Bleeding Raven Interview

BLEEDING RAVEN is the aggrotech/dark tek project from Dean Mason of Gnostic Gorilla. Recently he released its debut album via Cleopatra Records. We had the pleasure to chat with Dean about the album, his latest project, a career and life changing set back and much more…  

Hello and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

The pleasure is all mine man.

Can you first introduce the ‘project’ and give us some background to how it all started?

In a land…far far away…hahahahaha…Ok, but seriously… 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) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p05YqqTOS_M  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=047Pk2GhPnY

Thanks to my lovely parents I released a vinyl 45 rpm as just “Dean Mason” with “Lonely Ghost Productions” as the name of the makeshift indie label. I got ‘itchy’ again in 2001 and began looking at music again, but did very little. In 2012, I got right into recording electronic music of a dark bent and scent and thus was born “Gnostic Gorilla” eventually. (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 this past year, after releasing quite a few albums on different labels (KL Dark Records, Nowhere Now Records, Throne of Bael Records and LGP-ONE) I wanted to pursue something more ‘aggrotech’ in style. That’s when I initiated the “Bleeding Raven” project. Cleopatra released “Darkness Consumed” in October of this year.

How have those earlier impacted on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

As I mentioned earlier, I started off as just “Dean Mason” as a lad. In 2012, the Lonely Ghost Project was launched (so to speak) and then “Gnostic Gorilla” and from that evolved what we are talking about today…that is…the Bleeding Raven Project. My early music in these other projects was a mix of ‘Goth/Dark Wave/Dark Tek/Industrial’. I really wanted to do something more bizarre and almost literally more noisy and that’s when I initiated “Bleeding Raven”. It’s more aggrotech, but I also call it… “dungeon trash”…hahahahahahahahahaha I even have a shirt with that on it.   https://www.dizzyjam.com/products/157830/ 

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, of 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.

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of Bleeding Raven and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

Well, in the Spring of 2019, I had to be on the road a bit and for some long drives, I acquired on my iTunes a few albums of a more industrial bent. That includes a couple of compilations of various bands. I discovered acts like Die Sektor and Psyclon Nine and I felt very inspired to go in this direction. I sort of started to go in that direction as “Gnostic Gorilla” but I wanted a new project that was mostly aggrotech in style. I came up with the ‘dungeon trash’ (LOL) I released in October and I am very proud of it!

Do the same things still drive you when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?

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. But either way, it’s all over for me in music anyway so…I’ve done what I could.

Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?

Well, from the really early days, that is from the days of the Dark Hallway release, things really evolved dramatically. First of all, that 45 was like a mish mash of metal/punk pre-grunge I guess. I was heavily influenced by Gary Numan and yet, try as I did my vocal style was markedly different than his. It’s later that I appreciated that. But, see…I love ALL sorts of music. I mean, sometimes I’m just knee deep  into The Doors and more psychedelic shit and other days I’m into Dio and Sabbath and Type O Negative and Ministry and Rammstein. Other days it’s The Cure or Smashing Pumpkins or of course, classic Numan and Japan or Bauhaus. So, a lot of what I do depends on where I’m at and I guess when it comes to music, I’m moody as hell. hahahahahaha

Do you find the changes have been more of an organic movement of sound or you deliberately wanting to try new things?

I’d say the latter, yeah.

Presumably , and you have touched on them already, there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on your music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

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. 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.

Is there a process to your songwriting which generally guides the birth of songs?

Yeah, mostly 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.

Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

First off, good for you for asking that because lyrics are important for me… I realize 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’. In other words, 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.

Give us some background to your latest release.

 “Darkness Consumed” touches upon a few subjects…again in veiled language. One of the tracks is called “Pontiff’s Nightmare” which is actually about St. Francis. He more or less spooked the Pope at the time with his authentically radical life style and that Pope had a dream about Francis. Francis challenged the corruption of the time by the way he lived. “Salem Vigil” is sort of… but not completely about the Salem witch trials. The song actually addresses the unfortunate phenomenon of ‘religious people’ oppressing and persecuting people who don’t fit their narrow definition of what it means to be ‘good’ or ‘decent’ and ‘righteous’.  In the end, these arrogant and often ignorant people of so called ‘faith’ are the ones who are truly evil because of the harm they inflict on many borne out of their hatred and unenlightened worldview.  

Give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

So, “Darkness Consumed”…that very title isn’t a nod to evil or the promotion of ‘darkness’. It’s actually about the fact that somehow, ‘TRUTH’ (light) will ‘consume the darkness’ and overcome it. That’s sort of the idea in brief. As I said, I want people to decide for themselves however what something can mean for them.

Do you go into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

Going back to the very first single “Dark Hallway”…I had everything figured out (with lyrics) when I presented the tracks to the band. I wrote the lyrics in English class (Dark Hallway) while under the influence of benzodiazepines. Hahahahahahaha We were reading “Death of a Salesman” in that class and it was, to say the least, a rather dark story. hahahahahaha

Tell us about the live side to Bleeding Raven.

I have lost the hearing in the left ear completely and totally. It happened in October…Very traumatic actually. I have to protect the little hearing I have left in the right ear which is at half capacity. I want to be able to hear the voices of the ones I love and the more natural sounds in life. For all intents and purposes…I’m deaf. Music is no longer an option. Especially live music, even if I wanted to do something live with a band. Music has been such an important part of my life obviously…but that’s over. That’s the future.

It is not easy for any new artist/band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?

You’re correct. 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.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?

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.

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

Thanks again to you for the great (and extensive) interview. Reveal?

Ok…I’m  B A T M A N.  Hahahahahahaha  No but, seriously, 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

https://bleedingraven.bandcamp.com/   https://www.facebook.com/bleedingravenofficial/   http://www.bleedingraven.com

Pete RingMaster 17/01/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Audra – Dear Tired Friends

photo by Jaymz

A decade is a long time to be without something but well worth the wait when it comes to the new album from post punks Audra. It is ten years since the Arizona hailing band released third album Everything Changes and it is fair to say a great many have been eagerly and patiently awaiting its successor and just as simple to assume they are going to greedily bask in the dark beauty of Dear Tired Friends.

Formed in 1991 and primarily brothers Bart and Bret Helm, Audra enfold the inspirations of post punk and its numerous shapers alongside the eclectic imagination found in the likes of the Velvet Underground, Jane’s Addiction, Joy Division, David Bowie, James, and Tom Waits within their sound. As Dear Tired Friends proves it emerges a riveting often haunting embrace of intimate shadows and bewitching melancholy framed in post punk starkness and gothic rock romanticism.

An album which “deals heavily with loss and letting go” and described as “a testimony of the effect the last decade had on each band member”, Dear Tired Friends opens up with the song Tired Friends and took barely a handful of seconds to seize attention with the sizzle of Bart’s guitar across the bold but controlled rhythms of the band’s drummer, Jason DeWolfe Barton. From there pure addiction grew as the track unveiled its post punk prowess around Bret’s potent tones, the imagination only further ensnared as a calmer passage of reflection bares the heart of the track. It is a compelling and irresistible start to the album and quickly followed and matched by the outstanding Wish No Harm.

This is a song which began back in the early nineties and reappeared on a cassette they found when the band was assembling demos for what originally was to be a 4-track EP. Completed last year, Bret adding lyrics and melody to the original demo, Wish No Harm became the lead single for Dear Tired Friends and there could be no finer invitation to the album. The opening bassline was immediate manna to the ears, its lure unapologetic flirtation echoing the core essence of eighties post punk and only enhanced by the swiftly following enticement of vocals and guitar. There is something of Bauhaus meets The Cure to the song with a just as flavoursome tease of bands such as Leitmotiv and Gene Loves Jezebel but nevertheless stands unique to Audra and their dark imagination.

Another Fallen Petal is next up, the song a slowly unfurling piece of emotive solemnity and melodic intimacy within the mournful yet radiant embrace of keys. With the pure captivation bred leaving a lingering presence in thoughts, the song simply beguiled as too its successor, Drinking Yourself To Sleep. Fuelled by an instinctive catchiness bred in all tracks however their darkness and character, the equally enthralling song bears a glam rock lining to its harmonic stroll with psych rock currents in its breath.

Sunglass provides another romance of ears, keys and vocals almost crawling over the senses with the subsequent blaze of guitar sparking a Bowie-esque hue to the soulful and atmospheric piece of dark rapture while Planet Of Me steps forward with a knowing swagger to its rousing virulence. Featuring Mike VanPortfleet of Lycia as guest on lead guitar, the track is a weave of contrasts and stirring imagination; it as striking in its calm as it is in its lively eddies of contagious enterprise.

Across the fertile almost invasive liveliness of Sliding Under Cars and its Numan-esque poppiness, through The Sound/The The styled bold rapture that is Fireflies, and over the doleful but enslaving fascination of 1987 we can only say that Dear Tired Friends engrained itself deeper under the skin and into the passions before Falling brought it all to a close with its dark wave nurtured seduction. Volatility lies in the heart of the song, never fully erupting but teasing fiery emissions to the surface as it adds to the inherent beauty and splendour which lines its shadowy magnificence.

We all may have lingered ten years for a new adventure with Audra but we can tell you that every long second was worth the wait and more.

Dear Tired Friends is out now digitally and on CD and vinyl; available @ https://audra.bandcamp.com/album/dear-tired-friends

https://www.audramusic.com/   https://www.facebook.com/audramusic   https://twitter.com/audramusiccom

Pete RingMaster 28/11/2019

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Crawling and romancing the shadows with Gnostic Gorilla

Hailing from Toronto, Canada, Gnostic Gorilla is a dark electronic project which wears unpredictability as easily as imagination in its ear gripping sound. Recently we had the chance and pleasure to talk about the solo project with creator Dean Mason, exploring its origins and music amongst many things as well as picking at Dean’s thoughts about music in general.

Hello Dean and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Thank you. My pleasure!

Can you first introduce the project and give us some background to how it all started?

Sure. As a teenager, I began exploring the idea of recording music. I was of course a major day tripper…I mean…day dreamer. Hahahahaha! So I ventured out to record two songs, Dark Hallway and Golgotha for a single. I had some excellent musicians join me in the studio (Dave Davidson, Tony Bourdeau, Shaun Saunders and Chris Byrnes) and with the help of my parents I released the 45 rpm under the so called label name “Lonely Ghost Productions”. That was my first experiment with recording music. I left it at that and went to school to find some sort of career. In 2012, I returned to recording, as a hobby and recorded exclusively electronic music with a dark bent. (Gothic/Dark Wave/Industrial) I released a few singles on iTunes etc. and then in 2015 I released the first album (St. Basil’s Asylum) using the project name “Gnostic Gorilla”. Before that I was using the project name “The Lonely Ghost Project” but that changed once I learnt there was an American band called “The Lonely Ghost Parade”. I wanted to avoid confusion. So that’s a brief history of “Gnostic Gorilla”.

What inspired the name “Gnostic Gorilla”?

As I mentioned earlier, initially my project was called “The Lonely Ghost Project” but I changed it to “Gnostic Gorilla”. I had a song called Gnostic Gorilla (now renamed Eye for a Lie) and I decided to use that name for the project. The idea behind the name is a sort of convergence of two world views: the religious ‘creation’ story and Darwin’s theory of evolution. “Gnostic” means “knowledge” or “to know”. That is a reference to the “tree of knowledge”. Obviously, “Gorilla” is in reference to the idea that we evolved from some sort of ‘ape’ species (not specifically the Gorilla of course) and here we are. “Gnostic Gorilla” is not about Gnosticism as some may think.

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the project and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

In many ways a lot of it was allowing the creative process to dictate where I wanted the project to go and how I wanted to sound. I started off doing simply instrumental/soundtrack type recordings. Then I decided to try and do a complete song with lyrics/vocals. The first song I did as part of this new electronic music pursuit was a song called Requiem for the Prophet of Doom which was a tribute to Peter Steele of Type O Negative who passed away in 2010. There were two versions of that track. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEnSgqaI3JA & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0N7Uxzg7ac

That was released under the name “Dean Mason of The Lonely Ghost Project”, as singles. Soon after this, I began to really become more interested in a sound that was more industrial and Gothic or Dark Wave and eventually after a few more singles I recorded St. Basil’s Asylum which is now rereleased by Cleopatra Records. Most of my music has been industrial or Gothic since then.

Do the same sparks still drive the project or have they evolved over time and equally since your early days, how would you say your sound has specifically evolved?

Sort of continuing on from the previous question…yeah…there was definitely an ‘evolution’ of sorts. I look back on what I did in 2012 and some of it doesn’t send me far, with the exception of Nietzsche’s Cyborg. I will always be proud of that song. It was a game changer. It’s on St. Basil’s Asylum even though it was recorded in the fall of 2012 and St. Basil’s Asylum was released in 2015 and then rereleased by Cleopatra Records in 2018. But back on track here, I guess for me, I became more interested in an abrasive and weird industrial sound. (Psalm for the Lost was actually more of a retro Goth/New Wave type deal though) My latest album, Freak’s Mind is in my opinion one of my strongest in many ways. The next album to be released by Cleopatra Records (Shaman Rave) will blow your socks off! Promise!

Has it been more of an organic movement of sound or more you deliberately wanting to try new things?

A bit of both… I don’t want to be boxed into a specific genre to be honest. So, I go through phases where I really like menacing and weird industrial and then other times I prefer a more velvety Goth or Doom Psychedelic type mood in my music. I have been inspired not only by other artists but also by some soundtracks like, the soundtrack for Sinister which is absolutely mind numbing! So sometimes I watch a movie like that or like Queen of the Damned and it gives me inspiration. So, yeah, there is an evolution of sorts but I never deviate too far from being a dark electronic act.

Presumably there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on your music but your approach to and ideas about creating and playing music?

Well, one of my first inspirations would be Gary Numan. I mean, I was a huge KISS fan when I was still in diapers hahaha …but Numan was the one that inspired me to consider doing my own thing in music. That said, I don’t write and record in the style of Numan. I owe more to Ministry, Skinny Puppy and Rammstein as far as recording style goes. I also am very much inspired by Peter Steele of Type O Negative and Jim Morrison of The Doors, especially for their unique lyrical style. Did you know that the first time the term ‘Goth or Gothic’ was used in reference to a rock band was when someone did a review of The Doors, the day after (or close anyway) that Morrison had met Andy Warhol? Anyway…I owe a lot of gratitude to Nash The Slash for being an inspiration as an indie artist as well.

Is there a certain process to your songwriting?

I usually begin a track with a general idea of the kind of mood/style I want to pursue. Then, usually, the song ends up being something totally different than want I first imagined. I usually start with either synth riffs/loops and/or beats/drum patterns and build from there. Kind of difficult to explain how a song evolves and usually I look back and think, “how did I even come up with this”?

… And where do you draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

Many of my songs address the human struggle. I never write ‘love’ songs or ‘sex in the corvette’ songs…there are ample of those so …why compete right? I usually write in sort of ‘mystical’ story form. I use a lot of imagery and I allow the listener/reader (of lyrics) to decide for themselves what it means to them, even though I may have a specific idea in mind. I often use religious imagery and also imagery of ‘battles’ or ‘war’ but not in the sense that they are LITERALLY about armed combat. The imagery of ‘battle’ is more of an emotional/psychological journey of that inner struggle. I use a lot of religious imagery, but I don’t push ANY sort of religious point of view…for or against. Again, I let people decide for themselves what any song could mean. I address the issue of mental illness and depression and even the tendency for despair. I don’t encourage ‘despair’ but that experience of wondering where there is hope is quite universal. As well, I often, in veiled language, address the ‘tribalism’ that we humans seem to cling to. I have a real personal distaste for hatred of any kind and the world is full of that. Religious people bashing and rejecting others for being ‘different’ or of the ‘wrong tribe’ and all the bigotry and racism and all the phobias that still exist in a so called ‘evolved’ modern world. That ‘tribalism’ isn’t just from those of a religious persuasion but it also exists among ,many ‘atheists’ and ‘secularists’ who can be just as hateful towards those of the ‘other tribe’. We just don’t know how to leave each other be do we?! Hatred of any kind is for the birds. Wait…not even the birds want it!

Give us some background to your latest release.

The latest release is Freak’s Mind. It’s very abrasive and weird and even at times ‘gothadelic’ (a term coined by Peter Steele by the way). That album is the album that wasn’t supposed to be. I never really wanted to record anything new but one song at a time, and I ended up recording an album’s worth of dark wave/industrial/Gothic madness and I’m really proud of this album. It touches on all those subjects I mentioned earlier. Womb To The Tomb is one of my favourites on that album. It’s a strange combo of wild 60’s psychedelic with raging industrial sounds. Veil is a powerful song, which was recorded in 2013 actually. It’s a good album and I’m not the type that easily says things like that about my own music.

Could you give us some insight to the themes behind it and its songs?

Womb to The Tomb is about the cycle of life more or less, but also looks at the life of a corrupt village and all its citizens, including the powerful who take advantage and the victims who are taken advantage of. It’s kind of inspired by modern day events, without being specific. Chaos Frankenstein is sort of a ‘mystical’ telling of conflict and chaos and suffering and deception. Finally, (I won’t dissect every song) Freak’s Mind, the title track, is more or less about someone struggling with some sort of psychological or emotional turmoil.

Tell us about the live side to the band?

At present, Gnostic Gorilla is not planning on any live shows. I’d need to lasso a bunch of musicians to do that and I don’t see it happening. I don’t think so anyway…Maybe a one off someday.

It is not easy for any new act/artist to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands/artists?

You’re so right. It’s not easy. I mean, as far as having an impact is concerned. It’s a different world… a different industry and there are many factors that make it very difficult to make a dent anywhere, even locally…especially if you’re in a bigger city. Technology and the age of communication (social media) make it so that anyone can set themselves up and do music and even videos and put it out there. It makes for a VERY clogged reality in cyberspace. There is SO much out there. Everyone wants to be considered the next big thing…Fair game. But here’s the thing, it’s all been done. After KISS and Sabbath, and Manson and Depeche Mode and Numan and NIN, Slipknot, Cradle of Filth, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Ice T, Eminem, Shaggy, Run DMC etc. …how does one come up with a unique style? I don’t want to be a pessimist but let’s be realistic. It’s VERY difficult to make a dent because it’s almost impossible to snap people out of an oversaturated “yawn…I’ve seen it all before” mindset. You can’t impress people easily. You can barely shock people unless you are involved in some sort of controversy or are pretty like a Barbie/Ken doll. Legends/pioneers are no longer being made and I know that would piss a lot of people off to hear that, but it’s true. As for my own situation, I must confess that as I proud Canadian, I am very unimpressed with the way I’ve been treated by the reps/labels in Canada. I have a label deal with Cleopatra Records (LA) for two albums, a deal with KL-Dark Records in Germany and Nowhere Now Records in Australia and have never even received a reply from the Canadian labels I sent music to. Kind of disappointing but I guess they’re all waiting for the second coming or RUSH or Justin Bieber or Gordon Lightfoot.

How has the internet and social media impacted on your project to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the project grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands/artists struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?

As I said before, the world has changed dramatically in more ways than one. The internet and social media have forever changed MANY things, not just music. Look at what it’s done to the world of politics! (not always for the better) Even the Pope has a presence on social media. Hahahaha. But more specifically related to the music industry…it’s a mixed bag I suppose. It’s great to promote one’s music/art but also you’re not the only one doing it. Millions are doing it. With regards to the reality of ‘streaming’ though, as an example…that too is a combination of blessing and curse. What’s happening is people don’t feel like buying music is even a concept. It’s not their fault. It’s the way things evolved. (There’s that word again…hahahaha) Younger people grew up knowing nothing else and so, even the concept of music as art is kind of challenged. It’s rarely seen as ‘art’ and just part of the regular noise and scenery of cyberspace all mixed in with the latest ‘app’. It’s like music is there for the taking the way fruit on trees is there for the taking…it’s just a part of the way life goes. It’s all there to snatch and rarely pay much more than a standard monthly fee or something and have unlimited music. Hey, I do it myself, so I’m not criticizing. Also, it needs to be said, with reference to struggling artists: there are also different organizations that promise ‘hi-fi mega stardom’ for a fee! Some of these take advantage of artists, even some of the big labels have jumped on that bandwagon. Don’t get me wrong, there are some decent, honest organizations that genuinely want to assist struggling artists, but there are also a lot of vultures out there cashing in on Wendy and Charlie’s dreams of “making it”. I guess in the end, like anything else, it’s what you do with it right? Maybe it’s just another challenge for artists to be creative, even with regards to promoting and marketing.

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

It is I who thank you! All I can say is that if you are a struggling artist…be true to the art, to being creative. I know that sounds like hippie bullshit, but it’s true. As soon as your goal is to become a ‘celebrity’ you’re setting yourself up for deception. Don’t dream about being a ‘star’. Instead, be creative and express yourself and be true to yourself…regardless of who does and who doesn’t approve. The rest will follow because in the end, authenticity speaks louder than the need to be ‘worshipped’. That’s what I believe.

Explore Gnostic Gorilla further @ https://www.facebook.com/gnosticgorilla/

Also grab your copy of the Various Artists Compilation album, Nowhere Now Volume 2 on Nowhere Now Records @ https://nowherenowrecords.bandcamp.com/album/nowhere-now-volume-2    featuring Last Call (Heed The Drones) by Gnostic Gorilla

Pete RingMaster 12/04/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Calling All Astronauts – Influences EP

Repetitiously providing some truly striking times with their own songs, UK trio Calling All Astronauts do it again by giving an insight into the sounds and artists which have lit their individual fires through their new release, the Influences EP. Offering four tracks simply echoing the EP title, the threesome of vocalist/programmer David B, guitarist J, and bassist Paul McCrudden take on four highly familiar, indeed legendary songs with their instinctive imagination and sound. The result is a hell of a lot of fun and a release which pays enterprising homage in unique style.

West London based, Calling All Astronauts create a fiery mix of alternative rock, electro punk and numerous other flavours in a sound which is truly individual to the band. The question for us when news of their new release broke was would it transfer to songs which pretty much everyone knows and so many idolise and more so could they give them a new character rather than just replicate like so many bands do with covers. The answer was soon escaping the speakers with pretty much a loud vocal yes. Certainly the band has not dissected and reassembled the songs in their own ‘image’ but each has been given a deep makeover which sparks the imagination.

Described as more of a quadruple A-side single, Influences opens up with a glorious version of Tubeway Army’s  Are ‘Friends’ Electric?. From its first breath there is a sense of urgency to the track if one initially restrained. When it does free its shackles, it brings a drum and bass meets metal contagion to its zealous stroll, though keys still shimmer with the original’s elegant yet melancholic gait; the contrasting attacks perfectly merged by CAA in one delicious encounter. You cannot say that the band has eclipsed Gary Numan’s creation but they have certainly given it a new energy and breath which deserves to be pushed as a full standalone single.

Following it is a take on the T-Rex classic Metal Guru. Here CAA has taken the essences of the song and immersed them in their own atmospheric invention. Whereas they pumped up the first, its successor has been slowed to allow its shadows and dark shades to dance with the imagination. We will admit that at first the song did not quite catch with ears but over time it has made a compelling persuasion and will surely emerge as a favourite for a great many within the release.

With a song like Scary Monsters it is hard to redesign what is an almost perfect template so CAA don’t but they do inject Bowie’s gem with their own dark intent and electro instincts to elevate its raw captivation and rock rabidity resulting in another thumping slice of rock ‘n’ roll with a fresh tang and organic energy where shadows seem even more alive.

Finally the release sees CAA give an electro/post punk work out for Deep Purple’s Smoke On The Water. To be honest this is a song which never lit our fires but CAA have more then made it far more palatable with the flames of J’s guitar searing the growl of McCrudden’s bass and the electronic infused punk ‘n’ roll both court.

We always love to hear influences taken on by artists, a treat which seemed to grace many a B-side back in the day, just a shame so many do not try to bring something of themselves to them just as Calling All Astronauts have magnetically done.

The Influences EP is released March 30th via Supersonic Media.

http://www.callingallastronauts.com/    https://www.facebook.com/callingallastronauts   https://twitter.com/CAA_Official

Pete RingMaster 28/03/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Lee Murray – Rust

Ok let us first dispense of the elephant in the room. Lee Murray was once the drummer of nineties pop band Let Loose which had a host of hits including Crazy For You but do not hold that against him as you contemplate checking out his new solo single Rust. You will find a song which is an infectious slice of rock pop with a steely edge to its textures and acts like a magnet from start to finish.

Already renowned for his drumming, Murray is equally skilled as a composer and producer. In his own songwriting and solo sound he has drawn on inspirations ranging from Kaiser Chiefs and The Killers to Depeche Mode and Gary Numan, the latter a definite spicing to the single. Equally it has a feel of The Wonderstuff to it especially around one contagious chorus.

Straight away riffs and rhythms tenaciously invite attention, crowding enticingly around Murray’s potent tones as guitars send melodic flames across their bow. It all unites in time for a rigorously catchy surge leading to that vibrant chorus, repeating the cycle with increasing energy and a fervour which reflects the song’s theme of getting sucked into a toxic relationship which is initially exciting, but one where “you’re attracted to the danger and free spirit only to find it becomes destructive”.

We will admit we were surprised by Rust, quickly enamoured, and now rather intrigued to find out if the song is a potent sign of things to come from his solo adventure.

Rust is available to pre-order now and to download from October 6th 2017.

https://www.facebook.com/officialleemurray/    http://twitter.com/leemurraymint

Pete RingMaster 15/09/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Moi Saint – New Moon EP

Potently introducing itself as well as the artist behind one of its first releases, UK label Syndicol Music has just unveiled the New Moon EP from singer songwriter Moi Saint. The four track encounter is a haunting and bewitching embrace of dark electronic music, an intriguing fusion of various electronically bred atmospheres and textures as intimate as it is surreal and perpetually fascinating.

Hailing from Manchester and now Liverpool based, Moi Saint emerged in 2015 intent to bring a sound to her deep thoughts and emotions. Embracing the inspirations of artists such as Depeche Mode, Gary Numan, Coil, and Enigma, Saint explored her emotional escape in ambient and electronica adventure with the first explorations making up New Moon on the Charlie Dawe, of British alternative rockers Ventenner, founded Syndicol.

The release opens with Lost in Time (Kind) and an initial melody with an inviting Visage like feel to it. Saint’s voice swiftly wraps around the potent lead, her tones charming and seductive as more industrial nurtured essences crawl into the mix. Shadowy and alluring in equal measure, the song immerses ears in electronic noir pop, its air as suggestively visceral as its heart is melodically poetic and sheer mesmerism from start to finish.

The catchiness of the first is replicated in the even thicker shadowed Reptile though it too is a beguiling fusion of light and dark as gothic overtones lie romantically across the imagination enveloping soundscape. Once more intimacy aligns with a broader ambience as the track boldly simmers in ears, each second a dramatic and smoulderingly erotic suggestion and every note and syllable an ethereal incitement to devour.

Void comes next with the EP’s most transcendent exploration, synths and vocal chords embroiled in a gaseous trespass grabbing ears and imagination like celestial smog. There is that ever present intimacy to the tide of suggestiveness too, melodic venture lighting its melancholic yet rhapsodic heart. Saint in voice is gossamer on the senses while her sounds caress the senses with a matching addictive gentleness which simply haunts thought and emotions.

The release closes with Faded, an arguably more defined proposition in individual textures as an ever present eighties synth pop influence across the EP keenly teases from within melodies and hooks. The track is equally enticingly spiritual in tone and breath with Saint again pure magnetism in voice alone.

It is a kiss on the senses bringing the fine release to a memorable close, each song living up to that description in their various explorations. New Moon is an increasingly striking introduction to artist and label and the first step in the rise of both we suspect and eagerly anticipate.

The New Moon EP is available now across most stores.

 

https://www.facebook.com/moisaint/    https://www.syndicolmusic.com/

Pete RingMaster 05/09/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Open Eyed Dreamer – Free Your Own Mind

free your own mind_RingMasterReview

The Open Eyed Dreamer is the solo project of Bracknell hailing Steve Fearon, the former frontman of the strongly missed British industrial rockers Ghost In the Static. The Free Your Own Mind is the debut EP from that project which was in many ways an idea and presence predating Fearon’s previous band. In the words of the man himself though, “For a long time, The Open Eyed Dreamer was nothing more than a persona, a mask worn on stage, someone sung about in Ghost In the Static Songs.” With the striking Free Your Own Mind the first ‘words’, The Open Eyed Dreamer is now Fearon’s voice against a world where “power is misused and misappropriated by those who hold all the card.”, and a release for his inner anger.

Fusing electronic incitements with raw rock and melodic pop textures, Fearon’s sound and EP is an attention grabbing blend of extremes and differing textures. It roars in defiance, snarls with antagonism, both lyrically and musically, but equally seduces while inflaming body and imagination with vibrant melodies and tenaciously infectious hooks. The heart and thoughts of Fearon and songs are unmistakable, their bite and contempt at the injustices running and ruining the world forceful but bound in music and imagination which forcibly but contagiously suggests and highlights without ever breaking into the realms of preaching.

Free Your Own Mind opens up with Press Enter To Continue and the line, “This is a bed time story but not for the innocent; you know what you’ve done and what it meant.” As big portentous beats accentuate the moment and the gentle but open inescapable challenge of that simple line, synths begin to rise and bring their intimidating sizzle to the brewing provocative drama of the brief opener.

The attention and imagination seizing start leads to the magnetic lures of Simple People where instantly it too is wrapped in dark shadows and an oppressively evocative ambience. Simultaneously Fearon’s vocals unveil the track’s narrative and emotion with rich expression and the enjoyably familiar style that helped make his previous band a potent proposition. Warm flowing melodies align to catchy beats as hooks just as magnetically blossom within the darker climate of the song, all seducing and igniting body and spirit as firmly as its tone and words spark the imagination and emotions.

Inspirations drawn upon by Fearon include, among many, the likes of The Prodigy, Gary Numan, NIN, Cease2exist, KMFDM, Infected Mushroom, and Combichrist. They are essences which in varying degrees you can sense across Free Your Own Mind. Third track Waiting though, has a hint of fellow UK band MiXE1 to it, something after investigation unsurprising when learning the song, the only one not solely written by Fearon, was created with Michael Evans of MiXE1 and Defeat’s Gary Walker. The pair also physically feature in the song; Evans’ vocals easy to spot within moments as they provide an excellent companion and foil to the equally impressing and darker tones of Fearon. The song is superb, a swiftly captivating persuasion with also a touch of the Walker Brothers to its melodic and emotional atmosphere. Synths paint a just as potent and dramatic picture as the vocals and lyrics, a combination which infests and lingers in appetite and memory.

It surely has to be the lead track to draw newcomers into the project, though The Last Revolution provides a just as commanding and gripping proposal next. Its shadows are far darker than its predecessor and in some way, especially rhythmically, its drama even bigger and bolder as the song envelopes ears and thoughts. There is also a great predacious nature to a track which at times feels like it is stalking the senses; nudging and imposing on them as an instinctive volatility inspires scything strikes of beats and keys for another resonating incitement.

The EP is brought to a close by The Final Photograph, a smouldering electronic caress with sonically blistered skin veined by melodic and vocal coaxing. The gentler wash of synths and sonic suggestiveness also has an inbred irritability which subsequently erupts and fuels the track’s volcanic and galvanic climax.

It is a fine end to a great, I guess, introduction to The Open Eyed Dreamer. Fearon calls Free Your Own Mind his “call to arms” and indeed it is an arousing of the listener in many irresistible ways.

The Free Your Own Mind is out now @ https://theopeneyeddreamer.bandcamp.com/album/free-your-own-mind

https://www.facebook.com/TheOpenEyedDreamer/

Pete RingMaster 12/05/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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