July 10, 2014 Interview – Dani Filth of Cradle of Filth
Extreme metal has flourished over the past two decades with an array of bands having roots in black metal to death metal leaving irrevocable marks on the mainstream. Hailing from Suffolk England, a little known band in 1991 named Cradle of Filth soon took the scene by storm with their debut album The Principle of Evil Made Flesh (1994). Combining horror-themed poetic lyrical content, epic gothic lanced melodies, and influence that ranged from black metal to punk rock, the band was impossible to ignore as they steadily rose in popularity with each passing record. With a keen sense of theatrics and visual appeal, Cradle of Filth now are one of the leaders in the extreme metal genre along with a name and sound even casual music fans recognize. Constantly keeping the creative juices flowing, the band has toured regularly all over the world, released an amazing ten studio albums, and sustained a strong dedicated fan base. Recently we sat down with lead vocalist and Cradle of Filth visionary mastermind Dani Filth for an in-depth look at the history of the band, his rejuvenated inspiration for new music, horror cinema, and much more.
CrypticRock.com – Cradle of Filth began back over two decades ago and the band has reached great heights in that time with international success, ten studio albums, and a name synonymous with extreme metal. Looking back all these years later could you have ever imaged coming from an underground scene that the band would be the powerful force it is today?
Dani Filth – I believe that everyone that starts a band has that vision in mind. When you start a band you immediately picture yourself on this epic stage with lights, cameras, and the revolution going on. I guess we always thought this would happen, but to be honest, I did not think it would last this long or be this successful. That was always the intention anyway, kind of pretentious, but it was not at the time. I took a year out of studies to make the band happen and my girlfriend back then, which is now my wife, took some really shitty jobs to make sure I had the time to take trade and play shows. In a year I believe the band did three demos and an aborted album. That was the platform from which we were launched, that was the endeavor. We are just very fortunate really that we have been successful enough to keep the band at the level it has been at for the last twenty years.
CrypticRock.com – It really is quite amazing. The sound of the band has morphed and progressed from album to album. The symphonic and black metal elements have always been prevalent but there has been ever changing concepts and sounds. What has inspired you to continuously try and push the envelope with the band?
Dani Filth – Everything inspires me. I am a big avid collector of weird artifacts like masks, voodoo stuff, statues, horror toys, Lovecraftian, Egyptology, if it is weird, I love it. The area I live in influences me, the people I hang around with, movies, theater, and I am still an avid reader. In today’s age it is very hard not to take influence from the multitude of media which is offered to you. Cradle of Filth was basically suppose to be taking a year off this year, but I actually have plunged right back into the breach writing a new record. We came back from a very successful co-headlining tour with Behemoth in Europe, we just felt well fuck it, it sounds brilliant, we were really fired up, and we were playing a load of old stuff we had not played in a while like “Beneath The Hollowing Stars” and “Haunted Shores”. While we were firing ahead with that, at the same time I was thinking, I have to think of another album to write stuff about (laughs). Fortunately we do not go into the studio until the beginning of December. We have a bunch of festival dates before we enter the studio, we also have a tour of Finland/Baltic states/Russia of nineteen dates coming up in the fall. My other band Devilment also finished our first album and we will be going out on tour soon. It will be a busy year regardless.
CrypticRock.com – It sounds like you are keeping busy as well. It really has been a consistent busy time for two decades now for the band. Now Cradle of Filth recently released in May a new collection titled Total Fucking Darkness which consists of early demos in one package of a 2 LP and a digipak CD. It is interesting to hear these early tunes. It feels as if it is a history lesson of the band. What brought about the idea to finally release this material for fans to hear?
Dani Filth – We released Total Fucking Darkness with demos and remastered them in a great place in Oxfordshire, England. We cut a vinyl, it is a limited edition double vinyl set in two color, or there is a regular vinyl set in just one color. It also features rare material with stuff that no one has heard before such as rehearsals and a track from the aborted Goetia record, which fell between the second and third demos. It also included a whole bunch of old photos and flyers which are literally exclusive to this release.
CrypticRock.com – It sounds great. A release like this is really special because this is something for the fans themselves. These type of packages are made for the fans. You will most likely not find a casual listener going out to buy this, it is really a dedication to the fans.
Dani Filth – Oh definitely, it is very fan based. The reason for the idea of putting this out was last year I became friends again with our original guitarist who formed the band with me, Paul Ryan. Over the last twenty years he has become a very successful booking agent working for The Agency Group here in Europe. We became friends again and we discussed this and he purview projects through Nihil’s Mordgrimm Records. Nihil used to be the label manager for Cacophonous Records which put out the first two Cradle of Filth records. As most people are aware we took Cacophonous to court to win back the rights to release Dusk and Her Embrace (1996). The problem really laid in the people which were funding Cacophonous rather then the label themselves. It was quite easy to get back in touch and reminisce, look back with nostalgia in rose-tinted speculates at that wonderful era of epoch that contributed to the onset of the second wave of black metal in the very early 1990’s where Total Fucking Darkness was set. Since meeting up with Paul and Nihil, what started from a gestation of an idea really blossomed into this fruitful release, we really did not think that many people would be that interested. Here we are now 10,000 CDs were pressed up, 4,000 LP’s, and limited edition 666 versions. It is amazing from just this small idea we had last year, hooking up with an old guitarist I had not seen for ages, and suddenly all this is happening. I think that is part of what has re-energized the band of late. Like I said, we were going to take a year off, now we are playing a load of gigs this year. We are also a big way into writing the basis of the new album, and things are very exciting. I am actually calling this the start of the third dark age of the Cradle of Filth.
CrypticRock.com – It seems like this release really ignited something for yourself and Cradle of Filth. The band has always had a flair for the theatrical side of things with some amazing stage shows and often vivid imagery lyrically and instrumentally. When the writing process comes about for new Cradle of Filth material, what is that like for you? It seems as if it is a grand story each time a record is released.
Dani Filth – I am actually looking at my desktop now and we have eight tracks in formation, most bands would go well that is finished. At the moment all six members are working on material. This album will be very twin guitar driven, lots of very fast melodies a la Dusk and Her Embrace and Cruelty and The Beast (1998). We are aiming at 16-20 tracks then we will wheedle them down to make sure we have the best which is coming out, it is very exciting. As England itself was in spring and blossoming, warm ,and very fragrant, it felt like things were moving in nature. It also mimicked very much a personal stake I have, things are moving very well for Cradle of Filth. There is this advent and new beginning that is starting to uncurl.
CrypticRock.com – It sounds like an exciting time for the band and it will be intriguing to hear the new material. In the band’s long standing history there has been an list of line-up changes, but yourself and Paul Allender remained a strong part of the band for a long time until recently. Tell us a little bit about the changes in the line-up through the years.
Dani Filth – Paul has been enthralled in his own project and he could not do the tour due to personal reasons. Since then the band has grown as a unit, we were only writing as one guitarist for the last three records and we now have two very competent guitarists. The band has had a lot of different people in it, but I am of the opinion that the logo itself, even if I was not in the band, would grow legs, walk, and find another host. There is a definite flavor and feel that pervades throughout the name Cradle of Filth. I think that is what makes it kind of unique, it does not matter who flies under its flag, people will always say well that is Cradle of Filth, that has the essence of Cradle of Filth.
CrypticRock.com – That is very true. The band does have extremely distinct qualities that are impossible to misplace. What are some of your musical influences?
Dani Filth – I am a massive fan of soundtracks. Stuff like Philip Glass, Patrick Doyle, John Powell, John Carpenter, and Jerry Goldsmith. When we first formed we were very much into Swedish death metal stuff of Dissection, Dismember, Eucharist, and At The Gates. I am still a massive fan of thrash metal. I still listen to Overkill, Disruption, Sodom, Bathory, and Whiplash. I like Darkwave too. I like a lot of strange new bands, I kind of cherry pick new bands. We like the new Sepultura, love the new Carcass, Ghost as well. I like bands like The Bronx, Bad Religion, Misfits, Samhain. I am mostly a big fan of dark music. I like my music bombastic and terrifying, but also have a lot of melody as well.
CrypticRock.com – Sounds like a very diverse mix of music. My last question for you is regarding films. Crypticrock.com is a rock/metal and horror news site so we like to focus on all genres. It is evident you are fans of the macabre, what are some of your favorite horror films?
Dani Filth – Oh that is a pretty hard one, what aren’t my favorite horror films? I love horror films. Masses and masses of them. Off the top of my head I am a massive fan of stuff like The Omen trilogy, I love Roger Corman, all his Edgar Allan Poe adaptations are amazing. I love Hammer films, anything with Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Ingrid Pitt. Stuff like Silence of the Lambs (1991), anything to do with serial killers. Candyman (1992), Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006), Hellraiser (1987), I like gothic horror like Sleepy Hollow (1999) and From Hell (2001). It is endless really. I think I have at least six hundred different horror films. I like it brutal as well, but I also like big sort of gothic movies. I was a big fan in the 1990’s of stuff like Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein (1994), and Interview with a Vampire (1994). I like gore movies as well, but I like them to be Luico Fulci and Dario Argento. I actually did a song for Dario’s film The Mother’s Tears (2007) with Claudio Simonetti from the famous Goblin. I can go on all day really. Of all the remakes recently, I really loved above all else the Evil Dead (2013) remake. The remake of A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010) was a big shit, well totally shit in my opinion. The remake of Friday the 13th (2009) was ok. I even did not mind some of The Texas Chainsaw Massacres remakes, I think the most recent one, Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013), was pretty good.
CrypticRock.com – It sounds as if you have an extremely well rounded knowledge and appreciation for all eras of horror films. Speaking of Clive Barker and Doug Bradley there have been talks of a brand new Hellraiser film coming out with both working together again.
Dani Filth – The thing is it has been on the cards pretty much since we did Midian (2000) , so you are talking a good fourteen years. There have been re-writes, the people who own the Hellraiser franchise have sacked people who they brought in who they were going to do it with. It has become one of these urban myths which has been going backwards and forward. I think possibly because of the gritty Evil Dead remake, they suddenly realized we do not want to put out a PG-13 film. They suddenly realized we need to do this properly with Clive Barker at the helm and Doug Bradley as lead cenobite. I think they realized it needs to be a nightmarish venture and not need to be some crisp and clear pandering to the media and getting bums in on seats. They realize now like the first Hellraiser film, it is going to be raw, gritty, and it is going to be about the cenobites.
CrypticRock.com – It is extremely refreshing to hear that. With ratings in the United States many fans are sick of PG-13 horror films. A horror film is really suppose to be rated R. Many times PG-13 ratings make the film watered down and prevent some really good concepts from really being effective with the limitations.
Dani Filth – Even for example the film The Woman in Black (2012) was rated a 15 over in the UK and PG-13 in the USA. There were still elements in there that were pretty shocking and scary, but anything less than that you may as well not bother. You may as well just say this is not a horror film.
Cradle of Filth tour dates:
8-8-14- BE – Kortrijk – Alcatraz Festival
8-15-14- CZ – Trutnov – Trutnov Open Air Festival
8-16-14 – UK – Coventry, Kasbah Night Club
8-17-14 – UK – Kettering, Alt-Fest
Read the review of Total Fuck Darkness on CrypticRock here
Feature photo credit: Ishca Fotografía see more here