Popular music history has been an oral one by popular music’s nature. Academic writing about popular music in general has been scarce until not more than thirty years ago. Considering this, it is not so unfathomable that extreme metal or more specifically doom metal has received much less attention from both academic and journalistic scholars/authors. I am planning to write about doom metal in oral history and potential uses of these sources in order to add this neglected genre of music to the popular music narrative.
What makes doom metal an interesting source of study is its apparent but underexposed existence in metal music. While many consider Black Sabbath as one of the first heavy metal bands ever, not as many are not aware that the earliest examples of their music, which showed the clear break from a rock/hard rock tradition, belong to the doom metal aesthetic that developed heavily
influenced by these albums.
There are many oral history sources about doom metal, even though the amount is not comparable to other metal genres. My essay will focus on these sources, the techniques they employ with comparisons to other genres, and it will discuss how these sources can further be used.
My main objective in doing this interview with Aaron Stainthorpe is learning about his ideas regarding his music making process and his thoughts on the doom metal genre. He is a very valuable musician, as I mentioned in my previous post, because My Dying Bride stands out as one of the first strands that diverge from a more traditional approach to metal music. I am also deeply concerned with the connection that he makes between his musical choices and significant events from his life story. This will help illuminate certain aspects of doom metal as a genre, and it will provide the first data in a larger scale research project. I am hoping to provide a sense of authenticity present among doom metal musicians regarding their music.
Another important aspect of the interview is hopefully going to be about influences. As the influences in metal music, starting from the early beginnings in 1970s but especially important after 1990s, appear to be historically connected along with literature, it will be interesting to hear Aaron’s thoughts on this influence, and I will try to learn more about his musical and extra-musical influences when he is thinking about the music of My Dying Bride. His ideas may also redirect the planned research in another beneficial way.
What concerns me most about this interview is the fact that Aaron has been interviewed many times. That is why I want to focus my interview a little bit more than a life story interview, as his life story can be heard from different types of media. Avoiding reiteration of the same information in a redundant way while avoiding the pitfalls of doing an interview within a paradigm that I belong to in one way or another will be the biggest challenge of this project.
Interviews with influential people can be invaluable resources for investigating their ideas more intimately and focused, thus giving the opportunity to reach more informed conclusions in a research. Doom metal in the extreme metal paradigm, as opposed to traditional doom metal, being my current and planned future research topic, my idea for an interview is to conduct one with an influential musician whose music may be thought as showing this genre’s musical qualities.
My Dying Bride is a band of UK origin, Bradford, West Yorkshire to be exact, that formed in 1989 (See O2backstagechat, My Dying Bride: Doom Metal Heroes, 2012). They released twelve albums, and currently working on their thirteenth. They are largely considered as one of the pioneering bands in the death doom metal subgenre, which represents one of the most important breakpoints from the traditional doom metal that began with Black Sabbath in the 1970s. Also, My Dying Bride’s music has been developing in the last three decades continuously, hence they remain an influence in the doom metal scene in general, especially death doom metal, and gothic doom metal subgenres. I hope to do an interview with the vocalist, songwriter, and one of the founding members of My Dying Bride, Aaron Stainthorpe.
My involvement with doom metal scene in one or another goes back almost fifteen years, so this will present one of the challenges of conducting an interview within this scene. Reflexivity and the idea of autoethnography, while considering the crucial differences between ethnography and oral history, will be important issues to be considered. Another challenge specific to this interview will be not reiterating information that is already available. Because of My Dying Bride’s history, there are many interviews currently readily available around the Internet and other journalistic sources. Thus this interview will not solely be a life history interview, but an interview focusing on the musician and his musical ideas, acknowledging his life story in the relevant places, especially regarding the issues raised with the aid of applying affect theory into doom metal music making.