When Lear Mason was in his early 20s in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, he crossed the border into Michigan and headed to goth clubs like City Club and Luna. That laid the foundation for his music career in bands like his latest, Some Days are Darker, which releases its debut album “Love+Truth” on July 31.
Mason defies his Paul Young looks with a sound that lies between Nick Cave and Chris Isaak, sharing a rich soundscape of hues of love, loss and rebirth blended with goth rock and crooning.
“I coveted City Club,” Mason says about the dark goth club found in the basement of a run-down hotel in Detroit’s Cass Corridor. “I knew about it for a year, but I never knew where it was or how to get in. Those ideas are very relevant to Some Days are Darker—after-hours moody people getting together and working things out one way or another. That atmosphere is very relevant to where I’m coming from on this project.”
He moved to Phoenix about 12 years ago to form a band and to get away from Canada’s harsh winters. The band didn’t pan out, so he focused on commercial video work and filming videos for other musicians.
“Love+Truth” is somewhat of a surprise to Mason, who kind of gave up on music, except for buying vinyl and playing guitar at home. Then songs took hold.
“I’m really happy that I’m in this place now and I have these goals to keep writing songs,” says Mason, whose studio is near Roosevelt Row. “I love the recording process. I love the album process and being able to figure out a title, the artwork and what we’re trying to say.”
“Love+Truth” was inspired by Phoenix’s glorious nights, sweltering hot days and a “few falling outs at the time.”
“There were major life changes,” Mason says. “I found new love again, which I wasn’t expecting at that stage in my life. I found myself writing songs again in an almost therapeutic way. It felt good to play music to try and express all the things I had going on.
“It helped me work through a lot of those stages and the turmoil I was going through. The ideas of rebirth and strength and finding yourself are in there, too. I think that complexity is what made it really interesting to me.”
The creation of “Love+Truth” was “a process,” he says. Being an indie band, Mason forgot about the amount of work it takes to make and promote a record. Nevertheless, he felt songs like “Wolves” and “Restless Tides” needed to exist.
“I felt strongly enough that these songs deserved to see the light of day,” he says. “I needed to record this stuff and get it out there.
“For me, albums are one of the greatest art forms. It’s a rewarding outlet for me. Once those wheels started turning, I was just chipping away at the goals along the way.”
After all, he learned from the best. Music was omnipresent in his parents’ Windsor home. His mother enjoyed Motown and soul music, while his father was into the Stooges and the MC5.
“I felt like there was a lot of rock ’n’ roll and pop sensibilities,” Mason says. “For me, personally, getting into a love of new wave artists like Depeche Mode, Joy Division, The Smiths, Peter Murphy, Bauhaus and The Cure is where I go in my head when I think about Some Days are Darker. The pop sensibility in the vocals and the moodier atmosphere of the music—that’s the world I live in.”