and everything at Pus Cavern go for this solo venture?

DM: It was a blast doing everything, but also pretty exhausting. Studio time is pricey and I didn’t have the luxury of taking a break while someone else tracked their parts. Luckily Joe Johnston is an absolute magician and a pleasure to work with. I also got production assistance from Chris Fox and Jesse Williams. 

DS: Is there anything you want to say about this album as people listen?

DM: It’s short and sweet like me. I started writing the next one and maybe it will be taller.

I love any creator going out of their comfort zone to explore their pure creativity without putting any expectations to it. I think Dave Masud put together a collection of songs that provide a solid emotional timestamp that I’m so glad he decided to share with the world.

So, go give the album a spin on his Bandcamp Page and keep an eye out for that next album. And Since we’re claiming Harps as punk instruments now, what other instruments should we include?

  1. Really appreciate it!

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  1. Really appreciate it!

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