When PinkPantheress and Ice Spice were spotted standing on a fire escape in New York City in early January, everyone was intrigued. What could two of music’s hottest artists of the moment be working on? One month later, the world caught up when the duo released “Boy’s A Liar Pt. 2,” a follow-up remix to PinkPantheress’ 2022 single. Mura Masa, the producer behind the track, was equally stunned by the new release.
“I got the news at the same time as everybody else,” Mura Masa tells Complex on a video call. Shortly after the photo of PinkPantheress and Ice Spice hit social media, Mura texted Pink, “What’s happening here?” Pink then revealed that she was working on a remix to their song, and even offered to send him the updated version. He insisted on hearing the final cut with everyone else.
“Boy’s A Liar Pt. 2” has been met with critical acclaim. It has also been bouncing around the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 3. Ice Spice’s verse undoubtedly helped the English singer climb the charts, but a lot of the song’s charm is found in the original’s fun and animated beat.
Mura Masa says that nothing extraordinary happened during the making of the song, but he’s being modest. The song came together in just two hours in Masa’s home studio, which is located “at the bottom of my garden” in the United Kingdom. He says this is typical of all of his sessions with Pink, but he acknowledges that there’s something special about this particular record.
“I think if you listen to the rest of the top 10, a lot of it sounds like a hit. It sounds like things that have come before it,” he explains. “‘Boy’s a Liar’ doesn’t really sound like any track, which I really love.”
Mura Masa breaks down the making of one of the most popular songs this year, shares how he met PinkPantheress, his artistic ambitions and more, below.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity purposes.
“Boy’s A Liar Pt. 2” is climbing the charts. It peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. So congrats to that.
Geez. I mean, yeah, I don’t even know how to process that information. That’s good. I’m glad people like it. I really like it.
Did you expect it to get as big or as viral as it has?
Maybe when Ice Spice hopped on it became apparent that it was an absolute bop, but when me and Pink[Pantheress] make music, it normally takes an hour and a half to two hours. We only make one song at a time, but we’ve done that lots and lots of times. I like all the music we make, but I didn’t think this one would go as far as it has gone. I’m so glad it has. It’s nice to see the girl’s getting some recognition.
How did you and PinkPantheress meet?
I think originally I had heard [her music]. Then I was trying to figure out who she was or where she is or how do I hang out with this person? It turned out that we live 15 minutes down the road from each other. We were actually right next to each other the whole time. So we just hung out. I think the day we hung out, that might have even been the first time we met, and it was just really apparent that I see her. And we have a lot of the same influences. I’m super inspired by her and what she’s doing with her music and she’s an incredible songwriter. Yeah, we kept hanging out after that. Sometimes she just shows up at my door and knocks and sees if I’m in the house to hang out. It’s that kind of vibe, which is really nice. I mean, she’s a busy bee. She’s not always in London, but when she is, we hang out.
“It’s nice to see the girl’s getting some recognition.”
What makes you and Pink compatible?
There’s probably a few things. We both really like Panic! At the Disco’s first album [A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out]. That was something that we’d bonded over. We’re kind of cheesy emo heads in our hearts, I think. But other than that, we both work extremely quickly and non-verbally, so we’re just able to bounce off of each other very quickly. Put ideas together very quickly. Yeah, it didn’t seem like there’s any over-thought or barriers to any ideas when we’re hanging out and working on stuff. I think, at the end of the day, we’re just fans of each other, it’s a lovely feeling.
What’s the story behind Pt. 1 of “Boy’s A Liar”? How did it come together?
Unfortunately, there isn’t some crazy studio story where this legendary moment happened. It was all very casual. My studio is at the bottom of my garden in a shed. She came over that day. I think we’d talked a bunch. We always talk a lot before we even touch a laptop or a microphone. Then, yeah, it was a pretty typical working moment for us. I just laid down the chords first with that guitar patch and put in the little melody. She immediately latched onto that and was like, “That’s good!” It’s a deceptively simple song if you break it down. There’s only four or five things going on, but it came together really quickly.
“It was all very casual. My studio is at the bottom of my garden in a shed.”
The initial idea that we had written over it for the vocals, Pink actually took that home and workshopped it and reworked it. She wrote the whole hook by herself. Then the next thing I knew, she posted a snippet of it on TikTok, which she’s prone to do. She leaks her own stuff all the time, which I think is genius. As I said, we have a very quick, efficient working partnership. I think we’re both believers in doing the first thing that comes to mind and trusting your instincts. It was a very, very quick thing that came together, but the best ones always are, I find. The quicker you make something, the truer it is and the more it’s going to resonate with people. I don’t have any crazy story about something that happened in the studio because we’re in there for so little time. But I think that’s a real testament to her skill as a songwriter and her focus on the sound that she’s created as an artist. I’m just happy to be a cog in the machine, man.
How long did the process take from start to finish?
It can’t have been more than two hours. I would say the beat was probably done in half an hour. Then just touching up details on it. And then we sit together, listening to the beat on loop for another hour. At the end of that, Pink says, “OK, I got it,” and then we do two or three vocal takes. It’s perfect, like it always is, and I get really gassed about it because it’s really great. We have a lot of music that we’ve made together that isn’t out yet or that’s been snippeted as a preview. She’s very curatorial when it comes to what she releases and she’s so in tune with her audience that she knows how to pick those moments incredibly well. The fact of the matter is she’s just really incredible.
You mentioned that you and PinkPantheress talk a lot before you start working on a song. Did you all discuss the tone or direction you wanted to go in with this single?
That’s a thing that I’ve been trying to develop with my production for a while, which is this “cute core” thing, where it’s not ragey, it’s upbeat, but very emotionally centered. That’s what’s so interesting about its success in the charts. It really sticks out as a track that’s done that well. I think if you listen to the rest of the top 10, a lot of it sounds like a hit. It sounds like things that have come before it. That’s not in a shady way, but “Boy’s a Liar” doesn’t really sound like any track, which I really love. Then of course, the original track had a lot of success on TikTok and that kind of thing. And Pink’s idea to get Ice Spice was genius, chef’s kiss-level move. Ice destroyed it, of course.
“’Cute core’… It’s not ragey, it’s upbeat, but very emotionally-centered.”
To break down your contributions on the single a little more, you’re credited for playing the keyboard, percussion, guitar, and bass. How did you layer the instrumentation?
I started with the main chords and the little melody line. I think that’s the musical earworm of the song. Then drums wise, we had been talking about Baltimore and Jersey [club music] and these unsung Black music cultures that are coming to the forefront now with Uzi doing Jersey Club and these kinds of things. That was something that she was really interested in exploring, but in a left field way. So, it was chords, melody, drums, and then baseline. I don’t put the baseline in until I know that the rest of the song is good, because the bass is always the best bit. If you can get it good before that, then when you add the baseline, it comes alive.
How did you learn that Ice Spice was going to be on Pt. 2 of the song?
She operates quite free of anyone. She’s very precocious and goes out and does things on her own. I saw a photo of them hanging out together in New York and I sent her a text that was like, “Ice Spice, though? What’s happening there?” She was like, “Oh yeah, it’s just going to be ‘Boy’s a Liar Pt. 2.’” I think Pink did the additional production to add Ice Spice on, structuring out the second verse and doing the beat stops and things like that. That whole thing happened completely outside of me, which I was kind of happy about. It’s so cool that Pink can operate on her own and she doesn’t need to depend on some producer or person to help her. I got the news at the same time as everybody else. She was like, “I’m going to send it to you,” but I was like, “Don’t send it to me. I want to hear it when everyone else hears it, when the music video’s out.” I was just dead impressed like everyone else.
There’s some talk on Twitter that there may be a Pt. 3. Is there anything you can say about that?
I cannot speak on that. [Laughs] No comment.
The song went super viral after Kim Kardashian and her daughter North West posted videos using the song. What were your thoughts about that?
I think it’s really funny. I mean, it speaks a lot to the appeal of the song. Young kids are really feeling what we were trying to do with it. It’s accessible. It’s very flattering. If the kids are into it, then you’re onto something really good.
“Records like that don’t often get success like this, so I think it deserves all the flowers.”
“Boy’s A Liar Pt. 2” is being thrown around as a contender for song of the year. Why do you think it’s one of the best releases this year?
I just think if you listen to the track, it seems like every single person who hears it is like, “Yeah, this is a joyful, cool, interesting in all the right ways, accessible, but weird at the same time record.” It’s like I was saying before, if you compare it to the other stuff on the charts in the US or the UK, it sticks out like a sore thumb, which I think is a really, really special thing. Records like that don’t often get success like this, so I think it deserves all the flowers.
You mentioned that you and Pink have recorded other music. What can you tell us about that?
Nothing formal, but we hang out a lot. We’ve made a lot of music together. There’s a hard drive full of stuff that we’ve done, beats that we’ve made together, ideas that we have. I’m very excited to be in any kind of proximity to her because she’s brilliant. It’s lovely to be able to have a platform to talk about how inspiring she is to me as a songwriter and as an artist and as a pop-cultural thinker.
What else are you working on as a solo artist?
I’m working my way towards executive producing a couple of albums this year. I’ve got loads of really exciting stuff coming out that I’ve produced for other people. I’m going to start releasing my own music next month. I’m building a big studio in South London so that me and Pink can hang out there instead of in my shed. Yeah, I’m in my curatorial bag at the moment, which is exciting. But anyway, it’s not about me.
What’s the most important thing people should know about you right now?
Ice Spice till I die, Spice rack forever. We need to protect Ice Spice and we need to protect PinkPantheress because I mean, what a hookup. Those two are generational artists.