British reigning kings of doom metal My Dying Bride are back with mighty fine new offering entitled Feel The Misery; for that occasion we have sent some questions to founding member, guitar player Andrew Craighan who told us everything we needed to know about the happenings in the band’s world.
Hello My Dying Bride and welcome to the pages of Metal Sound! How are you doing these days, is everything OK over there?
Well, it’s raining but other than that yes all ok I suppose.
First off I would like to congratulate you on your new album Feel the Misery, so tell us how do you feel about the album now after everything is said and done? Is there something you would change from this perspective?
Thank you, glad you approve. As for changing things, it’s probably a bit too soon for that. I’m still pretty happy with it. The parts I had control over went the way I thought they should. The parts I don’t have control over got close, so i can’t complain. In a year though this may well be a very different answer.
I would say that the album sounds unmistakably My Dying Bride but one thing that sets its apart from the couple of previous ones is that Feel the Misery is slightly more old school /death metal in its delivery, how would you comment upon this statement?
I think that’s a fair comment. The approach I had mentally was very was similar to the early days in as much as back then we just did what we liked, didn’t over think anything or care to be anything but heavy and I suppose doomy. I was pretty much doing that and kind of got lost in it all for a while, it felt good.
Maybe the most important feature for the fans is the fact that Feel the Misery represents the return of Calvin Robertshaw to the fold. Please tell us how is it to work with him once again and does it feel like back in the old days?
It doesn’t feel like back in the old days at all, too much has changed for that to be the case. It’s great he’s back as he has definitely brought his own style in with him again and he’s keen to get back into all of this so it’s a good vibe and long may it continue.
If I am right, music on Feel the Misery was written before Calvin has returned but tell us how much did his return influenced the actual album?
Most of it was finished yes but his mark is definitely there, there are riffs of his that are on the album and ideas in arrangements etc. We didn’t have too much collaboration on this one we kind of cherry picked some of his stuff and blended it into the album where we could. It was good to have him back he took some of the pressure of recording the album off of me which was very welcome.
I guess that Aaron was once again responsible for the cover art, it looks to me like some church mural and when you you take into consideration the album title the symbolism is clear. Please comment further upon this statement…
The album art concept was me, I’ve been trying to have stained glass window cover for three albums now and could never get it agreed upon for one reason or another but on this I got it mainly because initially we were going to have two covers the CD one and the 12” vinyl one. I didn’t agree on the CD one that Aaron chose as I didn’t think it represented anything I had been creating for the last two years so I said I’ll do the vinyl album one you do that one. I spent a lot of time talking to Matt Vickerstaff on what I was after and how it should look and to be honest he hit the nail quite squarely on the head. Everything I wanted in the cover I got, not always first time but working closely with Matt he really grasped the intention and where I was going on this one and this made the job much easier, as we were both singing from the same “hymn sheet” pun intended, which doesn’t always happen with music and art. So a big thanks to Matt once more for that. Eventually Aaron saw the cover and realized that this stained glass cover represented the band and music better than the one he had suggested and we abandoned that other idea. This is not the first time we have done this as this happened on A Map Of All Our Failures too where we worked with Matt again but in the end the cover we had didn’t quite fit so we ended up working with Rhet Podersoo. Matt thankfully was professional enough about it which is important as we have clearly got a great cover that fits the album perfectly. (your opinion may differ).
As I have said, Feel the Misery is standard My Dying Bride affair without any bigger surprises – it is obviously written from your hearts and for the fans. How do you keep the music fresh and exciting for you after all these years?
Oddly worded question this as you state it’s a standard affair without any real surprises, then ask how we keep it fresh and exciting? I think what you’re saying is, it’s clearly a My Dying Bride record (for good or bad) but still has some elements that are fresh and exciting. Well, thank you for that, the answer is not to over think it, or to dwell too much on the previous albums, just go with (as you said) your heart and if something is too similar remove it or change it. We can’t help sounding like we do it’s always going to more or less be this way.
It seems to me that violins are a bit less heard Feel the Misery in favor of guitars and even keyboards. Would you say that violin is unbreakable part of your sound? After all it gave you huge identity back in the day…
Yes and No, we deliberately don’t over use it, as the violin is an addition to the band not the main feature of the band so we have to be careful not to over use it. When used we try give it maximum impact. We don’t lack the discipline to leave it out.
The video for the title track has just been unleashed so what can you tell us about it, where did you record it and how did the work go?
It was recorded in Wales on the Pembrokeshire coast, I don’t know too much else about it we have a behind the scenes video of it on our website / FB page so people can see the working there.
Your old friends in Paradise Lost have returned to their roots on their new album with Nick even growling again while Anathema has went into completely different direction. How do you view their music nowadays?
I have lost touch with Anathema musically, but to be honest as label mates back then we didn’t listen to them anyway as to not be accidentally influenced by them. As for PL the new album is a standout record, no question about that.
With My Dying Bride being so deep into your career could you foresee something that could change the direction of the band now or even personally surprise you? Would you say that My Dying Bride will stay the same until the very end?
No, not really. We know our limits and what a band playing the music we do can achieve and it’s pretty much where we are today. We’ll stay true to this till the bitter grisly end.
You have released quite a few EPs and singles in the last period, tell us what do you like so much about the format and have you recorded any more tracks that you will release in the near future in this manner?
It all started in the very beginning, the original contract we signed was for 3 albums and 3 EPs, so we sort of got used to doing them and used them for more of the avant-garde stuff (French for crap that word apparently). So it’s kind of in our blood to do them every now and then. It also allows for a bit of trying out of ideas and new kit in the studio, some of the stuff you can’t afford to do on full albums just in case it goes badly wrong.
What lies in the near future for the band, where can we expect to see you on stage in the next few months?
We have a small European tour in early 2016, and some good Festivals to play so see this link. http://www.mydyingbride.net/my-dying-bride-tour-dates
That would be all for this time, I would like to thank you for this chat and wish you all the best! Please give us your last message here…
Thankyou for the interview, see you on tour..
- Questions by Slobodan Trifunovic
- Answers by Andrew Craighan