- Introduce us to your project!
I’m Dean Mason of Gnostic Gorilla. Gnostic Gorilla is an experiment in dark chocolate… I mean, dark electronic music.
- How did you start out?
When I was a young lad, still a teenager more or less, I set out to record a 45-rpm single. (Golgotha/Dark Hallway) I wrote the lyrics and music. Actually, wrote the lyrics in English class, probably under the influence of benzodiazepines… hahahaha… and then some excellent musicians joined me to record the single. At the time it was just “Dean Mason” and the so-called record label was “Lonely Ghost Productions”, which I later used to call my project. So, thus was born “The Lonely Ghost Project” and for a short while, LGP (LGP-ONE is my indie label) but then changed the name of the project to “Gnostic Gorilla” because there is a band called “The Lonely Ghost Parade” and I wanted to avoid any confusion.
- Describe your project’s sound.
Gnostic Gorilla ranges from Gothic to Industrial. Some have called it dark wave, some have called it dark tech (some of it is) and some have called it a splitting headache. Hahahahaha. But seriously, I guess what can be said is that the music is dark, weird, brooding, haunting, and at times abrasive. When I say ‘dark’, I don’t mean ‘evil’.
- What influences your craft?
More or less, I like all sorts of music—anything from Gary Numan and Japan to Type O Negative and Black Sabbath. I have a great love for The Doors. The Doors was the first band to be referred to as ‘Goth’ (not as a genre of course) by a journalist writing a review around the time that Morrison met Andy Warhol in NYC. Soundtracks often give me ideas as well. Non-musical ‘influences’ are struggling with the questions, and often the human struggle—war—depression—mental illness—racism—injustice—etc. My lyrics are not straightforward, but they allude to a lot of these questions in hidden, poetic ways so that the listener can decide for themselves what they mean to them.
- What makes your project different? Why should people listen to you?
I’m always cautious with terms like ‘different’ or ‘unique’. It’s extremely difficult to be unique in this day and age because it can be said, “it’s all been done”. I realize that’s not high-power salesmanship on my part to say that, but I prefer truth to fantasy or mind games. Gnostic Gorilla is more or less an experiment, a hobby that ended up getting me a label deal with Cleopatra Records. I guess I would say, that if you’re into truly underground, alternative niche music… you will like Gnostic Gorilla. I didn’t set out to rewrite “Rock and Roll All Night” or “Crazy Train” or “Cars” or whatever. I’m not Justin Bieber, though we’re from the same neck of the country… I just do what I do.
- When introducing people to your music, what song should I show them first? What is your quintessential track?
I would say, start with St. Basil’s Asylum, with the video and then check out everything else. No one album is the same.
- What has been the biggest struggle in your career so far?
My biggest struggle is ‘me’. By that I mean, I often go through periods where I ask myself, “What am I doing?”. And everything looks/sounds like crap. Then I say, “Ok, screw it…that’s enough of that…time to take up fishing or knitting or something…” hahahahaha
- What has been the biggest highlight in your career so far?
Getting that email from Cleopatra Records saying that they would like to work something out: I was like, “is this a joke?”. I mean, Cleopatra Records is a fairly popular label and they are known for having some classic ‘Goth/Dark Wave/Industrial’ and many others. They have rereleased some of Gary Numan’s mid-80’s (NUMA LABEL) and have Ministry on their roster for some releases. So, point is, that was a real turning point for me.
- How bright is the future of your project – what are the plans?
“Bright”? hahahahaha. Just kidding. To be honest, I don’t want to fantasize too much about a big future in the industry. It is VERY difficult to make headway in this business these days for many reasons. So, I’m just happy doing what I have been doing and maybe working with other artists and see what happens. One day at a time.
- When all is said and done, how would you like to be remembered?
I hope I’m remembered as an artist who just tried to honestly express his creativity and made a few neat songs in the ‘underground’ scene who didn’t take himself too seriously.