Hi Andrew, congratulations concerning the idea for the new record “An Ode to Woe”. Who had the idea and what are the reasons to create and release –again- next liveshow on dvd/cd, after “For Darkest Eyes – Live in Krakow 1996“, „The Voice of the Wretched CD“ & „Sinamorata“?!.
The reason was taken by Peaceville and the band after seeing the quality of the recording. It was filmed on a low budget and was not initially set for full release but after seeing just what we had captured we felt it was foolish to not use it. So far it has proven to be the case as it has been a great success and i happy we chose to release it.
Why did you choose such a great place in Amsterdam, who had the idea and how was the feeling inside at the show/the recording?
The Paradiso was chosen because we think it is a special place. We played there many years ago with At The Gates and Anathema (I think) and were overwhelmed by the response and the atmosphere of the place. Plus we always enjoy shows in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam rules, that’s right!
The artwork of the digibook is amazing - whole lyrics inside and the pictures are great. Who designed it and what is the meaning of the artwork, the title….?
The artwork was done by Matt Vickerstaff, it was done with the feel of Dantes‘ Inferno in mind, being that we played at a deconsecrated church. We are always heavily involved in the artwork side and and Matt takes our instructions brilliantly and makes them come alive. The DVD Title meaning is really nothing more that a tribute to the fans of My Dying Bride and doom metal, it was meant to be a tribute to a night of gloom.
How did you choose the set list for the show? Was it very important for you to play some old stuff with the two new members Lena and Dan…
Yes and no, we wanted to play older songs mainly for the fans. We don’t always get the opportunity to play the older stuff due to the limited gigs we play. And time is always against us at festivals.
How do the new members feel now inside the band; do they also maybe join the song writing process?
Both Lena and Dan are great. They have brought a positive feel to the band and contribute where they can. They are both skilled musicians and apply their craft beautifully to MDB, they are both fully integrated into MDB now too and feel like they’ve been with us forever and they understand the crack and have taken to the step up excellently.
One of my favourite albums (after “Songs of darkness…”) is „34.788%... Complete“. What do you think about this record - in the press and most of the fans called „not typical MDB-record”- nowadays? Do you think it was not the right time to present this kind of MDB-Style (in 1998)? The press and most of the fans were very surprised and didn´t like the album either…. Would you do the same thing like that album after 10 years again?
I personally love „34.788%... Complete“, it’s still a surprise to me that people seem so shocked by it. Yes it’s a departure from the typical MDB feel but it’s still pretty obvious it’s us and I think there are some great songs on there. We sometimes jokingly toy with the idea of rerecording it with a darker production and a more miserable cover, to see what people think. But I’m not sure just what we would achieve.
One of my favourite lyrics of your songs is “For you” from “Like Gods of the Sun”. Can you tell me, what is the main meaning behind it, how you create it in 1996, what were the influences - and how it feels nowadays, if you sing/present & listen that song live…
It’s a love song, inspired by being on the road and away from your loved ones and family etc. We toured a lot on “The Angel and The Dark River” tours including two months with Iron Maiden, so I guess Aaron was pouring out feelings about that. For me i just think it’s a great MDB song, and playing it live is a dream as it has everything I like in a song, feeling, movement and some pretty crushing metal riffs.
...and what about “For My Fallen Angel” – what is the main meaning about that song, what were the influences - and how it feels nowadays if you listen this song?
I think when we first had the idea for “For My Fallen Angel” we had the music first and we really knew we had something pretty bleak on our hands, we were unsure where to go with it at first but decided to keep it as an instrumental as we felt that considering the lyrics that had by this point started to come through, it wouldn’t have been as bleak so the choice to keep with the feel of loss through-out the piece and hence have less in there was taken. So less was more in this case. Regarding the lyrics I am pretty sure they relate to something close to Aaron but it is not my place to comment. The feeling I get from the song now apart from sorrow and loss is pride. I think it is a great song and typifies what My Dying Bride is with or without guitars and drums, which is a doom band full of true emotional content and integrity with a passion for the darker corners of the world.
Do you care for the opinion of your fans, the press and people in general or is it just you and your music?
If they are good opinions about us we care, if they are bad we don’t. When it comes down to the music though we have to be honest to ourselves, we don’t write commercially, we don’t live off of the band so don’t need to worry about writing hits for radio. So we can pretty much please ourselves, which seems to please our fan base as we very rarely stray from what they love about us.
What’s up in your future… Do you think it would be possible to record some stuff like My Dying Bride “Unplugged/acoustic Show” in the future? How do you think about this kind of records?
I like them when Apocalyptica do it, not sure it would work for us the unplugged or acoustic element, we have been sitting on a different idea for some time which I can’t disclose just here, which is along those lines. For the immediate future though we are presently in the studio recording I think our 9th CD. So that should keep us busy for some time.
After 18 years joining the – Gothic Doom Metal World – what do you think and feel about the metal scene nowadays? What’s good, -better than in the early days of MDB- and what is not good?
I think the scene has change very little to be fair, it had a couple of years where it was stagnant and not many new bands of worth came through, then all the old classic bands, death, doom and thrash all came back and we picked up where it left off. I’m not so happy with short hair in Metal, I think the whole point was to rebel against the norm, not look like a bank manager, but i suppose that’s the way it is now. Plus I can’t see how anything performed on an acoustic guitar unless you smash it up can be classed as Punk no matter how much eyeliner you have on, but what the fuck do i know?
…and what do you think about the other bands which start his careers like you in the early nineties just as Opeth, Paradise Lost, At the Gates and Anathema via Peaceville? Are you still in contact whit that guys & how is the feeling after almost 20 years in business?! Does it feel like meeting old friends (like a schoolmates) if you meet them on tour, festival, studio or on the street?
It is exactly that, seeing old friends. We recently met Jamie from Anathema while they were recording there acoustic LP and it was just as old schoolmates, the same for Adrian (At the Gates, Cradle of Filth) he was standing in for Deathstars in Leeds we were backstage again just like old friends it’s great. There are obviously some bands you would rather not meet but we have agreements in place now to avoid shows with them.
I wish you all the best for the future and good lock with the new release “An Ode to Woe”, thanks for the answers. …what ´s up next, your plans and time schedules?
Thanks Arthur, our immediate plans are to record the next LP. We have some pretty big festivals to do so looking forward to them. Then who knows, onwards and upwards as we still think we’re the worlds biggest underground doom metal band. Check out our website www.mydyingbride.org
for exact dates and news. Darkest Regards: Andrew