The Bride No Longer Wears Black
CoC chats with Aaron Stainthorpe of My Dying Bride
by: Pedro Azevedo
In the past, the bride could have been described by words such as Mary Shelley's: "She was dressed in mourning; and her countenance, always engaging, was rendered, by the solemnity of her feelings, exquisitely beautiful." However, the bride has now forsaken her antique black dress of delicate lace and sensual shape by far less engaging modern everyday clothing. She appears to no longer be dressed in mourning, nor do her feelings seem solemn; her beauty can only be seen occasionally and does not seem unique in the way it used to be. Leaving these metaphors behind, you may wish to read my review of My Dying Bride's new album _34.788%... Complete_ in this same issue before you indulge in my phone interview with the very nice person that vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe seemed to be. You will find in this review my reasons for writing this last paragraph and also for the title of this interview: indeed, it is as if the bride no longer wears black, and only time will tell if she ever will again. The title of the interview could also be explained by simply looking at the new album's colorful artwork, though. Nevertheless, regardless of my feelings about the new album, everything My Dying Bride did in the past, especially up to _The Angel and the Dark River_, guarantees that this rather huge interview would always have to focus more on My Dying Bride itself than on this new album and line-up changes in particular.

CoC: First, I'd like to know what you aimed to become, as a band, about six or seven years ago, in your early days as My Dying Bride, while playing that peculiar style of doom/death metal in _Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium_ and _As the Flower Withers_.

Aaron Stainthorpe: Nothing, really. We didn't have any goals or dreams, we just formed like any other band and we thought "wouldn't it be cool to do a demo tape", and then we did one, and then we thought "wouldn't it be cool to do a record", and we did one as well. It just seemed everything we thought would be cool was coming true! We were really very lucky, but we never dreamed that we'd ever go on tour in foreign countries or sell thousands of records worldwide, we never dreamt about that. So I guess because we never thought it would ever happen, that's one of the reasons why we've never been accused of being arrogant rock starts. We still hope the next album does well, but we're not that bothered if it doesn't do very well. It's like a hobby for us. We enjoy doing it, but our lives don't depend on the band. We don't take it -that- seriously; we do love being in it, of course, and if the band would split up we would all be very unhappy, but we thought, "we'll get together, write some interesting music and see how it goes"... that's been the way we've always thought. When we finish an album, we think it sounds good, we like what we've created, let's just see if other people like it.

CoC: With _Turn Loose the Swans_, the band introduced a much greater element of dark romanticism to their doomy music; what was it that made you choose that path?

AS: I'm not really sure; we knew that when Celtic Frost disappeared and turned into a glam rock band, we knew there was a market there for this sort of over-the-top avant-garde band, someone who were doing something a bit weird and unusual. Paradise Lost were doing similar-ish kind of things, but I don't think they had this more romantic edge. We definitely worked for that gothic appeal, and I'm not really sure why. It was just an interesting theme. Of course with the violin being there as well, that always had a very romantic, very sombre feel to it. So we were always going to sound like that, really.

CoC: Many say that _Turn Loose the Swans_ is the best My Dying Bride album ever [it still is my favorite], and most of those who say it agree that your mix of death vox and clean parts, together with the especially emotional, bleak and desperate instrumental side, was what made it so special. What do you think about that praise of your mixing of death and clean vox and why did you never repeat it?

AS: I wanted to try something like that, with the clear vocals and the death metal vocals. It was just an experiment that I enjoyed doing, because I can't play an instrument, so I need to vary the vocals a bit to try and make them more interesting. That was just our second album, so we were still a very young band, and we didn't really know what the future held in store, we didn't really think about it. We weren't really concerned how well we were doing. It was quite an experimental album; a lot of people could have hated it, we didn't really know, we just played music we liked to listen to and hoped we would do OK. A lot of people say that was one of our best albums, I think because of the time it came out -- there was very little like that in the scene, and people like unusual things, people like very interesting bands. Again, it's quite similar to Celtic Frost, who were a bit over-the-top, with some operatic parts, big heavy keyboards, massive chords, everything. Celtic Frost and Candlemass disappeared, these were some of our biggest influences. We basically took some of their ideas and re-mixed them into our own ideas and we just came out with the My Dying Bride sound, which was great for that time, that particular era in 1993. People just weren't used to that, because at that point death metal was probably at its height; you had bands like Death and even Slayer, I think they were much bigger back then than they are now. Everybody was in a death metal band and we were doing this really weird shit. I think it blew some people away, they really thought it was fantastic, really unusual, really original. But the reason why I haven't done that again [the clean/death vox combination] is because we don't like to repeat ourselves too many times, we're always trying to find new ideas, trying to be a bit more original, trying to keep fans interested all the time. I don't want to keep doing albums over and over again. With the due respect, we could record an album that sounded like _Turn Loose the Swans_ tomorrow, but we don't want to because we've done that now; we want to move on and obviously some fans are going to say "that was their best moment, now they're not so good", but they will say that about every band. We're no different; we're trying our best. That was a different era, this is a new era we're in now, that's the way it goes for every band.

CoC: With _The Angel and the Dark River_ came a more experimental version of My Dying Bride, but still a very sorrowful one; back then, you played some excellent concerts (such as the one featured in the _For Darkest Eyes_ video), and it may very well be that the blend of songs from _TLtS_ and _TAatDR_ portrayed My Dying Bride's finest years. What is your opinion on that? What are your memories of those times?

AS: Very good memories; we've hardly had any bad shows, we've always enjoyed ourselves, most of the time. Even back then, when we only had three albums out, it was very difficult to pick which songs to play, because obviously some of the songs were very long. We already played for over an hour and a half and only nine songs... It was very difficult to pick which songs from which albums to do, and it's getting even more difficult now, because now we have five albums out. But when we do sit down and we pick the songs that we're going to do for a new gig, there's obviously going to be at least one from the first album [_As the Flower Withers_], there'll be a couple from _Turn Loose the Swans_, a couple from _The Angel and the Dark River_, a couple from _Like Gods of the Sun_, and obviously most of the new album. But most bands, again, have to do that; we could do an entire set of _Turn Loose the Swans_ and _The Angel and the Dark River_ stuff, but that's not what we're doing now, we're moving on. I know people like that stuff very much, but they have to respect the fact that we're not going to repeat ourselves, we don't want to do the same sound over and over again; we must move on.

CoC: You mentioned still playing a song from your first album in future gigs; do you mean you'll keep finishing your concerts with "The Forever People" like before?

AS: Yeah, we always do that one. But we were thinking about doing "The Return of the Beautiful" again...

CoC: That's a very long song...

AS: Yeah. Well, we thought about dragging it out of the early '90s and giving it a bit of late '90s feel, but we never got 'round to that. We may do it on this next tour, but it's an old song, it'd take a lot of practice, but there is no reason why we can't do old songs again. We will do the older songs, but like I said, it's very difficult to pick which ones. Even if you have a setlist of old songs, you always get people screaming for one song that's not on your setlist... <laughs> That's always the case, and afterwards people say "Oh, why didn't you play "Vast Choirs"", or something, because we've played so many other ones... <laughs>

CoC: _Like Gods of the Sun_ then brought renewed heaviness to your sound, but lost a bit of the doom. Was that your purpose when you released it?

AS: Yeah, that's actually possibly the only album we planned, because normally we just write stuff and we put it on record; we don't really know what the sound, what the finished product is going to be like. For _LGotS_, we knew that so many bands were leaving the guitars very low, you almost couldn't hear any guitars at all, in some supposedly heavy metal people's records, it was just keyboards, bass and vocals, and we thought it was wrong -- why did they bother getting a guitar player if you can't hear him? So we made a decision to make sure _LGotS_ was a very heavy album, so we had to have low and ultra-heavy guitar chords, down-tuned, and we mixed it so the guitars would be right in your face. We purposely made that album less experimental in favor of pure heaviness.

CoC: What's your favorite MDB album? Please name only one, instead of using a generic "every album is special" answer...

AS: We loved all the albums when we did them, at the time, but when you look back now... I mean, we're proud of the ones we've done. Some of the songs, we hear them and say "oh, we could have mixed that better", but my favorite album is _The Angel and the Dark River_. It's a very interesting album; there's all sorts of things going on. I love "The Cry of Mankind", the way it kicks off the album... it just goes on and on and on... it's one of my favorite songs to perform live as well, so that was a good time for My Dying Bride. It's still a good time for us now, we're still enjoying ourselves, but it was at that point, when we did that tour -- we got on the Iron Maiden tour as well at that time, and we thought it was absolutely fantastic, being on a tour bus following Iron Maiden around Europe... that was a good time for us.

CoC: Looking back upon your albums, you are satisfied with them, then?

AS: Yeah. Well, I always look back at the albums and say that we could have done something this or that way, but when I listen back I listen especially to the vocals, obviously, and I'm becoming more confident now, so when I listen back I sometimes think it's terrible, I could have done that much better now. This is one of the reasons why we thought of doing "The Return of the Beautiful" again.

CoC: With clean vocals?

AS: I was thinking about mixing death and clean vocals, because there are some lines which would sound great with the new vocals, because they are much more emotional and they needed to be sung in a proper voice -- because there's only one emotion when you're screaming out death vocals, and that's anger. [I personally disagree, though. -- Pedro] Even when you're trying to sing a nice sweet line, if you're doing it in death metal style, it's just anger all the time. So it'd be nice to do an old song now that I'm confident enough to sing the lines how they are supposed to sound. But overall, I'm quite happy with the things we've done. There's always the production, we would have always liked to have done the production better. But we are pretty much happy with the songs themselves.

CoC: Present day now. What are your personal favorite bands and what does MDB generally listen to?

AS: God, we listen to so much weird shit now, it's crazy... it's difficult to keep up to date with what's happening with the metal scene at the moment, because the metal market is so wide now... I like straightforward metal, like Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Motorhead, and then you've got what we do, sort of morbid doom goth metal. Then you've got black metal, industrial metal... it's such a huge area, it's almost impossible to keep up with who's doing what and what the latest trend is, so we really try to avoid that. We don't want to see what's trendy, in case we're tempted to try a little bit. So we try to avoid the metal scene, because to relax we don't want to listen to similar stuff to what we play, we'll listen to something completely different. Depeche Mode are still my favorite band, they have been for a number of years now. I also like The Swans, who unfortunately split up, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, who have been getting better and better, I think. Calvin [one of the guitar players] loves a lot of that hip-hop/house stuff, Prodigy... he's obviously crazy. <laughs> I think Andy [the other guitar player] is still a big fan of what one might call solid metal stuff, he still likes a couple of Kiss songs, he's still a big Slayer fan, he's still pretty straightforward metal. I have no idea what Bill [Law, the new drummer] listens to, he's only been in the band for a few months; I think he tries to keep up with the scene, but there's so many magazines featuring so many different bands now that it's almost impossible to keep up with who's doing what.

CoC: In spite of that, I'd like to know your opinion about the current doom metal scene. Which bands do you know, which ones do you like, which ones don't you like?

AS: Well, I'm not going to start saying that I don't like this or that band, obviously... I'm a bit too diplomatic for that. <laughs> I don't know, call me sad if you like, but I still like old stuff like Sodom. Now I think it's either black metal -- Emperor are good -- or... I don't really follow the doom part too much, because, like I say, around the _Turn Loose the Swans_ time, or _The Angel and the Dark River_, a whole load of new bands developed playing similar stuff [to those albums], a lot of bands ended up getting violins and female vocals. So we didn't want to listen to stuff that sounded similar to MDB, we want to listen to something that doesn't sound like My Dying Bride. We lost most of our links with the doom scene altogether, I have no idea who's doing what these days, and I'm not all that interested. I know bands like Moonspell, Tiamat and Therion are doing very well, but I couldn't tell you any of their records.

CoC: What's the meaning of your new albums' title?

AS: We always picked album titles that we thought were interesting, and I think this is one of our more interesting album titles. Basically, the number 34.788% is supposed to represent the amount of time mankind has spent on Earth so far, so we still have 66% or something, sixty whatever percent, left to live. Calvin, the guitar player, had a dream one night, and this number was always in his head in this dream. He dreamt that mankind had lived for 34.788% of their time on Earth. It's complete fiction, a dream that Calvin had; he dreamt that mankind was spiraling towards a technological armageddon. He thought our lives were speeding up, accelerating all the time because of computers -- what will the world look like a hundred years from now? Then Calvin had this weird premonition that it would look like either "Blade Runner" or there would be total armageddon, and it would just be mankind living in caves again. He seems to think that when everything is run by computers, some terrorist group will release some major virus that will wipe out all the machines, and because we have been depending on computers for such a long time, we would then be left in complete darkness. Anyway, it was a crazy apocalyptic dream, but it was quite interesting, so we thought we'd use that number that stuck in his head as the album title.

CoC: How would you define your new album, musically speaking? What did you aim to achieve with it?

AS: We didn't aim to achieve anything; like I said before, the only album we wanted to achieve anything with was _Like Gods of the Sun_. We wanted that to be a really heavy, straightforward album. With this one, we created one song at a time, with no real thought of how it's going to sound. The guitarists will come up with a couple of riffs, then we'll put some drums to it, I will have absolutely no idea what vocals I'm going to do... sometimes the lyrics will come first, sometimes the music comes first... it's almost like a total jamming session, and at the end of it there's an album. We're only now beginning to get a feel for the album, because when you create each song from every single note, it's difficult to get a fan's point of view, because we know exactly every single note that's going on in the song. So we analyse and criticize our songs, we don't listen to them, whereas fans just put it on and enjoy it. We can't put our music on and enjoy it, because we've created it. It's too difficult, we can't really enjoy it that much. I still can't get a feel for what the album is all about. On the last few albums, you get a whole feel; I can picture in my head what the album should be like, but for this new album I can't picture where we were going. But that's also quite nice, because it means it isn't a typical rock album, it's so diverse you can't actually focus on it. The influences are coming so thick and fast, it's so blurred you can't focus on what the band are trying to do. I like that point of view.

CoC: What is the main emotion that you'd like the listener to feel with your new album?

AS: Varied, again, because we tried to make each song sound individual this time. People would tell us, on past albums, that they would put the album on and it would fell like one massive song, one giant doom metal track, and we wanted to change that for this album, so we made sure that we mixed each song completely differently and never had the same settings for two songs. We wanted the songs to stand up on their own and we didn't want people to say that the album sounded like one whole song. When I wrote the lyrics, I didn't want them all to be exactly the same, I wanted them to be a bit more interesting. The lyrics are definitely a lot more straightforward on this album; I've tried to get rid of a lot of the poetry. Again, this is just an experiment -- I'm not saying I got rid of all the old stuff forever, this is an experiment that may fail and may succeed, I'm just going to wait and see. I quite enjoyed doing this style, but I wasn't 100% happy, so I could almost guarantee the lyrics for the next album will be completely different. I had no idea what the album was going to sound like, I'm still finding it difficult to tell you what the album actually sounds like now.

CoC: In my opinion, there's much less sadness and doom in the new album than in anything MDB have done before, especially the older material...

AS: But we certainly tried to experiment a bit more, because we're becoming more confident and more brave, we don't mind stretching the boundaries of acceptable rock music anymore, you know. We want to push and to stretch people's imaginations. And you also have to remember that there's no violin on this album; the violin was always a very sombre, melancholic sound. When you take that important element away, the doom feel is gone.

CoC: But there are plenty of bands out there who don't use violins and can still play some very depressive doom...

AS: Yeah, that's true, but we've always had the violin, so it's going to make a bit of a difference.

CoC: What was it that made you play such doomy music before that doesn't seem to be inside of you anymore, at least not so much? Because even _As the Flower Withers_, which didn't have much violin, was very depressive, and this new one isn't. What was it that changed in your life in the meanwhile?

AS: Not much, I think... to be honest, it's very difficult to say... I think it's got more to do with experimenting. I think that because of the long gap between the last album and this one -- and we were criticized on the last album for not experimenting, our fans expected more unusual things... I mean, we generally don't listen to our fans <laughs>, we like to write the kind of music we want to hear, we don't care what other people think -- but we did take on board the criticisms of the last album. People loved it for its heaviness, but it just wasn't experimental enough, people expected more. So we thought, for this album, "we're feeling confident, our fans want it, let's experiment more". I don't know why, but the experimentation wasn't doom-oriented. In the past, I think subconsciously we always felt we had to write doom music -- and we enjoyed doing it, but I think in the back of our minds we always thought "yeah, this is doom, it's got to be doomy, the doomier the better, everyone loves melancholic stuff", but now we're starting to really open up and starting to think that we can still do doom, but in a different style. Even "Heroin Chic" is a very bizarre song for a heavy metal band to do, but it's not a happy song; it's still a very bleak, very desolate sounding song; it's not melancholic, but it's desperately angry, it's a sad black song.

CoC: I don't personally think so, not for me... what was the basic idea behind that song?

AS: We liked it; we thought we would do one song which would really shock, we wanted to do one song that everyone would talk about -- not necessarily because it was good, or even bad, but because it would be interesting. When we first came up with the concept, we thought: "Can we do this? Everybody will crucify us..." Then we thought: "That's exactly why we should do it, then!" <laughs> We don't need the money, you know, we don't care; we thought: "What the hell, nobody will be expecting it, it will shock everyone -- old fans, new fans, the record label, the magazines, everyone. So let's do it." And we did it, and we really enjoyed doing it; we've even rehearsed to the point where we will play it live. Oh yeah -- whether our fans like it or not! <laughs>

CoC: Well, but when you pay to go to a concert, you'd expect the band to play what the fans want to hear...

AS: We always try to promise our fans that what you hear on the record is what you get live. Sometimes it's very difficult to do that, so we've had to use tapes in the past. But we try to get most of what you get on the record live.

CoC: How does that song relate -- although I guess it's not even supposed to relate, anyway -- to the essence of the dark, doomy band that My Dying Bride have always been before? Did you ever think of MDB as a dark, sombre entity?

AS: That's a good question, it's difficult to answer... We don't really have any pre-conceptions about what My Dying Bride is all about. We enjoy being in the band, but it doesn't rule our lives; we don't hang on every single note we play, we don't read every review of the album, and if they're bad we don't get really depressed... The band, to us, it's fun, you know, it's a hobby, we enjoy it and other people enjoy it, and that makes us feel good. Of course we're not keen on getting bad reviews... But at the end of the day, we'll just look and say "Well, we liked it..." <laughs> Who cares what all those people think... So we don't have any pre-conceptions of what the band is all about, and that allows us to introduce such extremities as "Heroin Chic", because we don't think "oh, it's gonna shatter the whole image", we just think that we can experiment, because we always have; our fans know from time to time My Dying Bride can get a bit out of control, and I think some of them expect that. They wouldn't have expected the exact style of "Heroin Chic", but surely expected a couple of bizarre things on this album, and they're going to get them.

CoC: I heard you say once that you made up the lyrics for one of the new tracks as you went along. Did that happen in "Heroin Chic"? Are you happy with them, from a My Dying Bride point of view, considering how different from the usual they turned out to be?

AS: Well, it wasn't "Heroin Chic", actually, it was "The Stance of Evander Sinque". Originally, I wanted to do a song about a crazy person (the music was already written), and so I wanted to act the part of the insane person. I wanted to put a couple of microphones in the recording room, get really really drunk and just scream and shout about mad stuff, just totally complete shit, for ten minutes, and then we could pick out the more interesting parts... <laughs> It's actually a very difficult thing to do, because obviously I'm not insane, and it's very difficult to act insane -- I thought it would be very easy, especially if I was drunk, but we tried to do it for hours and hours and in the end we gave up, because it sounded like someone pretending to be insane, and we could never get it right; I'm just not a good enough actor. So, at the end of the day, I said "fuck it, I'll write some proper lyrics for it, and then I will just moan and scream and shout", like a 50-50 deal, so that's what I did. So half the noise on "The Stance of Evander Sinque" is just me acting crazy.

CoC: Do you have some kind of an European tour planned yet?

AS: Not yet, but we're not going out this year, because we feel there are too many bands at this time of the year going out on the road. October, November and early December, everyone in this genre of music is on the road at the same time, and it gets very congested. We've done it in the past, we've toured at this time in the past, and we would follow Cradle of Filth, Moonspell, Therion, Paradise Lost, Type O Negative... We would follow all these bands and they would follow us, and you would see the same posters in every venue... We have a couple of summer festivals we might be doing; we might be doing Dynamo and the Graspop. So I think we will start the tour around February or March next year, when hopefully everyone else will be sick of touring. <laughs>

CoC: What are your feelings on the departure of your drummer, Rick Myah, and his replacement with Bill Law [formerly in Dominion, who have broken up]?

AS: Bill's been great. Rick left basically due to illness. Every tour we did, Rick was always very ill and we had to cancel many shows in the past towards the end of tours, because Rick just couldn't take it. Touring basically was killing him. We were on tour with Dio in America last year, and it was a long tour, and he didn't even get out of bed, he was very ill. He would drum some nights, and he would come off stage and he would be totally wasted, he'd be white, and he couldn't move, and he'd be shivering all the time, and he couldn't sleep... It was really worrying, so when we came home for a break, we went to see the doctor, and the doctor said he couldn't do anything else but rest for two months. We were due to fly back out, in fact to Alaska, to do the second part of the Dio tour, and we had to cancel it, unfortunately. And Rick basically said: "Look, the touring is killing me; I have to stop." So we all sat down and discussed it, and Rick basically said: "I want to leave, I can't do this; if I stay in the band, I cannot tour, and I don't want to hold you back." So we said: "Well alright, if you're gonna go, you're gonna go..." But it was a difficult decision, because he had been in the band since the first day. So when Rick left, we were desperately looking for a new drummer, but we didn't actually get one until this year, when Bill, who used to be in a band called Dominion, who split up...

CoC: Is he going to be a permanent member now that Dominion have split up?

AS: Yeah, he's in the band now. We knew Bill was around, because we were good friends with Dominion. We saw Bill in the studio and we thought he was really cool, and we asked him if he could help out. We asked the other guys in Dominion if it was OK, and they said it was cool. And then Dominion split up, and Bill was already rehearsing with us, so we asked him if he wanted to join us and he said yes. He's filled with so many interesting ideas... he's a fountain of... not wisdom, but great interesting ideas, because he's obviously new to the My Dying Bride camp, and although we do try to come up with interesting original ideas ourselves, when an outsider comes in, his ideas seem so much more interesting, because we're not used to the way he talks, we're not used to the way he thinks. He's great.

CoC: When Martin Powell [keyboard and violin player] left MDB, the official reason was that he intended to go on with his musical education and wouldn't have time to be in a band anymore. However, I heard that he just joined Anathema, which suggests musical differences between him and MDB. What was the real story?

AS: Well, he is not -in- Anathema. We've seen the press, and all the press is wrong, actually. No one's going to believe me, but I was with Dave Pybus, who now plays in Anathema [new bassist, replacing Duncan Patterson]; he's a very good friend of mine, lives just around the corner from my house, and after they played a couple of shows in Turkey [with Martin], I went to see Dave, because he actually runs the My Dying Bride fan club as well. I asked how did Martin cope, and he said it was alright, he didn't like some of it, he loved some more of it. And I asked if he had joined the band now, and he said "no, it's complete bullshit"; Anathema don't want Martin to join, and apparently Martin doesn't want to join them. They are going to use him for their next studio album, and they're using him for the live performances, but they don't want him to join, and apparently he doesn't want to join. We were obviously surprised when we saw it on the press, that Martin had joined Anathema...

CoC: But if he's going to play with them live and record an album with them, then he'll be practically joining the band, at least temporarily...

AS: I guess so, but it's entirely up to him. He actually told us as well, he told us ages ago that he wanted to leave after the next album, because he thought his time with My Dying Bride should soon be up, since he's been doing basically the same thing for the last six or seven years, the sombre violin. He wants to try something a bit more interesting, and he might see that Anathema are doing more interesting songs than us, so he wants to go over and help them out; he doesn't say he wants to join them, he thinks joining might be too much of a commitment. I believe he's back in university, trying to do a college degree, but maybe the temptation to get out on the road is a bit too much sometimes.

CoC: Anathema were a bit of your "brother band" back in the _Serenades_, _As the Flower Withers_, _Turn Loose the Swans_ era. How do you relate to Anathema? How do you view their career?

AS: We don't like Anathema, we never have...

CoC: The music or the people in the band?

AS: The people, we think they're all idiot. I can say this to you now with confidence, because they know. <laughs> Because we've had so many fights with them that it's absolutely crazy. People think, because we're on the same label and we played a similar style of music once, that we must be great fans, but we're not -- we've always hated each others' guts. <laughs> Don't get me wrong, I think Danny [Cavanagh] is fantastic, I could easily go out and have a few beers with Danny, and it would be great; he's a really intelligent guy. But for some reason, when all of Anathema are together and all of My Dying Bride are together, it's just constant fighting and everybody hates each others' fucking guts...

CoC: Why?

AS: It's just chemistry, you can't expect to get along with everybody. We get along with a lot of people, but we just don't get along with them. I don't know why, it's just one of those things, there's no chemistry there. But they know it, we read the interviews that they've done and they say we're a bunch of [I honestly have no idea what Aaron said here, totally unknown expression to me -- Pedro] and they hate our guts, and we say exactly the same thing. <laughs> It's a love-hate relationship, and we just hate them more than we love them. <laughs>

CoC: Anyway, you and Anathema have always seemed to have some sort of lifetime contract with Peaceville. I mean, I don't think anyone pictures you signing for another label. Do you think such a move might ever happen with MDB?

AS: Yeah, I think so, I don't see why not. It's difficult to predict what's going to happen in the future, but as I mentioned, we don't live on every single review of My Dying Bride. If the albums stop selling and the record label says: "Look, we can't afford to keep you anymore, nobody's buying the records..." If they dropped us, we'd be very disappointed, but we'd still continue and we'd be fairly confident to get another deal. It would depress us for a couple of months, but I'm sure we'd fight back.

CoC: So you don't see the other possibility, of you wanting to move to a bigger label instead of being dropped?

AS: I don't think that would ever happen. Even now, Music for Nations and Peaceville ask us to try a more radio-friendly song, and we just laugh in their face, because My Dying Bride do not write anything for anyone else, we just write our own shit. And if we moved to a bigger label, they would definitely say "you must write radio-friendly songs, at least two three minute songs with a nice hip chorus", and we would just laugh and walk off. So I think there's absolutely no way we would move on to a bigger label, but we could easily move to a smaller one.

CoC: What do you think My Dying Bride will be playing or doing five years from now? Any chance of a really sad doom album coming out in the meantime?

AS: I don't know, it's really difficult to say, we don't plan anything like that. I would love to do a real over-the-top miserable album, but it's difficult. All of us in the band still love the real heavy guitar sound, and sometimes it's just nice to speed the tempo up a bit and make it sound a bit like _Master of Puppets_, kind of heavy riffing guitar, we love all that stuff. I know the rest of the band very well, and they say it's very difficult to play heavy guitar very slowly, because it's so tempting to just carry on and thrash out some tunes... So it's a difficult thing to do, but I would love to do a really over-the-top album, maybe a vampire-style album... I mean, Cradle of Filth are doing all that shit now already, so even if we did it everyone would just say we were just copying Cradle, so there's no chance we could do that now. But I think we may become even more experimental, we could be one of these crazy bands who just disappear up their own experimental anus... <laughs> Because we do everything so self-centered, so selfish, we listen to nothing and do it all ourselves, we could end up writing such bizarre shit that only we like it... <laughs> But it's impossible to tell what the future holds for us.

CoC: Any last words to end this interview?

AS: Well, not really... I've got a bit of a cold at the moment, so my nose is all blocked up... Well, I wanted to say: don't be afraid of the new album. I know that because of the album title and the artwork a lot of older fans will think we have turned into some techno piece of shit, but we haven't; it's still My Dying Bride.

(article submitted 19/11/1998)

7/3/2002 P Azevedo My Dying Bride: Thus Spake the Wretched
1/14/2002 A Bromley My Dying Bride: The Hand of Doom
12/9/1999 P Azevedo My Dying Bride: The Bride Returns to the Bleak Rainy Moors
4/9/1997 A Bromley My Dying Bride: Behold the Bride
3/14/1996 A Bromley My Dying Bride: Dying With Pride
11/27/2012 P Azevedo 8.5 My Dying Bride - A Map of All Our Failures
6/15/2009 K Sarampalis 6.5 My Dying Bride - For Lies I Sire
7/13/2008 P Azevedo 7 My Dying Bride - An Ode to Woe
10/23/2006 P Azevedo 7.5 My Dying Bride - A Line of Deathless Kings
9/26/2006 P Azevedo 7.5 My Dying Bride - Deeper Down EP
12/17/2005 Q Kalis My Dying Bride - Anti-Diluvian Chronicles
10/10/2005 P Azevedo 9 My Dying Bride - Sinamorata DVD
3/23/2004 P Azevedo 9 My Dying Bride - Songs of Darkness, Words of Light
7/3/2002 P Azevedo 9.5 / 9 My Dying Bride - For Darkest Eyes DVD
Anathema - A Vision of a Dying Embrace DVD
7/3/2002 P Azevedo 10 My Dying Bride - The Voice of the Wretched
10/19/2001 P Azevedo 9 My Dying Bride - The Dreadful Hours
8/12/2001 P Azevedo 8.5 My Dying Bride - Meisterwerk II
1/10/2001 P Azevedo 8 My Dying Bride - Meisterwerk I
12/9/1999 P Azevedo 9 My Dying Bride - The Light at the End of the World
11/19/1998 P Azevedo 7 My Dying Bride - 34.788%... Complete
2/4/1997 P Azevedo 10 My Dying Bride - Like Gods of the Sun
3/14/1996 A Bromley 8 My Dying Bride - The Angel and the Dark River
7/3/2002 P Azevedo My Dying Bride / Mysterium Catharsis in Doom
3/13/2001 V Anderson My Dying Bride / Katatonia / Soundisciples / Beyond Dawn / Thine The Snow in Their Hearts
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