The Bride Returns to the Bleak Rainy Moors
CoC chats with Andrew Craighan of My Dying Bride
by: Pedro Azevedo
I assume most of you have seen one (or, most likely, several) of your favourite bands more or less suddenly choosing a different path, walking away from the elements and characteristics that made them one of your favourite bands in the first place. Sometimes you can still relate to the band after those changes and enjoy their music as much as you did before; some other times you can't. Most of you must have gone through that before. What you probably have never experienced is seeing one such band starting to tread such a path away from what made them special and then coming back, returning to what they used to be and to what made them great in the first place. That's the case with My Dying Bride these days. They are returning. MDB have been plagued by line-up problems ever since drummer Rick Myah was the first to leave the band, and when keyboardist/violinist Martin Powell departed many thought MDB would break up shortly after. Well, they didn't. Despite the personal disappointment that was _34.788%... Complete_ [CoC #35], I was encouraged by the rumours that _The Light at the End of the World_ [reviewed in this issue] would be very different. But temporary drummer Bill Law left the band before the recording of _TLatEotW_, and so did one of the original guitarists, Calvin Robertshaw. Under such circumstances was _The Light at the End of the World_ written and recorded, and, in my opinion, it is MDB's best album since _The Angel and the Dark River_. The following is an in-depth interview with guitarist Andrew Craighan; lengthy as it is, I am nevertheless quite sure it will provide a very satisfying and rewarding read for those of you who have albums such as _As the Flower Withers_, _Turn Loose the Swans_ and _The Angel and the Dark River_ amongst your favourites -- essentially, for those of you who longed for the return of My Dying Bride.

CoC: So, how has life been going lately?

Andrew Craighan: Strange, to say the least. It's been a difficult time for MDB, but I think we're coming out of that and we're moving on. It's been bleak, to say the least.

CoC: Because of Calvin's departure?

AC: A lot of things, actually. Calvin's departure didn't help, especially coming so soon after -- I mean, it was a couple of years after Rick's [departure], but then, with Rick leaving, initially, and then Martin leaving, and then Calvin as well, it was like, can this band suffer any more? To be honest, we got close to sort of calling it a day, but some people around me said "No, no; keep going", and I think we've gotten over the worst of it and things are going to be alright again.

CoC: Talking about line-up changes, you have Shaun Steels [who played on Anathema's _Alternative 4_ after leaving Solstice] as your new drummer now. Will he be staying on a full-time basis? Are you happy with his work?

AC: Yes, well, the deal was that he was in a sort of trial basis, because of the upheavals with Bill and this kind of thing. I wanted to make sure, before putting My Dying Bride back together, that the people I was working with were the right people, and Shaun seems like he is going to be the full-time replacement -- I have no problems with him whatsoever, his drumming is fantastic and his spirit and attitude for this kind of music is second to none; he really understands what we're trying to do. He's perfect for it as well, because he drums like a My Dying Bride drummer. Bill, unfortunately, I thought he was too square on the drums, I would say; brilliant drummer nonetheless, but he wouldn't let things flow as much as I would like. Shaun is more in line with what My Dying Bride do, so I would have to say his chances of being kicked out are very, very slim indeed.

CoC: Of course Calvin's departure must have made quite a difference within the band...

AC: Instead of a few people -- normally all six of us wrote music, but still, it meant that I was doing everything by myself, because the other main songwriters weren't there -- which were obviously Martin and Calvin. Adrian [Jackson, bassist] gets involved as well, I suppose, but it was generally those three, with Martin doing a little bit less. So it was difficult at first, because to be perfectly honest I was unsure whether I could do it on my own, being so used to working with another guitar player. It was a challenge, a challenging time as well, but I think I've improved myself now, so it's not such a problem.

CoC: What can you tell me about the reasons for Calvin's departure?

AC: It became too difficult for him to continue. If you lose faith in what you're doing, which I think happened to him, and you see no point in continuing... He got to a stage in his life where he had different ideas about his life -- nothing to do with the band, to be honest --, about what he should be doing, and the band didn't really make that much sense to him anymore. So he left the band, and we said to him "OK, you take as much time out as you need" -- we just thought he needed a break, because on _34.788%_ [which Andrew simply calls "34" --Pedro], he was really put to the wall on that one, and it was hard work for him, because he did most of the recording. We wrote the LP together, but when it came to recording, he really carried the burden there. And I think it took its toll on him, and after that LP he never really had the fire to do another LP. It was difficult to convince him that no matter what's happening in your life, the band is an outlet, an escape; he couldn't see it. I think the fire just went out, basically, the passion to do this kind of music left him and there was nothing we could do. We're still very good friends, in fact I'm seeing him this evening. We still talk, discuss the band, I still treat him as the other guitar player in some respects. A lot of things I'm not in my place to discuss about his life and there's a lot of things I can't talk about, but from the band side that was it, really; he lost, not interest as such, but he had more pressing things to sort out.

CoC: You mentioned you were unsure whether you could handle all the work on your own; how has the band been working now? How was the writing process for _TLatEotW_, now that for the first time you were the only guitarist?

AC: It was strange, because normally you have an idea, get the drums on it, play around and then the other guitar player would play the same thing; we would work on a harmony or something along those lines. I don't like to use the four-track because it makes the sound stale, so I played it live and then worked out the harmonies without the other sound there. On some other stuff that I couldn't do simply on my own, I have a friend who used to be in a band called Septic Holocaust, a friend of mine called Phil, and I dragged him in here to do metal -- he doesn't like this kind of thing, but he did it because he's a good friend of mine. I asked him if he would play the guitar lines that I had written, and then I could write the other guitar line at the side of it. So he came down and helped me on this kind of thing, just playing things that I had already written so that I could write the other side of it. For some of it I waited until the studio; I had rough ideas of what I wanted to do, I sort of had the bones of the songs, and I waited until we got to the studio, and when I could hear it properly and think about what I wanted to do I put harmonies and other guitar lines alongside in the studio. Some of it was sort of written live in the studio. It's good that way, MDB have always had that element. I remember on _The Angel and the Dark River_, "The Cry of Mankind" was not finished until the studio; I didn't write my guitar line until then.

CoC: I suppose you don't mean the [repetitive] background guitar line?

AC: No, that was the main guitar, the guitar that starts that song, the arpeggio that Calvin does -- or used to do. That was what we had: we had the vocals, we had that guitar line, we had the drums and the bass. The other guitar line, the heavier guitar line, was non-existent. I had some ideas, but again we have great faith in Academy Studio, we know that there's a feeling when we get there that it's going to be OK, so there was no problem, we got there and we just wrote it there.

CoC: Academy must be like home for you by now...

AC: <laughs> It is very much so, yeah... Considering the amount of time we spend there, it's more than my home.

CoC: I heard you already have a new guitar player, who didn't participate in the recording of _The Light at the End of the World_.

AC: It's the same kind of deal as with Shaun. His name is Hamish Glencross. He's a very good guitar player, excellent guitar player; he's been in a few bands in Bradford, I've known him for quite some time. The LP is going to be released soon -- November the eighth, I think --, next year we will be touring this LP -- Europe, mainly --, and he's been drafted in to do the tour. But we've been writing some new material already, to see how things go, and it sounds very much like My Dying Bride again, it's like a rejuvenated band. So the chances of him joining are very high indeed, but at the moment I want to go on tour with these people and see how they react on tour before I make any decisions. I can't afford it to go wrong again, if you know what I mean, so I'm being extra careful now.

CoC: What kind of contribution, what kind of influence, direction and style do you think he will bring into the band?

AC: I don't know; if it's different, it'll be good, because I'm not bothered about difference.

CoC: But is his musical background similar to yours or something completely different?

AC: No, no, he's from a doom background, predominantly, but he wants to play more epic-style music. [I didn't know this at the time, but Hamish was previously a member of Solstice, another British doom band (of which current MDB drummer Shaun Steels was once also a member). --Pedro] He's been a fan of the band for some time and he snapped at the chance of working with us. Like I said earlier, we started sort of playing around and it sounds very much like My Dying Bride straight away, because he is very much in the same frame of mind as us about how My Dying Bride should sound, so it should be good.

CoC: Looking at _34.788%_ and _TLatEotW_, as far as music, lyrics and artwork are concerned, all three elements seem to have travelled in the same direction, back to a doomier style. Do you agree? What was it that made this happen?

AC: I agree, absolutely. I personally like epic darkness, if that makes any sense. I like the idea of absolute misery and the idea of despair in music. I'm in a fortunate position where I can actually attempt to get these feelings into music, so I try, basically. I don't think I've quite come up with it yet, but I'm getting there. So I try to put this into music. With _34.788%_, I wasn't in complete control of the writing, because there was other people there, another guitar player, etc., and we were democratic. With this LP [_TLatEotW_], I was doing just about everything when it came to the music, and I basically said to the others "I'm going this way: I want it bleak, I want it dark, I want misery." I just asked Aaron [Stainthorpe, vocalist] to go back to the old style, go and look for the mystery that My Dying Bride once had, because I missed it, to be honest. I think that if I wasn't in this band, I would like this band a lot, so I just tried to recreate the ideas that made us put this band together in the beginning -- to create the most doomy, gloomy, the most epic misery on record ever, this is what we attempted to do. Now, through the course of time, record labels always put pressure on you, any band will tell you this; and we came to the point where they could not possibly put any more pressure on us, because we had nothing to lose, the band was either going to work or it wasn't -- so I just did what I wanted to do, and that was to write miserable music as best I knew how.

CoC: I think it's very good, the new album, I like it a lot better than what you were doing, the style and kind of music you were doing on _34.788%_ -- personally, because I'm really into doom...

AC: Yeah, this is just what I'm into, and I'm in a position now where I have a chance to do it and see what it could sound like, and I just did. So far, a lot of people are glad, in a way, because people had forgotten about this kind of music, all those bands that were doing it have moved on, and I decided that progression is OK, but I'm going to do -this-, fuck it. <laughs>

CoC: Yeah, I mean, you can still definitely progress within that style, you don't have to become softer or less doomy in order to progress.

AC: No... it's definitely heavy, I like heavy also.

CoC: I can actually see elements of every previous album of yours on _TLatEotW_, except basically _34.788%_ -- I mean, there's even some stuff that reminds me of your earliest music sometimes, and of course elements from your other albums abound, but _TLatEotW_, in my opinion, ends up reinforcing the idea that _34.788%_ was a bit of a one-off, almost non-MDB, kind of album; what are your thoughts on that?

AC: In a sense... I can understand what you're saying, but _34.788%_ had to be done, and it had to be done in that way, because that's how the band was at that time. That's how the band sounded at that time, with Bill, the drummer, who, as I said earlier, squared everything off, and Calvin, the way he was mentally and physically, this kind of thing. The band was going through a really tough time as well; we were having trouble with the record label -- which all the bands go through, it's just something you have to live with -- and that reflected in the band, so morale was very low. You can see the transformation simply because on this LP all those people that needed to go went, and the people that were left were the people who wanted to play this kind of music -- basically it was me, Adrian and Aaron, reinforced by Shaun. And Shaun was a great help, simply on an enthusiasm level, because he understood what we were trying to do, and he understood that we were looking for bleak and... it's not something you can put into words, to be honest, it's an image in your mind, almost like the moors, the wind and the rain. [I entirely agree. Definitely. --Pedro] This imagery -- when I say this is what I want the band to look like, this is what I want the sounds to feel like, let's fucking do it, why not? It felt right again, so we went away and looked for this. I honestly think we've come pretty close; I know it's not 100% [It's certainly a -lot- more than 34.788% in my opinion, though. --Pedro], and I hope I'll never find it, because this way I can keep looking.

CoC: When I talked to Aaron about a year ago [CoC #35], I asked him about something which I believe you mentioned a while ago, which is the essence of My Dying Bride, My Dying Bride as an entity, and I felt that with _34.788%_ you left that a bit behind... I mean, besides the music, even the artwork and lyrics...

AC: Yeah... I know why I did the LP, I can understand why we did it, but I also understand entirely what you're saying, because that's what I think now, and we won't do that again, simply because it's not really true My Dying Bride. I mean, within My Dying Bride, the actual personnel can change, but the name and the imagery will always be the same, and the people who'll work under that umbrella should always strive for this. I think we got a little bit lost there, things became a little bit wayward; we couldn't really concentrate on what we were doing, to be honest, and it was a really difficult time -- I can't even go into what was happening behind the scenes, but it was a difficult time. The fact that we managed to make an LP at all stands testament to the strength of the people at that time, it really does. The people just see the LP, look at the album, hear the songs and think that's not fucking My Dying Bride, but if they could truly understand what was happening at the time, they might still not like the record -- that's fair enough --, but they would at least say that considering all that, it's not so bad. But now we can concentrate again on what My Dying Bride should be, and the result is vastly different, as you can hear.

CoC: As you were saying, many fans frowned at the direction you were taking with _34.788%_. How much of an impact did that have within the band?

AC: These are the people that make it worthwhile -- when you play the songs, if someone comes up to you and says "I think this LP is fucking brilliant", it's made all the hard work worthwhile. So to hear people say "I don't like this, I think it's shit, I don't like the style, I'm not going to bother with them if this is how they are", it doesn't hurt as much, but it's sad to hear. But again, I'm not stupid enough to think "Ah, fuck 'em", you know, I can understand perfectly why they may have disliked this LP, but they don't fully understand how it was made, why it was made. In all honesty, I think if that LP hadn't been done, there would be no My Dying Bride now. So for those who think that it's not so good, at least that LP formed the nucleus and gave us enough time and strength to carry on, because it was a really tough time, I can assure you. Well, they don't see everything, which is fair enough, because they shouldn't see everything. But the fact that we came through it and are carrying on in a more traditional and more positive way is a testament to this band.

CoC: The lyrics have also changed, pretty much like the music itself did; I was wondering if you noticed whether Aaron had any trouble finding inspiration for the new album's lyrics, since he is known to have occasionally had such trouble in past albums.

AC: I think that because we had the same goals with this LP, and because this is familiar ground for us, this kind of sound -- well, not necessarily the sound, I think the sound is better again, you know, the shape of the songs --, so it's not so difficult for him. I know he has struggled in the past, but this time we all had a set goal, we had an idea, the imagery; I sowed the seed of what My Dying Bride should be like, what we should be attempting to do. I said "Just step back, we don't need to keep pushing forward and trying new things, we've done that for years; it's OK, but let's just sit back and do what we know best, which is this kind of music. We don't do anything else as good as this, so why bother?" So I thought we should go back to the old style, not necessarily back into Latin and the straightforward Shakespearean sort of style -- as much as I do like it, it can be a little bit confusing for the reader, I mean something in there and thereabout. As far as I know, he had no trouble falling back into that mould, and once he got going, things really did flow. The lyrics, to be perfectly honest, were overwhelming, because he had so much that we had to chop most of them out. He was writing and writing... I think we found the vein again and he was really going for it. So it wasn't difficult at all this time, there is some very good stuff in there. I am, strangely enough, not a very big fan of Aaron's lyrics <laughs>, but these do inspire me quite a bit.

CoC: I was wondering about the concept of _TLatEotW_; I think that's quite a thought-provoking title. What does it mean to you?

AC: That's a fucking good question. <we both laugh> No, it's a love song, basically. How a man would condemn himself to internal loneliness for one more night with his lover. It's basically around that. It's a sad song, a very sad song about a man who is very much in love and his girl is away, but he's willing to risk everything for her.

CoC: Something that really surprised me when I looked at the album cover was that you used your old logo again, something you hadn't done ever since _Turn Loose the Swans_. I can understand the decision, considering the way your music changed, but you really wanted to make a statement with that, didn't you?

AC: Yeah, definitely. It was one of the first things -- when it came to be that I was going to be writing the music, I thought that I like old MDB, I like the way it looked, and the first thing was that the old logo would come back. Everybody said yes. I think people forgot about the band, to be honest, about this logo, and that logo -is- My Dying Bride to me, it's always been the logo, even though we've very rarely used it. And it is a statement to say that we're back, really, that we're back on track.

CoC: Another thing that I found especially remarkable was the fact that you decided to do a third version of "Sear Me" <Andrew chuckles>, which, in my opinion, turned out brilliant, and I had already been blown away by the second version when I first listened to _Turn Loose the Swans_...

AC: We intend to have a full LP of "Sear Me"s in the future. <we both laugh out loud> Well, if we carry on, I'm sure it's a possibility... <we laugh again>

CoC: Well, but seriously, what made you think of going back to such an old track and make a third version of it?

AC: Again, it's a statement, because "Sear Me" is one of our favourite songs, still now. [The original "Sear Me" that Andrew is referring to is part of MDB's 1992 debut full-length _As the Flower Withers_. --Pedro] That song and "Turn Loose the Swans", that particular song [not _TLtS_, the album], those two, really, for most of this band, epitomise what My Dying Bride can do. When we do connect properly with what we're attempting to do, that's what we get. We've always toyed with the idea -- "Sear Me" is one of those songs which we may not do on the next LP, but we'll have a thought about it on the one after, etc. -- and I thought it's time. It's been out a long time... I basically just wanted to bring back My Dying Bride, the old My Dying Bride, because I like it. And "Sear Me" was part of that, so to do another one was a daunting prospect. We did actually toy with the idea, at one point, of doing a brand new "Forever People" [also from _As the Flower Withers_], but the LP was becoming so long that it wasn't working, so we had to leave that out. [_The Light at the End of the World_ is 71 minutes long, with basically no atmospheric interludes or anything of that ilk. --Pedro]

CoC: Still, "The Fever Sea" [_TLatEotW_'s fifth track] reminded me of "The Forever People"...

AC: It is, it's a modern day "Forever People". This was again deliberate. The song wrote itself, if that makes any sense. We were just jamming one night, Adrian came with this riff and then the guitar came in and we just blasted through it and thought "Well, that's very short and very fast -- we'll keep that!" <we both laugh> The song came from nowhere and we decided to work on it and make it workable. Again, it's very much like old MDB, when we had the epic doom songs and then a quick burst of energy just to break things up, and then back on. And on "Sear Me III", incidentally -- this should be mentioned --, the left hand guitar is played by Calvin. The right hand side guitar is played by me, but Calvin Robertshaw came in, I asked him especially to come in, and played the left hand guitar. It's not been widely publicised, not for any real reason, but I'm sure it needs mentioning, just for the old fans, that Calvin is on this LP.

CoC: Changing the subject now, what bands or musical styles have you been enjoying the most lately?

AC: Opeth. <chuckles> My girlfriend's a big fan of theirs and she got me into them, and I think they're great, I have to admit. I've been listening to a bit of Paradise Lost as well, recently, which is something I thought I'd dig up and have a listen to, and they still sound great. What else? Bal Sagoth, their new one's fucking brilliant. I got a promo recently, and that is fucking insane, it's brilliant music. And Emperor, I'm a big fan of Emperor. _Panzer Division Marduk_ is fucking brilliant music as well, it's insane... <laughs> It's just fucking mental, and the music is so well played it's got to be taken seriously, it's brilliant.

CoC: What are your thoughts on the current state of the doom metal scene and the metal scene in general?

AC: Well, I'm not sure if there is a doom metal scene as such, I think the only people into it are in bands...

CoC: Not quite, I'm not in a band, so...

AC: <laughs> To be perfectly honest, the scene is saturated with a lot of crap bands now. I'm not trying to have a go at anybody -- I'm not having a go at anybody, in fact --, but it's difficult now, because there's so many bands, all with names that you cannot pronounce and you cannot read... It's good, in a way, because it means there's a lot of people there, but the scene itself is a little bit stagnated, and something new should happen. It's time for change again, I think. Death metal came and went, that was a fantastic time. Black metal is still very much here, but I think it's running its course, as all things do. The skin on our particular sort of metal needs to be shed again and something new needs to come from it.

CoC: What do you think that might be?

AC: If I could predict that, I'd be doing it now. <laughs> I don't know, I'm not really bothered as long as it's played by people who are actually playing the music. It's impossible to predict, but I do feel that something's changing, and that's a good thing, because it's time again.

CoC: Going back several months to the departure of Martin Powell, do you think that his violin and keyboard work might have been useful in this doomier _TLatEotW_?

AC: No, I deliberately did not put any violin on this LP, and there was obviously none on the last LP, because he'd just left and we thought it was time for change. The violin, honestly, became more of a shackle, rather than a tool for expression. It was good that we left it, because at the end of the day it's just a sound, it's just a tool to create an emotion, and we can do that on the keyboards; we're not afraid to do that on the keyboards. I know a violin player who's ready to do it, but I think it's time for change; I'm not prepared to take violins on tour, it's something we can do without. Johnny Maudling from Bal Sagoth will be doing keyboards, because he played keyboards on _TLatEotW_, and he's more than willing to tour with us, so we don't need it anymore. It was good when we had it, but it's not something I'm going to repeat.

CoC: Why have My Dying Bride never used a cello in their music? I think that could sound great.

AC: I think we did use a cello on the first LP, on "The Return of the Beautiful".

CoC: So why don't you use one now?

AC: <laughs> Well, while we were in the studio, Shaun was going "Cellos, cellos, let's have cellos", because they are, when played correctly, -misery-. Don't think we're not trying to use cellos, because we are. We did try, and they'd get lost, literally, because the sound is so thick on the guitars, it just sounds like a very bad cello. We'd take everything else out and just leave the cello -- which is a full, rich instrument --, but it unfortunately just doesn't work with the guitars that we want, because I like heaviness, a big sound, crunchy, and when you put a cello on top... We could do it, but it just didn't sound right, and if something's not 100% on straight away... We tried it, because we wanted them and Shaun was very much into having a cello on the LP -- as we were, but Shaun in particular --, but it just didn't sound right, it wasn't worth risking.

CoC: Changing subject again, and although I know that this doesn't directly concern you, I'd like to know what you think of the latest developments in Anathema's career and especially their signing for Music For Nations, leaving Peaceville behind, as Anathema and MDB used to be really close to each other from the fans' point of view, even though that might not be the case in reality <Andrew laughs loudly>, because that's what I've been told by both bands, and now you're quite far apart musically and not even on the same label anymore.

AC: We are friends, though, I can categorically say this. In fact, today I was talking to Vinny [Cavanagh, Anathema vocalist and guitarist] in a place in Bradford, so it's not like cats and dogs. It's a bit of fun, to be honest, we just like to have a go at each other. But it doesn't really affect me at all, what they have done. It makes no difference whatsoever to us at all. They obviously have their reasons for doing this; I'm not entirely sure what they are. But it's got to be good for them, and at the end of the day Music For Nations are officially the mother label [of Peaceville], so it's up to them. I wish them well, but it's not something we'll be doing in the near future.

CoC: Did you like their latest album [_Judgement_]?

AC: I don't listen to Anathema, they're not heavy enough for me anymore.

CoC: Emotionally, their music is still pretty heavy...

AC: Yeah, I saw them live in Bradford, and to be honest I did think they were excellent live, executed brilliantly. And it was good, I have to admit, I was quite surprised at what they were doing. But for me, I just like a little bit of punch. But the people that were there obviously didn't feel my sentiments, because they were well into it.

CoC: Well, you already talked about Opeth, but I was going to ask you your opinion about Opeth and Katatonia, since they are the two newcomers to the Peaceville roster...

AC: It's good; it's good for me on a financial level, because I can get their LPs for free now. <we both laugh> So that's fantastic. Katatonia, I've always kept in touch with them. I remember when they were really doomy and they sounded more like Paradise Lost and MDB than Paradise Lost and MDB did, _Dance of December Souls_ and this kind of thing. [Andrew must be mistaken here, I think, since _Dance of December Souls_ really sounds nothing like Paradise Lost or MDB, in my opinion. --Pedro] I was quite surprised to hear _Brave Murder Day_, which was the real changing point. It was good, I enjoyed it very much, and right up until the latest one. To be honest with you, I've had so much new music I haven't listened to _Tonight's Decision_ [Katatonia's latest album, reviewed in CoC #42] all that much, but I'm sure that I'll like it. I have paid a little bit more attention to the Opeth one, though; of the two, they're my favourites.

CoC: Do you think there is any chance you might tour with either of them, now that you're on the same label?

AC: You never say no, but at the moment the person at the touring company that puts our gigs together is looking for the best deals he can get for My Dying Bride at this time. He doesn't really know Opeth any differently, doesn't know Katatonia, but I did mention to him that if he can put something together with Opeth and My Dying Bride, I would personally like that very much, because I like this band a lot. I think it would be a good package, but at the end of the day I would be thinking with my heart -- "I like this band, let's go with them" --, while he thinks from a more financial point of view, a little bit more business-like. Well, no, a -lot- more business-like.

CoC: Well, My Dying Bride with Opeth would be a great concert for me...

AC: You're not the only person who has said that. As it happens, I like the band anyway, but everybody seems to think it would be a winner. I've not given up and I'm still putting in a good word in there for them. But I don't know, we may even end up supporting ourselves, depending on how things go. You can never tell. Touring really is the strangest part of being in a band, because one minute everything is confirmed and the next nothing is happening after all. So it's an impossible beast to predict, it really is -- it's a nightmare. The gigs, as far as I'm concerned, aren't official until we finish them.

CoC: I suppose you can't really answer me yet, but I still have to ask if there's any chance you'll be playing in Portugal anytime soon.

AC: There is a big chance. In Europe, the metal scene was dominated by Germany for many years, and that's simply not the case now. It's spread out to places like Italy, Spain and Portugal, where, to be honest, bands like us a couple of years ago wouldn't normally go and now are more than happy to go, because the gigs are going to be worth playing, there's going to be quite a few people there and that's why we do it -- to go and play to people who want to see us. We played Portugal with Iron Maiden [back in the _The Angel and the Dark River_ days], but I don't think anyone was paying attention to us. I remember Portugal very well, it was a very good show and we liked the whole feel we got from it, so if Portugal is mentioned nobody will say "No, let's not go there", they'll say "Yes, that was a good show, let's get back there as soon as possible."

CoC: And what about touring the USA? There's always a lot of talk about whether European bands will tour the USA or not; will you be doing that this time?

AC: Probably not. The chances are very slim. This LP is not going to be released over there; there's no license out there at the moment, so this is part of the problem we're having. There's very little point and very little chance of doing it, because obviously the money has to come from somewhere and it's highly unlikely that the record label will want to pay for six to eight people to fly to America and tour it when the LP is not going to be released there.

CoC: I didn't know that. Still, what can be expected of your next live shows as far as the selection of songs is concerned? Any idea yet?

AC: Yes, I've got the vast majority of them decided. It's a lot of older stuff, just one song from _34.788%_ -- "Under Your Wings and Into Your Arms", the last one, the quick one, I like that song a lot and it sounds pretty good as well. We're doing a good selection of _The Light at the End of the World_, because we like this LP a lot. We're going to be doing off that "She Is the Dark", "The Light at the End of the World", "The Fever Sea", "Christliar" and "Sear Me III". "Christliar" is a particular favourite of mine, I think that's a fucking brilliant song. We're definitely doing "Turn Loose the Swans", we're definitely doing "The Cry of Mankind" [from _The Angel and the Dark River_], we're definitely doing "The Forever People" [from _As the Flower Withers_]... what else...

CoC: Will you be using "The Forever People" as concert finisher?

AC: It's still in the air, that one; it's near the end, but "The Fever Sea" is in there now, so we don't know yet. We've got plenty of time to pick and choose; I'm not entirely sure of the order just yet. There's a couple more that we're thinking of bringing back, possibly "The Snow in My Hand" [from _Turn Loose the Swans_], we haven't done that one in a long time.

CoC: Excellent song.

AC: Yeah, we've been rehearsing that one, and it sounds good. It's amazing, I forgot how good these songs were to play.

CoC: I never saw you live, but I have the _For Darkest Eyes_ video tape with the Polish concert and it was a great concert -- the audience was really involved, I think you played brilliantly and the song selection was great for me.

AC: Thanks a lot...

CoC: Finally, I would just like to know some more details about your plans for the future of My Dying Bride. Do you think you can still evolve within this style, towards even darker, more miserable music?

AC: Yes, there is space there to do it. We've been playing with some new ideas just a couple of nights ago and there -is- room; it's going to be darker, the next one.

(article submitted 9/12/1999)

7/3/2002 P Azevedo My Dying Bride: Thus Spake the Wretched
1/14/2002 A Bromley My Dying Bride: The Hand of Doom
11/19/1998 P Azevedo My Dying Bride: The Bride No Longer Wears Black
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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