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JAKE MASON – KEYBOARDS (Cookin’ on 3 Burners)

Cookin' On 3 Burners Press 2 cropCookin’ On 3 Burners are Australia’s hardest hitting Hammond Organ Trio – joining the dots between Deep Funk, Raw Soul, Organ Jazz & Boogaloo. The band’s new album Blind Bet will be launched with gigs in July. AM profiles Cookin’ On 3 Burners‘ Hammond man Jake Mason.

What was your first keyboard?
My first unofficial keyboard was an old upright piano that was about a semitone flat that we had in the lounge room. It made for some interesting jamming with other musicians when i was growing up. However, my first official keyboard was a Wurlitzer 200a electric piano that my mother bought me when I was about 8 years old. It was a pretty hip choice by her. I still have that piano today and use it regularly in the studio.

What do you use on stage generally?
When I am playing an organ-heavy gig, I always aim for a tonewheel organ (Hammond B3 or C3) and a Leslie speaker. Unfortunately the portability of a C3 is less than ideal but it’s worth the lug when you finally make it on stage! In Melbourne we have a “Hammond Night” at a club in Northcote where a different Hammond trio plays every week. At the club is a house Hammond Organ and Leslie speaker which is such a treat! When playing where it’s just impossible to bring the tone wheels, I play a Nord C2 with a Leslie speaker, always a Leslie!

Cookin on 3 BurnersIs it the same for recording?
In the studio I have a late 50’s Hammond C3 and a 1964 Hammond A100 with a custom made valve Leslie Speaker. The Leslie is base on a 147 design but with more modern relays and bearings so its super quiet in the rattle stakes. In the studio I also frequently use my Fender Rhodes, Hohner D6 and various custom made valve amps.

What’s your latest recording and when will you be back in the studio?
The last 12 months have been really busy in the studio. The new album Blind Bet from Cookin’ On 3 Burners has been an epic event. Essentially it’s a Hammond Trio (Organ, Guitar and Drums) with the organ taking care of the bass duties. For this album we made a conscious decision to add some other colours as well, so we worked with Ross Irwin who arranged strings and horns for the record. The sweetness of the strings gave great contrast to the raw gritty sound of the Hammond Organ. Cinematic Funk!
I am about to start recording an album with Mark Seymour and the Undertow. We are still in the pre production stage but I will most probably be keeping with the traditional electromechanical sounds (Werlie, Rhodes, Clav, Piano and Organ). I have also been writing material for an album with Eric McCusker (Mondo Rock) which we will start recording soon as well. That will also lean heavily on vintage keys!

What gigs have you been playing lately?
I have been playing lots of gigs with Cookin’ On 3 Burners. I really enjoy playing in that Hammond Organ Trio setting. I occasionally play with Richard Clapton which is quite a different keyboard set up. Usually a 2 tier rig with a master keyboard on the bottom to handle splits and the main stage piano sounds and a top keyboard to handle organs and synths. This is also a similar set up I use when I play with Mark Seymour and the Undertow.

Most memorable gig?
I would have to say the most exciting gig from a venue perspective was playing a gig at the Roundhouse in London with Cookin’ On 3 Burners. The venue as a space is incredible but the history of the venue which has had so many extraordinary bands play there in the 2nd half of last century (Pink Floyd, Hendrix, The Doors, The Stones etc ) made it a real treat.
A gig that sticks in my mind that if it could, would go “straight to the pool room” was a gig I did in the late 90’s in the back room at Revolver, Melbourne. It was about 1am and had just arrived from doing another gig or 2 earlier that night. We dodged dancing crew and set up directly on the middle of a full dance floor. We then played a set of instrumental funk to a packed dance floor on the dance floor! There was no PA reinforcement, just our own amps on 11. It was loud, sweaty and just great fun!

Worst stage nightmare?
The worst stage nightmare would have to be getting the full force of 240v from a dodgy plug on a hired Hammond Organ rig at a festival gig. We were just a bout to go on and I went on stage to check everything was working fine etc and BAAAM, I got the shock of my life!

Album that changed your life?
It would be Kind Of Blue, Miles Davis. Such a landmark record that’s timeless.

What gigs are coming up in the next few months?
We are launching the Cookin’ On 3 Burners Blind Bet album in Melbourne July 4th at the Corner Hotel and July 11th at the Basement in Sydney

A keyboard tip for the kids?
Always keep a spare ‘jug’ lead and ‘jack to jack’ lead under the seat in the car. They WILL get you out of a tight spot at some point!


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