How did “Bleeding Raven” come to be?
Dean Mason of Bleeding Raven: More or less “Bleeding Raven” ‘evolved’ from the ooze of another project, “Gnostic Gorilla”. With Gnostic Gorilla, I did mostly Gothic/Industrial/Dark Wave type music but then I really wanted to pursue something more abrasive and creepy…a blend of a Black Metal sound (without the philosophical trappings) and industrial and I guess they call it ‘aggrotech’. I hate having to categorize things but hey…if we must. Actually, there may be some elements of ‘noise-core’ in “Bleeding Raven” as well. I call it “dungeon trash”. So, in May of last year, I decided to begin this project, and I recorded “Darkness Consumed”. Cleopatra Records has released it in October, and I’m very grateful for that. It hit the “WTF is this shit charts” at Number 1. Hahahahahahahaha
Do you have any releases coming up in the new year?
Dean Mason: Not as “Bleeding Raven” I’m afraid. But there will be a new Gnostic Gorilla release this year, on Cleopatra Records which has already been recorded. (2017)
What is something you want listeners to take away from your music?
Dean Mason: Well, I don’t write ‘love songs’ or ‘quickies in the sleeping bag’ songs. I write about the human struggle. I mean, there are plenty of artists writing about the other stuff. So, I guess, I just hope people appreciate the honesty in the lyrical content. Now, the music is not for everyone. It’s abrasive and it is even creepy and bizarre but it’s authentic.
With everything that is going on in our world what is one cause or organization that you are passionate about?
Dean Mason: Hmmmm. Well, anything to do with helping people with mental health issues and homelessness. You know you have on one hand these bible thumper types who are going around trying to make people feel like shit and focus on their ‘sins’ (sins of the flesh) and yet do fuck all to actually BE THERE for the suffering ones…and then you DO have others like some Franciscans or Brothers of the Good Shepherd or whatever who ACTUALLY focus on being there for the down and out. Where am I going with this? Oh yeah…so…I feel passionate about calling out those who claim to do “God’s work” but are actually just adding to the problem in society with their poisonous rhetoric and I admire those who actually do something for the suffering ones…regardless of what they wear around their neck or believe or don’t believe for that matter.
What is your writing process like?
Dean Mason: So, I usually set out to record with a general idea of what kind of track I want to do. Then I start messing around with different beats/drum parts or synth lines or atmospheres or bass riffs…it all depends. Then I start to build a track and I allow it to take on a life of its own…sort of like how a First Nations wood carver allows the wood to “speak to them” …and follow through. Sounds strange but it works. Then, I usually add good and raunchy guitar or synth riffs or strings and then strange FX and so on. Sometimes a track has a clear ‘chorus’ and other times not. I don’t always write songs that have a chorus because that’s a bit too ‘pop’ for me. I like more experimental…I like that feeling of “where the hell is this going now?” and then surprising the listener. When I have a basic ‘demo’ finished I then write the lyrics and record the vocals. I decide what style I want to use. For “Darkness Consumed” it was a mix of my deep growl sounds and screeching bitch (lol) sound. Then the worst part…mixing. It’s such a pain in the ass to get the vocals mixed in right so that they’re not too pronounced…or too faint. It has to be just right. Then I usually finish off with adding some FX or at times, wild percussion sounds or whatever. Sometimes I get to a complete track and I’m like… “nope…that’s no good”. And it get’s trashed.
To follow up with the last question, what inspires your sound?
Dean Mason : For what I’ve done with this album, I like a creepy intense and haunting mood, almost like something out of a horror movie like “Underworld” or “Queen of the Damned”.
Any tours coming up soon?
Dean Mason: No, sadly, even if I was a live act, doing live shows is not even possible now because of the extreme hearing loss. I mean, I lost COMPLETELY and TOTALLY the hearing in the left ear. It’s gone save for enough nerve activity to create unbearable tinnitus which is awful…brutal actually. The other ear is quite compromised. I am more or less deaf. The right ear does function enough for hearing speech with a hearing aid but even then…in crowds especially…I don’t hear a blessed thing. So, even if I were a live act, I’d have to call it quits.
Anything you would like to tell our readers?
Dean Mason: Well, more or less...as regards my own musical offering “Darkness Consumed”…it’s not for everyone. It would be dishonest to claim otherwise. But if you are interested in something a bit risqué and strange and abrasive…almost semi-disturbing…you might like Bleeding Raven’ “Darkness Consumed”.