Interview with guitarist Andrew Craighan | By Lord Randall
Prolific English doom-bringers My Dying Bride released their 12th full-length, Feel the Misery, via Peaceville Records on Sept. 18.
After 25 years, what keeps you going?
We have always enjoyed doing this. I personally have a “quitting is for quitters” attitude and refuse to be beaten, even when, clearly, stopping would have been a better option. And there have been moments of that.
This far into your career, do you trust your instinct that whatever you write is going to fit within My Dying Bride’s framework?
No, I still write stuff that cannot be used in My Dying Bride, but I don’t try shoehorn them in, as I have plenty that can be used. We have had instances of this in the past from other members, but we won’t be falling for that ever again.
What happened with the departure of guitarist Hamish Glencross? Was it an amicable split?
It became clear he wanted out. Vallenfyre had become his main band, and we sort of started seeing that in his approach to My Dying Bride, so we all agreed it would be best if we part. It’s as amicable as you can get. We’re not enemies in any way, and there was no need to be. Thankfully, we parted before any real silliness took hold.
Feel the Misery contains bits from every phase of the band’s existence. Do you feel the band are still able to expand on what My Dying Bride can be?
I’m not sure it needs to expand. To give some insight into the mentality behind this album, once I started writing, I just thought, “Fuck it, fuck you, and fuck all of them. I’m going to write music I like. If it fails, I’ll take the slings and arrows.” I mean, we’ve heard some pretty baseless comments over the years about what we should be and what we should do. Expanding My Dying Bride into anything else other than what we are at this stage would be of no interest to me, as it’s “damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”
What did you want to highlight this time around?
I knew I wanted more death metal vocals, and to avoid the trap of trying to be something we’re not. I think I got pretty much all of what I wanted, which sounds very selfish and spoilt, but—as the answer above suggests—I was writing alone and just for me, [with] no pressure from any other band member to write pop songs like this band or that band. Fuck off, I’m unapologetically writing a My Dying Bride album.
The dichotomy between the subdued penultimate track “I Almost Loved You” and the album’s crushing finale, “Within A Sleeping Forest,” is nothing short of grand. When it comes to arranging an album’s track order, how much thought goes into the peaks and valleys you want to take the listener through?
It’s different with each album. With Feel the Misery, we just loaded the front end with the best eight songs we had. We tried them in all sorts of orders, and it simply didn’t matter. [Producer Rob] Mags [Magoolagan] had the final say, as he was mixing them in this order, so we went with that. It works. On other albums, however, we sometimes strategically move songs next to one another for that very reason—let the dynamics of one song be completely opposed to the ones left and right of it. It’s not a new concept, but it always works.
What are you listening to these days?
I’m really into Belphegor’s Blood Magick Necromance, which is one of the best albums I’ve ever heard regardless of genre. Mainly, I still fall back to Maiden, Dio, and early Ozzy, though. I don’t get the new bands at all. Babymetal? I’m not convinced those three kids really mean it, as none of them have an inverted cross burnt in their foreheads. If only! Don’t do it, kids! I’m just joking!