"We Are Trying To Make It Happen For Ourselves" - An Interview With Chase Mason of GATECREEPER
Gatecreeper are one of our favorite bands here at Metal Injection and getting a chance to sit down with the band's incredibly talented frontman Chase Mason for a few minutes at Psycho Las Vegas was a true honor.
For being the frontman of one of the key bands in the modern death metal scene, Chase is a surprisingly soft spoken dude. He gave some very thoughtful responses as we examined his band's breakout success and their clearly defined aesthetic. I hope you enjoy reading this interview as much as I enjoyed conducting it!
How the hell are you?
Good. Tired! It's been going well though, I've been gambling. Lost some money, made some money, I think I'm evened out at this point. You can't walk ten feet without seeing someone you know.
Gatecreeper's kind of blown up in the last year – why?
We've been able to do some cool tours with some cool bands, like the Pallbearer and Nails tours. I think that what we do is simple. We're not trying to do anything brand new, just do what we do really well. The visual aspect of it is something that I have put a lot of thought into and am very particular about. It's important to have a complete package. Not only good music but good art for product and t shirt designs. Whether people know it or not that's what they want.
What should define the Gatecreeper brand?
We have a bunch of different artists that do stuff, but the black and white Xeroxed zine look is the stuff I try to do. The Slayer Mag stuff.
You're too young to have been a part of that Slayer Mag scene – what drew you to it?
I liked the look of it. It was the music that brought me into that. I was born in 1987. I'm not too young but I was young when all the albums I really like came out. Thin Lizzy brought me into it but I found Slayer Mag and that was it. There's that site Send Me Back My Stamps that has a lot of old zines and stuff. I like how it feels handmade. Someone could do it at their parents house.
What attracted you to old school death metal?
At first it was like Carcass and At The Gates. Slaughter Of The Soul was probably the first old school death metal record I heard. When I got into music there were bands like Black Dahlia Murder who were really influenced by that. From there I got into Dissection and Morbid Angel and then I got really into old school Swedish death metal. I liked it because it as melodic and catchy. I always liked the Entombed and Dismember stuff which you could latch on to.
There has been a growth of interest in death metal in the last year… why do you think this has happened?
You could say that, as far as what we do, that we almost missed the boat on a lot of it. I don't consider us what I call a HM2 band. There's a lot more to what we do. In 2008-2012 there was a bunch of bands doing that. We could fit in with that, but now there is a wave of new death metal bands. Relapse has been signing a lot more death metal these days. That's where they started but for a while it was bands like Mastodon. There's a lot of people in my age group who were too young when this stuff started happening so now we are trying to make it happen for ourselves.
With Relapse, a huge label for all of us, how does it feel to have them sign you?
Awesome. It's still pretty surreal when I think about it. When it was all happening it was really cool. It blew all of our minds. Our record has been almost out a year now and we've been signed for over a year. When I think about it it's cool. It's very validating for a label that has put out a bunch of records to put out our record. They are really cool to work with. Everyone we deal with is super cool.
You've been doing all these tours and getting a lot of hype – but what are your goals with Gatecreeper?
I don't really have any reservations about wanting to be as big a band as we possibly can, whatever that means. I think we have a pretty defined goal musically. We're not trying to do anything crazy, just what we like and do it really well. If that means we can go out on tour and do big tours and different fests and be on TV or whatever we want to do that. We are going to Europe for the first time which is rad. One of the goals is to play everywhere we can and keep putting out good records.
Simultaneously Spirit Adrift has taken off – how does it feel to be part of two bands that have done that?
It's cool. I talk to Nate about that a lot because our roles are switched in the two bands. In Gatecreeper, even though he's starting to get involved with writing the new stuff, for a long time he wasn't initially a part of it writing wise. It's the same with Spirit Adrift – I didn't write any of that I just get to play. It's two different sides of it. It's a learning experience to play other peoples songs. You experience it from all angles. I like to control everything with Gatecreeper and with Spirit Adrift I don't need to or want to and playing is just fun!
What do you love so much about music?
I've always loved music, ever since I was younger and my parents showed me the Beatles. For some reason I always connected. It makes me happy!