Bleeding Raven is an agrotech/dark tek project featuring Dean Mason of Gnostic Gorilla.
Releasing their first LP titled "Darkness Consumed" in 2019 to their most recent EP titled "Litany" in March 2020, Bleeding Raven is ready to take you to another world.
Hello and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.
Dean Mason of Bleeding Raven: The pleasure is all mine man.
Can you first introduce the ‘project’ and give us some background to how it all started?
Dean Mason: I first got the ‘itch’ to record music when I was a teen-ager in high school. Some buddies and I went into a little studio and recorded two songs for a single release. (Dark Hallway/Golgotha)
I released a vinyl 45 rpm as just “Dean Mason” with “Lonely Ghost Productions” as the name of the makeshift indie label. In 2012, I got right interested in recording electronic music of a dark kind and eventually “Gnostic Gorilla” came to be. What actually inspired me in 2012 was Global Citizen. Just loved what they have done and continue to do. (I released stuff as The Lonely Ghost Project initially but changed the name to “Gnostic Gorilla”) In 2018, Cleopatra Records released “St. Basil’s Asylum”. (Gnostic Gorilla) In May of last year, after releasing quite a few albums I wanted to pursue something more ‘aggrotech’ in style. (I call it “dungeon trash”) That’s when I initiated the “Bleeding Raven” project. Cleopatra released “Darkness Consumed” in October of 2019.
What inspired the name “Bleeding Raven”?
Dean Mason: The image or character of the ‘raven’ is common in First Nations lore and even spirituality. The raven can either be a trickster or mischievous little critter or it can be sort of a symbol of the soul preparing for death of being taken back to the Great Creator. Different nations/tribes have different ideas and stories about the raven. The ‘bleeding’ part more or less speaks of suffering, oppression, marginalization, hurt etc. So, like my lyrics however, even with the image, I allow people to have their own interpretations. That said, I think always…DAILY…of my many sisters and brothers in the First Nations communities who suffer immensely because of a racist attitude towards them. There are many…MANY young Native women/girls who have gone missing and the effort to find them hasn’t always been fervent. As well, the suicide rate among First Nation teens is extremely high.
Have you been keeping to a specific style or has your music evolved?
Dean Mason: Definitely evolved over time. So, when I first started off, I was more into a Gothic sound or industrial. And I still love a lot of that stuff. Always will. St. Basil’s Asylum is a classic and I’m just so sad that it’s still not discovered by many yet. But anyway, yeah…things do evolve. That said, I don’t like the idea of being in a ‘genre house arrest’ and being narrow minded in your approach to music.
What artists and bands have inspired you?
Dean Mason: So, I make a distinction between that which has inspired and that which has influenced more directly my own style. The artists/bands that have been inspirations are many. Gary Numan, KISS, Type O Negative, Black Sabbath, Rammstein, Japan (David Sylvian) Ozzy, Manson, Korn, Smashing Pumpkins, The Cure, Bauhaus, Zardonic, Fear Incorporated, Frost Like Ashes, CRIX IIX and the list is endless. As for those who have been influences, while they include some of the names listed already, I’d say Ministry, Skinny Puppy, Psyclon Nine, Die Sektor. I need to mention here also, Culture Club, because there is something so powerful in their early music. Even though my own music is of a darker style, I will never forget the impact that Culture Club had on me as a lad. As I always do in any interview, the band that will forever be my absolute favourite is The Doors. The Doors and Gary Numan are both at the top of my own personal ‘chart’.
I also want to give a shout out to Tim Muddiman, and NOT because of his connection to Gary Numan. Tim has ventured into more graphic arts in recent years and he is doing some amazing work. THAT very much inspires me…or better yet…I honour the man as an artist in every sense of the word…as a true artist. https://www.timmuddiman.com/
What inspires you when you write lyrics?
Dean Mason: Lyrics are important for me. I realise it’s not what the listener first becomes aware of…but for me, the lyrics are important. Anyway, so…I don’t write any lyrics with any sort of ‘agenda’, with some exceptions like my latest EP’s. But I don’t preach or dictate anything. I like a very poetic approach to the lyrics with lots of imagery. Now, that said, there are certain subjects that inspire me. I often write about religious themes or philosophical themes and often touch upon injustice and hypocrisy and hate and injustice for example. But I do so in veiled/poetic language. I want the listener to decide for themselves what it could mean.
Your latest EP, “Blood of Innocents” seems to address current events which is sort of new for you correct?
Dean Mason: Well, only sort of because I often did write about current issues but in a very veiled way. One would never know. But with “Blood of Innocents” there is definitely a much more ‘overt’ attempt at addressing present day issues. The actual song “Blood of Innocents” is about the many people who are being targeted on one way or another and even their lives threatened…either by the police or by the racist idiots out there. And there are many. But the song addresses ALL victims of hate, including in my country, the First Nations people but also the LGBTQ community. Ironically, many of the people who are protesting against hate, draw the line, even within their own community with LGBTQ people, saying ‘race’ is not a choice and being gay or trans or bi IS a choice. Imagine being a young black or First Nations ‘gay’ person? You’re hated on all sides. But here’s the thing, what the fuck happened in the last few years? I mean, why do people have to head back out into the streets and even risk their lives to fight for rights that are actually theirs to begin with? They shouldn’t have to fight for their rights because every human person is equal under ‘God’ no? Oh, I forgot, with so many so called people of faith, it is their duty to marginalize people outside their tribe. Really sick and the sad thing is, they actually mock their own faith. I can’t wait for many of these so called Christians to wake up and realize that Yeshua (Jesus) wasn’t a Lutheran Swede! HE WAS JEWISH and would have had dark hair and complexion and dark eyes. I can assure you he didn’t look like one of the Bee-Gees which is how the ‘white man’s’ Jesus looks like. Anyway, point is, I really wonder if we have evolved. I don’t think so.
The other track of importance on that EP is “Violet Plague” which is about the pandemic.
Before this EP I released some more black metal ambient style EP’s which have all been released together as one in the album “Final Rite”.
For new bands/artists out there…what advice would you give?
Dean Mason: I’m not sure I am qualified to give advice actually but here is an opinion. It’s very difficult to ‘break through’ in this day and age. There’s just too much out there. I mean, everyone and their cat is putting stuff out. There are so many genres today and so many…MANY indie folks (like me) who have stuff out there and are competing with the ‘big boys and gals’. You have to be creative to get known because sadly, younger people are not interested in new music aside from what they become aware of through video games or TV/Movies. I mean, I’m seriously over generalizing perhaps but it is true that, young people today don’t appreciate music the way people did in the past. They don’t grasp the concept of music as ‘art’ anymore. That’s not their fault. But because of the technology that we have today and with social media platforms…there is too much out there and for younger people, music is just “there for the taking” the way fruit on trees is there to pluck. So, you have to be creative in how you get people to notice you today. It’s not easy.
The internet and digital music…good or bad?
Dean Mason: So, this is sort of a continuation of the previous question. Here’s the thing, the internet and social media and digital music etc. is here and it’s here to stay. We are still trying to adapt to this I suppose. Now, you could lament and dream of the “good old days” but that’s all it will ever be…a ‘dream’. Musicians/artists have to adapt. In many ways, it has been a blessing. Many artists would have never been able to put their stuff out there so to speak were it not for the kind of technology we have today. See, I picked up music again in 2012 but only as a hobby. I then, almost jokingly put some of my stuff out there as an indie/unsigned act and I eventually got a label deal with Cleopatra Records, which for me is phenomenal. I will have three releases with Cleopatra Records by end of 2020. (the last one is another Gnostic Gorilla album) I also have releases with three other labels. So, none of that would have happened were it not for the technology we have at our disposal. I guess it’s sort of what you make of it, like anything else.
Dean Mason: Thanks again to you for the great (and extensive) interview. I thank the many people who have been supportive of me in one way or another…be it family or friends and certainly Benny at Cleopatra Records. As I said earlier, because of the extreme hearing loss (actually deaf completely in one ear and the other is severely compromised) …I have to pack it in with regards to music. I will promote what I have and will have out soon (already recorded obviously) and perhaps a book of lyrics and that’s it. Cheers. Dean.