Monday 2 June 2014

Aaron Stainthorpe - Brought to Book

What was the first book you can remember reading that really grabbed you and carried you along?

My first clear memory of any palpable literature was the debut by William Golding, Lord of the Flies. Naturally, at the age of 10, I didn’t fully embrace the book's theme of a new civilization but loved the idea of a bunch of kids messing around on a desert island with no adults telling them what to do.

Do you have a favourite book, or one that you have re-read a few times?

I have two actually: Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson and, in total contrast, Guards! Guards!, by Sir Terry Pratchett, the latter of which I have enjoyed three times... but Neals’ is so vast that a second visit has not yet been planned.

What was the most recent book you read and thoroughly enjoyed?

Whacky, intelligent and thoroughly gripping is how I’d begin to describe the Adam Roberts book Land of the Headless. Beautifully written it tells of a wild notion of decapitation as punishment but without the terminal effects that you’d expect!

Who have been your favourite authors, and what have you learnt from them?

I’ve loved Pratchett for 25 years and although I can’t say I’ve learnt that much from his musings I have certainly gained a lot from them. Adam Roberts is my latest target at this moment in time. As well as the above mentioned I also nailed Salt, Swiftly, The Sellamillion and The Soddit and am currently reading Splinter. What have I learnt from him? Anything goes!
Aaron Stainthorpe delivers the doom
Do you have a writing ritual, regimen or a tried and tested process?

I take notes when something appeals - I always have pen and paper - whether I’m out doing menial day to day tasks or walking in the hills and forests of Yorkshire. If I’m inspired by movies, music or art I’ll make a little note of just what it is that turns me on about that special moment in time and add it to my archive of seeming gibberish. When I actually begin to write, I really need to be in just the right mood and as cheesy as it sounds I love to write by candle-light while sipping a sanguine red wine, late at night when I can’t be disturbed or distracted by real life. I will refer to my notes and look for a spark to light the fire and hope that the next few hours will deliver and inferno rather than a soggy fire-cracker. Unfortunately, dissatisfaction comes hand in hand with patting-on-back but I can handle that. I don’t read what I’ve written for a couple of days and then return to it in the hope that it’s as I remember in the fuzz of badly lit alcohol.

What motivates you to write?

Passion. If it’s not there then I simply do not bother. In the past I’ve tried to write because I had a deadline and it’s mostly been a disaster so no more. If the heat and fervor are absent then so am I.

How do the different creative formats that you work in ‘feed’ into each other: photography, illustration, lyric, etc?

There have been moments when I was convinced that I was going to create an illustration based on some madness at the back of my mind and during the process I’ve lost my way or couldn’t get the image just right so I change format and begin to try to write my vision instead, which luckily often works rather nicely. And it works the other way round too. I’ve binned pages of lyrics because of their lack of cooperation and chucked oils at a canvas, popped another Chateauneuf-du-Pape and wondered why it was sunrise already! My lyrics and illustrations are thoughts manifest but my photography is more pleasure and observation – a lovely way to spend a carefree afternoon without tormenting myself.

Aaron Stainthorpe is the lead singer and lyricist for 'My Dying Bride', the British ‘Doom Metal’ band who have defined the genre over the last twenty years or so, successfully bringing the graveyard school of Romanticism back to contemporary cultural relevance. Although they may have their imitators, they have continually innovated and maintained their distinctive sound and originality. Typically, a 'My Dying Bride' album will have moments of lush overindulgence, bursts of startling brutality and a haunting fragile beauty… A butterfly braving the storm. As a backdrop to Aaron’s literary lyrics, the guitar work can be as heavy as hell one minute but poignant and heart-rending the next. The songs are fleeting poetic ideas framed by evocative soundscapes or epic stories told in verse illustrated by a mix of complex textural atmospherics, heart-pounding riffs and symphonic strings.
an epic tale told in song...
In order to appreciate the power and variety of Aaron’s storytelling we recommend the following ten tracks (listed in reverse chronology):

The Barghest O’Whitby 
...from A Map of All Our Failures: A Tapestry Scorned and Hail Odysseus 
...from A Line of Deathless Kings: And I Walk With Them, The Raven Wings
...from Songs of Darkness, Words of Light: The Wreckage of My Flesh and The Blue Lotus
...from The Dreadful Hours, the title track and My Hope, the Destroyer
...the title track from Light at the End of the World

- Aaron Stainthorpe was talking with Remy Dean

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