The guide to surviving a life in music, by those who know best...

Pink Floyd’s legendary drummer, Nick Mason speaks to Clash about retaining his hunger...

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LOVE PLAYING LIVE

I’m quite fond of saying that if you haven’t grown out of showing off by the time you’re 70 you’re probably never going to grow out of it. Most people are in rock ‘n’ roll because they’re performers, or they love performing.

If you really want to make money you’re better off becoming a hedge fund manager.

EMBRACE THE PAST, BUT LOOK TO THE FUTURE

I loved doing the Pink Floyd exhibition at the V&A, but the more we did, the more it was about ancient history, and you get to the point where you just think, ‘I loved what we did, but there was no actual sense of Now, it was always about Then.’

To some extent, the past is always a way to build into the future.

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SEEK OUT OTHER INFLUENCES

Of course I’m interested in drumming, but in lots of ways it’s all the peripheral stuff that is engaging. The more successful you are, the better the level of people you can bring in. And Pink Floyd ended up with some really great people: Mark Fisher, Michael Kamen, Gerald Scarfe... You only get that sort of opportunity if you’re successful enough to be able to interest them in what you’re doing.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

Timing is a very important element. Even The Beatles, if they’d been two years earlier, or two years later, might not really have happened. Pink Floyd found a niche with that whole London underground, swinging ’60s, psychedelia… whatever you want to call it. But there was an opportunity that pop music just hadn’t got to before then, in terms of slightly more complex concepts beyond teenage love stories.

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NEVER GIVE UP

If you don’t keep at it you haven’t got a hope in Hell, anyway, because no one is going to hear of you.

If you are a songwriter, you just have to keep writing and writing and writing and not stop. Try and learn more about the peripherals of the industry. Become familiar with the technology. Don’t just wait for someone else to make the record for you.

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVE PEOPLE

Being in a band probably makes life a lot easier. There is intrinsically a great support system if it all works when you play together.

Good management can be a very good thing. Bad management can be appalling. There are some wonderful examples of where people have done well or done badly. Look at Brian Wilson. Or maybe Michael Jackson. One might say family can be a great support, but maybe steer clear of making your family your management.

DON’T LEAVE YOUR FATE IN THE HANDS OF LABELS

Record companies always seem rather slow to understand where music is going. And now, more and more artists don’t have a record company themselves. As a result, artists are far more respected. It’s worth remembering, in a way, that’s how it used to be. Now artists are far more likely to be able to exert control in every aspect of what they do.

DO WHAT YOU LOVE

I’m quite good at doing things I like doing. And I’m quite good at getting out of doing things I don’t like doing.

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Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets tour the UK from April 23rd. Vinyl, CD and Blu-ray packages of Live At The Roundhouse are available for pre-order now and released on April 17th. Watch it at cinemas nationwide with a cinema exclusive Q&A on 10 March: see NickMasonFilm.com for tickets.

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