Derek celebrating making of Colours of Edziza film music

Film Soundtrack work with Thomas Beckman

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Thomas Beckman recording with Derek Mason in Vancouver, Summer 2014

Derek Mason’s memorable contribution to the dramatic music of Colours of Edziza film –

For the award-winning music soundtrack of this environmental trek movie, Violist-composer Thomas Beckman worked with music producer Derek J. Mason in summer and autumn 2014, in Derek’s Vancouver BC production studio. It was an honour for me to provide supports in the studio, and hear the the initial music production for the film. I witnessed directly the depth of Derek’s contribution to the improvisational flow in the first music pieces produced for this impressive environmental documentary film. In ways that Thomas Beckman so kindly expressed in his tribute to Derek Mason, Derek’s musicianship and dedication, which were always woven into his service as a record producer, were also an intrinsic part of the composition of the first three tracks that were recorded for the film. This initial production was in progress less than a half-year before Derek Mason passed away on February 15, 2015. While the creativity, passion and skill of Thomas is the core of this music, our hearts also want to recognize and honour the musical sensitivity and love of dramatic music that Derek contributed to this film as its first music producer. His work was cut very short by his illness and passing from this planet he so loved so much. How fitting it is that his last music project for film was in celebration of our Earth’s remaining places of wilderness.

Here is a video that helped bring the environmental trek documentary film and its music to the attention of CBC and some international film festivals. You’ll see Derek Mason working in his Vancouver studio with Thomas Beckman in the some of the recording and production for this music soundtrack. Derek was a servant, and it’s evident here as you watch the video. He worked together with Thomas and percussionist Jarrett Plett on the project together until late autumn, 2014. In early 2015, Thomas and Jarrett carried on with producer Sam Ryan for the post-production mixing and mastering of the brilliant music score of Colours of Edziza.

Jerrett Plett, Thomas Beckman and Derek Mason celebrate music soundtrack acheivements

Jerrett Plett, Thomas Beckman and Derek Mason celebrating their music soundtrack work for “Colours of Edziza” film

More news about the film, Colours of Edziza – http://www.coloursofedziza.com/colours-of-edziza-wins-award-in-best-shorts-film-competition/

We are featuring four songs by Emerging Artists who surely will not forget, as they move forward in their music and media careers, all that their first music producer did for them.

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It’s understood by the singers who worked with Derek Mason that his musicianship was well beyond the level of most of those recording artists he produced. As a music producer, Derek was also dedicated and generous, always striving for collaborations of mutual benefit to both producer and artist. He helped to launch recording artists’ careers. Some of those artists, we list on our Links page. Below, we provide some vital information about Derek Mason’s contributions in debut recordings he produced for the two singer-songwriters featured on the above playlist.

Lola Acala

Lola Acala is a remarkable person, passionate, intelligent and enterprising. She has a Political Science degree, is concerned with social justice and is television host of her own TV media show, TheLedge. It’s a good quality program, in which Lola presents social issues and artists with outstanding style and respect. She interviews a variety of remarkably accomplished people involved in the arts, social justice and wellness.

Recently, at the end of her June 16, 2016 Episode of TheLedge* (see below), Lola used a short clip of her song, “Only A Matter Of Time”.  We provide an opportunity to listen to Derek Mason’s full production of the entire song here, via the playlist above. It’s worthy listening. Lola is encouraging as a life-coach in her lyrical offerings through her song, and Derek’s guitar work and other instruments are very fitting to the “move forward” message of the Lola’s lyrics. We love the message that Lola Acala puts out through her lyrics and her tag-out in that “…Matter of Time” song. And we love the energy of Derek’s guitar playing.

To add some background on Lola Acala as a media personality, Lola was emerging as a cable TV series host, but not yet a music recording artist, when she found Derek Mason Music Productions. She came to our studio with song lyrics, theme ideas and dramatic aspirations for a few songs. Derek took her on, and he worked extensively to produce Lola, coaching her to enhance her singing and recording performance skills. Because of Derek’s accomplished instrumental skills and flair for big-sounding arrangements, he offered up many ideas Lola would not have imagined. I personally was present during the making of Lola’s debut EP, and just how hugely significant Derek’s creative ideas were as in the final arrangements… as was his musicianship. Lola and Derek collaborated their creativity towards the final song arrangements. Lola wanted to continue, but those plans never materialized due to Derek’s illness which became apparent in late November. Sadly, that’s the end of this story. However, we wish Lola well in all her endeavors.

Ava Carich

Ava Carich is an emerging artist from South Surrey, British Columbia, who is very talented and deserving of the awards she has recently won as a singer-songwriter and solo performer. I and Derek sincerely wish her well. Ava’s debut recording was produced by Derek Mason. A punchy song she wrote, called “Player”, the record was a gift from Derek and me to Ava, and it was her debut, the very start of Ava Carich becoming known as a recording artist. Derek Mason produced and recorded “Player” at his downtown studio in Vancouver, BC, without receiving financial compensation. He started by making a demo of Ava singing her song. Then he made a slightly fuller production adding drums. Derek and I loved the song and encouraged Ava to develop the song further. Shortly after Ava’s debut recording sessions in our studio, Derek made a fully produced recording of “Player”, which you can hear on this site in the playlist above. It was a much bigger record than Ava was ready to receive at the time; with her youthful ears, she chose Derek’s simple, studio demo-draft with drums, to publicize her recording debut via social media. That’s okay; it was Ava’s personal choice in 2012 as she launched her recording career. You can hear that basic demo on YouTube, on the blank video she shared there. Hear it via our embedded link below; then listen via our playlist above, to Derek’s full-production version — the one he worked on with professional dedication as the music producer he was — a producer who made big, radio-ready music recordings for ambitious artists.

There has been local buzz over the past three years, about Ava’s talent, and lately regionally, all of it deserved, because Ava is wonderful. She has an expressive voice and some worthy lyrics. Most of her listeners may not know, however, that Derek Mason and I gave Ava her recording start, in our Beach Avenue music production studio. This might be because, between July 2012 and January 2015, Derek Mason had branded his studio business as “Drama Music Productions”. To clarify, that brand was a division of his  registered company, Derek Mason Music Productions. He wasn’t into promoting his own name so much, because he was also creating music for film and dramatic arts.

Derek worked at Ava’s first record in his studio for countless hours, with a promise from her promoter that there would be compensation for him in the future. We had faith in Ava’s talent, and believed she would reach a level of success enabling compensation for her first music production studio. Certainly other studios took over Ava’s recordings in the past couple of years, and that’s understandable because of Derek’s illness and tragic passing. This just clarifies and reaffirms that Derek was the one who provided these music recording kick-starts as an accomplished, dedicated and generous music producer.  We know that Derek has passed away in body only. His spirit lives on, and I speak in his honor, knowing that he is still pleased at having given these recording debut opportunities to both Lola and Ava.

In conclusion

Derek Mason’s mission as a music producer was to provide extensive yet affordable music production work, contributing instrumental tracks, arrangement and engineering for the artists he recorded and produced. Singers would come in to his studio with song ideas, lyrics, basic melodies and no recording experience, and Derek would create for them, big-sounding records suitable for launching their careers; in short, Derek’s hard work and dedication turned them into bonafide recording artists. He did so, in scores of other great-sounding records that we don’t have space to post on this website. He was a great “musical idea” man. As I journey through my bereavement after the loss of Derek, it is little comfort to me that I have full possession and ownership of all the recording session files and finished productions Derek left behind. These four songs are among and hundreds of others by several singers and a few bands produced by Derek Mason. Those files in themselves are testimony to his excellence and dedication. But these are special, for reasons I have explained above.

We shed a light on this to offer up a renewed remembrance of Derek’s hard work and dedicated contributions to the recording debuts of these and other emerging artists.

~ Anthea Mason