Another year, another fantastic female bass player to reignite The Headbanging Moose and thaw all the ice and snow accumulated in the past few weeks. Coincidence or not, she’s also a “doom” bassist just like last year, corroborating the darkest side of music always welcomes any metal chick that chooses to ride the four-strings with arms wide open. I’m talking about Lena Abé, the awesome bassist for British Doom Metal icons My Dying Bride and a woman that, above all things, loves her family, friends and heavy music.
Lena was born on January 4, 1983 in Tokyo, Japan, but moved to the UK with her family when she was still a little baby. Half Japanese and half British, she was raised in Yorkshire and, according to Lena herself, she has the proper accent to prove it. Coming from a musical family and seeing her family as one of her major influences, Lena started in the world of music when she was around 10 years old, having keyboards and other creative toys instead of the usual dolls. She started playing the guitar then, watching her father play his own and wanting to be like him. She mentioned during one of her interviews that the rest of her story is quite typical for most musicians, as she played with some bands in high school, got more involved with the metal scene, and then finally joined My Dying Bride.
Being so close to family has brought lots of benefits to Lena, especially in terms of her inner strength and perseverance, never giving up on her dreams and projects. Our badass bassist believes learning is a never-ending cycle, saying she’s always learning new things by herself or from other people and musicians. By the way, Lena said she has a drum kit in her cellar, which she’s determined to master at some point in her life. With that said, it’s easy to understand why she truly hates things like selfishness, rudeness and inconsideration, and why one of her favorite quotes is “What matters is not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog.”
She said she doesn’t remember exactly when she got to know My Dying Bride before joining them, but she remember seeing the band in magazines such as Kerrang and Terrorizer and on MTV. She really got into them around 2004 by listening to their album Songs of Darkness, Words of Light and by seeing them live, and that was more than enough for her to begin exploring the rest of the band’s catalogue.
In regards to her career with them, Lena replaced Adrian Jackson as the band’s bassist in 2007, which was around when Dan Mullins replaced John Bennett on drums. She used to live just a couple of streets apart from the band’s guitarist and founding member Andrew Craighan and they had some friends in common, so when Adrian left the band Andrew asked her to audition. I don’t need to say Andrew and the rest of the band loved her style and skills, right?
So far she has recorded with My Dying Bride the live album An Ode to Woe (2008); the full-length albums For Lies I Sire (2009), A Map of All Our Failures (2012) and Feel the Misery (2015); the EP’s Bring Me Victory (2009), The Barghest o’ Whitby (2011) and The Manuscript (2013); and the single Hollow Cathedra (2015), with For Lies I Sire being her favorite album by My Dying Bride, including all their previous releases from even when she wasn’t their bassist. She also played rhythm guitar for British Death/Black Metal band Severed Heaven between 2011 and 2014, but didn’t record anything with them except for their live performances. Some excellent options for the ones who want to listen to Lena kicking fuckin’ ass with her powerful bass guitar together with My Dying Bride are the songs Like a Perpetual Funeral, And My Father Left Forever, Bring Me Victory and Feel the Misery.
Our Nippo-British diva believes that spending time with the other band members on tour is one of the best things about being in a metal band, and among her most memorable moments on the road are meeting Adam Jones from Tool and him inviting her to their Manchester show as a VIP, and playing with Metallica and Mastodon in Athens, Greece in 2007. One important detail about this is that, according to Lena, that was only her sixth or seventh show with My Dying Bride, so you can imagine how much adrenaline was rushing through her veins then. In terms of her favorite cities and/or countries to visit or to perform with the band, she mentioned Moscow, Romania, Mexico City, Florida and, of course, Japan. And although being raised in the UK, she considers the UK metal scene very weak and depressing, where people are not willing to spend any money on local bands or travel any distance to see them live.
During her early teens, when she was a fan of alternative music such as Portishead, Janes Addiction and Weezer, she started looking for more powerful music, finally connecting to Heavy Metal. Among her favorite bands we can find dark and progressive acts like All Shall Perish, Behemoth, Tool, Septic Flesh, Tomahawk and Whitechapel, and as a fan of witch house she also enjoys the dark beats by bands like Salem, Mater Susperia Vision and RVT$TVX. In addition, one of her favorite most recent albums is Weighing Souls With Sand, from 2007, by The Angelic Process. Take a listen at this album HERE and you’ll see how dark the music enjoyed by Lena is. And if you want to know her list of the 11 most miserable songs in the world, simply click HERE. You will find amazing bands such as Nine Inch Nails and Type O Negative, especially this one with the song Red Water (Christmas Mourning), very powerful and, obviously, miserable.
Lastly, in terms of hobbies and other activities in her personal life, Lena mentioned she simply loves Wii, Xbox and video games in general, including retro gaming too, as well as she’s a fitness fanatic and likes to spend her evenings at the gym. Also, she reads a lot of true crime and lists Lost Highway as her favorite film. And guess what her favorite food is? Sushi, of course! She might have been raised in the UK, but her Japanese blood gets stronger and speaks up at least in this case.
Mayones Be 4 Gothic bass guitar
Mayones 5-String Patriot
Mayones Slogan custom 5-string
Trace Elliot AH600-12 Head amp head, 1518 + 1048H cabinets
“Prepare yourselves for failure after failure. If you can survive the disappointment and hardship you might just make it with some sanity intact.” – Lena Abé