HI! HOW ARE YOU? WHERE ARE YOU? AND HOW SATISFIED ARE YOU WITH YOUR NEW RELEASE “SONGS OF DARKNESS, WORDS OF LIGHT”? Hello. I’m very well thanks. I’m writing this from my home in Yorkshire which is about 200 miles north of London. We are very satisfied with the new LP. It is a good representation of My Dying Bride at this time. PLEASE REPORT ON THE PROCESS OF CREATING THE NEW SONGS. The process is quite random. Sometimes I write the lyrics and we work the music to fit them and other times the music is created well before the words and I have to make my words fit into the music. Also, sometimes both guitarists will write material separately and then get together and see what works. We also simply jam together to see what evolves. There is no real formula to writing a song for us. YOUR SOUND SEEMS TO HAVE EVOLVED INTO A MORE DARKER AND GLOOMY DIRECTION AGAIN. WAS THIS INTENDED OR JUST COINCIDENTALLY? Coincidence to be honest. We never plan the sound of a record and so we never really know what the overall feel will be until it’s mostly recorded. It does appear to be a bit darker than earlier material but I think that’s a good thing because that’s part of the whole My Dying Bride theme. We are not about to start writing ‘happy Idiza’ tunes. MY FAVOURITE SONG IS “THE BLUE LOTUS” WHERE YOU COMBINE HARSH RIFFS WITH BITTER SWEET VOCALS. WHAT CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THIS “SPECIAL” TRACK? This was one where I wrote a story first and we put music to it later, which is a style of writing I am getting to prefer these days. It’s a dark fable, kind of like ‘Sleeping Beauty’ but much more sinister. I love early European folk tales and so this is my attempt at something similar. It has a beautiful woman living in a castle and a young ‘hero’ rushing to meet her but naturally it all goes wrong in a very dark and nasty manner. I like this style and will probably pursue similar themes on the next LP. AFTER 13 YEARS OF EXISTENCE WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR CREATIVITY FROM? It does get harder to come up with interesting idea’s as time goes by but I think we are coping well. As I mentioned earlier I am going to look into writing short, dark tales rather than the personal stuff that I have written about in the past, which should breathe new life into us. Also, both guitarists are always managing to come up with great riffs so I think there is life in this band still. WITH SONGS UP TO 8 MINUTES YOU WILL HARDLY BE ABLE TO GET AIRPLAY OR DOING A SINGLE. IS COMMERCIAL SUCCESS TOTALLY UNINTERESTING FOR YOU OR EVEN ARTISTIC “DEATH”? We have very little interest in the commercial side of the music business but we still edit some of our material to suit different formats. We had to edit “The Prize of Beauty” for the promo video but that’s fine. We would never let anyone else do it though. We formed this band to create music and so are pretty indifferent to the business side of things, although we do have to remain vigilant because we do not have a manager (never had) so we manage the My Dying Bride machine ourselves. THE PRODUCTION VALUES ARE A LITTLE BIT “UNCLEAN”. IS IT IMPORTANT FOR YOU NOT TO HAVE A CRYSTAL CLEAR PRODUCTION? WAS THIS THE RESULT YOU EXPECTED FROM THE BEGINNING? I have to disagree with you there. I feel the production is the best and cleanest we have ever done and that’s the feeling we get from the fans too. We spent a lot of time on production as it is a very important part of the process and we all feel that we got the sound just right. Perhaps your copy is defective. THE TITLE OF YOUR NEW ALBUM EXPRESSES SORROW (“DARKNESS”) AND HOPE (“LIGHT”). DOES THIS REFLECT YOUR OWN LIFE? AND WHICH ONE OF THIS TWO EMOTIONS WILL WIN AT THE END? I think we all have a bit of darkness & light in our lives and I am no different, but this LP is certainly not reflective of my own life thankfully. I have a good life with many friends and a loving family and hope it continues for the rest of my life. I only write when I feel depressed and then I add a lot of creativity to make the sadness much more realistic but I couldn’t possibly live my life as the music would suggest. PLEASE TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT THE LYRICS OF THE NEW ALBUM. IS THERE A LYRICAL CONCEPT BEHIND “SONGS OF DARKNESS, WORDS OF LIGHT”? AND WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR LYRICAL INSPIRATION FROM? The lyrics are ‘typical’ MDB I guess. Doom, suffering, pain, loss, passion, love, misery & death. Not happy stuff but these topics are very interesting when you look at them in depth. If fans like the previous lyrics from our earlier albums then they should also like the new ones too because they are similar themes. Inspiration can come from anywhere; books, movies, tv, current affairs, people I meet, other bands….I never look in just one area for ideas because I might miss something better elsewhere. Sometimes I will go for ages without any inspiration at all, and then suddenly everywhere I look I get ideas for songs. It’s very random. YOU RECRUITED ANDY GREEN AGAIN FOR THE COVER ARTWORK. DOES THE RESULT FULFILL YOUR EXPECTATIONS? Yes it does. It suits the ‘feel’ of the music and is dark and mysterious, which is typical My Dying Bride. I was going to do the cover but my artwork was not quite as pleasing as Andys. You can see my work at www.azzron.com WHAT CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT YOUR UPCOMING SECOND FULL-LENGTH DVD? The main part of the DVD will be a live show that we played in Belgium last November featuring many of the old classics and 3 songs from the new LP too. There will be the full version of “The Prize of Beauty” promo video and a whole load of back-stage and touring material which will give the fans an insight into what MDB look like off the stage. There will also be a couple of videos made by myself and guitarist Hamish of other tracks from the new lp. YOU´RE ALREADY CONFIRMED FOR THIS YEARS INFERNO FESTIVAL IN OSLO. HOW ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS FESTIVAL, ESPECIALLY IN CONSIDERATION OF PLAYING IN FRONT OF A MAINLY BLACK METAL-ORIENTATED AUDIENCE? We have just played the Inferno Festival and it was very good. I was a little nervous before because it is a Black Metal festival but I didn’t need to worry because everyone seemed to enjoy the show a lot. ARE THERE ANY OTHER TOUR-PLANS FOR 2004. WILL WE BE ABLE TO SEE YOU ON TOUR OR ON FESTIVALS IN GERMANY? WHICH BAND YOU WOULD LIKE TO TOUR WITH MOST? We are playing a few festivals this year, in Europe, and the Wave Gotik Treffen is one and the Wacken is another. We would like to tour with Opeth or Cradle of Filth because they are both great musically and personally. I ATTENDED YOUR SHOW AT THE “WAVE GOTIK TREFFEN” 2000 IN LEIPZIG WHICH WAS A VERY MEMORABLE EVENT. FIRST OF ALL YOU PLAYED IN FRONT OF A MAINLY “GOTHIC” AUDIENCE AND THEN THE WHOLE FESTIVAL WENT “BANKRUPT” THE OTHER DAY. WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER OF THESE DAYS? ARE YOU STILL WAITING FOR THE PAY CHEQUE? We have never played this festival before. You possibly saw Anathema. [AARON ISN’T RIGHT AT THIS POINT, MY DYING BRIDE DEFINITELY PLAYED IN LEIPZIG WHICH IS DOCUMENTED AT THE OFFICIAL FESTIVAL PAGE, THE INTERVIEWER] WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST WEIRD EXPERIENCE ON TOUR? Not really weird but very memorable was on the Iron Maiden tour when we played with the ‘Irons’ football team against Italy, Sweden and Scotland (not national teams). Andrew and our old drummer Rick both scored and we had a fantastic time for the rest of the tour. DO YOU HAVE ANY CONTACT WITH ANATHEMA OR OTHER UK-ACTS? HOW IS THE “METAL” SCENE THERE TODAY? We don’t really have much contact with Anathema but we do see Paradise Lost quite often. They are great guys and we have often had a drink or 2 with them. Also, Cradle Of Filth. Our old violin player Martin is with them and also a very good friend of mine, Dave Pybus so we know them quite well. The scene over here seems quite healthy at the moment with a lot of new and interesting bands coming through. ARE YOU ABLE TO MAKE A LIVING WITH YOUR MUSIC OR DO YOU STILL HAVE REGULAR JOBS? HOW ARE YOUR INTERESTS IN PRIVATE LIFE ANYWAY? We could live off the music but we choose not to as the money is not much and we all are looking towards the future and cars and houses and families which all require a lot of money. The cash we get we generally put back into the music and buy new equipment or all go off on holiday together. We certainly never formed the band for the money. If we did, then we would not be playing gothic doom. REFLECTING YOUR “ART” FOR SO MANY YEARS, COULD YOU IMAGINE A LIFE WITHOUT CREATING MUSIC OR IS THIS THE PASSION THAT SOMEHOW KEEPS YOU ALIVE? I can’t imagine my life without the band now as almost half of my life has been with them. If we split up then I will continue with my artwork and perhaps look into making video’s or short films. I will NEED something creative to do otherwise I might end up insane. BESIDES MUSIC: WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT BRITISH POLITICS AND TONY BLAIR IN GENERAL? WILL HE BE DISMISSED SOON? ARE YOU INTERESTED IN POLITICS ANYWAY? Blair is no better than any of the others and I have very little time for him and his idea’s. I think he may well be dismissed at the next election because of Iraq and the incredible fuel costs in the UK and the fact that he is has changed the pension scheme so radically that many old people simply cannot afford to live. I am interested in politics but rarely discuss my feelings. FINALLY I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE SEEN KATIE PRICE IN THE JUNGLE. DOES THIS KIND OF TV SHOW DISGUST YOU OR CAN YOU ARRANGE YOURSELF WITH THIS FORM OF MINDLESS ENTERTAINMENT JUST FOR FUN? I thought John Lydon was funny. Katie is awful but the Lord was quite a laugh. These kinds of programmes are shit and really piss me off but I do check them out from time to time just to what all the fuss is about. I suppose for a lot of people this type of format is just easy viewing and fairly harmless but it’s not for me. I am very fortunate that I have a great life with the band and so don’t need TV like others might. ANY FAMOUS LAST WORDS? Hope to see some of the familiar faces in the crowd when we come to Germany soon. It has always been a great place for us and we are very much looking forward to returning. Cheers THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR TIME, SUCCESS FOR THE NEW ALBUM AND I HOPE TO SEE YOU SOON!