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Interview - Dani Filth (Cradle Of Filth)

Interview with Dani Filth from Cradle Of Filth
by Daniel Fox at 08 May 2014, 7:35 PM

An old giant putting out an old relic. Understanding the second wave of Black Metal comes also in the form of old CRADLE OF FILTH songs, and what better way to comprehend the old ways with the new compilation of “Total Fucking Darkness”. Daniel Fox talked with Dani Filth about this new release and how it relefects on the new generation. For the rest, find out.

Good morning Dani, thank you for agreeing to this interview mate, my magazine Metal Temple has never actually spoken to you before, so I’m rather chuffed. How are things?

Good thing you, yeah I’m very well.

Awesome. Now, admittedly I’m actually a relatively new fan of Cradle of Filth; God knows why it has taken me this long. You know, 22 years later and you guys have come out with this litle treasure, “Total Fucking Darkness”. How exactly did this reimagining come about?

Well, I believe it came about from a reignition of being friends with the co-founder of Cradle of Filth, our old guitarist, Paul Ryan, who originally left the band between “The Principle of Evil Made Flesh” and “Vempire” to form THE BLOOD DIVINE, literally when the band split in half. But that’s another story; cue 18 years on, chance meeting involves going out having a meal and some beers and we just got chatting and reminiscing about stuff, and he mentioned Neil, who ran Cacophonous records back in the day and who put out our first two records, had done some stuff for a few projects he’d been working wit. He \[Neil] suggested this whole idea of putting out the demo again; remastering it, re-cutting it vinyl-wise and finding some hidden treasures from some old rehearsals, a track from the now-defunct Tombstone record “Goetia” and a bunch of old photos and that which we searched for and had a bit of a laugh over and, yeah, just something that, I guess, would give the old school fans a bit of a treat and show new people where the band originally came from and all-in-all to coincide it with this year’s 20th anniversary for the release of our first album.

Oh yeah. Actually, introducing the new fans to the older stuff, I think that’s pretty important; I often prefer the older stuff of extreme bands, even though I really enjoyed the “Manticore..” album. How important do you think it is for the newer fans to hear the band’s roots, as much as they would any new material?

I think it’s important, yeah, I mean this is where the band came from. Every time I look back on that particular era, it’s with rose-tinted spectacles, but definitely a general sense of good well-being and nostalgia. It was a very important era for extreme music, anyway, because it was literally just wrising out of the underground at that point, and this was really right on the cusp of the second wave of black metal, as well. So, yeah, I think it’s important; it just shows the roots, and to bring it up to date with a nice, spanking-new master – I mean, it’s never going to as polished as modern Cradle records. Nature of the Beast; it was recorded on a 4-track in a field in East Anglia. I think it’s important and I think it’s relevant as much today as it was back then, and it kind of paves the way for the next release of Cradle of Filth, because we’ve already, as a band, started writing. We were supposed to be taking this year off and henceforth this fitted quite snuggly into our calendar, as it were, but since being out on tour, a co-headline tour with Behemoth recently, the band have just sort have gone straight back into it; we’re already quite a way into writing for our next record. So it’s also quite important because it paves the way for the future.

Yeah, I’m sure they’re \[the fans] are rabid for new material. How goes the writing, and have you guys started recording for the next album yet? I hear 2015 is the lucky number.

Yeah, it is next year for sure.  I mean, we’ve started writing, we have about 8 tracks, we’ve been looking at about 20 and then whittling those down to 10 for the album and 4 bonus tracks or extra material. We’re in negotiations for a new record company as well, and so it’s going really well, bearing in mind we were supposed to be taking a break, so we’re very well ahead of schedule. Another reason why I think it’s important that “Total Fucking Darkness” is put out and fully-realised is that the new Cradle stuff is kind of like slightly old Cradle stuff, in that it’s old Cradle stuff with a totally new slant. It’s harkening back more to the “Dusk..”/”Cruelty and the Beast” era, so more intricate, more ornate, fast, sort-of Iron Maiden-esque harmonies, but a real emphasis on atmosphere and twin guitars.

Twin guitars, eh? Could this mean, perhaps, the introduction of a new guitarist or are you guys gonna stick with James?

Actually, James and Paul are both out of the equation. Neither of them came on tour with us; James because he’s had a serious neck injury for some while and was supposed to go into hospital after many consultations. It \[the operation] was quite a serious one because they were gonna move his trachea and fix his spinal column. On the morning of the operation, baring in mind he’d been waiting for a couple of years, he found out from the doctor about to perform the surgery, that they were gonna fuse two of his neck bones together, so he refused it. So he’s kind of out of the equation for even picking a guitar up for a year or so. As for Paul, Paul moved to America; he’s fully indulged in a side project, didn’t really want to come out on tour with us and had some family issues as well. And the band kind of just grew together whilst being on the road, so we now have Richard Shaw who’s a fellow British person who resides in Darby and teaches guitar at universities; he’s great. And also close friend of our drummer, Martin, a guy called “Ashok”, who also plays for the band ROOT.

You know, I have actually heard the band ROOT before; that’s quite welcomed news. Just going back to the new material, you said it’s sort of going back to the old stuff. Compared to “The Manticore…” album, what can you say about how it’s different or similar?

It’s hard to say really; it’s hard to generalise, I mean, at the moment we’ve just got the music; I’d say it was faster in the picking, and more dual-guitar harmonies and such forth, and more interesting use of keyboards as well. This is where I think it differs from previous material; we’re experimenting with a lot of different strange noises and strange instrumentation. We’re gonna have harp on there; our keyboardist \[Lindsay] plays harp. I think it’s just gonna be a much more involved record because, for the first time in a long while, we’re gonna be writing as a 6-piece.

As a 6-piece? Good stuff, man. Before I get into live shows, one of the tracks on the demo, I was a little bit confused about “Spattered in Faeces”…

It was a track between our second and third demos, we were actually gong to sign with a small label called Tombstone Records, who were based in London. Fortunately, we didn’t; unfortunately, they didn’t pay for the sessions whils we recorded our “Goetia” record, and during the recording process we were only allowed to take one track out as a kind of way to listen to listen to it and see what it sounded like. This was the only track that survived from those sessions because they refused to pay for those sessions, the master tapes were taped over, because obviously tape was becoming very expensive at that point. So that’s the only survivor from that record. Unfortunately, it’s the only survivor, but fortunately, had we remained with Tombstone Records, I think our future as a band would’ve gone down a shittier path.

Pun not intended, or was it? I read that the track is not about shit; can you elaborate on what it is about?

As far as I can remember it, it’s about the Protestant and Catholic faith and I guess a little bit about the Inquisition, Torquemada and the witch burnings of the 15th, 16th and 17th century.

Well that sure is hell an interesting song title for that kind of subject material. Onto the future; I’d like to get into the subject of live shows. Now, like you said, 2014 is the 20th anniversary of the first album. In terms of live shows, do you have anything special planned? Maybe an “in entirety” show?

Well, no, because we were due to take this year off; we’re doing one big show in Canada at the Amnesia Rock Festival. Now that we’re back as a fully-armed and fully-operational unit, we’ve decided, yes, we’re gonna do shows; another Belgian one was confirmed yesterday; I’m not sure what that is. We have two in England; one is like a warm-up show, very low-fee for Alt-fest where we’re headlining the metal stage, and then in October we’re going to Finland and the Baltic states, and then 19 dates in Russia. Then, my other band, DEVILMENT, will be going out on tour in November but I can’t tell you what bands they are yet becaues I’m quite reknowned for cursing things for mentioning them, you know what I mean? Touchwood. Yeah, so November will be busy with my other band, and December is now pencilled in for the beginning of the album; we’ve pencilled in 3 months because obviously you have Christmas breaking up a little of that, and New Year’s, so we’re looking at a release for 2015. But 2015 is gonna be a busy year for Cradle in general because we’re gonna be touring the world; there’ll be a whole slew of Summer festivals, and bearing in mind that was the year that we were gonna start up again, having taken a year out, we’ve got a load of stuff already booked in, without the fact that we’ll have a new promotions company, new publicist and on top of everything, a new record label.

Wow; new everything, sure as hell sounds exciting. At the very least.

I just need a new brain to go along with it.

*Chuckles* I’m sure you’ll be fine. With regards to the future tours, can you talk about any plans to visit countries that the band has never played in before?

You mean like NEW ZEALAND?!

Yeah *laughs* maybe New Zealand.

We’ve always wanted to play in New Zealand but we haven’t had a decent enough offer. When I mean a decent-enough offer, we come close; you know, Japan, Australia, but we’ve never had an offer that will pay for the band to divert from our route. I mean, last year, we did most of Asia and ended up on Australia, did 5 dates there, great time. But we’d love to go to New Zealand. There’s been talk of South Africa; we were supposed to be playing as a special guest to Slayer in Turkey last year which we haven’t played; subsequently that got stopped because of the insurgents in Turkey and the riots, and the government banning any gathering of people over 10; they obviously didn’t want 35,000 metalheads congregating at some point near Ankara. Yeah, so there’s a few places that we haven’t played that we’re quite eager to go out and play, it’s just a case of the demand being there and the promoters wanting to bring us. We hear all the time from people in South Africa and in New Zealand “Yeah you gotta come over, why do you keep ignoring us?” Well, there’s a reason for that: it’s because we have to be paid to play there and we have to be asked to play there.

Yeah, it’s never been a case of being “ignored”, I mean, it has not ever been the band’s fault. I am actually aware of a promoter; I wouldn’t be surprised if they came up with a decent offer; they brought Behemoth here last year and that was almost a sellout, so, hell, I might even put a word in for you at some point.

That would be good, because next year we’re planning to go back to Australia and of course you have to kind-of cross-collaterise to fly all the way out to New Zealand for one show. It’s not financially viable, I mean visas, flights, blah blah, you’re talking more than the gig’s worth just there. But when you combine that with an Australian tour, a Japanese tour, Thailand, that sort of thing, Taiwan, then it’s a pleasurable kind of interlude, and it’s something we’re very much looking forward to.

Well, here’s hoping. Good luck to both of us. Wow, thanks, that’s me; thank you very much for the interview, it was an absolute pleasure, I’m glad I can now call myself a fan. \[Dani laughs] Do you have any last words you’d like to throw in?

Well, just I’d make people aware that “Total Fucking Darkness” obviously has all the bonus material and artwork, and there’s still a limited edition, which was limited strictly to 666 copies worldwide; I think there’s about 100 copies of that left, which is a sort of double gate-fold, marble-etched, spattered, 2-coloured vinyl, that’s available from Mordgrimm, but other than that, Amazon and most record stores will be stocking “TFD”. But people can check out our Facebook page, because that seems to be like the media choice at the moment; it’s quite a good platform to launch things off because, you know, I like writing and I can post stuff all the time and we’ve got great artists and photographers that work around the band so we get to highlight there stuff at the same point, so that’s probably the best place to check up on any news concerning Cradle of Filth.

Excellent; I will make sure I do that. Well, again thank you very much and good luck for the future.

Cheers, man, thanks ever so much. Cheerio!

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