The Animal Language boss opens up...

From his breakout, chart-topping track, ‘Exceeder’, to his more recent 'Nite Rite' series and café crawl concept, Dutch producer Mason has endured a production and DJ career that has spanned 20-years. 2006’s ‘Exceeder’ was one of the first tracks from the electro house vogue to go supernova, played by almost every DJ, it found chart success globally (including a UK number one) and secured bookings for the then Dutch duo all over the world. 

Fast forward to 2015, and Mason are still going strong, albeit as a solo project of Lason Chronis, who is in the midst of another career revival with several of his tracks currently riding high in the Beatport charts adding to his already diverse output. As well as a widely successful DJ and production career, Mason also organises a pub crawl of sorts in his native Holland, where himself and his Animal Language label mates meet up at a random location in Amsterdam and then crawl across the city’s numerous cafés, with 300 ravers and a mobile DJ setup in toe, for a unique spin on the free party concept. 

Having just returned from a tour in Brazil, DJ Mag sat down with Lason Chronis for a quick chinwag, to see what his secret is to a long and fruitful career in electronic music.

Tell us about this amazing new remix that you’ve done for Janne Schra — how did it come about?
"She’s pretty amazing I think, she’s just released an album and I know her really well as she’s Dutch too. So I remixed it for the fun of it as we get along really well. Then the remix started its own life, it got signed to Embassy One Records in Germany, alongside a video. It just took off a little bit, and then started to chart on Beatport and so on. So it just started out as a friends/fun thing. But it’s really nice when it just happens like that, you know, instead of trying to force a hit out."

Tell us about your Nite Rite series of tracks, what’s been the concept behind them?
"They’re a series of club tracks that are released on the full moon, but we did skip one actually. So there’s going to be 10 of them. After a few years, I was only doing stuff for our album, so somewhere inbetween pop and dance. It was music I was really happy and proud of, but sometimes it was really hard to play out. I decided I would make music I wanted to play out, as my first love is DJing. So I shifted my focus a little and I only made stuff I wanted to play, and if I wanted play them, then maybe others will too. And that’s the concept; one a month, and only stuff to DJ with, you know, nothing too complicated — basically it’s what’s missing in my sets."

Take us back to 2006 when ‘Exceeder’ was ruling clubland — how do you look back at that huge success, are you still really proud of that track?
"It’s been a complete game changer in my life, since then my life has turned upside down. I got an audience, as before I was just making fun music; well that’s what I thought anyway. But from then on that track actually got me an audience who listens to what you do. That period was really nice, but then electro house changed into something that I wasn’t really comfortable with, and then it became this sort of EDM thing, and didn’t really feel at home with that sound anymore. It was quite a worldwide thing though; from that moment I started to tour like crazy. I just didn’t want make a copy of it again, and again, and again, which would have been really easy. That’s not really my style. So I was like, ‘Ok, I have now have the freedom to do what I like’. So I didn’t just want to make two or three ‘Exceeders’ — if you know what I mean. For years I didn’t play it out, but recently I’ve started playing it a bit more, but it helps that I have like 30 versions!"

So originally Mason was a duo, why did you and Coen Berrier decide to go your separate ways?
"So, yeah, we were a studio duo, so I would do the DJing and then we would share the production work. But yeah he left 18 months ago, and that allowed me to go a different direction. He didn’t really like DJing, so it ran its course basically, and I took over the name, so everything from the last 18 months is my own work, and the rest is both of ours. At first, I was a bit curious on how it was going to work, but since then I shifted my focus to more club driven music, and I was always more of the DJ of the two of us — but its going really well. I have like ten tracks in the Beatport charts, which is really important for the DJ bookings and stuff." 

Tell us about your Café Crawl shows you’ve been doing in Holland, they sound like a lot of fun?
"So you’ve heard about that one… well, yes, it’s our little baby. Basically we’re doing some parties with Animal Language [my label] and the main one is the café crawl. We used to do club parties, but that got really boring. You know, everyone goes to clubs. So we decide we were going to do a pub crawl where we go from alcoholic bar to alcoholic bar, to these places that are super unpopular, where there are usually two people sitting there, you know, the opposite of trendy bars. The kind of places where if you turn up with 20 people you takeover, so we run in with 300, with a mobile DJ booth and we play in each bar for one hour, and then move onto the next one and the next one — it’s like this crawl from bar-to-bar-to-bar-to-bar, with DJs, speakers, lights, everything. And the pub owners are super happy as they’ve finally got a crowd who buys drinks who are younger than 60. It’s all for free and just for the fun of it!"

Holland seems to consistently produce huge DJs and electronic producers. What’s Holland's secret, and were you ever tempted to go down the Big Room route?
"The industry that creates these huge superstars is coming from Holland, but itself [EDM] has never really been that big in Holland. Amsterdam is really Berlin focussed, so someone like Dixon would attract more people than, say, Sander Van Doorn. It’s coming from here, and we have huge labels like Spinnin’ and all these big agencies, but it mainly goes abroad. Regarding myself, maybe when I was a kid that was my dream, but over the years I realised I was too stubborn, as I want to make what I want to make. So you either realise at some point whether you’re like me, or the other type of artist. I do think those sorts of artists do love what they make, but they probably also find it easier to make stuff for your average 18-year-old, and they adapt to that a lot. I think I heard one of them say, not mentioning any names, “I make 90% of what people want and 10% I give it my own signature” and I was like, “Hey, that’s the complete opposite for me”. I make 90% of what I want and 10% for the people. I guess it’s a character thing. I like to follow my own path, and it’s really worked out for me so far."