July 11, 2023

Rapper Dead Silence emerges from the fire, literally

Submitted Photo

Submitted Photo

Since he began performing as a teenager, Miles Mason has been known on the stage as Dead Silence. "Vanilla Bean" is his new single that's now available. But just a few months ago, Miles' career and his life were almost silenced by a fire at his apartment complex on the northwest side of Indianapolis. He is still recovering from his injuries, and he stopped by WFYI for a conversation with local Morning Edition host Ray Steele.

MILES MASON:  Appreciate you.

RAY STEELE:  When you make music for a living, why in the world would you take the name "Dead Silence"? I mean, you're making noise, you're making music.  Why 'Dead Silence'?

MASON: Silence. That's how I found myself. The person who I am today... I often self-reflect on who I am now, because I wasn't like who I am compared to my past. So, I got real deep into self-reflection consciousness, character development, things like that, and often got caught up in certain circumstances, beyond my control. And yeah, I got caught up in life. And it would take silence for me to get back to myself or for me to have a better understanding of self or a better understanding of life in general. So, I just became a student to life. And yeah, I call it silence because of that, 'dead silence.'

STEELE:  I know a couple years ago; you made a big push into reducing the stigma of talking about mental health. A lot of people have talked about that since the pandemic, but you, making it okay for us to talk about our mental health publicly. How does silence play into that for you.

MASON: I was told a wise quote, when I was in the hospital, and it was a pastor, and he came in and he said, is important for us to be in tune with ourselves. And you break it down into three S's and he said, solitude, stillness, and silence. So, once we calm our minds and our hearts, we get back to the root of ourselves. We can't tune into ourselves or better ourselves if there's always noise, If we're looking for some type of distraction. We need to silence ourselves.

STEELE: Early the morning of April 17 of this year, there was a massive fire at your apartment complex on the northwest side.  One person died in that fire. Several people were injured, including yourself. I remember seeing social media posts from our mutual friends posting about the fire, and I didn't know how bad it was at first.

MASON: Oh, yeah. It was seven other people along with me in critical condition. And I believe over 15 to 20 might have been injured in general. And yeah, it was bad. I can't really speak on anything deeper than that, like the investigation, but just as far as everything happening yeah, I remember everything, every second of 4:35am, April 17. It's crazy.

STEELE: How bad were your injuries?

MASON: I got first, second- and third-degree burns. Smoke inhalation, my neck swelled up a little bit. I needed a breathing tube, a feeding tube and I was on a ventilator. I remember my general (anesthesia) wearing off and feeling those burns.... that's a different type of pain. I needed surgery, skin grafts to put layers of skin on different parts of my body to recover the skin that was last on my hand. Yeah, it was it was crazy. But just how the healing process has been so far. I got told by a doctor with 20 years of experience that my healing is superhuman. They put me on a protein diet. I got discharged from the hospital five days earlier than expected and the physical therapy is going well. I can't really complain.

STEELE:  How has (the fire) affected your mental health, and how has that impacted your music since then?

MASON:  It's definitely pushed me outside the box, and I plan on dropping a project called Through the Fire. So, like in regards to what I've been through, but to shift that into a positive light. I'm a major fan of taking certain situations and trying to make the best out of it. So, with the conditions and the limitations of what I have to recover myself, like I can't be outside, if it's if it's hotter than 80 degrees, and if it's colder than 30 degrees, and if I am outside, I have to be inside of a building. So, it's got some conditions and limitations, but now we're trying to learn how to live with it. And I'd be lying if I acted like my mental health doesn't teeter every now and then. So, it's not consistently good, but it's not consistently bad. So, when it comes to music, being more open minded and making something that you know resembles more of me.

STEELE: How do you take that with you down the road? Or do you even know yet? Is this a one day at a time thing?

MASON: Definitely one day at a time. I've been thinking too far into the future. But the main thing that I think of is what's next to create. So, I got two other records that I have written out, but haven't recorded yet. I got three other records that I have written now that I want to be on a project. It's just taking everything moment by moment, being patient,

STEELE:  How is that going to affect you in putting new music out there? The conditions for performing in public probably don't match up what you can physically handle right now.

MASON: This, this is all about discipline.  I turned down a couple opportunities to perform actually and even though I wanted to, I'm like, dang, you know, for the betterment of self, I had to decline. So even though they say all opportunities and good, some opportunities are good, but you have to decline because of the position where you add in life. So as much as I want to perform like I was got to wait, so I might have to take the summer off when it comes to performance. But I know that you know, when it comes to playing the long game, that it's going to be worth it. I’m just taking my time.

You can find Dead Silence wherever you download your music.

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