“Tantric, necromantic, a wank fantasy of faith
She religiously feeds
A feverous all man-eater
In the trees I see her eyes like slithering she of snakes
Monstrous this chimera
In her beautiful anger”
After the cancelation of the American tour, many of our heads hung low. So much anticipation to see such an amazing band, and to have it ripped from us, like a slap in the face! Here at RockRevolt we screamed out “Why?!” Personally, I hung my head and shed a few tears. In learning and researching about the Cradle, the more the disappointment clung to my chest like a noxious disease. During my bleakest moment of despair, little did I know that I would be speaking to Dani Filth less than two weeks later about that very same scandal.
Read on about his feelings about the immigration issue and tour cancelation, and more!
Hi Dani. How is it going today?
Good. Sorry, I’m a little late. I was stuck in traffic coming back from the studio. It’s a bit wet here; a bit miserable.
It’s a bit wet here too, so I feel your pain. Before we get started, I want to start off by saying how bummed out I was about the cancelation of the U.S. tour. How is that coming along? Can we expect to see you out here any time soon?
Well, nobody is more bummed out than I am. I was really looking forward to coming. It was such a simple policy that was brought in. Things just got messed up and the consulate couldn’t turn it around for an indeterminate amount of time; up to 14 weeks. As it turned out, it wasn’t that long, but we just couldn’t risk it. We just got the approval last week, but obviously the tour had already started. It was an absolute nightmare. Nobody knew anything about this. It was a new protocol that has come in between the U.S. government and the British consulate, or the American consulate in London. It was an absolute bloody nightmare. Hopefully, they realize that they are at fault, but you can’t really argue against a whole government.
Hopefully now, we’ve held out for a longer tour. Some people had said that this one was rather short, which it was, and I don’t know why. Perhaps it was because there are a lot of bands out and about at the present. It was a total nightmare. We were utterly, UTTERLY, mortified about it. (laughs) It was five weeks of work that could have been. We had just gotten back from Europe and we were playing awesomely. It was like a dream. It was really enjoyable. So, we were looking forward to playing in America, because it’s a few gigs between Wal-Mart stops. (laughs)
Um. Sure? If you like that sort of thing…
(laughs) No. Pardon my French, but it was all a royal fuck up.
I will have to check my own paperwork now, in case I need to move between my home country and the U.S.
It was just so unforeseen that nobody could have known it was happening. I mean, with the amount of times we’ve been to America, with no problems whatsoever, this time it happened to be a problem.
Right. Perhaps it is serendipitous. Greater things to come.
Hopefully. I am a strong believer in that things happen for a reason. I know it doesn’t look great at the moment, because there are a lot people that are pissed off. Believe me. We are as pissed off as anybody else, if not more. We’ve had two weeks to twiddle our thumbs about it. We are just trying to get by. As I said, I think things happen for a reason, and will just lead to a bigger and better tour, later in the year.
There you go. Positivity! I won’t lie. I’m a more recent fan, so I’m not as familiar with your previous work. I’m very familiar with your current album. Tell me more about Cradle of Filth, and what I should be appreciative of regarding your music.
It’s kind of hard for one to say, being the one standing so close to the fire. It’s very theatrical. If you are not familiar with our other works, we’ve done four concept records (some say six concept records because loose concepts are concepts themselves). We are a very cinematic band as well. We just finished another video to a track called “For Your Vulgar Delectation” which was supposed to come out in conjunction with the American tour, which has been pushed back for four weeks, until we go on to South America (which we are really looking forward to), Asia, and then Australia. So, it’s going to come out in conjunction with that. That was shot like a little zombie movie. It’s really cool actually. We’ve also done various other cinematic videos in the past. We did a horror film called Cradle of Fear. So, we play on those kinds of things. Each of our albums are not a “benchmark” or “landmark.” Each album is not like the other. Each one is vastly different from the previous album, and likewise, all the way back to the Cradle of Filth.
In listening to your latest offering, I could truly appreciate some of the musical nuances. I am a French Horn player, so those were the standout moments for me. Tell us about where you musical passion comes from and whether or not you were classically trained?
Thank you. We just did a full orchestral album, in our earlier work, Midnight in the Labyrinth, but that was prior to this record, and it was more of a project for the fans. We only put out about 25,000 copies. When we were on Sony, and had Sony financial backing (I hasten to add), we got to work with an 80 piece orchestra in Budapest. It was the Budapest Film and Radio orchestra, which is amazing. That was on the album Damnation of the Day. As far as where the passion comes from, the bands that we grew up with (metal bands like Slayer, Venom, and the whole thrash movement, and black metal – the extreme stuff, and as fans of other music, like English goth stuff, like Sisters of Mercy, and what have you, and marrying stuff that has keyboards and atmospheres. I’ve always been a fan of Misfits and Danzig, King Diamond, and things that have that theatrical dark element to it. That is where it all comes from. I also have a big love for soundtracks. I just can’t stand to listen to someone screaming down my ear hole when I’m trying to write. I step through and pace while I’m writing by listening to an appropriate soundtrack.
Which is your currently playing on your soundtrack collage?
At the moment, the soundtracks that I’m listening to are Dracula (that’s one of my favorites), From Hell, by Trevor Jones. Let’s see: The Fly. Phillip Glass’s Candyman, Elliot Goldenthal’s Interview with a Vampire, Danny Elfman’s Sleepy Hollow and Nightbreed.
Fantastic! Those are some of my favorites as well. In researching, I’ve found that you’ve been in the business for quite some time. How do you feel that Cradle of Filth has been able to remain afloat among today’s …
(laughs) Remain afloat among so many other turds?
(laughs) That’s right! What are you doing right?
We’ve always had a bit of a vision. It’s hard to sum yourself up when you are in that position, because it all sort of comes with the band. It’s what we’ve always been like. I think there is a certain lifestyle around Cradle of Filth. There is a big book called The Gospel of Filth. You can find it on Amazon. It is five years’ worth of writing on the occult, that is based around each of our albums, and it has contributions from people like Doug Bradley (actor, Hellraiser), Ingrid Pitt (actress, Doctor Zhivago), and Christopher Lee (actor, Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Hobbit film trilogy); singers as well, everybody from Bruce Dickinson, to Glen Benton from Deicide. It is basically an exploration of everything. I think that is what attracts people. The merchandise is always unique. The artwork is always unique. We’ve had famous people doing walkthroughs of the album, and are represented in the booklets. We’ve always wanted to make it deep enough so people could scratch beneath the surface if they wanted more than just the music; they have this cinematic audio thing going on: something immersive.
I can respect that. Wikipedia has you labeled as a “Luciferian.” Is that an accurate statement, and do you feel this has had an impact on your success as an artist?
I’ve always been interested in the occult. I’ve always been interested in horror movies and witchcraft. I lived for a long time in the village, in a house. The whole area was known as one of the “witch” counties in England. The house in which I lived for quite a while, was where the witch-finder, General Matthew Hopkins often stayed. That influenced things as well. I’ve always been interested in that sort of a thing. In growing older and on, it sort of grew out of being simply interested in the darkside of things. Like Van Helsing, he really didn’t want to kill the vampires. He morphed into something more interesting and become part of their life. In respect to the term “Luciferian”, I think somebody regarded me as that. It is more of a “lawful chaos” as opposed to “malignant chaos” and being a bit rebellious as well.
Sure. Do you think people’s natural curiosity about the occult has attracted more listeners to your music?
I think that is part of it. The word “occult” actually means “forbidden” and “undiscovered.”
Right. I think there is the curiosity, the love for gothic imagery, and music coupled with that, and literature (I’m a really big fan of Victorian literature: Sheridan Le Fanu, Bram Stoker, etc.) I think there are pockets of lots of things that people are interested in. There are lots of strings to a bow. We are quite a visual band as well. Hopefully, first and foremost, above the videos and the book, and everything like that, the music is good. It is what metal should be, coupled with an endo-gothicism: lush keyboards, and interludes.
I completely agree. I’ve been listening to The Manticore and Other Horrors quite a bit, especially on my commute between work and home…
Shouting at other drivers, “Get out of the way! That is my piece of the road!”
(laughs) Not so much! It’s more like, “Stay in front of me a little longer. I want to stay here listening to this.” It makes it an enjoyable drive! Give us a breakdown of the album in your words.
The album, actually, in layman’s terms, could be misconstrued if were translated into Japanese, for example. Basically, it’s about monsters. I’m a big fan of H.P. Lovecraft, and there is an element of “Lovecraftian” giants: antediluvian titans reclaiming the Earth and what have you. There are a few gothic love stories in there. There are some songs about personal demons: facing fears, doubts, and negative emotions. It is quite positive as well. There are some songs about mythological creatures. The Manticore, is a mythological horror that was regarded as being real in various Indian provinces, even now. Back in the days of Victoriana, the British Empire was received as an invading force, and the figurehead was changed from a rampant lion to a rampant Manticore, and the human head was the face of Queen Victoria. It is very interesting. In any case, the album, at its very core, is about monsters of various mythological, occult referenced, and personal.
So, what is your personal Manticore?
Well, it wouldn’t be so much as a personal Manticore, as a personal demon. Like anybody, a fear for death maybe? It’s a fear that you have to face. Maybe not as much as in Manticore, but the previous orchestral album called Midnight In the Labyrinth, where it sums up that moment where you have to face your own personal monster, go through the maze of your mind, overcome it, and find your way out to freedom.
Do you have a fear of death?
More so like everyone has a shadow of doubt thrown over them, or are fearful of mistakes they are guilty of, or fearful of. It’s what wakes you up in the small hours, and you can’t get back to sleep; that kind of a thing.
Ok. “Frost on her Pillow” has a video out. It’s gorgeous and frightening at the same time, with an air of Grimm’s Fairytales. How does the video relate to the song?
The song has a very “fairytale-esque” quality to the lyrics. We were wanting to do something in that vein, as opposed to the new video , which includes more horror and is a bit more violence (people getting set on fire, and zombies, graveyards, and things like this.) The video you are speaking of has a Sleeping Beauty vibe to it, with the Incubus attacking her in her sleep. It is in the vein of gothic horror. Most everybody has seen within the films that have come out recently: twisted legends of fairytales, and what have you. It’s like a passion play as well, I guess: theatrical.
Very. And you worked with Stuart Birchall on this video?
On this particular one, yeah.
Was he your first choice of director for this one?
Yes. For this one, yeah. We’ve done quite a few very colorful videos in the past. We are very proud of it, because he has brought out all those elements we were looking for. I think it’s a shame that the new one isn’t out at the present. We were really proud of the new one, because it was taking things to a new level. We brought in stunt people, and we shot one day in a studio in which we re-created a forest, in which to film the up close and personal stuff. It was great. It was like shooting a film, all over again.
How much of the video was Stuart’s influence, and how much was yours?
I think it was probably 60/40, in his favor, to be fair. He was basing everything on the lyrics of the song. He took an inspiration from that, and within the limits for what we were trying to achieve. For example, for that particular video, instead of placing it in a Tim-Burton-esque forest, we placed it in a strange, dirty, labyrinth-like, munitions factory. It had an element of Pan’s Labyrinth in it, as it was discolored, and set in a weird environment.
You have a few other songs out there with lyric videos. Which song will be the next one to have an official video?
The next song is “For Your Vulgar Delectation,” which is the second track on the album. That was chosen because of the drive of the song. We could cut the video well, and give it a good tempo. It was the right length, and it felt right. Obviously, when you come to choose a song for video, you look for one which has the right length, character, lyrics, and feel to work with the visuals.
Absolutely. Tell me about the process of writing for you. How do you get these ideas from inspiration to album?
Like most people, inspiration (nowadays) comes from a series of avenues open to people: film, the environment, time of year, the environment in which you are recording. We’ve always sort of run into some rural studios (usually, they are residential, which means you live there). We kind of did this on this album. We split the time between two studios at the same time, so it took half the of the length of time it would usually take to make the album, which actually made it a lot more relaxed, because there was no worry or need to go, “well, we have three weeks to do all the vocals”, etc. etc. The environment is always important. The studios we’ve used have been out on the countryside. It either is awesome or it sucks! (laughs) depending on the vibes we get from that isolation I guess. It always help if its in the vicinity of a nice country pub as well. (laughs) In any case, inspiration comes from all sorts of things. You have to keep yourself in tune to what you want to achieve. Do you know what I mean? Inspiration should come to you all of the time really.
I think I would be very much inspired by that country pub. I might have to hit one up on my way home! That was my last question. Before I let you go, do you have any message you would like to relay to your fans?
Yes! Thank you for the support! We can’t apologize enough for the “bugger up” that this whole immigration issue surrounding the cancelation of the tour. Hopefully, fingers crossed, it will work out for the best, and we will come back, do it bigger and better, and be a little more pissed off than we were before this happened. Thank you for your support. The new album is at Nuclearblast and BestBuy at the moment. You can’t go wrong really. It is called The Manticore and Other Horrors, and keep your eyes peeled for the “For Your Vulgar Delectation video.”
Fans can order The Manticore and Other Horrors from the links above or below:
Visit with Cradle of Filth Online at any of the links provided in the article above, or below: