(KevinP brings us this “Get To the Point” interview with Calvin Robertshaw, guitarist of My Dying Bride, who have a new album coming later this year.)
K: I’m not going to rehash ancient history too much. I’d rather focus on the here and now, plus the future. Buuuut, you’ve been away since 1998 and as soon as they announce Hamish’s departure, they announce your return. I gotta assume you’ve kept in touch over the years or had previous talks of rejoining the fold?
C: Yes, after leaving, I stepped away from music completely for a couple of years before they approached me and asked me to tour manage. That lasted for 3-4 years before the birth of my son. We’ve always kept in touch since then. I’ve been with Andy’s sister for 17 years.
Andy initially approached me in 2013 about the possibility of filling in for Hamish at a couple of shows. But nothing ever came of that, until mid 2014, when I was asked about rejoining full time.
K: Since the band was in the process of already writing new material (and had about 7 songs already done, if I’m correct) how much input are you having on it? And being “out of the game” for so many years, does that make it more challenging for you?
C: Not a challenge as such. As you say, a great deal of work had already been done on the new album by Andy. But I’ve been writing material over the past couple of years, so I’ve kept up with my playing and have added some parts to the songs. I’m bringing my style of playing back to the My Dying Bride sound. Two very individual guitarists who compliment each other perfectly, I think.
K: Once you left after 34.788%, the band had a very death metal inspired period for 3 albums, followed by the next 3 albums being more doom-metal based. Where does the new one sit?
C: This album encompasses all that one would expect from My Dying Bride. From the heavy aggressive to the bleak morose doom of old. But we’ll leave it to listener to decide where it sits within our recording history.
K: As much as I enjoy everything through The Angel and the Dark River (that you were on), I feel that The Dreadful Hours is the bands “pièce de résistance”. It has everything on it. Doom, speed, misery, harsh and clean vocals, not a wasted note on the whole record.
That being said, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m really craving for a masterstroke that blends: The Light At the End of the World and The Dreadful Hours with As the Flower Withers and Turn Loose the Swans.
C: Between you and me Kevin, I’ve been away from this for nigh on 17 years. So I don’t know what the band were thinking when these albums were recorded or whether they set out to write a particular style of album, that has never been the case from my experience. I do know that Andy has been the driving force all this time and that all the recordings have been predominantly his material.
I’ve enjoyed these albums, don’t get me wrong, I helped mix A Line of Deathless Kings. But I always felt that something was missing. I’m not a trumpet blower, but between myself and Andy, together we wrote some great material and if it wasn’t for him I would not have this opportunity to be back in My Dying Bride. The future looks darker than ever.