Interview With Bleeding Raven

What was the beginning point for your music career? How did it all start?

Dean Mason: As a teenager, I began to mess about with the idea of doing some music. Some mates and I went into a little studio and recorded two songs I wrote and released that as a single. The tracks were “Dark Hallway/Golgotha” and it was released simply as “Dean Mason”

 and it was released on “Lonely Ghost Productions” indie label. In 2012, I revisited the idea of doing music strictly as a hobby, as I have a ‘career’ and thus was born [initially] “The Lonely Ghost Project”. I recorded a few singles

and released them, but never really took myself seriously.  (still don’t) In 2016, I decided to release an entire album, but used the name “Gnostic Gorilla” and then that album was rereleased by Cleopatra Records in 2018. I was offered a deal with them (Cleopatra) in January of 2018 and I admit I was immensely surprised. Quite an honour. So…I released a few albums as “Gnostic Gorilla” (with other labels as well) and then finally, in May of 2019, I wanted to do a more aggrotech type project and thus was born “Bleeding Raven”. (also released on Cleopatra Records) “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. 

Was there any bumps on the road? What kind of challenges did you have to deal with?

Dean Mason: Well, to speak of ‘bumps on the road’ in relation to my music would be bordering on being a drama queen. See, as I said, music isn’t my career…it’s more or less a hobby. A hobby that landed me a label deal mind you (a few various ones actually) but a hobby nonetheless. I don’t take myself so seriously. THAT SAID…as things starting to gain momentum, in October of 2019 I had what is called SSHL.  I lost the hearing in my left ear COMPLETELY…and the right ear is at half capacity. When I say lost, I mean…DEAD. A hearing device will not change this…not even an implant. The right ear, which is all I have left, is challenged. So, more or less, music is very much a challenge. I have managed to do some, especially during the lockdown (the first wave) but most of that was working with projects I had started and revisited. One exception is my very last EP, which is very dear to me, and that is “VERRTRANDT”.

What was the most fulfilling and satisfying moment so far?

Dean Mason: Well, a few things, sort of all related. Getting the label deal for three releases with Cleopatra Records, two of which are from my Gnostic Gorilla project. That was special for me. I will always cherish the day I was told they wanted to rerelease some of my music. Not long after that I had a few other projects with several labels in the UK, Germany and Australia. But also the connection I made with other musicians and that’s been very rewarding. In fact, at this time, one of those artists, Global Citizen, has lead me to his label “Geishab0y Records” and we have a single to be released soon as well as some other goodies come the end of the year. I’m so excited and honored because Rich of Global Citizen is one of my inspirations …in the pursuit of recording music. 

How would you describe the music that you typically create?

Dean Mason: So, more or less the ‘genre’ I’m sort of involved in is ‘aggrotech’, Well, that is for the main release “Darkness Consumed” (Cleopatra Records) but also my last three EPs are more Black Metal Atmospheric Ambient or…I just prefer to call what I do ‘dungeon trash’’ (laughs) Verrtrandt is a mix of industrial and who knows what else. 

What is your creative process like?

Dean Mason: Usually I start off with a vague idea of want kind of song I want to do, Then I begin with beats and drum patterns and bass lines or even synth lines. (it depends) I get a general idea of the direction I want to go in before going far into the track. So, I begin to choose the different sounds and samples/loops that I want as well to give it a mood. More often than not, I manipulate these and distort or whatever to make them unique. Then as the song evolves, there’s the question of whether or not I want a traditional chorus (often not because that’s too pop) and I allow the track to sort of dictate to me where it’s going. Sort of like a First Nations wood carver who allows the ‘wood’ to speak to them as they say. Then when I have a rough demo, I begin writing lyrics and then record vocals. That’s the tough part for many reasons. Lots of hit and miss with that process. I’ve written an entire set of lyrics for a song only to discover that something else would work better and I have to (at times) chop out some of the lyrics. Hard to explain.  Also, sometimes I record the vocals and it sounds like shit. I mean, there is a need for a different ‘style’ all together. After all the vocals are recorded, I go back and add more …sometimes a sample here or an FX noise there or whatever. I’m quite ADD so if there are any sort of ‘blank stare’ moments in a song…that’s unacceptable. It has to be busy. I’m told my music is VERY busy. Then there is the final mix which is a real pain in the ass. Sometimes even at that stage you decide… “nah…this is total shit”! It’s a bit of a drag when that happens though man because you’ve come all the way to a full song and you realize it isn’t happening. 

If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?

Dean Mason: I don’t know. I think there’s that “big world” we call the industry, which has all the big boys and gals and the labels and then there’s a smaller little world, sort of connected but on the fringe…and that’s the world I know. I like to believe that people in that little world are the true artists who don’t give a fuck about impressing Scooter Braun or summat and we pursue our art as best we can. Now, to answer the question more directly, I’d like to see the bigger names be a bit more supportive of newer acts. The industry, as you call it, is at times like a big Miami beach party full of snobs who think they’re the ‘elite’ and people like me are the peasantry. To be honest, I find the hero worship bullshit to be quite disgusting. There’s one exception in that “world” and that’s Gary Numan. He has been quite supportive of artists who are new and struggling. 

If you were asked to give a piece of advice to upcoming bands, what would that be?

Dean Mason: Often people will tell you to “dream big”. I say, “don’t dream big…you’ll be disappointed”. Instead, follow your creative instinct and pursue your art for the sake of expressing yourself honestly. Don’t go forward obsessing about being loved and adored and “discovered” etc. Be true to yourself and your art. That’s the most important thing you can do. If you ‘make it’…great. You’ve got a lot to be proud of. If you ‘don’t make it’ in the industry sense…you still have a lot to be proud of because you’ve been true to yourself! And, I have to say, that kind of honesty, eventually attracts people who want to know more about you. But also, remember…it’s all been done. I mean, it’s very difficult to be ‘original’ today because if you can think it…it’s probably been done. That’s why just pursuing your art for its own sake and to express yourself…is what will bring real satisfaction in the end. 

If you didn’t become a musician, what would you be doing now?

Dean Mason: It’s the other way around for me. I have a career and music is a hobby that landed me a label deal. (a few of them) I don’t reveal my career in interviews because it’s not necessary and I’d have to get on a jet and leave the country and assume a new name like “Harry Tick”. Hahahahahahahaha Just kidding. 

What is new with Bleeding Raven at the moment? What are you currently working on and would like to share with the world?

The latest, and most important release is “VERRTRANDT” and we just released the video for this. Much thanks to William Westwater who put it together and my nephews, the “Morrison brothers—KB and K-Jay”. 

Thanks again mateys.