My Dying Bride’s Aaron Stainthorpe – Interview

Aaron Stainthorpe

My Dying Bride’s Aaron Stainthorpe is someone who I have personally followed very closely, a real idol of mine. So it was with great joy that I was able to speak to him recently, about life in MDB, and the new album – A MAP OF ALL OUR FAILURES.

Gerry:
How has the writing been going for the new record, can you give me an idea of what themes you touch on this time around?

Aaron:
The writing was mostly complete before we hit the studio, composing much of it at everyone’s homes and constructing the actual tracks in a new studio that Hamish has developed. Recording is now complete give or take a few keyboards/effects and the final mix which all needs to be done by the end of July if the LP is to come out this year. Themes are just what avid MDB fans are after; love, death, misery, hatred, religion, tragedy and more misery…oh yes, and a lot of doom!

Gerry:
There was a lot of negativity about the fact MDB re-introduced violins on For Lies I Sire, some fans felt it was a backward step in a way. How did the band feel about it?

Aaron:
I must have missed that memo because all the feedback we received was positive. Hell, the fans have been crying out for it for 12 years! And it was just a bonus too because when keyboard player Sarah left we found a replacement who just so happened to also play the violin, so we thought, why not?

Gerry:
The 20th Anniversary shows were well received, how did you find it touring the UK again after such a long break? What was different about it, in your opinion.

Aaron:
The UK has never been overly welcoming to us but those recent shows were a nice surprise with generously filled venues and enthusiastic crowds and who doesn’t want that? We had rather a ball to be honest.

Gerry:
You stated previously that The Dreadful Hours was your favourite MDB record, has the group ever considered doing a show where you would perform an album in it’s entirety? Do you agree with bands doing this?

Aaron:
It’s a bit cheesy isn’t it? We spoke briefly, many years ago, about performing Turn Loose The Swans in its entirety but went off the idea rapidly when a brace of other bands did similar things. It’s kind of fun I suppose for the fans but I doubt any of the bands are overly thrilled by doing it as you’re effectively admitting that everything you’ve done after your ‘classic’ LP isn’t all that great, and we feel quite strongly about that.

Gerry:
Also, How do you feel about bands re-releasing special editions of previous work? A lot of fans moan about it, but still tend to buy these releases.

Aaron:
I think you’ll find it’s not actually the band re-releasing their previously released material but the record label. Admittedly, a band can always complain about it but, like us, they probably just think, what the hell. When I was younger I collected everything by my favourite bands – picture discs, tapes, dodgy live bootleg LP’s, anything with a pressing error – the whole nine yards! The fans love this kind of stuff but no-one has to buy it – it’s there if you want it.

Gerry:
Any plans to re-release some of the early work, which I find incredibly hard to track down personally.

Aaron:
I think most of our stuff has come out at least 3 times in various formats and limited editions so I’m surprised to hear you’re struggling to locate some of it. Just wait another 3 years for our 25th anniversary and the whole back catalogue will come out!

Gerry:
Your artwork is really impressive, who are your influences? How do you plan the pieces?

Aaron:
Well, we’ve had a mix of artists in the past as well as my own work, which was last used on The Barghest O’ Whitby, and previously Evinta. We’re working with artists right now on the illustrations for the next LP and EP and I may even add a little of my own work too (which incidentally can be found at www.azzron.com). Generally the lyrics drive the imagery no matter who composes the cover.

Gerry:
How was it playing on the 70,000 tons of metal bill? It must have been rather different than a usual MDB show?

Aaron:
It was one of the best experiences of our lives! Cruising around the Caribbean on a ship full of metal heads enjoying the music, weather, food and some serious ale. Watching bands from 11am until 4am is quite something. Candlemass played the entire first LP which was amazing! Oh, the lobster & steak dinner was perfection too. We all agreed we’d do it again at the drop of a hat!

Gerry:
Does it get easier, writing new music? Has anyone ever had writer’s block?

Aaron:
It kind of gets easier because practice makes perfect but naturally, you always want to better yourself with each release so to ensure that, you must try even harder. I’m not sure the guitarist get much of a writers block but I do all the bloody time! It’s best to go away and leave it rather than force the issue because you’ll only end up with words you don’t really care for. Return when the mind is on form and all will be well.

Gerry:
Do you prefer the studio as opposed to singing on-stage?

Aaron:
I hate recording in the studio and don’t much like performing live either – makes me wonder why I’m in a bloody band! I love creating music and themes but have a big problem performing them but I suppose I should learn to love it because that’s what being in a band is all about. I love touring but the shows don’t half get in the way!

Gerry:
Also, You are appearing at this years Damnation festival, any other UK dates planned?

Aaron:
Damnation is planned for November 3rd in Leeds – so a nice local gig for us, then the next show is also in the UK, on December 7th at the O2 Academy in Islington, London. We don’t do a lot in the UK so hopefully these two will keep the Brits happy for a bit.

Gerry:
Does the band prepare differently when appearing at a festival, as opposed to playing to your own crowd?

Aaron:
No, we’re generally very nervous before ANY audience – size doesn’t matter and neither does dedication. At festivals the crowd aren’t there to just see us as we’re part of the ticket price & package so it’s important to impress. At our own shows, the audience ARE there to see us so we’d better be on fire!

Gerry:
What do you enjoy most at festivals?

Aaron:
Checking out all the other bands because after all, we’re fans too. Oh, yeah, and all the free booze backstage.

Gerry:
How much of a say does the band have in booking support acts?

Aaron:
Not a great deal unless we really push it. Generally, the venues will already have a couple of local bands ready. However, saying that, we do have a support band for the whole of the next tour in December though, Talanas.

A MAP OF ALL OUR FAILURES is due to be released this October.

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