My Dying Bride interview (02/2004)
My Dying Bride
1. Before getting on with the new album, let's talk about the past. When you look back over your career, are there any things you regret having done or not having done?
Aaron]Sometimes I wish we had got a manager because trying to battle through all the paperwork and music business bullshit leaves me really tired. We have always managed ourselves and I sometime wonder what state we aould be in if we allowed someone else to do it for us.
2. My Dying Bride has never been afraid to change , you have gone from doom/death to pure doom, then something more 'experimental' with 34.782% Complete, and finally back to the roots… Is that something you have in mind when working on a new album, still surprising the fans?
Aaron]No not really because we have never planned any of our albums. We just get together an record some songs and see what the end result is. We have to write for ourselves and no-one else otherwise our hearts won't be into it.
3. What is your favourite My Dying Bride album so far?
Aaron] I think The Dreadful Hours at the moment (apart from the new one of course).
4. Do you still have relations with your ex guitarist Calvin Robertshaw? What did his departure change musically?
Aaron]Calvin is now our tour manager so we still see him all the time. His departure was unfortunate but we soon recovered without him and are a sound band again now.
5. Have you already had feedback on Songs Of Darkness…?
Aaron]Yes we have and there seems to be a big buzz in the scene about it. The critics seem to like it and some of the fans who have heard it, love it, so it's a good start.
6. What was really the problem with the artwork, that forced you to delay the official release date?
Aaron]I was trying to do the artwork myself but my ideas were a little too surreal for the rest of the guys in the band to appreciate so we decided to ask an old friend (Andy Green) to do it. This delayed the release, which is no big deal really.
7. Can you tell us a bit about the writing process and the studio recording?
Aaron]Sometimes I will write the words first and we fit the music around them and sometimes the music has already been written and I have to write some appropriate. Other times we just jam and see what happens. There is no formula to song-writing with us.
Recording is done individually. Firstly drums, then guitars, bass, keyboards and finally vocals. It's very rare to record and LP all together these days.
8. The title of the album, Songs Of Darkness, Words Of Light is quite unusual… Would you say it is a good representation of what My Dying Bride is, a hopeless entity in search for the light by the means of music?
Aaron]The title is misleading because there are no words of light on this record. It's just to tempt people in with the promise of a light amongst the darkness but in reality there is no light in this LP.
9. Songs Of Darkness is slightly different from The Dreadful Hours. Less directly violent, but more emotional, darker… Did you wish to express sadness rather than raw anger?
Aaron]We are never really sure how LP's are going to sound while we are creating them, so are sometimes surprised ourselves with the outcome. This one is very dark but I didn't feel it was so dark during the writing, it just ended up like this. We never plan records to sound like anything specific because that would put restrictions on the writing.
10. The clean vocals are dominant compared to the previous albums. Is it something you wish to develop in the future? Tired of screaming maybe?
Aaron]Tired of screaming? Have you heard the new LP? I scream harder on this record than on any before, but then I sing better on this one too. I am trying to do more creative things with my voice because it's a very important part of My Dying Bride. I think harder about how to approach the vocals these days instead of just shouting on everything.
11. The biggest criticism coming from the fans is that you almost never use violins anymore. Do you think it wouldn't really fit in the new songs?
Aaron]I think violin would fit nicely with some of the new songs but it can't be done I'm afraid. It's been over 6 years folks, get used to it.
12. Your music is usually not easily accessible, and Songs Of Darkness… follows the tradition. Aren't you afraid to reject some people by writing complex songs?
Aaron]We don't worry about that. We have always composed songs that we like and if other people like them too, than that's fine. The day we start writing songs for other people will be the day we split up. Give each record a few spins and you'll see what we are really like.
13. The lyrics are, as always, dark and depressing. How can you be so wretched?
Aaron]I have a vivid mind and like to explore darker emotions. When I feel depressed, I create. Sometimes words and sometimes images. It's a good way to exorcise negative thoughts from my body and inject them into My Dying Bride. It leaves me feeling rather happy actually. Quite therapeutic.
14. This is a question I also asked to your doommate Darren of Mourning Beloveth: do you think you would be able to write a happy song once in your life?
Aaron]I'm sure I could. I am interested in emotions and I think having a look at the lighter side of life might be a possibility.
15. Haven't you ever wanted to do something different from My Dying Bride?
Aaron]Not really because MDB is only about 20% of my life and so my time is already taken up with other things. This band is a hobby for us and we enjoy it. If we stop enjoying it, then maybe we/I might try something else. I am very interested in artwork and imagery and have just created a web site with my art on it. This is something that I like to do that sometimes involves the band but is mostly for my own pleasure. www.azzron.com
16. Last question, a personal one that has nothing to do with the music: religionwise, do you believe in something?
Aaron]Only my own ability. When someone shows me even a tiny scrap of evidence that a God exists, then I may change my mind.
17. One last word for the fans?
Aaron]Hope to see you all soon. Listen to the new LP a few time before you cast judgement. There are some great moments hidden beneath the surface.
Huge thanks to Aaron for his precious time and to Lisa and Peaceville to make this interview possible.
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