One of the biggest selling points of SoundCloud is the level playing field it provides its creators. Whether you're in a fancy studio, or in a basement with just a keyboard, as long as you an internet connection, you can get your music heard by someone.

There are some, inevitably, that have been doing it longer than others - building up steady reputations that are now crossing over into the "mainstream" world, earning attention from what one might arguably call "real" people, which when said aloud sounds rather ridiculous. It's almost like saying people who use the internet are not real people.

Self-proclaimed "beat slayer, heart breaker producer" Alex 'Mura Masa' Crossan is one such artist who has successfully conquered the SoundCloud world with his nostalgic refixes and original compositions. Many of his early productions simply being created at home in his bedroom in Guernsey, which is a small island in the English Channel. He still commutes between Guernsey, London and Brighton, where he lives with friends when he's not working on music or more recently, touring the globe.

After strong success on SoundCloud, early independent releases with Jakarta and Soulection, and a well-tuned ear for finding new talent himself, he inked a deal with Polydor Records last year, also bringing along his Anchor Point label under the Polydor umbrella; immediately signing singer, songwriter and previous collaborator Bonzai (she appears on new single 'What If I Go?').

For 2016, Mura Masa is firmly in album mode (set for a release later this year) and has already enjoyed a taste of potential success with last year's 'Love for That' featuring new label mate Shura; success that looks set to get even bigger with new single 'What If I Go?' which builds on many of the foundations laid by 'Love for That'.

Having sat down with Crossan prior to the release of the new single, we touched on it briefly so as not to give too much information away at such an early stage ("It's a gear shift," he coyly mentions) but there's clearly a lot to be excited for. It's smack bang in the middle of winter when we meet. It's a brief but important trip for him - this is his first proper run of interviews as "the face" of Mura Masa since signing a major record deal. While I attempt to warm up over a cup of tea and Alex relaxes with a beer, we have a rather in-depth conversation about his forthcoming music, shows, SoundCloud and future plans for his Anchor Point label.

Is living in Guernsey difficult for you? I'm sure you have to travel to London a lot when it comes to music...

Well, I also live with a bunch of uni mates down in Brighton so I've got a house there and I can pop back and forth, but I go to Guernsey quite a bit. It's a bit weird having to fly over but I don't think it's difficult to make music in Guernsey; it's just a quiet place. Everything's on the internet anyway so it's all good!

Is there much of a difference creating music in Guernsey compared to working in London?

Yeah, there's a different vibe. When I'm in Guernsey... obviously I can't do sessions over there so it's just me in my room. I think I prefer that a little bit... but when I do sessions, I just pop over to London or people come down to Brighton. It's a bit of a weird creative process having to go back and forth but it's good fun.

Congratulations on your Sound of 2016 placement...

Thank you! It's exciting!

How did you find out and what was you doing?

I was in America. I was staying in this really weird, primarily Jewish neighbourhood in Beverly Hills, we went over there to do some writing. I think we'd just been to this kosher Mexican place and had tacos, I was living there for a week with my manager Sam, Nao and Bonzai; we were all living in this little house, going to sessions and meeting people in America. Sam got the phone call and obviously Nao is on the list as well so we found out at the same time! It was really exciting!

'Love for That' seems to have captured a lot of people's attention and I suppose you could argue it's your first "breakout hit" in a way. It's certainly gotten the most attention from what I can see. How does it feel to have so many eyes on you now whereas before it was a bit more underground?

It was sort of all blog love and internet community attention but now it's starting to cross over into radio and a few more "real" people are interested! [Laughs] It's really exciting and what I love most about it is, I haven't changed what I'm doing. We've been rolling it out slowly and it's picking up momentum so it's exciting.

As you mentioned, Nao is on the BBC Sound Of list as well. She featured on your Someday Somewhere EP alongside the likes of Denai Moore and Jay Prince plus Shura features on 'Love for That'. I would imagine those guys are your friends as well...?

Yeah, I don't really work with people who I'm not friends with! [Laughs] I think you have to be friends with someone to work with them, it's always weird to meet people who just rock up to sessions having not interacted with them but I'm mates with them. I'm really good mates with NAO, Shura is lovely; she's one of the nicest people I've ever met. Jay Prince was an interesting one actually - I hadn't met him when we did the collaboration, I just sent him the beat and he did one take and it was done so he's a bit of beast!

It must be nice to be on the come up with your friends then?

It helps so much coming up with your friends, it's a really good vibe because you can all be excited at the same time and similar things are going on, like we're going into the same interviews at Radio 1... It's good to have people to bounce off of.

Is there any sense or feeling of competition in there?

I think for me, because I do the production thing, it's a very different thing that I do from say, NAO, who's like... the next Aaliyah, she's really cool, she's going to be a superstar. I wouldn't say it's competition; with the Sound Of poll for example, it's just good vibes that we're on it.

There's a very lengthy and informative Reddit AMA online with you...

Everyone keeps bringing that up! I did it when I was like... 17. I think I might take it down, I come across a bit lame. My old press shots keep coming up and I hate them; they're awful! I like how I kind of came up on the internet because there already is a lot of stuff out there about me. But if you're trying to be mysterious, an AMA is really quite candid and interactive. Maybe it's a good thing...

There's people in there asking about production work, some asking for help with productions tools, how to get their music out there. It's the stuff that people want to know, especially other producers/artists...

A lot of that comes from being raised in that SoundCloud-like environment where everyone's just chatting and bouncing off of each other. There's not much alienation; people just vibe, give each other tips and swap samples... It's a really cool community.

That's the beauty of this SoundCloud generation, I think. in being so open, it's a lot easier to collaborate with people without having to go through so many parties to get to the person. It's all very direct now.

Hardly ever is it a case of being A&R'd into a collaboration, it'll be a Twitter conversation that starts it all, which I think is amazing. And it's so different to how it used to be where the A&R tells you who to be with; not that A&R'ing is bad, for someone like me, it's much better for it to happen organically.

Between your first mixtape Soundtrack to a Death, the Someday Somewhere EP, and 'Love For That' - would you say your sound has changed or evolved?

When I did the mixtape, it was beat-making. I was just sitting in my room making beats, trying to make it sound cohesive but now I'm trying to open it out to a wider audience and it does kind of change the way you produce but I think if anything, the quality is just a bit higher now. It's still quite grassroots I'd say. I still make all my music out of my bedroom. It has changed but in a nice way.

It's a subtle change. It's not drastic like going from Rock to Classical or something, I think it works. Have the people who were perhaps checked in on your music before remained?

Yeah, for sure, which really surprised me actually because as I started to cross over to a different sound, I was really worried that people would start to tune out but I think they're just interested to see what's next. It's really good to have a fan base like that. A few people have said "Oh, make more bangers!" or "Make the stuff you used to make!" and there's some of that on the album but I won't say too much at the moment...

How far in are you with the album?

I'd say I'm about halfway done. It's still evolving and I'm excited to release the next single, just to see what people make of it because again it's quite different but I feel like every time I drop something it's different! [Laughs] People really seem to respond to that as well, practically online, people are just very open to... "Diversity".

I don't want to pry too much about 'What If I Go?' but is it in the same realm as 'Love For That' or is it another gear shift?

It's a gear shift! I'm still doing the same thing - it's still got my sound - but I'm just trying new things and trying to make really exciting different but culturally relevant music.

What encouraged your decision in signing to Polydor? Weren't you previously signed to Soulection?

The Soulection thing... I released one track with them and everyone just assumed I was signed there. I was never really with their camp, I met with [Soulection Co-Founder] Joe Kay, I hang out with those guys a lot and I'm into everything they're doing but it was never really a sure thing; nothing was ever signed between me and them. Before that, I was going through this label called Jakarta in Berlin; that was really cool because Jannis [Stürtz] who runs it just heard the music and was like "Yeah, we want to make vinyl," and all that stuff so that was really exciting for a 17-year-old so we went with that and I'm still working with them. With Polydor, I set up this label called Anchor Point under them and it was more about going to the best label to enable that to grow rather than be completely roped to Polydor. It's going really well and obviously I've got a bigger stage now to do stuff. Polydor have done James Blake... They've done some really tasteful acts in the past so I'd say that was the main reason why I went with them.

Are you actively looking for new acts to sign or are you happy with your current roster?

We're keeping it a very close family. So at the moment, it's just me. I released my last EP through it, 'Love For That' came out on it and then there's Bonzai, who's just done her [Royah] EP, she released a single before that. The next project, I don't want to spoil too much about it but it's probably the most exciting musical thing I've ever heard, it's amazing. I don't want to spill too much details but it's a very interesting project. I don't even want to say their name. I don't know how long we should hold out on that! [Laughs] Actually, we're doing an Anchor Point night at the Oval Space in London in April and they'll be playing there along with Bonzai and me.

You're going to be touring this year along with a list of festival dates...

I've just seen the schedule for the year. There isn't two days a row where I'm at home. I'm a bit worried about it! We're a stickler for a good timeline, my team. Exciting times, lots of dates.

It must be quite a culture shock because prior to this you haven't done many shows and now you're going to be everywhere...

I hadn't been to a real gig until I went to Reading & Leeds in 2014; that was my first real musical experience, it was mind blowing and then to play shows after that was crazy. But last year, we kept it very tasteful and not played many shows. I did Bestival and a few cool things like that mainly in Europe but I haven't been to Asia or played shows in America, so that's going to be cool.

There's a bit of an Asian influence in your music so it must be nice to finally get over there, when you do get over there.

I think I'm going to Tokyo next year, that's going to be really exciting. I think it's for Fuji Rocks, we're doing that, then flying over the next day to play the Secret Garden Party. It's going to be intense.

You've previously worked with Dallas Cotton (aka Yung Bae) on some earlier music. Have you actually met him?

No! He lives in Austin I think? But we're friends on Facebook and we still chat, swap samples and stuff. He's cool. That whole future funk scene is really weird, like Flamingosis for example, there's a whole troop of them that do that kind of stuff and they go through this weird label, I can't remember what it's called but that whole future funk thing is really interesting.

It's a very mysterious world...

And I'm deeply still entrenched in it! I'm kind of getting a bit more mainstream love now and Annie Mac asked me "Who are you listening to?" or something and I'll reel off this long list of names that nobody has heard of and I love that! [Laughs]

How do you feel about being the face of your music now after spending so much time hiding it?

I'm very, very, very shy! Every time a photoshoot happens, I'm looking at the floor or I've got my hands in my face and they'll be saying "Just look at the camera!" and I'll be like "Nah...!" But with that being said, as you gain an audience I think people want to buy into you more so I'm trying to be a bit better about it and interact a bit more, show my face a bit more, tastefully. I don't want to be in Heat magazine or anything, I don't want to get to that level.

I watched a really interesting video yesterday, this screenwriter was talking about how he was once at a convention and somebody was chatting shit about him, to him because they didn't know it was him and he walked away from it thinking "Imagine if all these people that you don't know being able to talk about you without ever meeting you." That's the weirdest thing for me. I like to know people but you can't have that amount of control when you have a "fan base" or whatever. It's weird... or embarrassing. I'm not big into the personality/celebrity side of things. I'll have to get a bit more used to it! [Laughs]

You're on the BBC Sound Of 2016 list with some incredible acts; who are you personally looking forward to in 2016?

It sounds really "squad-y" and nepotism but Nao really is the most exciting artist. She's so creatively involved and in charge of everything, and I'm just so excited about her album. Aside from Nao, to keep it simple, I think Kaytranada's album is going to be really special. Mabel is really cool, I've been chatting to her a little bit, she's exciting. There's a lot of Grime stuff I'm really excited about; Elf Kid, he's coming up now and that's exciting. Skepta's not new but everything he's doing is exciting. To sound nepotistic again, Bonzai, from what I've heard; obviously the EP's just come out but she's working on a bunch of new stuff.

It's interesting that you mentioned Grime, especially as it's still such a hot topic but I think some of the newer acts are getting overshadowed - at least on a widespread scale - by the bigger, more established acts...

I think the world - or the UK particularly - is only just becoming ready for an authentic Grime sound, like, Dizzee Rascal's Boy In Da Corner was obviously a huge record, Mercury Prize winner etc, but then after that, he went mainstream just because that was the natural path but I think now, we're reaching a point where people are ready for the more gritty stuff which is probably why Stormzy is doing so well and Skepta's gone back to what he does best rather than making pop records, which no one seems to talk about anymore. But Grime is exciting to me; obviously I'm a bit of a dilatant because I'm not from London so I'm just dipping in and a bit like "Oh, Grime's cool!" But I've done my homework I think. I'm really interested to see what Wiley does next too.

Is there a question you're bored of getting yet?

"Where does the name come from?" I was just going to bring up how you hadn't mentioned it but I get asked that all the time and the answer always changes. My answer now just tends to be "I thought it sounded cool." Or "What's Guernsey like?" I know people are interested but Guernsey is just a very quiet, normal, boring... well, not boring, it's lovely, but there's nothing there so I struggle to answer that in an interesting way.

What would like your musical legacy to be?

I'd like to be remembered as someone who was tasteful and never sold out or never crossed over into just doing things for the pop or the money. I'd like to maintain a certain amount of taste and cultural relevance more than anything, and good music. I want this album to be important, not being too grand about it but I want it to be a nice little moment.


'What If I Go?' is available now on iTunes and all good digital platforms. Mura Masa's sold out UK tour kicks off on April 5 before a sold out co-headline tour with Nao in May.