At the end of March, TourKidd sat down with Chase H. Mason of Phoenix’s most prominent local death metal act, Gatecreeper, to discuss the band’s very first tour, as well as his own affiliations with the DIY ideology as they pertain to local involvements. Chase explains how his own observations, connections, and his commitments at The Mantooth Group prompted him to book a fulfilling first tour and establish a strong cornerstone for future tours of greater calibers.
To hear more about Chase’s thoughts on Gatecreeper’s first tour and his general approach to booking, touring, and the importance of DIY, check out the interview’s full audio recording (link is located at the end of the article).
Band Profile: Gatecreeper
Metal Matt: Drums
Chase H. Mason: Vocals
Sean Mears: Bass
Eric Wagner: Guitar
Max Nattsblod: Guitar
Chase, Matt, and Eric started writing for the self-titled demo on their own and handled recording as a three-piece at Homewrecker Studios (Tucson, AZ) with Ryan Bram. Max and Sean, who play in multiple other Arizona hardcore and metal bands, would later join to play guitar and bass, respectively.
Tucson & Phoenix
Recent Activity & Achievements
April 23, 2014 – Self-released digital version of Gatecreeper’s self-titled demo
June 9, 2014 – Debut of the music video for the single titled “Force Fed”
July 28, 2014 – Self-released cassette version of the Gatecreeper demo
October 31, 2014 – Record release show for 12” vinyl version of the Gatecreeper demo
March 4-14, 2015 – First official Gatecreeper tour up the West Coast and back with Fuming Mouth
May 20, 2015 – Record release show to celebrate the split 7” with Take Over and Destroy
How has your past experience without being in a touring band shaped how you approach being in a touring band?
Mason: I think a lot of experience that i’ve had from just playing shows, you know, opening for touring bands and, kind of seeing effort from that sort of perspective, and then now, booking shows and stuff, I kind of know how I want it to be treated or how it’s supposed to run. So, I knew whether I showed my cards when I was booking the tour, saying, like “Hey, I know how it works.” Not, like “Hey, don’t rip us off.” But, I feel like even though I hadn’t gone on tour before, I still knew the ropes on how it should be.
Are there any facets of the band, that you see to personally, that you try to keep consistent with DIY philosophy at all?
Mason: Yeah, I do everything. I do everything myself, and everybody helps out on what they can, but we haven’t hired anybody to do anything for us, you know? As far as the writing, music, and all that, we… I just do vocals live, but I still write a lot of the guitar stuff. So, me and Eric handle a lot of the writing, and then, as far as, like, the PR kind of stuff, social media, booking shows, answering emails, sending emails, merch… I mean, that’s one thing that i’ve kind of outsourced, is to have different artists do designs for us. I’ll get that, you know, I’ll email somebody and ask if, you know… “I like your art, will you do a shirt for us?” or something like that. But, as far as all the promotion for it, by the time our [self-titled] record actually came out, cause we had had it up online for about six months before the record came out, and both the labels that co-released it were like “well, you’ve already been able to get it everywhere that we can really think of…” So they didn’t really have… for some of their releases, they have a PR person pushing it, but for our record they were like “Oh, you’ve done a good job already.”
So, geographically speaking, do you feel that your band has to work harder being from Arizona as opposed to living directly on a coast or do you feel that, going up the West Coast, that you’re close enough to make that an easy run?
I mean, for being where Arizona is, it’s still kind of out of the way. But, we have enough people here that are interested in music that we get a lot of good tours that come through here and I don’t think that being from Arizona… I don’t think that being from somewhere else would make it any easier. If anything, it’s a little bit better because it’s not as over-saturated as anywhere else. We can stand out a little more, you know? People have been saying recently, you know, whether it’s from us or other bands from Arizona, they’re like “Oh, what’s going in Arizona?” you know, “What do they put in the water there?” You don’t here that, like, “What do they put in the water in California?” because there’s like, a million bands from there. So, it makes you stand out a little bit more I think. But as far as touring and stuff, I mean, we’ll see. It worked out going to the West Coast, but we’ll see in a couple months when we have to drive for two days to get out to the East Coast.
So, then what’s your mindset, like, how do you personally this tour that you’re currently booking to go out to the East Coast? Has it proved to be more of a challenge? Is it just do to the length of the tour or because of accumulating contacts and booking and all that?
We’ve been contacted by quite a few people on the East Coast already. Even before we did this tour, they were like “Hey, come out here!”, “Hey, if you come out to this city, i’ll book you a show!”, whether it’s, like, promoters or bands… “Come out here, we’ll play with you guys!” So, I mean, we’re still kind of… it’s still really early and we’re still trying to… once I kind of get the green light from everybody, like, “Will these dates work?”, “Can we do this?”, and then we get the routing set, then that’s going to be when I have to hit it hard and see who I know, who knows someone in this place, or play that sort of game. But, with the internet, it’s pretty easy, you know? All you have to do is, if you don’t know anybody there, you ask somebody else if they know somebody there. Find a band from there, I mean, it’s pretty easy to do that. I mean, even if it was my first time doing it for the West Coast tour, it was pretty easy. We only struggled to book one or two shows. But, I think it should be… I’m there’s going to be a couple cities or shows that are going to be more difficult. But, i’m hoping that it’s going to kind of fall where it needs to be.