Woah, we’re half way there
Woah, livin’ on a prayer
Take my hand, we’ll make it I swear
Woah, livin’ on a prayer – Bon Jovi
These catchy lyrics by Bon Jovi could well describe my guest today. Meet Thomas Mastin, a young man of eighteen who is pursuing his dream of becoming a musician and a singer/songwriter. I’ve known Thomas since he was a child, from the time he started swinging those drumsticks in our church’s worship band. I’ve watched him grow as a musician and become what he is today. He’s a talented, dedicated artist who’s boldly stepped out from the comforts of quiet rural life and into the challenging, nomadic lifestyle of chasing a musical career.
Recently, I conducted an interview with Thomas and I’m going to share a snippet with you here. I admire anyone who has the courage to go after their dream and wish Thomas all the best in his pursuit.
It’s great to have you here today, thanks for taking the time away from your busy schedule to tell us a bit about yourself. The first question I have and that I’m sure others are wondering about, is how it all began. What inspired you to pursue this avenue?
Thomas: Growing up my dad was a farmer who also worked full-time at the local Good Year plant, and my mom was a teacher at the school I went to. I was brought up in a home where no one else had an interest in music. When I was around three or four, they noticed me drumming on pots and pans, or the floor, to music, so they would put me in lessons, but I didn’t like them. Around eight years old, my youth pastor, Dusty (Dustin) Crozier put me behind the drums at church and I took a liking to them.
You’re saying that Dusty was a major influence?
Thomas: Most people expect you to mention someone famous, but for me it was Dusty. And it wasn’t just drums, he taught me to sing and play guitar, even write my own music.
You mentioned several instruments, which one do you play the most?
Thomas: Well, that’s a tough one. My main instrument, at first, was drums, but I grew to hate playing them, so I switched to guitar for three or four years. Right now, I’m playing drums in a band in Florida, called Arbour Season.
So, you left home and began to play with this band. Can you tell me a bit more about it and the genre of music?
Thomas: They’re a married couple named Shane and Emily and when they were a two-member band, they played Pop. When I joined, they switched to Indie Folk and changed their name to Arbour Season. Getting a drummer helped them make the switch. Indie Folk, it’s very nostalgic. You hear it and you just want to drive through the mountains.
We’ve played summer festivals at Busch Gardens in Florida, gigs at Splitsville in Disney Springs, and Mother’s Restaurant in Tampa.
The plan is to, in February, hopefully go back to Florida for a month and then go on a full tour for a year across America non-stop. We want to stay on the road for a full year, just doing house shows, not even as many bar gigs, just singing in people’s living rooms. What we do is, well Shane does it, is message people and see if they want us to play in their homes, the only thing we ask is for a small donation.
Wow, that’s fascinating, I wasn’t aware that house shows are even a thing. What about you, personally, are you planning an album?
Thomas: Actually, they’re quite popular in America. Until I met Shane and Emily, I really didn’t know about much about them.
When on tour, I want to be writing the whole time. I want to have 100 songs done that I can pick five of. It’s a weird number, because usually it’s a four song EP (Extended Play). I want to put out a five or eight song EP, which is sometimes called a Freshman’s Album. That’s my biggest goal right now.
An EP is a step to an album. For instance, Shawn Mendes put out a four song EP and that was his introduction to his album. So, the next year, he wrote 100 more songs, picked ten and put it on a big album, and that was how he got out there.
I never realized the amount of labor that goes into an album. Unless you’re in the music industry, I don’t think you can appreciate all the background work. It has to be stressful. Do you have any routines that you do to help you relax?
Thomas: There are definitely things you do to deal with nerves, especially for a bigger show. One thing, for me, is that even though we may not be playing worship music, it helps me to know that this is still a ministry. I have certain people I will call, or Shane, Emily, and I will just talk or pray before we go on. Or sometimes I watch the show, The Flash (laughs). These just help me go on the stage relaxed.
Any inspirations for songs? Things that have happened in your life?
Thomas: I’ve written a couple of songs about how my past year has gone, with a duo that I was in called Compass North, that just came to an end. I think that if I put out an album in the next year, I think it will be focused on my faith in that situation, in the way that I’ve been guided through with God’s strength, my parents and my friends. That’s one of my inspirations, but even things that go on in my family and how my parents have been so supportive.
Just one last question before I let you get back to your music. Any advice for those following their musical aspirations?
Thomas: The whole thing with music, is that there are endless opportunities. You see all the famous people who have made it . . . I don’t think that should define how good of a career you have. It was hard for me to understand, but my parents keep reminding me that it shouldn’t be my main goal. Your main-focus should be on your love of music, not whether you are making a lot of money. Keep at it. I’ve been fortunate with the supportive people in my life. Get great people behind you.
Thomas Mastin lives on his family farm near Napanee, Ontario, Canada. He attends Roblin Weslyan Church and is committed to music, friends, family, and his Faith. In his spare moments, he enjoys playing and watching basketball.
If you would like to find out more about Thomas and Arbour Season, or would like to listen to and/or purchase their music, please visit one of the links below.