|it will always have the metal tag on the end whether it be death, doom, gothic, dark act.|
| This interview was set up a couple of weeks prior to the release of My Dying Bride's latest opus, The Dreadful Hours. Incidently, it saw the light of day some three months later... As Andy said: "Doom mail is so slow!". Despite this setback, I did not change any of the questions or answers. "The Dreadful Hours" is now well and truly absorbed by the fans around the world, but I hope you'll find this interview interesting nevertheless.|
Hello Andrew and thanks a lot for taking the time to do this interview with doom-metal.com.
Let's kick off with the changes in the lineup. Is Yasmin now a permanent member of the band or not? Hamish is the permanent second guitarist?
"Yamin is not full time just yet. We rehearse with her for gigs etc, but when writing new stuff she generally is not with us. This is simply because we find it easier to write the keys / atmospherics in the studio when you can fully hear the rest of the band and also feel the mood of the music. Hamish is full time but is not a "2nd" guitarist. We treat the guitars as equal as we don't really go for lead breaks in the traditional sense, we simply play more harmonies and maybe play the same riff with slight changes to widen the sound."
Martin, your ex violinist and keyboard player, is now in Cradle of Filth. Shaun had a short spell with CoF too, if I'm not terribly mistaken. How do you comment those changes from Doom metal to Black metal and vice versa, since those two genre's aren't that related musically?
"In Shaun's case it's simply because he loves metal, and wants to play. The music is not that very different in attitude anyway just in execution. As for Martin I think he left us in a hurry and was not really sure what to do next and CoF answered that question for him. He seems happy with what they are doing on the few occasions I have spoke to him since he left MDB. He's a good man and a very good keyboard player and deserves the fame."
A long time ago you've said that you had plans to re-record "The Return of the Beautiful" from your debut album. You've now done that and this track will be included on the next LP, The Dreadful Hours. Did you enjoy doing that and what are your thoughts on the final result?
"I think it has stood the test of time very well. It was good to hear it again with the new MDB sounds and the little differences near the end. I prefer the old one though."
Yes, I also prefer the old version. It seems that the bad production gave that album, and I feel two songs in particular - 'Sear Me' and 'The Return...', an extra feel, wouldn't you agree?
"I know what you mean, and yes I think it does. Strange that now, after 10 or so years that we really appreciate the coarse sound of that CD."
Another thing you've sort of announced a few years back is that an album with just Aaron and Martin as a possibility. Is there some news about that perhaps?
"Not now that Martin has gone. I think that idea came from the fact that on 'Turn Loose' there is some good duo stuff from them."
I understand that you've done most of the writing for 'The Light..'. Was it the same for 'The Dreadful Hours?'
"Yes, pretty much. The rest of band are involved heavily, Hamish in particular. But I like to do it. I think on the next one though Hamish will play a bigger part in the writing as he has some excellent idea's that cannot be ignored. Plus he has a proven track record as he wrote all the music for Solstice's The New Dark Age l.p. but ironically only gets a 2nd guitarist credit."
Was the writing process easier this time than for the previous album?
"No not really. Sometimes it's hard and sometimes it flows. It has a life of it's own, we just point it down our path."
Can you compare the new material, including 'The Light...' with older albums, like Turn Loose the Swans? You've in a way returned to the old style, but now with a changed line-up and several years later, how does it all seem from your point of view?
"I have always been drawn to the darker, more morose ellements that MDB have conjured through the years. So when i was the sole writer for the band that's what i did. It was not knee jerk reaction the 34% as some understood it. I am not trying to recreate "Turn Loose" or "Like Gods" as i don't think they need redoing by us. I am however trying to be MDB more than the clone bands."
I must be honest and say that I don't like your last 2 LP's as much as your previous work. I might be wrong, but I feel that MDB has lost the spontaneity. I've got the feeling that you've known what you wanted the LP to sound like (or what you did not wanted it to sound like) before you recorded it. Am I totally wrong here?
"Yes and No, we know what we don't want to sound like and getting what we want into the studio is sometimes hard but i don't think this affects the mood we want. I'm not too sure about the lack of spontaneity, I, personally don't feel it, but it concerns me that others may."
The new LP is due to hit the stores October 22. Can you tell me who was in charge of the production? Was Calvin involved as well?
"No. Calvin has very little to do with the band now. He was tour managing for us for a while, which was great but he now has a family and the committments that come with it. Production was entirely Mags and myself."
What about the artwork, has Aaron done the artwork again?
"Yes. The artwork is an older piece that i was going to use for a side project I had. But with MDB getting more and more busy the side project never really got of the ground. So this left the artwork free to use and i liked it so much i brought it to the attention of the band Aaron in particular who then worked it some more and it just fit perfectly."
Can you tell us a bit more about this project? What was it supposed to be, music wise?
"It would have been in the vein of Burzum and Taake mixed with Von Graven."
Are you familiar with the works of Travis Smith, who did the artwork for the latest Opeth and Novembers Doom albums, and also the new Anathema? Who are your favorite artists in this area?
"I am not familiar with any of the artists. And don't care that much about them. I find art and most artists very pretentious even more than doom metal guitar players."
Have you heard new meterial of Anathema and Paradise Lost? What's your opinion on their new style, opposed to MDB's considering you are 'The Big Three' of British doom?
"To be honest out of the two I only know "An Iliad of Woes" demo from Anathema and Draconian Times (fucking classic record) from Paradise Lost. I have never been that close to their music simply because we have been likened to them both it made sense not to listen to them too closely as to be influenced by them then end up really sounding like them."
Do you think MDB will one day make non-metal music?
"No, it will always have the metal tag on the end whether it be death, doom, gothic, dark act."
"Yeah possibly. i think black metal is all in the attitude anyway it just depends if you believe it or not."
What's on your play list at the moment?
"Skin-Shame Humility Revenge. Burzum-Hvis Lysetr Tar Oss, Sopor Aeturnus and The Ensemble of Shadows-Songs from the Inverted Womb. Decapitated-Nihility."
You've released three EP's earlier in your career. How come we don't get those between albums anymore?
"We released the E.P.s because it was part of the contract to do so. we never felt really comfortable with them as it seemed very commercial."
I'm from Croatia, where doom-metal isn't that big, but MDB have their faithful audience here as well. I've read somewhere that you biggest market is Germany, is that right?
"It may have been, i'm not sure anymore. I know that the UK hardly knows we exist apart from a few (who we feel great affinity for). Europe in general has warmed to our dirges much better and still does."
MDB is very well known by the fact that you've used violins in the past. Would you like to use a violin again, or some other instrument?
"I love the cello, so maybe if we found the right song and the right cellist that could work. But for now i feel happy enough to just let the guitars work the songs and fill the overall sound out with a more ambient mood setting keyboard sound."
Visit the My Dying Bride bandpage.