It just hit me—I need this back.”
Rick Massie hadn’t played guitar or any other instrument for around 15 years before he started working on his debut solo album. He claims he never really prioritized music, and though he played in all kinds of bands when he was younger, he drifted further and further away from it, as other commitments like work and family started to come before it.
Eclipse came out in early May, after nearly three years in the works. Though Massie himself speaks humbly about his work, the conceptual record is nothing short of a triumph. The process didn’t come without its challenges, but Massie was driven to power through them.
“My fingers were out of shape and I was out of practice,” he said. “But I could hear what I wanted in my head.”
Massie took a unique approach when it came to making his music. Because he hadn’t played in so long, in addition to writing and recording, he had to practice in order to get his playing up to par. Rather than doing exercises to get his hands back into the feel and regain his muscle memory, he immediately set about laying down ideas for his record. Massie says the course of writing and recording doubled as his practice to relearn how to play.
Eclipse is entirely a solo album; all the instruments, vocals, programming, mixing and mastering were done by Massie himself, with some advice from musicians he reached out to online, and some suggestions from his 10-year-old daughter, Aila, who is incredibly musically talented herself.
Though it deals with dark themes, Eclipse’s message is ultimately a hopeful one, and the album’s progression reflects an inner journey for Massie. A vast array of musical influences are shown off throughout the eight tracks, but the lyrics come entirely from a personal place, without drawing from external sources.
Though it incorporates a plethora of stylistic elements, Eclipse at its core is a progressive metal album, and was musically inspired in a huge part by the likes of Opeth, Yes, King Crimson, and Devin Townsend, who Massie cites as his all-time favourite artist.
After being surprised and thrilled with the positive reception he received with Eclipse, Massie has started a web series to elaborate on how the songs came to be. Called Eclipse Influences, the series of short videos can be seen on Massie’s YouTube channel. Massie uploaded the first episode May 17, and will be releasing a new one each Sunday, with eight in total. Each episode delves into a different song and explains the musical, lyrical and mood-driven inspirations behind it.
Though the songs on Eclipse can be interpreted differently by different listeners, Massie wanted some way to be able to give some artist insight for those interested in what was going on in his mind when he wrote and recorded these songs.
Though he spent years working on Eclipse, Massie was in no rush to release the album once it was completed. He wanted to make sure he had enough time to lay out a promotional plan, in order for the album to get some attention upon its release.
Massie took a personal approach when it came to promoting his music, opting to build connections and have real conversations with people about music and their inspirations, rather than spamming anyone he could find with sponsored posts and pre-written advertisement messages. This paid off, as Massie was able to make personal connections and see first-hand how someone else can enjoy the music that is so personal to him, which he wasn’t necessarily expecting.
“I’m not in this for the money,” he said. “I’ve written an album I consider to be completely unmarketable. This is kind of like therapy for me.”
Eclipse is available to listen to on all streaming platforms. CD copies can be ordered on Massie’s Bandcamp page.