The Man Behind the Madness: An Interview with Dani Filth of Cradle of Filth

Cradle of Filth are undeniably a household name in the metal world. After being lumped into the black metal category during the early years of their career over 25 years ago, they have broken free of that mold and have since held the flag high for all things extreme. I had the chance to sit down with the man behind the madness, Mr. Dani Filth, and discuss how he feels about where they are in their storied career. After a brief shared moment of laughter over the fact that Skype is now capable of transcribing entire conversations as they happen, we got down to business…

So what have you been up to?

I just got back from playing Bloodstock with my other band Devilment. We played Friday, but I stayed the whole weekend. I stayed up with the guitarist from Cradle of Filth at his house, and it was a bit crazy. I’m still tired from it. I got back last night (This interview took place on a Tuesday) and, as you can imagine, it turned into a bit of a party. It’s the last summer festival before we start getting professional for the world tour. We only had 45 minutes, but it was a good 45 minutes, it got a really good response. And it was a great festival as well. It’s not massive, it’s about 30 000 people, but       30 000 really good people.

That’s still quite a few people.

It is a few people, isn’t it?

Did you catch any of the other bands?

I only saw a few bands, because I was busy at the bar, but there was Arch Enemy, Megadeth, Possessed, Ghost, Kreator, Annihilator….

I just met Jeff a couple of weeks ago! He’s a really nice guy.

He is a lovely guy. We covered “Alice in Hell” on the new album. It’s on the special addition of the record. It’s a shame we don’t actually get that out to the journalists, ‘cause I consider the special addition the normal addition. They’re all our children, we love them equally. The reason we covered that right now is that we’ve bumped into Jeff Waters a couple of times and it was something that we’d always wanted to do, and so I mentioned it to him and he was quite into it. He’s heard it since and he loves it. We didn’t “over Cradle” it, if that makes any sense. We play it quite close to the original. And also it fit in very well with the rest of the record. It’s quite a complex song, so maybe it’s something that we couldn’t have done on a previous lineup, but I’m glad we’ve done it now, and I think it works very well.

So would you say you’re going to go towards a more classic thrash sound on this record?

Well, there’s a lot of different material on here, and I think it’s very ornate guitar-wise, very NWOBHM. When people mention that, they mean it’s either like Maiden or Priest. You know, it’s got a lot of twin guitar harmonies, and it’s the first record we’ve done in a long while where there’s no orchestral intro or outro or matinee piece in the middle. Those elements are contained within the bulk of the songs. So there’s a few things we’ve done quite differently. There’s acoustic work, and the last song is one of the heaviest songs we’ve done. We brought Liv Kristine who sang on [the album] Nymphetamine back for a track called “Vengeful Spirit.” There’s a choir on there, but it’s very centered around a lead soprano, so it’s very eerie, and mixes very well with the whole sort of Victoriana ghost-story feel. [This album has] some really great guitar solos, more so than on any other album we’ve done. So there’re things that are quite different. But it’s what you’d expect from Cradle of Filth. It doesn’t divert too far from the classic feel of the band, and people have likened it – because of the violence in the songs and the way they meander, and they cadence and what have you – to Cruelty and the Beast.

So there are the classic influences that still show.

Definitely, and I think that’s because our guitarists – and that includes the bass player – they have their favourite songs from Cradle history, so I’m sure they draw influence from those. And next year is when we’re releasing Cruelty and the Beast, but we’re remixing it. It’s the twentieth anniversary, and we also want to bolster up the sound so that it sounds big and plentiful, but at the same time we don’t really want to distract from the atmosphere.

So you’re coming close to four years with this steady lineup. Still going well?

Well, the album came around relatively quickly ’cause we decided to do a bit of a team-building exercise in Brno in the Chzech Republic, which is their second largest city, and that’s where Ashok – one of the guitarists – and Martin the drummer live. And because it was gonna be cheaper (they’ve also got their own set-up there), we were doing a gig also in Slovakia at the end of this week and a half. So anyway, long story short, we went there, and aside from visiting a lot of bars and doing sightseeing, a lot of pre-production had been done by the band, and rather than coming away with half the record and bits and pieces, we pretty much came back with about 85%. But then we get into the studio and we work with the same producer, Scott Atkinson, and he always finds some room for improvement. So it’s not as finite as one would think, even toward the back-end of the studio we were sort of changing around a few parts and what have you. It’s good that he can be genuinely honest about stuff and not just pander to our egos, and say, “Well if you like it, then that’s alright.” He’ll genuinely say, “You know, that’s a bit shitty, that bit… Do it again.” He’s a good friend of the band. He actually came and guitar tech’d for Devilment.

How long are you going to tour the album for?

It’s all gotta be done one way, if that makes any sense. You’ve gotta travel between each time zone. It sounds very confusing but its’ not. Basically we start in Europe, hit America – you don’t have to do it all in one go, obviously – Japan, Australia, and then Phillipines, Malaysia, and then we come back here. South America’s in there as well.  The bulk of it actually starts next year, although we are going to Japan and doing a British tour this year.

What kind of decision making process goes into your makeup and wardrobe?

That’s a very good question. In the past, my mother and my wife have made me costumes. We actually had some costumes made by some people called Scenesick this time. It was all really to do with how we wanted to present ourselves in the video. We took ourselves to Riga in Latvia on this album cycle because we wanted to work with the same artist. And then I found out from some of his closest peers that he was actually supposedly a better video director than he was an artist. So I [said], that’s great. Let’s pool all the money, let’s go to Riga because obviously it’s going to be a lot cheaper than doing it somewhere like London, and you can see from the video itself that it was again a big labour of love. We turned up a massive amount of crew, and the attention to detail with the forest being built and all these interactive characters was just phenomenal. We were very pleased that we did that because we were able to not only also get a photoshoot out of it, but we got the album artwork out with the video as well.

What’s on your Bucketlist?

I would like to actually get around to writing a novel, and then basing an album on that novel. A sort of integral piece of art. Normally you can get quite in depth lyrics, but it’d great to take those in depth lyrics and then look further into those, and perhaps from that branch out into a series of videos that interlink, so it’s a little bit more involved then – well, they’re never that standard – but a concept record. And then geek-wise, the band has always wanted to tour South Africa. We’re going to Tel-Aviv on this tour, which is something we’ve never done before, that’ll be great. Every time we try to play Turkey there’s always a massive riot, which means we can’t, so that’d be great as well. Antarctica (laughs), going on safari. It’s always nice when, as a band, you hit up somewhere new. We did a Russian tour a few years back, we did nineteen dates, and we went to some places I can’t even pronounce, these huge metropolises that just rise out of nowhere. That was exciting. As much as I love touring the same places, it’s always great when you do get to play somewhere new and refreshing. For example in South America, sometimes you go to like San Salvador or Guatemala, which is very eye-opening and subsequently very fun because of it.

Cradle of Filth will unleash Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay on the 22nd of September, and have already released a killer video clip forHeartbreak and Séanceas well as a lyric video forYou Will Know the Lion by His Claw.” After an appearance at the Loud Park Festival in Japan on October 15th, they will begin a massive world tour on October 30th which is expected to continue through to 2019.

Written and Compiled by Syd Ghan
*edited by Kate Erickson

About Syd Ghan 211 Articles
Syd Ghan is a Montreal media man, born and bred. After spending his formative years playing music on stages big and small across the city, he transitioned seamlessly into a career as a full-time writer, editor, and content manager. He has reviewed numerous bands both in concert and on record, written for a number of different blogs and online publications, been both a host and featured guest on various local podcasts and radio shows, and has even logged time judging live music competitions. In his spare time, he enjoys engaging in spirited debates over the finer points of pop-rock radio and he’s never met a chicken wing he didn’t like.

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