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The Light is nothing compared what we are about to do

Interview with My Dying Bride.
Andrew Craighan of My Dying Bride One of the most known doom metal acts around, My Dying Bride, returned to their furmiliar sound with their latest album 'The Light at the End of the World'. In this interview, My Dying Bride's guitarist Andrew talks of the past, the present, the future... and the future is what you should look forward to, if you are a fan of this band.

First off, I would like to thank you for taking the time to do this interview for The Consortium [Editor Note: The Consortium does not exist anymore and as such the interview went to doom-metal.com].

"And I inturn thank them for the time and effort in getting the questions to me. And no doubt countless other bands in the field."

It has now been ten or so years since the band was formed. How much has the whole ideology changed? Is the same passion for writing music and performing still there and do you feel the same when you go out on stage?

"Overall yes.. writing is a little different. It seems now that we almost know exactly what we want and know how to do it/get it. The ideology is very much the same, we are looking for sounds of darkness and despair, painting clouded pictures of a land steeped in the stench of a lovers death, while loving every minute of the loss. The fear of going out onstage is something I don't want to lose as the elation of playing a good gig is only 2nd to having ritualistic sex."

Album: The Light at the end of the World Your latest album, 'The Light at the End of the World' has been out for quite some time now. The fans seem to be very pleased with the return to the old sound and Aaron's grunts, the old logo... Are you satisfied with how this album has turned out? Do you now feel that "coming back to our roots" album was the right thing to do?

"Yes, but I don't really see it as a total return, simply because I never really left this place. The band as a whole moved, but inside of me I always wanted to be where I am now with this band and to do what I was allowed to do on 'The Light...' all I have done is rekindle the fire in MDB that was always there just overlooked while we regrouped and re organised the ranks. 'The Light' is nothing compared what we are about to do. And yes I am happy with the whole thing."

What do you think now of your debut album, 'As the Flower Withers'? I have read somewhere that you were thinking about recording 'The Return of the Beautiful' from the debut again. Is that true?

"I like the first l.p. a lot of course, the problem with it is the sound is shit. A typical 1st l.p. sound with the band being ignored while asking the engineer to sort it out as things didn't sound like the band thought it should. But you learn the hard way. And we have learnt I think. Yes there was talk among the band about re recording 'The Return..' but we'll see."

In interviews, you always make it clear that you do not try to write commercial music. How do you comment that My Dying Bride turned a bit to Black Metal when the whole Metal scene is suffocating with Black Metal bands? Also, MDB has rather unexpectedly returned to a sound similar to the sound that the fans liked the most. Has this got something to do with the negative responses from fans after '34.788%... Complete'?

My Dying Bride "Firstly let me just say that disagree with everything in this question, apart from the commercial music sentence. If you look at any of our releases you will see that what we have here is what we have always done, but again, as always promised, different. The sound of the record obviously goes hand in hand with the style of the songs. '34.788%' is what we sounded like with Calvin and Bill in the band, when I wrote 'The Light' they were gone, so it's what MDB undedwith myself Aaron and Adrian in the band with Shaun standing in at the time on drums. Nothing commercially sinister with any of that."

But Aaron used shrieking vocals, and the music itself has some similarities to Black metal, as you said yourself. Also, in previous interviews you said (I think it was Aaron) that 'The Light' is an intentional return to the sound similar to that on 'The Angel'. This is correct, isn't it? And you do have Black Metal bands popping up, and many can barely play their instruments, wouldn't you agree?

"Yes, I would agree, but if you listen to the "true" black metal bands now, do they not sound like death metal of a few years ago. The opening riff on the new Emperor cd is a direct decendant of a Pestilence riff from their 'Consuming Impulse' CD for just one example. So could it not be said that black metal has simply become more like traditional death metal which is something that MDB have never tried to hide in their music and consequently now sound more alike from both angles. Let me also point out that I am a great fan of black metal (Living Colour not included) simply because it was a new a invigorating approach to extreme sounding music. MDB like dark sounds, and if in places we are now closer to a black metal scene which is, as you say quite brimming over with bands now ,it's not something I am going to lose any sleep over. The shrieking style vocals fit with the lyrics in that particular song and the music around it reflects this. It's just painting the picture of evil as in that song that is what we want. I'm not sure if we deliberately went back to try sound like 'The Angel' but I know that we just wanted to play darker sounding music again. It was a breath of cold, dank, sour air and it felt good inside to be doing it again. We had met with an olde friend that we had forgot we loved..."

My Dying Bride It is always interesting to know what the members of a band listen at home. What are your current favourites?

"SPK, Dead Can Dance (still) and every black metal band you can think off."

Did the departure of Calvin and Martin effect the band in a positive or a negative way?

"Both, Calvins was at the time negative, but in the long run it was pointless carrying on as he was clearly not with it anymore, but we really did not want him to leave. Bill on the other hand was positive as I thought he took it all far too seriously and wouldn't let the band flow. It was a great shame as he is an excellent drummer."

There are now only four members of the band, three of which are original members. Are you satisfied with the current line-up? Any new members on the horizon perhaps?

"We have a live keyboard player in the form of Yasmin Ahmed (Ebony Lake) and on guitar on a more permanent basis we have Hamish Glencross from a band that I don't know the name of."

I have read that 'The Light at the End of the World' is your last album for Peaceville. Is this true and if so, which record label will be your next?

"Maybe Peaceville, who knows. We are in a position now where we can relax a little and pick our enemy to be."

Peaceville has announced a release of a double CD, with your most successful songs, plus some unreleased stuff. What comes next? Some fans have started to talk that Peaceville and MDB have decided for such an album because MDB are going to break up. Is there any truth in these rumours?

"No, not at all. We are on the edge of signing a new deal for 3 more l.p.s so I would like that rumour stamped out."

The fans have decided which songs will be on this new release. Which songs would you put on and which are your favourites when performing?

"I probably would go for more of the earlier stuff, with 'She is the Dark', 'Edenbeast' and 'Christliar' from the new one. Live, I love playing 'The Snow in My Hands' and 'She is The Dark'."

How do you write songs? Does the music come first, or does Aaron write some lyrics, and the band then composes a song? How did you work on the latest material?

"It works both ways, I prefer to have some lyrics to inspire me but I have a good idea what Aaron is going to do so can write around a general feel rather than a strict passage."

After the departure of Rick Miah, and then Bill Law, in came ex-Anathema drummer Shaun Steels. Has did he fit in? Are you in touch with Rick and is he still in the music business?

"Shaun is perfect for this band as he knows what it is about, he understands how important it is.  I can't comment on Rick because the truth is embarrassing. For him, not us."

Let's talk about touring a bit. You did not have a support tour for '34.788%... Complete', so do you or will you perform songs from that album on this tour?

My Dying Bride "Yes, 'Under your wings'..."

Let's get back to your latest release. What does 'The Light at the End of the World' mean? The album's booklet has some symbols. What do they represent? The lyrics and vocals have changed quite a bit from '34.788%... Completei. Is Aaron satisfied with his effort?

"Simple.. a love far away. The symbols have all their meanings in the lyrics and can be found if looked for. Yes Aaron is satisfied he likes screaming when given the chance."

Any new songs written yet? Will you stick with the current sound, or will you do something different for the next release? Are the fans in for another shock experiment or something like that?

"I don't think so. One is enough for me. We are staying with dark metal maybe even black metal some say. Who knows, it will be heavy, morose and it will be."

Thanks for your time, and visit The Consortium every now and then. Cheers!

"Thank you. I enjoyed it quite a lot. Cheers."

Visit the My Dying Bride bandpage.

Interviewed on 2000-07-15 by Bojan Janjanin.
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