Indie electronic artist Michael Mason released his first EP in five years—Keep Me Alive is an emotional collection of songs written in his New York City apartment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Touching on loss, love, and anxiety, Keep Me Alive is a moving memoir that will feel relatable to many. To celebrate the release of the EP, Michael Mason has selected a collection of tracks that directly inspired the writing of Keep Me Alive.
I wanted to try and accomplish two things with this playlist. First, I wanted to share my inspirations, the artists who made this EP possible. Second, I wanted to capture my own feelings while writing this project. We all went through the past year, and I don’t wish to dump my own personal struggle on you all, but I think this playlist captures my emotions in the eight or so months I spent writing. I hope you feel that when you listen, and please check out these other artists as well, they’re all fantastic.
“Set U Off” – underscores
Underscores has been a constant source of inspiration in terms of songwriting, and something about this song just scratches some weird itch in my brain. I cannot stop revisiting it and the vocals on Keep Me Alive were definitely inspired a lot by the production on this.
“How To Do Nothing” – Lido
Right as the pandemic began, I released my first song featuring my own vocals. It was a huge departure from my usual music, and I was nervous and scared of what people would think. Lido then played the song on an Instagram live, played piano and sang along with it. I still have the video saved and watch it whenever I need inspiration. This EP would not exist without him and this song.
“Movies” – Weyes Blood
I first heard this song in the bathroom at my job I was (unknowingly) about to be fired from. I left the bathroom, went outside for a walk and listened to it about six times on repeat. It’s such a special piece of music that captures both the whimsical wants and the dread of things not being how you thought they’d be. I love it
“Mr Blue” – Catherine Feeny
This is half about the song being great, and half about how deeply I love Bojack Horseman. I can’t believe I cried about a cartoon horse jeez get it together Michael.
“Shepherd” – Anais Mitchell
I feel like this is a masterclass in musical storytelling. I remember the first time I heard this album I was completely entranced. I also highly recommend Hadestown for anyone who can stomach some musical theatre!
“You & I” – Local Natives
You ever have a song you love incredibly deeply, but it’s tied to a painful memory? Welp, that’s this one for me. As if it wasn’t already sad enough. Still, I hold this song very close to my heart.
“Run Fast” – Billy Lemos
This is the song that made me start the EP. I was so shocked by the contrast in this one and I immediately got hit with a wave of inspiration when I heard it. I’m currently doing a stank face while listening to it right now.
“Slowly” – falcxne
I always really loved falcxne’s music, and this pandemic was kind enough to give us a chance to meet at a virtual festival. We immediately hit it off stylistically and got to work on “No More,” and he’s been nothing but a tremendously supportive friend. LISTEN TO HIM NOW NOW NOW.
“忘れっぽい天使” – Kaho Nakamura
I do not remember how I found this one, but hooooo boy am I glad I did. It feels like a warm hug and it makes me feel like the world is safe. I love it.
“When It Was Summer” – Jake Sherman
This track showed up in my recommended feed on Soundcloud back in 2012, right when I first started producing. I still listen to it ALL THE TIME. It makes me feel like I can do anything. It’s so joyful and nostalgic and honest. I also just realized he is still making music and that makes me incredibly happy 🙂
Follow Michael Mason on Spotify.