Video premiere: Mason Summit, ‘Negative Space’

today12/15/2020 2

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Twenty-four-year-old Mason Summit plumbs the dark corners of his mind for thematic material on his third album “Negative Space,” and owing to his deft twists on the sounds of classic rock, power-pop and folk, he has a way of inducing the listener to actually care about them.

“Negative Space” is the third full-length from the USC-educated native of Santa Monica, a largely self-produced album (Jeff Frantom is credited on four tracks) that features guest appearances by guitarist Harrison Whitford (Phoebe Bridgers), Jarren Heidelberg and Jim Doyle. Its musical touchstones includes everybody from the Beatles (and George Harrison’s solo work), to Big Star, Wilco and the Pernice Brothers. And a constellations of songwriters who can make sad sound happy.

Summit calls the title track “a jingle for depression,” appropriating a term used in visual art to evoke his bummer mood. “Close your eyes / Let the darkness take its place / And join us in the negative space,” he croons, before punctuating the thought with a guitar solo. “With this album, I gave a lot more thought to thematic cohesiveness, and many of the songs explore different aspects of mental health and mental illness, including grief, anxiety, addiction and clinical and seasonal depression,” Summit says. “I like to contrast the heaviness of these topics with upbeat pop music, and ‘Negative Space’ is representative of that approach.”

The video for the song was directed by Steven Wetrich. “It’s kind of inspired by cheesy early-2000s pop-punk green-screen videos, mixed with psychedelic light show backgrounds in homage to the ’60s influence in the music,” Summit says. “The original concept I had was for a German Expressionist-“The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”-inspired indoor set, which would make use of actual negative space, but when the pandemic hit, the director came up with this alternate idea. We shot the video in his backyard in Monrovia on a sweltering August day, and I got absolutely devoured by mosquitoes.”

The release follows this spring’s slasher flick-inspired video for “Doomed From the Start,” directed by Isaac Sanchez.

||| Watch: The video for “Negative Space”

||| Also: Watch the video for “Doomed From the Start”

||| Previously: “Thoughts & Prayers”

||| Also: Stream the album in its entirety

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