Brendan Crabb of Australia's Loud magazine recently conducted an interview with vocalis Lee Dorrian of the seminal U.K. doom metal act CATHEDRAL. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
On CATHEDRAL's final studio album, "The Last Spire", which will be recorded and released in 2012:
Dorrian: "We're planning to begin recording in April. We want it out next year, because as of next year the band will be no more. We're working on material at the moment. When we get back from Australia, we'll have a good, solid month to fine-tune the songs. We'll hopefully have it released in September/October of 2012. I'm going to see our artist Dave Patchett this weekend — he does all our album covers — and just sit with him and go through all of the concepts for the album cover."
On what the next CD will sound like:
Dorrian: "Musically, I would say 'The Guessing Game' was more of a summarisation of everything we had done. 'The Last Spire' is more like our final stamp, really. I think it'll be a lot heavier and more doom-influenced than anything else we've done in recent years. But there will also be keyboards, and hopefully it'll be a really progressive doom record. I don't want to give away too much, but it'll probably be a little heavier. We'll be much more hands-on with the production. This is our last one, so we want to go out with a bang and pretty much do it ourselves because we can. The last two albums (with producer Warren Riker) turned out great. We've had producers in the past, (where) we would have some out there ideas, and some producers would just shrug their shoulders or laugh. Warren was great, (but) we want to make the last statement ourselves, like we did with the first album. A lot of people thought we were crazy to make an album like (1991's) 'Forest Of Equilibrium'. People asked us what we were doing. It was going against the grain of what was going on at the time. So we'll finish the way we started."
On his post-CATHEDRAL plans, which include overseeing his long-running record label Rise Above Records:
Dorrian: "I've done that for more than 20 years now. It's a full-time job really. I will be able to dedicate a lot more time to that, which I want to do . . We go from strength to strength; we don't sell millions of records, but we're still here. It's a testament to all the vultures and vampires in the industry that have killed it. People have been short-sold, I think… I think people see in Rise Above that you can discover things yourself, without just being told about it by the hype of the (mainstream) media. We do this out of love for the music and I think people are slowly coming around to that. We try to make our releases, things like our vinyl releases special. I've been collecting records since I was eight or nine and I always like to put myself on the other side of the fence. I think about how as a fan myself, how I would like it to be presented. I spend a lot of time thinking about that. If Rise Above wasn't the label I started, I would be a fan of it myself."
On how the music industry's current woes, including illegal downloading, have affected Rise Above:
Dorrian: "Despite all the chaos in the industry and people saying downloading is killing the industry, bigger labels should have given greater thought to their audience. It's just the way you control it, really. There's pros and cons to downloading. People who like labels like Rise Above want to have an artefact, a physical copy from the label in their hands. We have a steady audience around the world who buys our records; in the past few years, we've sold the most records we ever have. If you're a commercial label, your audience doesn't really care about things like production or artwork. There's not much dedication from the label or the audience. If it's presented in a way that's a lot more sincere, I think people respond to it. The No. 1 album in the charts that week, you can buy that in the supermarket along with your toilet roll. To buy our releases, you have to go out of your way to find out about it and find out how to buy it."
On possible future musical endeavors:
Dorrian: "Any new musical projects will be spontaneous. Once CATHEDRAL is finally over, I want to sit down and spend a few months to a year, reflecting on what the band's done. When you're doing it, you're always so busy; you're always having to think about the next thing you're doing. So it will be good to do that."
Read the entire interview from Loud magazine.