From Cradle to Grave...
CoC interviews Cradle of Filth's Dani
by: Adrian Bromley
Cradle Of Filth's lead singer Dani Filth lives in a world so vividly adorned by death, bloodlust, chaos, eroticism and darkened tales of vampirism that at times he is taken a back by how far off he is from reality and the ways of the outside world. His visions and views of society have gone out the window as the character which he has assumed the role of has become him. His world is adorned by gothic elements and meshed between catalystic screams of aggression and the thunderous wallop of black metal speed and crafty song writing.

But with all of these elements shaping his character, the bottom line is quite simple: he is a man with a mission. A mission to spread the hellfire tongue of his band in a way that no other band does -- or is capable of doing. Cradle of Filth is about ingenuity and passion overrun with mysticism and an undenying love of the underworld. Hatred and aggression fuels the work of Cradle of Filth and that is why many fans worldwide have become devoted followers of the band.

The band's latest horrific tale, _Cruelty and the Beast_, evokes images and ideals based around the life and perverse crimes of Countess Elizabeth Bathory. The noblewoman who lived in the Hungarian hills is believed to have killed more than 600 young women for their blood, as it acted out as a 'fountain of youth' for her. Dubbed Countess Dracula, it seems so appropriate that her legend helps spark inspiration into this somewhat conceptual outing by these devilish Brit lads.

Says Dani, "We had loads and loads of pressure to deal with when we went into the studio to make this record. It was mainly from the record company and our management. We were doing a lot leading into this work and the band knew we had to take it easy making this record. At one point while making this record we postponed our studio time, because they had this crazy notion that we could go into the studio two months prior to when we went in to start this record. We were like, 'Fuck off!' Not only is it the writing element and making the record that is the hard part, it's also difficult with situations like this. Things like doing press and other stuff adds to it all. This is a lot of work for us. I mean, we are busy people. We also run our merchandise company for Cradle Of Filth and that takes up a lot of time."

Over the last few years since their inception in 1991, the success of the band -- rounded out by guitarists Gian Pyres and Stuart Anstis, new keyboardist Lecter, bassist Robin Eaglestone and drummer Nicholas Barker -- has skyrocketed. Through numerous releases (_The Principle of Evil Made Flesh_ (Cacophonous, 1994), _Vempire -- Dark Faerytales in Phallustein_ (Cacophonous, 1996) and _Dusk... and Her Embrace_ (Fierce / Music For Nations, 1997)), the band has managed to escape the pitfalls of backlash and press hounding and built a strong fan base and a creative musical direction. There is no band out there like them.

"It just seems like things are going by so fast for us sometimes. Straight after the last record we toured and did press trips and festival gigs and all of these other things in support of the record. It was grueling. Promo shots, traveling around and doing research for the record. Writing. It was a lot of things to do and handle in between records. I had no real down time. I am not complaining right now -- though I was this time last November."

He adds, "There is so much going on for us. At some instances now it seems like it is running away from us and that all goes back to the British side of our record company. That is the main hub or control center for what Cradle of Filth does. They expect some really silly things from us and I tell them that. As a band we speak out and are not afraid to say what we feel. I say what I want to say and I personally think that we do get a lot of coverage over in Europe but I think they could push things a little further. Not in interviews but maybe in investments. They only go to a certain degree and they have no vision for anything else when it's staring them right in the face. I know I'm being a bit vague about things, but I can't go too much into detail. It just bugs me. As for what we want to do with the band, we have a clear idea of that and this whole imagery thing is there for us. Actually, it ain't imagery anymore, this is more of a lifestyle for us, and we are all comfortable with that. So in all, things are shaping up and going real well for us, minus the few grievances I have with people and wishing them to fuck right off."

As Dani had mentioned, his way of living and lifestyle has become a very integral part of who he is. This is not a stage act. He lives in the world that many people take to be just a stage show. "I'm very much into this whole lifestyle. I've become more serious about this and my way of life and that is 'cause of having to understand the business side of this. One thing about being in this industry and knowing its secrets is that I can't go to many concerts anymore 'cause I know what goes on with shows and the headaches involved. As well as listening to music of the same genre; most of the magic is gone and I can't reclaim that 'cause I know how it's done."

With guidelines in tow for the record, the history and research done into the life of Elizabeth Bathory, the band went to work on the record. Dani explains his satisfaction with the end result. "I am very pleased the way this record turned out. I am really proud of it. I was happy with the involvement of Ingrid Pitt on the record [the Hammer Film actress appears on "Bathory Aria, Part III: Eyes That Witnessed Madness"] and that was great 'cause we really fought for her to be on this record. I like the way the songs all turned out. We did do a remix of the "Bathory Aria" song 'cause I wasn't happy with it originally and wanted to perfect it. That song was like my baby. I love that song because it successfully captures all the themes that Cradle of Filth are known for. I am totally happy with the artwork, too. That turned out fabulous. We can't wait to start work on the next record. We are due for another release this year and we are pushing the label to do one. That is one of the things that really annoys me about this label, as they won't listen to what we want to do sometimes. This new record we are currently working on is going to have remixes, cover songs and even a hardcore techno version of a song. But we have to see how it turns out."

What cover songs? "As it stands we are doing "Hallowed Be Thy Name" (Iron Maiden), which we have already recorded. "Kill the Power" by Manowar is another one, and some other choices. We are also going to put on a demo from one of our early demos, _Total Fucking Darkness_, which fans are excited about and have been asking about it."

Any ideas where new Cradle Of Filth will be headed in sound or concept? "To tell you the truth, I don't really think we have thought much about that," says Dani. "What matters for us right now is this record. It has just come out and we are all excited and buzzing with new ideas. We just came off a month long tour in Europe and we are itching to get writing again."

And while Cradle Of Filth are gearing up for more writing sessions, Dani acknowledges that it is a lengthy process to capture a certain feel and vibe within one's music. He, like many musicians, had to leap over many obstacles to get to a final product. It's part of being in this business. "It happens a lot with what we are doing. I write a lot of songs that just don't work out or fit what we are doing. Of the guitarists in the band, Stuart and I have a term for a certain song we wrote called "The Yellow Song". It's given that title 'cause it doesn't really fit into what Cradle of Filth is about. I mean, it has some great riffs, but it's all cheery of sorts, not dark at all. It's a bit too jolly. As for stuff that gets lost with recordings? Not much gets left behind and [is] not [put] out on records. We always try to find space for our material. We work hard at writing material. But having this band as a six-piece, it's hard to agree on stuff sometimes, y'know?"

Does Dani believe Cradle of Filth are an original band or one based on multiple influences? He states, "Cradle of Filth does offer a particular sound and style to its fans, but we too are influenced by many things. I am not [in] too [good a position to] really comment on whether we are original or not. Bands always seem to borrow from a certain genre or epoch. I am influenced by many 19th Century writers, goth stuff, keyboards, 80s German speed metal and some black metal influences. I think our music is pretty original. We are not really trying to set ourselves apart, but I do think we offer to our fans a very multifaceted style of music. We also use a lot of great photography, try to have a good slant on solid song writing and aim to have a good production to bring out a cool atmosphere for the band. Atmosphere is what we have always been about. In the end, Cradle of Filth is a collaboration of many things that work well together."

One thing that always seems to find shelter within the folds of Cradle of Filth is controversy. Dani acknowledges it, but shrugs at the notion that it in any way deters them from doing what they do. "It's very hard to stand back and self analyze what is going on. It's extremely hard. I would say there is a small minority of people who claim we are selling out 'cause we have a side of enjoyment outside the serious side of music. We do quite stupid things. Like drinking contests with Dog Eat Dog for magazines. If somebody offers you the chance to do that and pays for beer, then why would you turn that down? By doing this, it shows that you have a different side. We aren't afraid of who we are. We use our real names. That's why you don't see us using stupid made up names like Lord Goatfuck or something like that. There have always been people who are jealous or disagree with what you are doing and you just have to remain focused. I mean, if I was to stand back and look back at all the things we have done, I would see the stupid nature of it all. But I don't. I stay focused."

"We love what we do and that's all that matters," says Dani. "And to tell you the truth, we don't give two fucks about what people think outside of the fan base. Of course the fans are the most important thing to us and that's what keeps the band going. I couldn't care less about all the others out there."

(article submitted 8/7/1998)

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