The Mast

The Mast

 New York City, New York, USA

The Brooklyn based trance rock duo, The Mast, creates an expansive, propulsive sound featuring ethereal vocals and hypnotic electric guitar riffs over throbbing, polyrhythmic drumming. Their debut album ‘Wild Poppies’ released 6/21/11 has been turning heads in the blogosphere and alt-radio world.


The Brooklyn based trance rock duo, The Mast, creates an expansive, propulsive sound featuring ethereal vocals and hypnotic electric guitar riffs over throbbing, polyrhythmic drumming. The seemingly eight-armed Matt Kilmer weaves a scintillating rhythmic tapestry with his hybrid drum set of frame drums, djembes, floor toms, and various cymbals. Meanwhile, Haale Gafori's interlocking guitar riffs and evocative vocals combine to create a sound that is at once danceable, deep, and inventive, balancing wild abandon and focused control. While the sound is truly unique, The Mast gives a nod to bands such as TV on the Radio, Tinariwen, PJ Harvey, and Blonde Redhead.

The Mast released their debut album on June 21, 2011. The blogosphere and radio stations have been buzzing about the album. The Mast had the honor of playing WNYC's Soundcheck on July 18th, and is getting featured on WNYC's 'Spinning on Air.' The next live radio performance will be on WKCR on August 10th.

"The only overdubs on this album were the extra layers of vocals. Every other sound was played live on the drums and the electric guitar, so we used various pedals and effects to give us all the sounds we needed--octave pedal for the bass, delay for the vocals and drums, etc. We wanted to make an album that we could play live as a duo,” says Matt. The spectacle of such an immense and expansive sound coming from just two people with no looping or samples must be seen to be believed.

Haale (pronounced like hallelujah or jalepeño) and Matt have been playing together since 2007, touring under Haale's name, playing shows all over the US, Canada, and Europe, including the David Byrne-curated series at Carnegie Hall, Preservation Hall, and the Bonnaroo festival. They also released 2 critically acclaimed EPs and a full-length album in 2008 entitled “No Ceiling” which the Boston Globe called “a swirly…gem of an of the year's most memorable releases.”

Matt has simultaneously played with an eclectic group of artists including the hip-hop legend Lauryn Hill, udist Simon Shaheen, and the comedian/musican Reggie Watts. He also composes music for comedian Louis CK’s television series “Louie” on the FX network.

In 2009 they returned home from touring, built a studio, crafted a new sound, and recorded “Wild Poppies.” They also designed the artwork including the cover, which is an intricate photo-collage of poppies grown in grown in their backyard in Brooklyn. Sonically and visually, the debut is a stand out.


"A promising new Brooklyn duo."
- TimeOut NY

"Kilmer's tribal drumming is fantastic. Haale is firing off rounds and rounds of hooks all throughout the album. Remarkably lush... each song is a pronounced statement of unbridled charisma” -InYourSpeakers

“The Mast releases an incredibly polished album that is a testament to their talent — Poppies is effortless, ambient, and captivating…they’ve set their standard high.” -StereoSubervsion

"Whip smart and intense…Original, refreshingly sincere and strong as a tree..."
-Dennis Cook (Editor of JamBase. From, 11 Bands to Watch

“The ethereal vocals of Haale, whose riffs conjure scenes of panoramic deserts, compliment the unfolding complexity of Matt Kilmer’s polyrhythmic drumming and invoke a sort of blooming, colorful landscape of layers...I think of a toned down Kills, a hyperactve Mazzy Star…Blonde Redhead. In spite of these comparisons, The Mast has carved out a niche all their own…to label their music as simply psychedelic, electronic, or rock/pop would be grossly off the mark…The Mast’s strength lies in its ability to merge the best of all three in symbiotic sound.”
-The 22 Magazine

“Expansive rhythms bring to mind TV on the Radio, Plant and Page with their Sahara influence… vocalist and guitarist Haale evokes Kate Bush to Beth Gibbons…and in Hummingbird [there’s a] White Stripes like guitar line. A kaleidoscope of sounds…a gem to dance to…instant sunshine…heavenly.” -The Rock Club UK

“Powerfully hypnotic…built from the marvelously probing electric guitar and sinuous voice of Haale and the deep roll and rumble of Vishnu-armed percussionist Matt Kilmer…The Mast is New York City and ancient scrolls…the more impassioned parts of PJ Harvey intertwined with that Middle Eastern thing Robert Plant and Jimmy Page worked up, and more we cannot put our finger on. Complex undercurrents flow in The Mast’s music, and in shallow times that’s a real gift.” -Dirty Impound

“Reminiscent of a punchier, more tribal version of the Cocteau Twins, builds on Haale’s ethereal and dreamy vocals/melodies, and Kilmer’s rather aggressive and eclectic percussive work.”-The Deli Magazine

"The Mast features mesmerizing distorted guitar riffs, hand percussion, and Haale's tripped out, undulating vocals..."
-WNYC Music Hub, Show pick of the day, Wild Poppies aired on Morning Edition


Wild Poppies

Written By: Gafori/Kilmer

Riding through these hills
They're holy as we will

This is a desert---this is a jungle
The wildflower, she waves,
to the cameras, to the high wall
to the watchtower, so grave

Four wild poppies by the wall
Under spirals of wires barbed
Enough to lift and break my heart

They remind me of what I know
Through my body, their magic flows

"I am a lover, I am a fractal,"
The wildflower, she says
To the cameras, to the high wall
To the watchtower so grave

Four wild poppies by the wall
I look real close and I hear their call
Yeah, it lifts me and frees my soul
Four wild poppies by the wall

I'm thinking of another time
I'm thinking of another life
I'm thinking of another way
I'm thinking of another page

My All

Written By: Gafori

Rolling over the reeds
Rolling over mounds of earth
From my head to my feet
Oh land, the grand masseuse

Walking through the marshes,
the mud gives way like satin
Underwater grasses
caress like the manes of lions

I give my all to you
I give my all to you

Back up to the frozen streets
Brick and metal, glass and stone
Still this place sings to me
My love, you make it home

I give my all to you
I give my all to you


Written By: Gafori/Kilmer

I can hear it everywhere
I can hear it in the streets
it's the sound of desire

Oh the shackles that we wear
are paper thin and green
and maybe we are finally tired

How did it ever, how did it ever trump
How did it ever trump well-being?

Oh some pockets run so deep
The rest are struggling for a piece
of a fast-turning pie

And the waters while we sleep
are getting bought up by a thief
with paper bills for eyes

How did it ever, how did it ever trump
How did it ever trump well-being?


Written By: Gafori/Kilmer

Purple petaled phonographs
along the garden's beaten path
Wings draw figure eights,
hummingbirds rise above the iron gates

The sweetest gold runs through their blood
With pointed beaks they sip the sun
that's tucked inside a crimson bell
They reach inside under the flower's spell

They're a vision of attention
They're a vision of vibration
They're a vision of elation

What a love runs through our blood
What magic sun pours from above
Let me try and emulate
Let me amplify what I love of this place

Their feathers have a copper sheen
Purple, blue, and meadow green
And their bodies are smaller than my hands
Tender as the heart of my man

They're a vision of attention
They're a vision of vibration
They're a vision of elation

And their beauty lives in you and me
as much as anything
And I'll carry it through the city
and to you, my friends, this is what I'll bring


Written By: Gafori/Kilmer

Over the hills we go
Our love I know
feels like the sun

High winds we breathe
Blue sky, fill me
The sun's inside your mind
and my mind

Fish flew out of the sea
Crawled out on new feet
We're dreaming light

Sky, plant seeds in my mind
Music, keep me alive
The love I feel is the prize
The prize


"Wild Poppies," released June 21, 2011

Album stream-able at
and at

Radio airplay:

WNYC Soundcheck--Live Performances of 'Wild Poppies,' 'Trump,' 'Hummingbird'
Album versions of 'Definitions' and 'My All'

WNYC Music Hub--'Wild Poppies'

CHIRP radio--'Lucid Dream'

KEXP--'Wild Poppies' mention in KEXP blog

upcoming features
on WKCR, and on WNYC 'Spinning on Air'

Set List

The Lake
My All
Wild Poppies
Lucid Dream