To trace the Mason Hill story to its origin, Scott Taylor and James Bird met at school in Glasgow. At the age of 14, Bird was already an accomplished, award-winning, gifted guitar prodigy, who’d shared a stage with Ozzy Osbourne/Black Label Society man Zakk Wylde, a personal hero, toured across the UK, and secured endorsements from leading music brands. The teenager Taylor already harbored dreams of fronting a rock ’n’ roll band, and the pair’s friendship and shared aspirations led them to form a band.
In 2013 the pair formed Mason Hill, adding drummer Craig McFetridge, bassist Matthew Ward, and guitarist Marc Montgomery in due course. Five diverse, colorful characters, the members of the group were instantly bonded by a shared, singular vision for their band: Taylor relinquished long-held plans to become an Olympic swimmer in order to focus on music, while Ward withdrew from a degree course at the University of Glasgow, where he’d been studying microbiology/virology. For these ambitious young men, Mason Hill was and is priority number one. We did an interview with the lead guitarist, James Bird.
I met Scott in School after moving up to Glasgow when I was about 13! Having played guitar since I was 9 I was eager to get high school bands going which I and Scott did. It wasn’t until years later that we met the rest of the guys after having disbanded our high school band when we were about 19 or 20 years old to then go on and make Mason Hill! Before it became Mason Hill though it was just me and Scott making some demos which we used online as a way to advertise for other people to join this new group we were starting.
At the time we didn’t really know many people so it was really hard trying to start it up however we eventually recruited Craig on drums!
We had a bassist so once Craig joined we were able to finally start gigging under the new banner of Mason Hill. After a bit of time had passed and we had slowly started to build up some reputation we got Matthew on Bass just after our debut EP release then Marc Joined a year or 2 later on guitar. Mason Hill as you see it today really kicked off around late 2017.
Behind the name:
The name was a nightmare! Think about it, if you started a band tomorrow which needed a name you are going to be putting on Merchandise and gig posters it really is quite the thing of pressure! (laughs) So yeah, after many poor attempts we eventually gave up one night in a Glasgow rock bar called ‘Solid Rock’ after a few beers! On the table beside us was a newspaper or magazine, Scott picked it up and we said the first page we land on will have the band’s name on it! On one side there was an article which roughly spoke about someone by the name of “Dr. Mason” and on the side an article about a ‘Hill’. There it was in front of us, “Mason Hill”. (laughs)
The list of bands that inspire, influence us is endless I think! We are first and foremost fans of music and all like very similar things with the exception of a couple of different bands or artists. Bands such as Shinedown, Alter Bridge, Bring Me The Horizon as of late have been a really big influence to us. Aside from music though we are inspired by our life experiences to date which we’ve had from being in this band, the ups and downs keep us going and encourage us to push this band all the way.
Along with Scott, I have been cooking a couple of new things.
It’s sounding very modern-day heavy rock so far lots of heavier moments than before which I feel is a nice way of turning up the grit a notch or two from the debut album! I think to expect slightly heavier but without losing the hooks and melodies!
As it’s a guitar-based band the album was written by myself and Scott. We have a great system for sure not only in the writing department but the bands every day to day tasks that we do behind the scenes, everyone is super hands-on and involved with ensuring the band is pushing through the things that we need to do in the background.
It meant we so far have not been able to gig with our brand new debut album, which is unfortunate but as soon as covid allows we will be gigging a lot! So much time to make up for! (laughs)
I once got up on stage with Zakk Wylde when I was around 10 or 11 years old to play alongside Black Label Society! It was an amazing moment.Fun Fact