September 11, 2015 Interview – Dani Filth of Cradle of Filth
There are some forces of nature which can not be stopped; tidal waves, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and England’s Cradle of Filth. Established over two decades ago, the band has become one of the most notoriously known in the Extreme Metal scene with Dark Gothic-like lyrics, blistering, fast guitar riffs, and vocals that could resurrect the dead. Topping charts internationally since 1996’s Dusk…and Her Embrace, Cradle of Filth has manged to build a style all their own with a brew of Black Metal, Symphonic Metal, and Punk Rock roots. Now in 2015, they return with a new lineup, their eleventh studio album, Hammer of the Witches, and a thirst to continue dominance. Recently we caught up with Cradle of Filth’s maestro Dani Filth for a look into the new album, rejuvenating the lineup, Horror films, and more.
CrypticRock.com – Last we spoke you were preparing new Cradle of Filth material back in 2014. Now the band’s latest record, Hammer of the Witches has been released as of this past July. The record is extremely melodic as always, but extremely heavy. Was it your intention to return with and put together a heavier record this time around? Furthermore, what was writing process like compared to the past?
Dani Filth – For this one, we got it done in seven months and the whole reason for that was we extended our touring schedule because we got offered to tour another cycle with Behemoth. That kind of signaled us getting new members as well because we knew before that tour that would have been our second tour in Europe that one of our guitarists could not do the tour for personal reasons. Then right on the 11th hour, our other guitarist had been nursing a severe neck injury and was having major surgery, so we literally had to find two brand new guitarists for this tour at the last minute. That was really the catalyst for writing the album and also caused a greater delay on it, really, compared to the previous release.
CrypticRock.com – It sounds like a lot happened at once, but Cradle of Filth pulled through it all. With this record, you in fact worked with a new core of musicians including keyboardist Lindsay Schoolcraft, and guitarists Richard Shaw and Marek ‘Ashok’ Šmerda. What has their additions meant for the chemistry of Cradle of Filth?
Dani Filth – I think it was changed for the absolute better because we have got a whole band contributing to the writing process. Whereas before, because we had a live guitarist, we used more session. Now we have two guitarists, and they work in unity together and write in unity together. They both joined at the same time, we all work in tandem really well, and everyone contributes so much despite the fact that we all literally across the galaxy (laughs). Lindsay lives in Canada, we have two people in the Czech Republic who we call the Czech mates, one in Scotland, and two of us live here in England, but we live in separate parts (laughs).
CrypticRock.com – (laughs) Wow that is pretty crazy, yet very cool that the band makes it work, despite the distance. You have told us in the past you look at Cradle of Filth as its own separate entity and perhaps seeing the band even going on in years to come without you. With that said, is it safe to say you still have the same inspired passion for the foreseeable future?
Dani Filth – Absolutely, things are going very well for the band. Many people are heralding this album as the best in ten years, but I cannot give that my opinion because one never leaves the studio 100 percent happy. Although, we feel very good about it and we are very excited to go out and tour, first in Europe in October starting in England followed by the United States and Canada in January.
CrypticRock.com – Fans are definitely looking forward to seeing you guys back in North America. One of the most distinctive elements that stands out about Cradle of Filth is your unmistakable vocal style. When you think about the evolution of your vocals from the early days throughout your discography, what stands out as the most significant change you have had to make either by choice or in the interest of preserving your vocal chords?
Dani Filth – When I was younger I used to go about it like an untrained X-Man and I did not really harvest my powers. So, I just used to scream and not really do it properly, but there is a technique you perfect over the years. I have also managed to procure Doctor Strokes singing guide. He works on lots of people in London’s West End and he is very operative and does stroke massage. It sounds really nice, it is really painful, but allows for the longevity of the vocal chords. He likened it to the fact that like tennis stars often getting cramps and things like tennis elbow and just the same as those muscles, the voice is a muscle, so it takes a bit to unblock it and untighten it, so that helps a lot, especially when he hooks his thumbs behind your ears to open your jaws, it is pretty painful! That could just be pain for torment though (laughs).
CrypticRock.com – Wow, it sounds painful, but that makes it much more Metal (laughs). As you know, CrypticRock.com is a music and Horror film based publication. With your experience in starring in Cradle of Fear in 2001 and with your poetic nature, have you ever considered diving into the world of Horror film directing?
Dani Filth – Well I know a lot of people involved in film-making, including some of my best friends. The thing is I am so entrenched in music and film-making is not something you just turn your hand to. Also, sometimes you have got to suck some corporate cock too and can run the risk of other people who have funded the project maybe wanting to make rewrites and things. Although, I always say if you know someone really rich and interested in investing in a movie, I am all ears!
CrypticRock.com – Let us hope the opportunity does arise. It would be very compelling. Speaking further of Horror films, tell us, have you seen any as of late that you really enjoyed?
Dani Filth – We have got these cinema cards- my wife, daughter, and I. We were bored one evening and we decided to goto the cinema to see the movie It Follows, which is an American Independent film, the director has done a few others I have seen before. Just before it started, my wife was reading the description on her phone and said, “Oh God, this sounds effing awful,” because it read like a teenage flick, but to my surprise, it was the complete opposite! Yes there are teenagers in it, but it was actually very well done and creepy as hell! I loved the soundtrack so much I bought the music. It is brilliant and has that kind of ’70s vibe with really distorted sounds and big noises. Really enjoyed that!
CrypticRock.com – There has been a lot of great things said about about that film. Our final question is, as an advid Horror fan, if you could choose how you die in a Horror film, how would you die?
Dani Filth – It would have to be really spectacular and bloody, something Omen-esque like a dramatic steeple plunge!