Rick Massie poses for a photo with his guitar in Whitehorse on May 5. Massie released his debut rock album on May 1 called Eclipse. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Yukon musician releases debut album

“Once I started it, I just kept going and going”

A Yukon musician released his debut album on May 1 that promises to be a heavy rock metal experience.

Rick Massie’s debut album, Eclipse, is what he calls a progressive metal/rock record.

The eight-track album starts with an instrumental teaser that gives a sample of what the album’s sound is like. He described the album as similar to a movie score.

Far from repetitive, the songs themselves can be as long as 20 minutes and the album clocks in at over 70 minutes in length.

It is the result of approximately two and a half years of work. Massie did everything — from writing, to recording, to marketing himself.

“Once I started it, I just kept going and going,” Massie said.

He wrote both the music and lyrics, and performed the vocals and guitars.

The album has some other instruments and vocals programmed into it through editing software.

The drum tracks were put into the music this way.

“I don’t have a loud drum kit that’s going to annoy my neighbours,” Massie said.

The bass parts were recorded and added to the mix this way as well, for the simple reason he didn’t have access to a bass either. Massie is able to play bass, although he does not consider himself a bassist.

He was able to incorporate choir vocals and an orchestra into his songs as well through the use of additional software, which allowed him to control the notes and melody of the choir.

“I program the notes or the chords that I want and the software makes the orchestra play it,” Massie said.

Massie doesn’t have the time or resources to maintain a band. Doing everything himself gave him the freedom to produce his music in his apartment at his own pace.

If he had to pay musicians, organize recording time and set up rehearsals, the album would have never materialized.

He classifies his music as both progressive metal and rock because when people hear the term progressive metal, bands like Dream Theatre come to mind.

“They think of the bands that play a million notes a minute … and are really technically savvy,” Massie said.

Massie said there are elements of progressive metal but also elements of progressive rock, similar to music by King Crimson.

“They (progressive rock bands) weren’t out to impress people with their ability to play, there were really strange structures for their songs,” Massie said.

In progressive rock, songs are often 20 minutes long with multiple movements rather than a traditional verse and chorus structure.

His music follows the progressive rock structure but with a heaviness inspired by metal.

The lyrics explore the theme of the struggles of daily life. It covers the struggles of a middle class person working a job and raising a kid.

Another theme is hope and finding the joy in the dark times.

Massie said music has been a big part of his life. He remembers being exposed to a wide array of music, from Elton John to Alice Cooper as a kid by his father. He was exposed to more hard rock music than most people he knew.

His father also played guitar. They had an acoustic guitar in the basement that his father would sometimes play.

As Massie would listen to music, he wanted to be able to play guitar.

As he got older, he was exposed to more genres of music through Much Music.

Another influence was when his father took him to a concert in St. John’s, where they saw Def Leppard, Ugly Kid Joe, Meatloaf and Sven Gali. The line-up was Def Leppard, Ugly Kid Joe, Meat Loaf and Sven Gali.

“It was a mind-blowing show,” Massie said.

After that concert he began learning to play guitar.

Before this project Massie stopped playing for about 15 years, and he said it was tough getting back to playing.

“I lost so much skill,” Massie said.

The whole creative process essentially taught him how to play guitar again.

“I knew these concepts in my head but my fingers just wouldn’t do what I wanted them to do,” Massie said.

He feels his fingers and picking ability are back up to the point where he could continue writing and producing music.

Once he started writing, Massie realized he wanted to release his music to the public. He started recording his new music and produced enough music to fill multiple albums.

Massie plans on doing another album in the future, after the public has digested this one.

Eclipse is available on CD or by download on Google Play, Apple Music, Spotify or Bandcamp.

Anyone interested in a CD copy should contact him at massierick@hotmail.com

Contact Gord Fortin at gord.fortin@yukon-news.com

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Rick Massie poses for a photo in Whitehorse on May 5. Massie’s debut album called Eclipse has eight tracks and is 70 minutes long. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Album cover for Eclipse, Rick Massie’s debut album. (Submitted/Rick Massie)

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