Capturing the Cradle of Creativity
CoC interviews England's Cradle of Filth
by: Drew Snow
Since bursting onto the scene with the release of 1994's _The Principle of Evil Made Flesh_, Cradle of Filth have been both praised for their orchestral, emotional arrangements, and harshly criticized for apparently selling their image too much, through countless shirt designs, scantily clad women adorning their CDs, and their own merchandising company. Think what you will about the hype and publicity surrounding them, their musical prowess is undeniable. They really need no further introduction, and Dani had enough to say in the interview anyway, so I'll just cut this intro short and let you start reading.

CoC: So what's new since the release of _Dusk and Her Embrace_? What have you guys been up to?

Dani: Well, it essentially was released while we were on tour, at least in England, on November 28th or something. We took a break over the Christmas period, and we've been designing some new merchandise and what have you. We've got a tour coming up, shortly, in Europe. We've been writing new material because we enjoy writing new material all the time, you know, and it gives us time to fuck around with it and expand it... it's really, really good. We're really pleased with it. Also, the video has gone into pre-production, as soon as I get back from this press trip I'm on. We start shooting it, probably next Monday [March 3rd].

CoC: Video? For which song?

Dani: It's for the track "Dusk and Her Embrace", but it's incorporating a track that hasn't been heard that was supposed to be designated for the end of the LP, but it didn't meet the schedule. It's like an orchestral piece, it's beautiful, it's called "Carmilla's Masque". And that's going to be like an intro to the track, and then we're going to record two versions of it; you know, one that's sort of MTV-friendly, which the record company demands, and then our version <laughs>, and then a live track, but we won't be playing on tour in the video, it's going to be like a short film, an art film. Then there'll be an interview. But we've been given quite a good budget for it, so it's going to be interesting. That's about it; we've been really, really busy.

CoC: Which members contributed most of the material to the new full length?

Dani: A lot of the material was actually written with the original lineup, a while ago. We were waiting for this business with our previous record company, "Crap"cophonous records <laughs>. To cut a long story short, we placed a litigation order upon them, and it looked like our career was in jeopardy, like the band, there were arguments and stuff because we were getting frustrated, so there were three of us left to deal with the court case, to end it, you know, so we could get on with our musical careers. We recorded the _Vempire..._ EP for them, so we were then free, because we withheld the masters for _Dusk and Her Embrace_, to re-record it, which we did, and changed a lot of it with the new members, and also wrote a couple of new tracks for it. "Malice Through the Looking Glass" was a new track, "Humana Inspired to Nightmare" was a new track, and we did some extensive work with the other songs as well.

CoC: What are your feelings on the other bands that some of the former members have formed? Some of them have a pretty similar sound, wouldn't you say? Actually one of them (Hecate Enthroned) is -extremely- similar in sound.

Dani: Yeah, well I won't even -mention- that band's name because I mean, people say "Are you worried about it?" Well what have we got to worry about, it's an imitation, and it's ridiculous. It doesn't even make much sense, really. But, you know, good luck to them, if they want to rip off our ideas... it's flattering, really. As for Blood Divine, I think they're kicking themselves now, because one of the reasons that... well, the two brothers were kicked out, but the other guy, I was the best man at his wedding about a month before he left, which made me the godfather to his son. But I've often spoken to him since then, and he's just a completely different character now. I'm sure he's kicking himself. And, you know, that's his just fucking reward. But I'm not going to run my mouth and slag off his band, because they're probably quite good, I mean they were in our band. I still have a lot of respect for them, but as far as I'm concerned they're getting their just rewards.

CoC: Any plans for a U.S. tour this summer, or anything else of that nature?

Dani: Apparently yes, we're supposed to be doing the Milwaukee Metal Fest this year, and then the preparation for the tour is underway. Their's talk of us doing, I can't name the band, but a big band, supporting a re-formed band, if you know what I mean. I don't really want to disclose who it is, because if it doesn't pull off then everyone'll just go "awww..."

CoC: What, is it Venom?

Dani: Ehh... could be. <laughs> Anyway... <laughs>

CoC: What would you guys be doing if you weren't playing in Cradle of Filth? Where do you see yourself, as far as your career, if you weren't in the band, or even in music?

Dani: I probably would be dead from a drug overdose, I reckon. <laughs> No, I don't know really, because music is my life. As well as doing Cradle of Filth, I partially run Vamperotica (merchandising company). I mean, I don't do the production of the shirts, obviously, but essentially I sort of run that label and do the designs and everything. It's a full-time job. But I suppose I would be in design or something, something along those lines, but this is my life, and I really enjoy it.

CoC: What do you think of the people who think you're a bunch of rock stars, because of your image, and your appeal to the 13 and 14 year-olds, and your whole merchandising company?

Dani: Well, you get that anywhere, people say that sort of thing. Usually it just comes from jealousy, and that kind of stuff... generally you just end up tending to ignore that kind of shit, because -I- know different than that. And I know better than anyone, because I'm me. I was on the Internet last night, and no offense, but some of the kids on the Internet you can reckon are probably like 12 or 13 years old, and they just sit in their room with their computer and they've got no experience in real life, so it's a window for them to view the world. They can say what they want, and act as tough as they want. We got some funny things here like, they were obviously young because they were fixated with asses, and the idea of me sucking blokes' dicks, which is all very amusing. And this is where a lot of this stuff came from, this ideology you've put forth, about people saying 'image image image' or 'hype hype'... Fuck 'em. So, things like this are a necessity, to come here and do a press trip, it's what's required of you if you view it as a job.

CoC: The vocal style you use must be pretty hard on your throat. Do you think it'll have any effect on you, later in life, or are you just going to keep screaming it out for the rest of your time in Cradle of Filth, or what?

Dani: Well I tend not to think about it. I smoke as well, so that probably doesn't help. I tend to look after it, not as much as I should. I mean, it sounds painful, but it isn't.

CoC: Do you use much overdubbing, during the longer screams, or is it all natural?

Dani: Nah, it's natural. It's surprising really, I'm only a little guy as well. People are like 'How do you do that? If I could sing like that I'd just do it all the time, in the street!' But you just have to get in a frame of mind to do that sort of thing. It's not as hard as it seems; it sounds as if it's really really taxing. I can't sing like, I don't know, Ronnie James Dio, or that kind of thing you know. I've got admiration for someone like Joe Lynn Turner for example, I'm not a fan, but he's an incredible vocalist. To each their own.

CoC: What have the album sales been like for _Vempire..._, and now _Dusk and Her Embrace_?

Dani: Well, we've sold quite a few records in Europe and what have you, and obviously the sales haven't been massive over here, because it's been on import. This is the purpose of this press trip, you know, having just signed to Music for Nations, well, we've got to let people know who we are. And I guess the reason why some people tag this band as all imagery or what have you is because all they see of the band are the scraps that have been thrown from the tables in Europe. And the general magazines that you would get over here, you know, magazines like Kerrang, and also Hit Parader, and stuff like that, that's all talk. They need stuff that sells magazines, they're not really interested in the music. And the good thing about that, is that people don't seem to realize that (A) it gives publicity anyway, and (B) if kids want to know more about the band, they turn to things that matter, like the underground fanzines.

CoC: What's your view of the Internet, as far as helping Cradle of Filth out, and the underground metal scene?

Dani: Oh, well I am total techno-fear-man, all-the-machines-are- ganging-up-on-me type of person. I am hopeless with computers, but that's really because I haven't paid much attention to them, but I'm going to try and get some sort of PC, because that's just going to help more with the artwork, and the Internet just looks like a lot of fun. Yeah, I've seen some of our websites, like in England. Some people who are fans, or with their own fanzines, just set up websites, and it's like 'Fuck yeah, how did he know that? I only stubbed my toe yesterday!' <laughs> So yeah, it's incredible. It's like a whole underground culture, isn't it?

CoC: What size do you want to see Cradle of Filth grow to, in terms of popularity? Do you want to be any more popular than you already are?

Dani: Now, this must be a trick question. <laughs> No, I see your point, but I'd be a liar if I said 'oh, I think I'd like to stay this size for the rest of my life.' No, of course I'd like to see us get to enormous stature, but we're not going to compromise. We don't have to do that because, essentially, our music... it's -our- music, and we don't really like to have anybody fuck with it and what have you. It just so happens that, okay, people dig us and buy our records now. So you know, we don't go and compromise... because, fuck, we're not in this to compromise, you know what I mean? We know that we're not going to be fucking huge, and the rock star thing doesn't appeal to us anyway. It's just not our cup of tea. The best thing to get from a band is to get respect, to get people to appreciate you for creating music. And the best thing in the world is when people, genuine people, not buttfuckers, love the record so much they tell you about it and they want to know more, and it's such a cool feeling to know that you affect someone's life that much. That is the cool feeling, not the money. The money isn't important, it's a bonus. That's all it is. You've got to live, but the main thing is respect, that's cool.

CoC: In an interview about 10 or 12 months ago (in Voices from the Darkside #9), you said that you'd written about 80 minutes of music for _Dusk and Her Embrace_, but of course it's only 53 minutes long (the regular version, anyway).

Dani: "Queen of Winter, Throned" was originally a _Dusk..._ track, which was changed for _Vempire..._; we re-wrote it, added some new parts in there and what have you. But I love that, I think it's great. But we had time to do that you see, when we were going through the litigation with the record company, we had a lot of free time on our hands, because they weren't putting us out on tour, and weren't getting us into the right places and what have you, so it's understandable isn't it?

CoC: The kid who was arrested for wearing the Cradle of Filth shirt... would you mind talking about that a bit?

Dani: Yeah, well I'm not too clued up exactly what happened, because it was all happening while we were out of the country. We pledged our support to his case, but unfortunately we were again out of the fucking country when his case came up. He lost his appeal, which meant that he lost legal aid, so he couldn't pay for his own solicitor. He did want to fight it, out of principle. But it's all up in the air really, because he was determined not to lose, and all eyes were on it on the press side of things in England, because had he lost, and they enforced this law they would have had to rewrite everything to do with censorship. That would have had massive repercussions, it would have sent shockwaves throughout any form of artistry, film, television, and music. In general, the music business was kind of crapping its pants, so to speak, because, you know, a lot of bands make a lot of money being outspoken. That's what England should be, it's a land where you can have free speech so it was kind of worrying. But we ended up giving him the money that he was charged, basically because it was our fault if you think about it. I think it's cool. We've got another shirt now, well we've got quite a few shirts on the way, because the best thing about it is meeting up with all the photographers, and also to see the women, it's great fun you know, it's brilliant. But this one shirt, it's like an attack back, a retort to the "Jesus Is a Cunt" shirt, and we're going to get this guy to model it for this issue of Terrorizer. Basically, it's just Cradle of Filth, with our faces down the sleeve, along with our names. Why we are cunts, you know, like the Irish-born keyboardist Damien is referred to as a terrorist on it, and Nicholas is referred to as Necroboar. It's a cool, funny shirt. But, I felt we had to say it before everyone else did. <laughs>

CoC: Why did you sign to Music for Nations, as opposed to one of the top labels like Nuclear Blast?

Dani: Firstly, to be perfectly honest, what we did, we led Cacophonous on, we led them up the gardened path for about four months saying we were going to re-sign to them so they'd take us out to business meals and, you know, just pamper us because we'd been treated like shit before then. We were kind of reveling in it. Behind their backs, we were just going everywhere. We flew out to Germany, we went to East/West and were taken out, we went up to see Earache and other people expressed interest as well. It was like a pick of about six or seven labels, we had a solicitor to get the best deal for us, and we got a good one in the end. Because obviously we needed cash to buy new gear, but it was cool, because we visited everywhere and got loads of free CDs. <laughs> 'Alright see ya, yeah, yeah' or 'Yeah, we'll get back to you tomorrow.' <laughs> That kind of thing. The reason why we settled with Music for Nations was because, if I wanted to have a go at the record company because they had fucked up, you'd have to go to Germany for it, you know what I mean, you can't hit anyone over the telephone. Music for Nations is, okay we live in the countryside, but London is like an hour and a half, at most, and then you're there at the office. So if you have to go up to check on some artwork, or pick up some mail, or talk to the M.D. to discuss your next plan of attack, or whatever... plus, they're a good label and they've got some great bands on their label.

CoC: What do you think about the new wave of "unholy evil black metal" bands, from Norway or elsewhere, who rely totally on image, and who have no real musical qualities?

Dani: I don't think it's fair for me to talk about people's bands because, you know, it's their life as well, and I don't really want to bitch about it. Although we've done our fair share of it in the past, I must admit. But it was fair, it wasn't for no reason. What -does- annoy me, which we get, is when people say 'oh you're appearing in these magazines... that's not black metal' And it's like, who the fuck are these people to dictate to us what is and what isn't, you know, exactly. But I think that whole Norwegian thing burnt itself out when they realized they didn't have anything else left to say. But there's some great fucking music still coming from Norway, like Arcturus, you know?

CoC: What do you see in the future for Cradle of Filth, as far as the rest of this year, and next year? Anything special planned, besides the video and tours?

Dani: We've got new material for a new release, untitled as of yet, because really we've been too busy to turn our attention towards writing any lyrics, which is sort of a sad thing to say, but it's perfectly true. It's going to be like a _Vempire..._-length mini-album which will see release probably around September to October, is the plan, and then a new album will follow next March. Obviously, you know, there's a lot of work involved there, because the tracks have got to be the fucking dog's bollocks, and they will be, but time will tell. Then we've got a big festival, because we've got to get our faces out there a bit more, and give the fans a good show. Then I'm getting married this year and I've got to squeeze that in <laughs>. I love commitments like that, so... But the actual thought though, now that you're talking about it, thinking about the rest of the year, and the fact that I'm tired, I'm like 'Ohhh God... just let me melt.'

CoC: Sure, but it'll be fun though, wouldn't you say? Touring, etc.?

Dani: Well, to be perfectly honest, I'm not a big fan of touring. I mean I love playing shows, but when it comes to touring... I get gradually worn down, you know? Like I start really good, and my voice will get stronger, but my mental outlook gets more and more worn down, like a fucking pebble on the beach. We've got a six-week tour coming up, and we've never done anything as long as six weeks, and to tell the truth, I'm not looking forward to it. I can be an outgoing character you know, go out and enjoy myself, but my favorite thing is being at home, you know. I miss my pets, and it sounds sad, but I really miss my girlfriend. It's just work done from home, I can do a lot more things there.

CoC: Well, that's about it. Is there anything you want to say, or end the interview with?

Dani: Ehhmm... No, because if I open my mouth and say something ridiculous then I'll just get bad for it. <laughs>

(article submitted 9/4/1997)

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