DATE OF INTERVIEW:
1st November 2009
METAL DISCOVERY: ‘Host’ has probably been your most controversial work in terms of the press and fan reactions for the change in style on that album, although I thought it still had the Paradise Lost, kind of dark…
AARON AEDY: I think it’s the most miserable album we’ve ever released. It’s really dark.
(Aaron Aedy on the longevity of Paradise Lost's core lineup)
"It’s like old friends. That’s the core. The thing that keeps us together is our love of the same sort of comedy."
Aaron Aedy in the Academy, Newcastle, UK, 1st November 2009
Photograph copyright © 2009 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview and Photography by Mark Holmes
Official Paradise Lost Website:
Official Paradise Lost MySpace:
PARADISE LOST DISCOGRAPHY
Draconian Times (1995)
Thanks to Sarah Lees at Century Media for arranging the interview
One Second (1997)
Believe in Nothing (2001)
Symbol of Life (2002)
Paradise Lost (2005)
In Requiem (2007)
Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us (2009)
Lost Paradise (1990)
Shades of God (1992)
MD: Yeah, it still had the underlying dark aesthetic that’s associated with your sound, albeit in a different musical context.
AA: Yeah, yeah.
MD: Do you think if you made that album now it would be more readily accepted because the scene’s become more diverse?
AA: I think so. I think we took a lot of flak and then other bands did a similar sort of change or changes of their own and it didn’t seem less harsh because I think we took the initial blow for trying something different. I think if we’d all still had long hair, as silly as it sounds, I think it wouldn’t have been so much of a shock. I think it was haircuts and that. I don’t know, it’s hard to say, you do what you feel’s right at the time. I wouldn’t change anything because if you’re happy where you are today then everything that’s led you down that path is the right decision.
MD: It seems to be an album that’s more accepted now.
AA: Well this is what I say, you get people go now, “do you know what…actually, it’s pretty good”. You know, there’s a lot of people who actually like it now that were shooting it down ten years ago.
AA: It’s ten years since we did it.
MD: Yeah, but it doesn’t seem like ten years ago. Bloody hell, we’re all ten years older!
MD: Paradise Lost are widely regarded as Goth Metal pioneers in the original conception of that term…obviously it means something very different now. What does that term mean to you in 2009 and do you think it’s become a little redundant?
AA: I think there’s far too many labels. It’s almost like…but then again, they’re there to try and help guide people into what they’re listening to. You’ll always find that bands, the minute they get labelled, they’re either trying to shirk it or something, you know! [laughs] It’s more of a journalist’s tool I think. One of my favourites was Malcolm Dome called us “gondoliers of gloom”! [laughs] I actually admit I laughed out loud in WH Smiths when I read that! He’s a good mate of mine is Malcolm; he’s an absolute star. Nobody has the encyclopaedic mind of metal that he does - I’m not joking, it’s unbelievable. He’s also absolutely lovely. Every time he sees me he gives me a big hug. He’s lovely, you know, he’s a good mate. I do like him, bless him.
MD: Albeit crap labels for your music!
AA: No, I thought “gondoliers of gloom” was marvellous! I really liked it! [laughs]
MD: You’ve been signed to a few labels over the years - how does Century Media compare to previous deals and do you look back regretfully now at any of the previous deals?
AA: You can’t say you regret labels particularly but you can be happy with aspects of what they do. It’s like when we were signed to EMI, and EMI actually wanted a heavier album. People seemed to think it was them directing us down a pop route, but they were like, “it’s not exactly as we were hoping”. [laughs] So, I mean, they got a lot of flak for that, but they looked after us very well. They spent a load of money trying to promote us; a lot of money on studios; videos…you know, no complaints with them really. Between them and Sony BMG, we were signed to Gun in Germany…
[loud, guttural vocal noises can suddenly be heard through a PA not too far away]
AA: Being sick, poor lad! Poor lad’s put his hand on the kettle! [laughs] You know, but we were signed to Gun in Germany and they were awesome but outside Germany it was Sony BMG and a lot of the countries just didn’t care. It’s like we had really good crowds and following in Norway, but we’d go to Norway and there’d be no press, no interviews. And that’s what we found more than anything, it was a lack of help from some territories on each label. But Century Media is more like the fantastic ride we had on Music For Nations. It’s very similar, and they’re so passionate about music. They’re always coming up with new ideas and wanting to help things. They’re into it, and it’s a wonderful relationship to have again. I mean, MFN was like the dream label - we got on so well with people there; they were great to us, obviously. We were doing really well as well. Now with Century Media we seem to have had quite a resurgence over the last few years…as in concerts and some UK shows. Half the time we’d only do three UK shows and then just go to Europe anyway. The thing is, there’s so many bands touring at the same time because that’s where people make their money now. You don’t make any money from selling records because…well, there still are a lot of very honest people out there…but most bands will tell you their sales are a tenth of what they were, but you’re still playing to the same amount of people or more, and that’s a large amount of revenue. So everyone goes on tour and…especially in the recession, people can’t afford to buy tickets for every gig. You know, it’s hard work.
MD: One thing that seems to be uneffected by the recession is entertainment because you go to gigs and they’re sold out, and you think hang on, they’ve no money, but I guess it’s people alleviating their doom and gloom by going to see some gig or entertainment fix.
AA: Yeah, when you need a pick-me-up. But being with Century Media is excellent. It’s been working very, very well actually.
MD: Yeah, they’re a label that seem to really promote their bands.
AA: Yeah, they believe in the music, and they’re actually into the music, everyone who works there, so that’s a help.
MD: Definitely. You released your original demos earlier this year…
MD: Why did you decide to do that at that time after all these years, and did you have any hesitations about unleashing those to the general public?
AA: The main reason was because the record company had done it with Hellhammer, their demos, and they suggested doing it with ours. We do get requests from people trying to get hold of them and things like that, and he was like “well, it’s not really gonna cost a lot to put it out there; it’s just sat there, why not.” It actually took us longer to track down the tapes than it did to actually sort anything out with them! A guy who used to have a fanzine years ago, he had them in France for some reason! I may have given him them for some reason, I don’t know why! [laughs] It’s just one of those silly things, but it took us ages to track them down. It’s just one of those things…you can print off so many, and there’s fans who want them.
MD: All the hardcore fans, of course. What’s currently happening with the ‘No Celebration’ book?
AA: Erm…I don’t know, because it started off as one thing and then it started morphing into a different book project entirely, so I don’t know. I think it’s in limbo for a little bit at the minute to be fair.
MD: Apart from an occasional change of drummer, your core lineup has stayed the same since the start, which is pretty impressive to be honest! Are the four of you still driven by the same things you were twenty years ago?
AA: Yeah, exactly, and from before then. We’re old friends. I’ve known Greg since I was eleven because he was in the original classroom. Actually, Tuds, the original drummer, he sat behind me at school when I was eleven. I still see him now all the time. He lives closer to me in London than when we lived in Halifax! Nick I’ve known since I was twelve, we used to go BMX-ing together. I’ve known Steve since I was sixteen because we just loved the same sort of metal. It’s like old friends. That’s the core. The thing that keeps us together is our love of the same sort of comedy.
MD: What sort of comedy?
AA: Oh, everything from over the years like Blackadder; Alan Partridge…everything really.
MD: Finally, you’ve achieved so much in your career to date - do you have any unfulfilled ambitions for the band?
AA: I’ve done most things actually. When I was a kid it was playing Monsters of Rock and we did the last one in 1996. Get a record out was the other one. I don’t know really…to enjoy it for as long as possible and I think, nowadays, we’re enjoying it more than we ever have done because we appreciate what we have more. Every year you get a bit older and you just genuinely appreciate what you have, you know. We’re pretty lucky to be still doing it after all this time.
MD: Definitely. Well thank you very much for your time.
AA: It’s an absolute pleasure. Thank you very much.