"The group Happy Place succeeds at fusing experimental rock and chamber music by keeping all the required instrumental skills in-house. The two-guitar, two-drummer quartet can handle the quick changes in composer-percussionist Will Mason’s writing...
The cathartic two-guitar attack has the feel of avant-rock, while the astringent harmony recalls experiments by Charles Ives."
—Seth Colter Walls, New York Times

"The music is jittery, manic, and restless. You can forget any hope for tranquility here. It’s difficult to think of any prior recording that so accurately recreates in sonic terms both the uncomfortable physical act of tossing and turning awake in bed, as well as the scrambled and panicky thought processes that come with being incapable of turning off your mind."
Bandcamp Daily review of Happy Place - "Northfield"

"From the deep mind of heavy-hitting, octopus-armed drummer and bandleader eclectic Will Mason, the mad professors in Happy Place spew a bottomless pit of serrated riffs and dueling beat salvos that ostensibly are never on repeat...Mason anchored its scientific and taut mind-fuckery through the lens of freaked-out contemporary classical, extreme-prog and noise-metal with nods to the slow-building symphonic dissonant histrionics of Glenn Branca."
Brad Cohan, New York Observer

"The pieces are built from small, repetitive melodic cells and dissonant almost-harmonies, with the double drums battering out martial rhythms that drive the guitarists forward with something between dispassion and cruelty. It’s a clattering, clanging music that has the raw-nerve feeling of sleeplessness and tension. At the same time, it rises to a crescendo—the 13-minute “Rapture!”—that’s intensely beautiful."
Phil Freeman, Burning Ambulance

"Structurally tight, Happy Place boils with tension."
Avant Music News

"A student of music theory with a special interest in the French spectralists, Mason may namecheck the likes of Ligeti, Grisey, and Haas, but he’s also a killer drummer who keeps good company, so all you need is a pair of working ears to appreciate these inventively grooving, infectiously knotty compositions."
Eric McDowell, Dusted Magazine

Interview with ATTN: Magazine

"As the debut album from Happy Place, another band led by this outward-minded drummer, composer and bandleader, Northfield is an outlet for the music of Mason that’s more frayed, directly emotional and diffused."
Something Else!

"It takes careful planning for a band so tight to sound so loose...[Mason] sounds more liberated than ever, free to play what he wants, with whom he wants, as long as he wants."
A Closer Listen

Press Release:

(pictured left to right: Andrew Smiley, Will Mason, Austin Vaughn, Will Chapin. Photo by Bryan Sargent)

Happy Place is a NYC-based band of two drum sets and two guitarists playing a through-composed suite of avant-garde music inspired equally by noise metal and contemporary classical music. Written by new music composer and percussionist Will Mason during a state of extreme and protracted sleep deprivation brought on by anxiety, the music on their debut album Northfield is an exploration and celebration of the altered states of consciousness that asceticism elicits. It is about experiencing exultation through absence. It is about ecstasy through privation.

In 2014, Mason started being unable to sleep more than four hours a night. “After about four months I started to hallucinate,” he said. “I was literally out of my mind. It was an agonizing and ascetic place to be.” Mason was eventually inspired to use that experience as a window into altered and even elevated states of consciousness. He started to think about how suffering and asceticism were prerequisites for a certain kind of peak musical experience. He spent his sleepless hours writing music in his kitchen: little figures, short snippets, long processes. Their length became meaningless in the agonizing non-moments of restlessness, when time feels unfamiliar, feels changed.

The suite of songs that resulted bring to mind cutting-edge rock artists like Lightning Bolt, Tyondai Braxton, and Zs as well as contemporary concert music giants like Giacinto Scelsi, Gyorgi Ligeti, and Gérard Grisey. The album threads together a series of short, visceral pieces, from the manic, off-center “Fork!” and the hocketing drum and guitar pairs of “Spoon!” to the pounding tom-tom march and spectral guitar chords of “Rupture!” The album culminates in the 13-minute epic “Rapture!”, which spirals a chain of short motives into their outer limits.

Happy Place features Mason on drums, along with drummer Austin Vaughn (Here We Go Magic, Pavo Pavo) and guitarists Andrew Smiley (Little Women, Will Mason Ensemble) and Will Chapin (Empyrean Atlas). The band has gained renown for their powerful live performances. The music is physically intense to play, even painful at times, not to mention mentally taxing. It is performed ritualistically, at high volume and with high intensity, without interruption.

"In exceptional rituals—ecstatic revelations, states of possession during which individuals dance or make music highly charged with the supernatural—one of the methods employed all over the world consists in putting performers outside their daily rhythmic cycles by breaking their physiological routines with fasting and lack of sleep. The end result may be excitement of the psyche, but the starting point is visceral. The change of register cannot be brought about unless it starts in the very depths of the organism."
-- Andre Leroi-Gourhan, Gesture and Speech

(pictured left to right: Andrew Smiley, Will Mason, Austin Vaughn, Will Chapin. Photo by Bryan Sargent)

Album credits:
Recorded January 2016 at Seaside Lounge, Brooklyn NY
Engineered by Jon Altschuler
Mixed and mastered by Joseph Branciforte
Album art by Julian Cartwright