Interview: Bleeding Raven
By: Lígia Ferreira
LF: Thank you for this interview, how did it all start?
Dean Mason: Hello. Thank you! “Bleeding Raven” is a very recent project. I have been involved in another project, “Gnostic Gorilla” which has released material that is ‘Gothic’ and ‘industrial’ and generally dark alternative electronic music. I wanted to do an album that is specifically ‘aggrotech’ and so I started “Bleeding Raven” as an experiment in this genre. It’s actually been receiving a lot of positive response and the album is only just released this week. But there was interest before.
LF: Please tell us about your musical background...
Dean Mason: Way back, I got involved in music and did a single. “Dark Hallway/Golgotha” and it was released just as “Dean Mason” and the so called indie label was Lonely Ghost Productions. In 2012 I decided to revisit doing music as a hobby more or less and began recording electronic music, more of an industrial bent. In 2016 I released my first album (after having released many singles) called “St. Basil’s Asylum”. I originally went with the project name of “The Lonely Ghost Project” but when I found out there was an American band called “The Lonely Ghost Parade” I decided to rename the project “Gnostic Gorilla”. I released a few albums as Gnostic Gorilla and in 2018 Cleopatra released “St. Basil’s Asylum” anew and that was a very special highlight for me as Cleopatra is a classic label with a great roster of artists, many of the more alternative type. In May of this year, I started the “Bleeding Raven” project as an experiment in more aggressive and creepy industrial music that some call ‘aggrotech’.
LF: How did you come up with the band's name?
Dean Mason: More or less, “Bleeding Raven” is inspired by Native Canadian spirituality. The Raven, is quite prominent in Native Canadian/American mythology and folklore. Sometimes the Raven is seen as a symbol of transformation…even from death to new life. The Raven is also common in the folklore of many other cultures. My idea of a “bleeding raven” is specifically a reference to a fractured soul…or wounded soul.
LF: What can we expect from the album? What are the topics approached in it?
Dean Mason: What to expect? Expect a huge headache and then a nervous breakdown. Hahahahahaha. No but seriously, it’s quite dark and even at times haunting and creepy. The album touches upon themes that are mostly religious in nature. Salem’s Vigil is about the Salem Witch hunt but also how modern day Christians are in a way sort of back at the persecution of those who are not of their tribe or have a life style that they feel contradicts their teaching. There have been, in recent months, sick individuals who have proposed executing people for being LGBTQ or of the wrong race. Pontiff’s Nightmare is about St. Francis believe it or not. It’s a brief poetic synopsis of the life of the humble man who was the real deal, and how the big institution that wanted no part of his message. The Pope at the time had a vision in a dream of St. Francis and that’s sort of what that song is about. I won’t go into detail of every song here. There are four remixes which are sort of ‘rave’ ‘nightclub’ oriented.
LF: What were your inspirations while composing?
Dean Mason: Inspirations in the musical sense or in the lyrical sense? Well, I was very much inspired by the sounds of Die Sektor and Psyclon Nine and other aggrotech bands when I set out to record “Darkness Consumed”. I wanted to go in that direction for at least an album, even though I had dabbled in this genre with Gnostic Gorilla, most notably, “Freak’s Mind” which was released in the winter of this year. Lyrically? For me, I am mostly inspired by the big questions but also subjects as injustice and so on. So, there’s where the ‘angry’ sound comes from I guess.
LF: Can we expect some gigs in the future?
Dean Mason: Unfortunately no. Bleeding Raven is not, at least for now, a live act.
LF: What was the first gig you attended, do you still remember?
Dean Mason: I’m assuming first concert I attended as a fan? If that’s the question, my first gig was a Gary Numan gig way back when he was in his prime.
LF: We reached the end of our interview, please leave a message for our readers.
Dean Mason: Message for the readers…hmmm. Well, if you’re an artist yourself, do it ONLY for the sake of the art itself—as an expression of your inner struggles. If you do it because you hope to be famous, you will not be doing art but something else and your creativity will be stifled. Believe in yourself but not in anticipation of approval from others. Just believe in yourself.
Thanks for your time.
Dean Mason: Thank you for reaching out. Cheers.
“Darkness Consumed” by Bleeding Raven is now available on Cleopatra Records in all digital formats with most digital providers.
Final Note: When this interview was conducted, in August, it was before Dean Mason suffered an enormous setback which will most definitely affect his career going forward. Dean suffered what is called a SSHL (Sudden sensorineural *inner ear* hearing loss. The cause of this is yet undetermined. It’s been over a month since this occurrence and there is more or less no chance that the hearing will come back. In his right ear, Mason has less than half capacity without a hearing aid. He shares that he wants to be able to save what little hearing he has left and must protect it at all costs. Mason says, “I want to be able to hear the voices of those I love and the natural sounds, like birds and so on. It’s all I have left.”
As stated, the cause is unknown. It could be viral or it could be something else. More tests are going to be conducted to rule out (hopefully) any tumors, or stroke or MS. Either way, the hearing in the left ear is gone and the right ear is only at half capacity unaided.
Dean Mason has decided that this is it as far as music goes. There will be one more Gnostic Gorilla release on Cleopatra records in the Winter of 2020. This album has been finished since 2017.
Dean Mason wishes to thank all those who have shown support.
"It was fun while it lasted"