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

Desperate Machines – Complet_

It was back in 2014 when in a year of striking releases, American progressive/experimental rock band In Progress left their very potent mark with the album North Atlantic Echoes. The band was the creation of Jake Rosenberg and John Dillon and with a host of guests provided one increasingly fascinating and impressive adventure few rivalled at that time in the progressive rock scene. Since then the duo has seemingly been quiet, evading attention but obviously busy as they have returned with a new project in the shape of Desperate Machines and a debut EP which in distinctly different ways has made the same rich impact on our ears and imagination.

As the three tracks making up Complet_ reveals defining the Desperate Machines sound is never going to be a precise exercise with its tapestries and soundscapes of electronic, progressive rock, industrial, atmospheric and experimental essences and textures but an adventure which will keep imaginations busy and hungry if they herald what is to come ahead.

The EP opens up with Complete and as all tracks within the EP sees Kevin Moore (Chroma Key, OSI, ex-Dream Theater) guesting on vocals as well as providing lyrics. From the shadows the song looms up, its industrial breath springing animated beats and the instantly gripping gnarly growl of Dillon’s bass. Just a rush of seconds in and already the song is a web of flavours and textures, every subsequent twist indeed almost each second the gateway into fresh styles and bold imagination as the captivating tones of Moore rise amongst the synth, keys, and guitar enterprise of Rosenberg and Dillon. The gait of the track is funky, its breath dark with a Nine Inch Nails meets Deftones-esque melancholy and every moment as infectious as it is captivating, indeed haunting.

It is an effortlessly magnetic affair but is still slightly eclipsed by the magnificent Our War. Again from the start rhythms provide a manipulative enticement, melodies caressing and adding to the increasing urging of participation from hips and feet. Alongside Moore, Marjorie Boggs Vazquez adds additional guest vocals, further radiance in the mercurial but relentlessly magnetic encounter. As with its predecessor, every moment offers a fresh surprise with each twist as unpredictable in sound and invention as it is irresistible.

The release is completed by the original demo for Plan B, the song which is said to be the spark bringing Desperate Machines to life several years ago. From an industrial underground, a piano teases the imagination with its intimacy and touch, vocals soon alongside bringing similar intimation and fascination. A hint of a scent in both previous songs, the third strongly reminds of eighties band Comsat Angels and like many of that band’s tracks had us drooling in admiration and desire for more.

Though we had not realised it at the time, there was a gap without In Progress which was waiting to be filled. Rosenberg and Dillon have returned to do not only that but occupy many other areas lacking the imagination and sound which Desperate Machines brings with them.

Complet_ is out now @ https://desperatemachines.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/desperatemachines/

Pete RingMaster 08/01/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Watch Clark – Couch

photo by Christy Wiseman

The sound of Watch Clark is suggested as being akin to the Seattle indie goth/industrial scene of the early 2000’s but definitely there is also an eighties synth pop inspiration which richly flavours its imagination. It is a fusion which goes to make new album, Couch, one ear grabbing and imagination slab of contagion and very easy to recommend to all electronica embracing ears.

Watch Clark is the solo project of Seattle based musician Paul Furio, a former member of Static Engine and SMP. Founded in 2012, Watch Clark released debut album Perfect Imitation the following year with its well-received successor, First Week of Winter unveiled in 2017. Produced, mixed and mastered by Kasson Crooker (Freezepop, Symbion Project, ELYXR), Couch is the striking successor very easy to see pushing Watch Clark into a far bigger spotlight.

A collection of songs themed by a reflection on relationship, political, and life turmoil, Couch immediately had ears and appetite hooked with opener Misery. The blooming of keys and heavy pulse of rhythmic enticement openly wears a Depeche Mode influence but as swiftly the track reveals its own individual character around the magnetic tones of Furio. Industrial dissonance breaks upon the melodic landscape throughout to escalate the potency of drama within the unapologetically catchy and rousing affair.

The outstanding start to the release is matched by the infectious body and swing of the following Class Actress. Like a blend of B Movie romanticism with Kudzu post punk shadows within a Visage-esque croon, the track like its predecessor is pure contagiousness, its instinctive bounce manna to appetite and body before The Sound of Robots Pooping parades its industrial nurtured dance. As dystopian in breath as it is warmly infectious, the predominately instrumental track proved as much a spark for the imagination as an incitement for hips.

Diversity is a potent trait within Couch and potently shows its creative worth with next up Tansfläch, the track an electro industrial incitement bearing the Neue Deutsche Welle tempting of a D.A.F. alongside the cold wave theatre of a Kraftwerk, while The Darkest Place adds its own individual new wave lined proposal in the varied mix with contagious appetite and dexterity. In voice and sound, Furio lights up ears and speaker with a virulent touch which is hard to ignore in movement let alone pleasure.

The following Cross the Chasm has compelling darkness in its heart and touch which only accentuates its bold almost invasive yet haunting quality while The Act of Wanting offers a flirtatious slice of electro rock which again has energies and limbs hooked like a puppeteer across its purposeful stroll. Each again only adds further sides to the varied electronic prism of the album which Math Grenade emulates with its teutonic breath upon industrial dissonance. Again dystopian hues explore thoughts from within the dark infection and once more Watch Clark had attention glued before the equally arousing Get to Win added its particular electro punk grip on ears.

Featuring a vocal duet with Lark Remy in its haunting sigh, Weakness made for easy captivation. Though the sounds around them only hugged satisfaction it was the vocal prowess of Furio and Remy which most seduced and the way the production alternated between moments when each voice has slight dominance in their union.

Completed by the dark infested instrumental of The Cup of Bitter Fate and the melancholy soaked balladry of Choose, two tracks which lingered to haunt the imagination once sharing their final breaths, Couch is an album which provides a rousing fusion of nostalgia and new imagination which as mentioned earlier can only be suggested as a definite exploration for all with a taste for electronic pleasure.

Couch is out now; available @ https://watchclark.bandcamp.com/album/couch

https://www.facebook.com/WatchClarkMusic   https://twitter.com/WatchClarkBand

 Pete RingMaster 15/10/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Bait – DLP

Going into the review of the new single from UK outfit Bait it took us by surprise just how long ago we drooled over the band’s self-titled debut album. It feels like yesterday but was at the beginning of 2017 so the fact that it still features on our just for pleasure ‘turntables’ shows how pleasurable we found it. DLP is destined to join that compelling full-length, the track a wonderfully nagging and rousing slice of the band’s unpredictable and riveting sonic imagination.

Southend based Bait first tempted almost taunted us with a track upon the Alternative Occupations EP from Cool Thing Records which featured four of its striking bands. The intrigue and appetite the song bred was richly fed by the debut Bait album, addictively satisfied by the unique fusion of punk, post punk, and industrial espionage which thrilled within. So you can imagine the tingle when the band’s vocalist/songwriter Michael Webster got in touch with their latest track. Of course there are never guarantees, expectations and assumptions always there to be shot down but not this time. DLP was another addiction in the waiting and a big excuse for us to again push you all towards the creative exploits of Mike, Luke Branch, Jim Webster, and M R E.

Synths instantly mark their territory as DLP takes a mere breath to calmly entice, its second exhalation springing a rapacious but inviting stroll impossible to prevent hips and neck muscles responding too. There is an inherent darkness and threat to it all though, that delicious niggle which has marked previous tracks from the band and simply accentuates all the hues and manipulative agility of the song.

At times it calls on ears and imagination like a tenebrific blend of Malicious Damage era Killing Joke, Dalek I/Dalek I Love You, and Nine Inch Nails, but with bleakness as radiant as it is dissonant. Even with those clues to their characters, song and sound are fiercely unique to Bait and barely come close to any true comparisons.

DLP is another invigorating and galvanic outing with Bait, an experience which challenges and rewards, questions and supports with unapologetic eagerness. If you have not checked out this band shame on you, the perfect moment though is now.

DLP is out now via Cool Thing Records.

https://www.facebook.com/hatebait   https://twitter.com/hate_bait

Pete RingMaster 01/05/2019

Copyright RingMaster: 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

Flesh Tetris – Insert Coin EP

Pic Chris Clark

We have all come across and been excited by the prospects of Super Groups; adventures bred from the union of various members of renowned and occasionally legendary bands. Sometimes it leads to new pleasure sometimes disappointment. In the far busier landscape of the musical ‘underground’ such fusions of talent are as prevalent and very often much more thrilling as in the mouth-watering case of UK outfit, Flesh Tetris.

The London quintet makes their introduction to the world with debut EP Insert Coin in May; a collection of songs which with the ease of the summer sun has the spirit rising, body dancing, and juices flowing. To be honest our imagination and excitement had their running shoes on even before a note of their first release was heard; racing away just from the names behind this new proposal. Flesh Tetris sees the coming together of members from four of our indelibly favourite bands and, to us, new musicians just as easily grabbing ears and appetite. First there is long-time friend of The RR, guitarist/bassist Andy Duke of Top Buzzer, Cauldronated, The Duel and a clutch of other projects fame. Then there is the inimitable presence and vocal prowess of vocalist Eva Menon also from Cauldronated as well as the distinct creative mischief and character of vocalist Andy Heintz from The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing who has already released one of the year’s essential gems in the shape of the album Double Negative. Alongside the three is Karen Bell who quickly reveals herself as one mighty ear lure with keys, voice, and theremin on the EP and drummer Jez Miller, who lays down inescapable bait with his manipulative swings.

pic by Neil Anderson

It is a line-up which quickly turned an instinctive interest because of their other adventures into lusty attention and an eager appetite for their sound. Described as “Retro SciFi Eurotrash”, Flesh Tetris weave a kaleidoscope of styles and flavours in their music, embracing everything from punk and its electro form, to pop and rock, techno, industrial and much more. It makes for something fresh, virulently infectious and imaginatively gripping eager to throw the body and imagination around like a puppet through its animated antics.

Insert Coin opens up with Rabbits, keys initially hugging, inciting, and worming under the skin with lively rhythms for company before Heintz and Menon add their vocal character. The pair have two of the most distinctive voices and unique deliveries in music which alone just stir the passions but together…well it is as if they were born to be alongside each other at some point such their magnetic union. Swiftly the song had the body bouncing and vocal chords employed, its electro dance a viral infection to feet and hips as the cosmic enterprise of Bell and the hypnotic escapades of Duke and Miller romp. With more chance of there being parity across society than escaping the creative fingering of the song, Insert Coin is off to a flyer and only builds from there.

Next up Partners in Crime instantly looms up with intrigue and adventure, like an adult electro bred Scooby Doo adventure with defiant threat and noir kissed romance at its heart. The great grizzled tones of Heintz and the equally alluring European lilted suggestion of Menon take ears and thoughts on the run, sound providing scenic temptation before the seriously magnetic tones of Bell serenade from the midst of the caper. Few bands have one great vocalist, to have three feels greedy and just another reason to explore Flesh Tetris. The track is superb, managing to even eclipse its outstanding predecessor before The Hardest Part swings in with its dub nurtured electronics and rhythmic intimation. Duke has hips swerving with a gentle but keen hunger whilst the controlled skittishness of Miller’s beats is an additional glorious itch to movement. Within this magnetic landscape vocals prowl and roar stirring up even greater greed and lust for a track which simmers before it boils compared to the more instant explosions of those before it but sizzles to the same heights all the same.

The EP closes up with Glass Bottom Boat, a seaside ode starting with a poetic casting regaling the romantic days of old Brighton. As waves lap a delicious hook springs its bait, a potent lure which you would surmise could only come from the imagination of Duke such its individuality. With Bell’s keys flirting alongside, the slice of smiling rock ‘n’ roll quickly has body and participation rocking; nostalgic pop nurtured harmonics adding to the song’s grin. Imagine a fusion of The Revillos, Chicks On Speed, and The Dreadnoughts and you get a whiff though nothing more of the great EP finale.

Flesh Tetris describe their music as “pop music for unpopular people” and if this is what ‘hate’ inspires we for one quite content to be among the disliked at the kind of thrilling party where you Insert Coin and salaciously enjoy.

The Insert Coin EP is released 26th May across most online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/fleshtetris/

Pete RingMaster 24/04/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Kudzu – Defeated

With a sound as eclectic and unpredictable as it is ravenously catchy, US synth pop duo Kudzu have just released their new album, Defeated. It is an infestation of infectious hooks, flirtatious synths, and rousing escapades but to tag it merely as synth pop is an injustice to its diversity, the album a stirring web of post punk, electro punk, industrial and more across its seriously magnetic body.

Springfield based Kudzu consists of Seth Goodwin (vocals, synth, and drum programming) and Mark Gillenwaters (vocals and guitar). Inspirations to the project include the likes of Tears For Fears, The Cure, Spectrum, Guided by Voices, Sympathy Nervous, and This Heat but as suggested, their sound has a much broader tapestry which is as bred in the seventies/eighties synth landscape as the creative now. It makes for a proposition which is as familiar as it is boldly fresh and one massive treat of a listen.

It opens with the punk assault of Some Cops, a track bursting from its electronic shimmer with zeal and urgency soaked in creative dissonance. At the same time it is a virulently catchy incitement, its fuzzy fumes leaving the senses as woozy as the bone shuddering beats. Like Calling All Astronauts meets Artery at its core, the song equally embraces psych rock winds in its contagious turbulence to provide Defeated with one ear grabbing start.

Straight away the variety of the album is at play as the following and quite superb No Backbone breaks the dividing peace with electro pulses straight out of the early Mute Records catalogue. Instantly thoughts of bands like The Normal arise but are soon pushed to the background as guitar spun melodies and harmonic vocals tease and caress respectively.  The hook Gillenwaters casts with his strings is simply delicious, a psyche enslaving lure soon backed by the darker pulsation of keys and the snapping resonance of rhythms; kind of like a fusion of B-Movie, The Cure, and Modern English yet unique from start to finish.

The album’s title track brings a scuzzier breath to ears; its post punk irritability echoed in the John Lydon textured vocals but again there is a repetitious coaxing teasing and tempting at the centre of the fuzz ball which necessitates only submission to its infectious demands. As its predecessor, it brings another hue to Defeated as does next up Burn Yourself, though its electro punk surge is akin to the opener. With the increasingly magnetic vocals almost gliding over the tides of noise springing from synths and guitar, it was so easy to be swept up in the raw yet skilfully nurtured arms of the track as thoughts colluded with its lyrical insight. Defeated is described as “a reaction to mounting disappointments and frustrations with increasingly frustrating and disappointing realities” and with intimacy and a worldly observation its often dissonant words hit the spot whilst almost arguing with the rousing catchiness of their vehicles.

The mesmeric Balking the Grave is next, the song a riveting post/gothic punk shadow bound serenade which almost seeps under the skin with its slow drawl and bordering concussive clang while Sleep in Disguise is a boisterous slice of synth pop/new wave with the scent of bands like Mr.Kitty, OMD, and early Human League to its bright if slightly caustic breeze.  Both tracks border the irresistible yet still get slightly outshine by One Purpose with its flirtatious Blancmange like melodies and climate.

One definite peak in the lofty heights of Defeated is followed by the ear grabbing proposal of When You Were Mine. The song is almost like a weave of the best traits of its predecessors, a tenacious pop song with attitude and seduction in its raw charms which manages to grumble and serenade in the same breath before leaving to allow B.I.Y.E. to bring things to a transfixing close. With its cold scenery and instinctive bounce, the song merges the alluring traits of a Joy Division and Modern Eon in its industrially edged and melodically draped canter. It is a fine end to an album which we are finding hard to shake off as new propositions to look at build up. That is never a bad aspect to have and as Defeated is so enjoyable we are certainly not complaining.

Defeated is out now via Push & Pull Records; available @ https://kudzukudzukudzu.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/kudzuspringfield/    https://twitter.com/kudzuzudukudzu

Pete RingMaster 09/03/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright