2020 has been a catastrophic year, and imagine having not one but two releases during the COVID-19 pandemic? We caught up with My Dying Bride mastermind Aaron Stainthorpe as he explained the process of releasing the LP, The Ghost of Orion, and EP Macabre Cabaret during this timeframe.
Musically, how would you compare the EP, Macabre Cabaret to The Ghost of Orion?
As they come from the same stock then there will naturally be similarities between both records but all tracks stand alone and are able to speak for themselves. Our studio engineer Mark Mynett gave the EP a little tweak in the studio to give it its own sound because it was recorded in the same session as the LP but we wanted a unique sound for it. The artwork needed to be totally different too for the same reasons. Macabre Cabaret is most certainly not, The Ghost of Orion lite.
It seems as though the two were released in two different realities in terms of 2020. What has the experience been like for you having two releases during a pandemic?
Quite interesting if I’m honest. The LP sneaked out just before lockdown in the UK so folks were able to go to the shops and purchase a copy in that environment which was nice, but as most people will probably buy online, I suppose that reality didn’t matter so much for everyone else. Online seems to be the death of record shops sadly which is why we always give Record Store Day a big plug which sadly never happened in 2020 for obvious reasons. The EP came out in November and was probably an online purchase for most but I doubt there was much of a negative impact on sales as this seems to be the way forward. The promotion for both has been extensive so I have certainly been kept very busy in the chatty department.
Can you talk about the video for “Macabre Cabaret?”
During a window in the various lockdowns, I found the time to travel to London and shoot the first part of the video in a cemetery and a derelict house before we all packed up and headed up north to Yorkshire to shoot the rest of the band, who were going to mime to the song which was played back at double the speed which is always amusing to watch and hear. Ludicrously we had not rehearsed the song beforehand so when it came to trying to remember what our tasks were when the director shouted ‘action!’ was hilarious and somewhat unprofessional. But we heavily metalled our way through, applied plenty of dry ice and dubious lighting and pulled it off.
What challenges did you face getting this EP out?
Not many as it was already in the bag come summer. Artwork and production tweaks were applied mid 2020 so when Nuclear Blast sent me a proposed release date I was more than confident we could hit that without worry. To credit our label, they put the deadlines so far in front that we were able to get all the parts together, review what we had created, make any amendments, double check it and then still had time to wallow in our own glow well before release day. The video was a different matter, arriving on the same day as release so that was a tad close but that’s the nature of the beast in these matters.
With concerts still remaining a bit up in the air, do you have any plans for a livestream or virtual tour next for 2021?
We have certainly discussed it and gathered data from those who have tried it but are hoping we won’t have to in the light of the new vaccine which is being pumped into folk here in the UK already. Although saying that, I’m not convinced there was enough testing for this medicine so let’s see what the fallout might be before we stand in line. Sadly, we have Brexit to deal with too which may further hamper our ability to perform live in different countries so thinking about it, we probably will have to do an online show but let’s cross that bridge when we come to it.
What albums helped you get through 2020?
A great band from Wales called Woven Man released Revelry which is great, Damnations Hammer helped me through with Unseen Planets, Deadly Spheres. Hollow by Tomorrow’s Rain is epic with its variety and composition and the wonderfully bonkers Snakerattlers LP All Heads Will Roll always puts a smile on my ruddy chops.
Is there anything else you want to say or add?
Well, despite all the hurdles our ruling dictators have put in place, we still hope to play live in 2021 come rain or shine but furthermore, may I take this opportunity to thank our supporters worldwide for their tireless support and dedication, which has not gone unnoticed by us for which we hope to reward their dedication with some face to face action as soon as we are able. Cheers everyone.