7.06.2016

AN INTERVIEW WITH CHASE H. MASON

A sit down with the singer of Arizona's own Gatecreeper.

Gatecreeper just announced the tour with Skeletonwitch, Iron Reagan, and Oathbreaker for the fall, an insane lineup to say the least. Which cities are you looking forward to playing the most?
I'd say places like Tampa and Austin because we haven't played there yet. The show in LA at The Roxy should be really cool. I've been to a few shows at that venue and I'm excited to play there. Portland and Seattle should be fun too because we have a lot of friends up in the PNW.

Oh that Tampa show is going to be great, I can't wait for it. So, you guys also signed to Relapse Records and are releasing your first full length with them, can you give me any details on the themes and ideas we can expect to see in the lyrics?
I hate writing lyrics but I've been trying to mix it up lately as far as subject matter. Some of it is personal, some of it is fantasy. The general themes of the record are fear, desperation, and depravity.

Three things every human knows very well. Do you play in any other bands besides Gatecreeper right now? If not, did you play in any before it?
I'm not in any other bands right now. Gatecreeper is my baby. I put a lot of time into it and I don't think I'd have the time to do another project. I've played in bands since I was 13 but nothing that ever left Arizona.

Well the dedication shows, everything released thus far has been bar-rasing.  So we both know that "party culture" is huge in metal, but I don't see that from you. Are you straight edge? 
I'm not straight edge but I have been sober since 2012. 

What sparked your sobriety?
I was fucked up for a long time. I grew up in the middle class suburbs of Mesa, Arizona. I was a bored kid and eventually punk, skateboarding and lighting things on fire didn't satisfy me anymore. I found drugs really early and just hit the ground running from there. I started smoking weed when I was 13. I tried anything that would make me feel differently and eventually got into heroin when I was 16. 

How long did it take you to realize you had a problem? 
I think it was apparent to everyone else but me very quickly. When I was 17, the day after my Junior year in high school, my parents sent me away. It was pretty much a juvenile detention center disguised as a boarding school for troubled teens. It fucking sucked. I got out of there when i was 18 and went right back to the same shit. I was 21 when I first tried to stop using heroin, but I didn't end up getting sober until I was 25. There were a lot of failed attempts, rehabs, psych wards and detoxes in that time period. It was not easy. 

What fueled your drive for wanting to get (and staying) clean? 
Things were just rough for a long time. I couldn't hold a job. My family had always supported me in getting help but they learned that there wasn't much left for them to do. My girlfriend had gotten sober a couple months before me. I was pretty much homeless and I had nowhere else to go except a free 6 month in patient rehab that I was dropped off at by a friend. 

As far as staying sober, it's very motivating to see things getting better. I wouldn't be able to do everything I have with music or have the relationships I have now if I was still doing the same shit. I used to have nothing to lose, but now there is a lot of great things going on that I would burn to the ground very quickly if I went back to my old ways. 

Truly a testament to the life-saving force that is music. If anyone reading this isn't insanely proud of you, I don't know what to say about their moral compass. So, we're seven months in to 2016 and there have been scores of amazing releases. What would you consider your top five of the year so far? 

Nails - You Will Never Be One Of Us 
Lost Souls - Get Lost 7" 
Lycus - Chasms 
Nothing - Tired of Tomorrow 
Fury - Paramount 

You've spent a fair share of your life inside the music scene. What would you say is wrong with hardcore right now and what is keeping it alive? 
I don't think there is anything wrong with it at the moment. People may be a little too sensitive at times, but I don't really concern myself with that. Hardcore is for fucked up people so it will always be fucked up. I'm no authority on the current state of hardcore. I just ended up here somehow. 

I couldn't have said it better myself. Final remarks? And do you have a message for the youth? 

That's all I've got. Thanks for doing the interview!

You can listen to Gatecreeper on Bandcamp and follow them on Twitter.