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My Dying Bride - At Home With Despair

By: David E. Gehlke


The classic six, circa 1996

Blistering.com: I love the fact you’re harmonizing yourself on “The Poorest Waltz” and I think it’s a part of your evolution as a clean singer. Do you enjoy stepping out like that on the vocal front?

Stainthorpe:
Oh yeah. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t play any instruments and I do admire people who can perform with a musical instrument. The voice is the best I’ve got, so I’m going to have to do something special with it from time-to-time. I’m not going to hit all the right notes, I’m not Frank Sinatra, I’m not a singer – I classify myself as a vocalist. I don’t have a great range, I know my range and you tend to get death metal vocals, black metal vocals, you’ll get spoken word bits, all of that. And I like to do a little variety. The same style will not only be boring for me, but not only the fans. I like to be adventurous as I possibly can and doing harmonies is just another way of pushing your skills a bit.

We’re actually shooting a video for “The Poorest Waltz” in November. We’re going to have a troupe of Gothic belly dancing girls who would be dancing with the blindfolds on, representing the blind girls. I don’t know when it’s going to be out, but we’re shooting it in November. I’m expecting a December release.

Blistering.com: At least you don’t have to worry about any of your videos being banned by MTV like what happened to “The Cry of Mankind.” You can just throw it up on YouTube.

Stainthorpe:
It was strange. It was only a partial ban, I think. It was banned for only six months, then more extreme bands started coming out with more extreme videos, so they thought My Dying Bride is a bit tame [laughs]. Then they started playing it. We’re not an extreme band, we’re not out to make a fuss. We’re out to write solid music with passion and emotion. We’re not going to be causing controversy. Okay, we tap into the religious thing from time-to-time, but it’s light. We’re not bible-bashing. We’ll just stab them in the back when they’re not looking.

Blistering.com: You’ve been more thought-provoking in that regard. You raise questions.

Stainthorpe:
We raise questions that other people might be afraid to ask. We do it in a roundabout way. I’m very flowery with my words. Rather than just saying it, I like to toss about with my words. I’m a bit flamboyant when it comes to literature and I think it’s a bit unusual for someone in a heavy metal band to be so into literature, but I enjoy doing it. It’s easy to write a standard song, but it’s more interesting and slightly more challenging to come up with something that has a flourish.

Blistering.com: Last year, you did the Evinta album, then the EP. Did doing both help you refocus for a regular studio album? As in, you got the experimental bits out of the way?

Stainthorpe:
Those things are ideal for that. EP’s are ideal ground for testing unusual ideas, which might stand out on an album and might look out of place on a full-length. Putting Barghest O’ Whitby on would destroy an album; half the album would be down to one song, but EP’s are great for this sort of thing. We’ve been doing EP’s for a while. The first thing we did was an EP. The b-side of an EP is great experimental grounds, you can almost do what you like.

And the Evinta thing was something we had simmering for a while. We always knew we were going to do something like that. It was quite special; rather than do the typical thing by giving an orchestra the back catalog while we sit back and do nothing…loads of bands have done that. What we decided to do was chop our back catalog up, mix it all up, then work with the orchestra and say “We’ve completely bastardized our back catalog, help us put it back together, some new lyrics, some French operatics.” And bash! Evinta was born. It’s like the soundtrack to the most passionate, yet miserable film ever. It’s utterly tragic and I really enjoy listening to it.

Blistering.com: The period of the band that resonates with me the most if your mid-90’s era. What’s your recollections of that time?

Stainthorpe:
The touring. Steve Harris from Iron Maiden rang Andrew, and Andrew was living at home with his parents at the time. Andrew couldn’t believe it and put the phone down. But Steve said, “Look, The Angel and the Dark River is a killer album, we need someone to support us on our European tour.” That was tremendous; we’ve grown up on Iron Maiden. It was just madness and we loved it. When we came back from that, we did Like Gods of the Sun, then the tour with Dio in States. And again, we had a blast, Dio was the loveliest man ever. It was a good time for us, touring-wise. Because the touring was so massive and we had such a good time, I can’t remember shit about the albums [laughs]. I can’t remember those times other than being on the road and having a great time.

Blistering.com: Do you still hold Like Gods of the Sun in high regard? I know that’s one of your favorites, if not your favorite.

Stainthorpe:
The Dreadful Hours and Like Gods are two of my all-time favorites. It’s funny because when Like Gods came out, a lot of people thought it was the end of the death metal vocals. It’s like they had seen it before; bands start off doing death metal, then they wean themselves off of it a little bit. And that one was clear of death metal vocals and people were like, “We saw that coming.” But I knew they were coming back, despite me saying in interviews, they were pessimistic about that, and of course, they came back and I was right all along [laughs].

I think that one [Like Gods of the Sun] is tipped by The Dreadful Hours, though. For me, The Dreadful Hours contains all the ingredients you would expect on the My Dying Bride menu. It has clean vocals, death metal vocals, up-tempo, mid-tempo, slow parts…it has everything you would just hope on an album, minus of course, the violins.

Blistering.com: Feel free to disagree with me on this, but I think the definitive My Dying Bride song is “For You.” When I’m asked to play you guys for other people, it’s the track I almost always go to first.

Stainthorpe:
It’s a good song and there was talk of doing it as an EP back then, but I don’t know what happened. When play it intermittently. When you got such a back catalog as we got, when you’re offered to play a festival with an hour-long set, the best way to pick the songs is to is simply look at last year’s set and don’t play anything off it. One year, we’re off playing “For You” everywhere, but then we skip it the next. It’s a great song, filled with emotion. It’s a classic track.

Blistering.com: Wrapping up, what’s the next 12-18 months looking like?

Stainthorpe:
As I mentioned, we have the video for “The Poorest Waltz,” which should be the next thing the public sees. We have a short European tour coming up, then we’re going to South America and if we can do South America, then surely the next step up is to head a little north and do North America [laughs]. And we have an EP, with four tracks [leftover from A Map of All Our Failures]. There’s no timetable for it, but we’re probably going to do a video for it.

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