Yes, ladies and germs (and all you fawning goffs out there). I am very grateful to have landed this email interview with the frontman of My Dying Bride; especially since I still like to tell people about how tall he is and so easy to talk to last year at Hellfire Festival.
On with the show!
First of all, I’d like to thank you for agreeing to this interview! It’s such an honour to talk to one of my favourite bands.
Although it’s been about a year since the release of your previous album, ‘For Lies I Sire’; how do you feel that the public response to that record has been so far? I especially recall that some people quite enjoyed it as well as the EP that followed for the track ‘Bring Me Victory’, and some were actually showing mixed feelings towards it for supposedly not bringing anything different! Would you agree with that particular sentiment, personally?
- All bands will lose and gain fans with each release and we are no different. We put our heart and souls into our music, which is the best we can do, and if people love it, then that’s a bonus. If they think it’s a bit dull, well that’s their opinion. We try to please ourselves first and just hope that others may also be pleased at the outcome. We never write for the fans or to follow trends as that is simply no who or what we are. Our music is ours which we care to share for those interested.
Referring back to the EP for ‘Bring Me Victory’, it also features the music video of said song. I’d like to know what made you decide to make a video for that song (seeing as how My Dying Bride doesn’t seem to have many music videos as a whole throughout their entire twenty year career as a band) and what you think of it now?
- We do try to at least make one video for each CD and so we picked Bring Me Victory because it is one of the shorter tracks, which is very helpful when making video’s – it’s also quite a catchy number – given enough listens – which doesn’t harm. I like this video too as it was easy to make and quite a bit of fun and follows the lyrics quite nicely without being too linear.
Curiously, is there another way which you would have done the storyline for that video?
- It depends on who’s going to bring it to life. Charlie Granberg made this one, a Swedish guy, and this is his interpretation of the entire track – not just the lyrics. Others may just read the words and effectively make a story out of them. Others may well simply choose to ignore the band completely and make what ever the hell they please, but we do try to avoid those kinds of directors.
If I may, I’d like to talk about the other two songs which feature on the EP – your cover versions of the Swans’ ‘Failure’ and the folk song ‘Scarborough Fair’. I know that the former came about from a love of that band, but what led to the decision to do ‘Scarborough Fair’? As a thoroughly British band (in that all of you live and were brought up in the UK), did it seem fitting to cover a traditional, British ballad?
- It certainly did to us. That song originates from North East Yorkshire, not far from where we live and so it seemed fitting to cover it now. I’m surprised we didn’t do it sooner to be honest as it fits all the criteria for us; the pain of love – with a particularly moody melody. It’s a bit unfortunate (but understandable) that most people think it’s a Simon & Garfunkel cover but it’s fun to explain to them it’s true origins as they often are completely unaware of it’s history.
Would you ever consider doing more cover songs in time, out of appreciation and to offer a ‘My Dying Bride’ spin on them?
- We’re not entirely sure that covers are a great idea as they can be misconstrued by fans as ‘fillers’. When people buy our records they want to hear our music – not someone else’s so we don’t do them often. Naturally, we’re always chatting about great tracks to cover but hardly ever get round to doing them, for the reasons just mentioned. Saying that, I’m positive we’ll sneak another one or two in in the future.
Recently the band has gone through two line-up changes, by which I refer to the arrival and then departure of keyboardist/violinist Katie Stone, who was then replaced by Shaun MacGowan. How did you find Shaun, and do you hope that he’ll stick around with My Dying Bride for hopefully the next few releases and festivals to come?
- Shaun was known by Dan our drummer, so when Katie left he mentioned him to us, so we gave him a ring and asked if he’d be interested in joining us, which he gladly did. His first recording was on the covers we did on the Bring Me Victory EP and his first full length studio CD will be next year when we hope to release our 11th CD. He’s been with us a while now and has settled in marvellously, and as he’s only 22 years old, he’s naturally the butt of all the jokes, and has to make us tea and bring us wenches….or something.
Speaking of festivals, drummer Dan Mullins was said to have been unable to join you guys for Hellfest in June, this year. May I ask how he’s doing now and when you’re hoping to have him back behind the drums again?
- Dan hurt his leg just before the summer festival season and explained to us, rather depressingly that he would be out of action for the next 6-8 months, which left us in a bit of a pickle as the gigs were booked. Cancelling them simply wasn’t an option so we had a look around for a suitable replacement for the upcoming shows. Step up David Gray. The Akercocke sticksman, and all round nice guy, was happy to help out for the summer, meaning no gigs were missed and the shows could go on. Dan is coming back to rehearsals late September for a tentative session and fingers crossed he’ll be well enough for the UK shows we’re hoping to confirm in a few weeks for November.
Well, it looks like I’ll have to wrap up this interview now. But I’d like to know if there’s anything you’d like to say to the readers out there?
- Come and say hello when you see us – we’re no where near as miserable in person as we are on stage :)
Special thanks once again to Aaron Stainthorpe and Peaceville Records for this interview.
As a ‘thank you’, here’s a sketch of Aaron from me!