I’ve been tied up for a few weeks — did I miss anything? For both of you who have been clamoring for it, here’s the balance of my enlightening interview with Dani Filth, frontman for English spook-metallers Cradle of Filth — on tour and coming to a haunt a city near you!
A-D: Let’s talk about Thornography, which is excellent top-to-bottom and really shows a lot of the variations and nuances you guys (and the rest of the metal community) have been hinting at for years. Was your process different at all?
Dani Filth: We wrote a few tracks in the studio, which is novel for us. I would normally dread to think about going into a studio with songs unwritten but it was quite novel to then find these songs. I hate not being ready for anything — I’ve dreamed about going on stage with no clothes on, and that just makes me go “Ahhhhh!” Everything is also a little more technological.
You guys have typically shied away from technological evolution — this is the most “modern” sounding album COF has ever put out. Are you trying to play catch up or is it just a natural evolution?
I’m crap at technology. I still prefer a bloody candle and a quill to write. We’re not one for modernity on our records, but we did try to incorporate a few samples and new sounds, just to add another string to our bow. There’s a lot of modern references in the lyrics, but they’re veiled by using mythological descriptions. I like to think the band has a timeless image and presentation, rather than honing in to one era by mentioning motorcars or something.
It’s an old story, but it’s a good one: Could you recount the photo shoot you guys once had at the Vatican?
We were touring around Europe with Napalm Death, and a journalist decided it would be a great idea to photograph us at the Vatican. We were in a hurry and had a big gig we were quite nervous about, and we didn’t really think about it. We didn’t realize that as soon as you stepped foot on that ground you then became subject to the Vatican’s laws, which are subject only to God, really. And police brutality, of course. I had on a rather cheesy t-shirt that said “I love Satan.” The police they surrounded us with automatic weapons and threatened to put us in prison. The main reason was because our keyboardist always dresses like a priest, and impersonating a priest in Italy is apparently illegal. Fortunately we were able to talk our way out of it, and we convinced them that there were 2000 kids waiting for the band, and if we didn’t show up there was going to be a riot. But we were very fortunate.
I’ve been especially excited this year about the resurgence of American metal, with bands like Mastodon, Trivium, and Killswitch Engage really stretching some boundaries and putting out great, dynamic records. How do you see the state of European metal at the moment?
European metal has always been a little bit more theatrical and complicated. But then sometimes there’s beauty in being simple. We tried to do a fusion of both on this record, whereas in the past we’ve had whole orchestras on a record. We’ve tried to find a balance between that meat and potatoes heaviness, and something that’s a bit more dressed up and a bit more theatrical.
You’re touring in the United States next year. What will the stage show be like?
It’s as theatrical as our records. We’ve always maintained that we wouldn’t go on stage in jeans and t-shirts and have the audience turn up looking cooler than us. I’m into Kiss. I like the grandeur, and the fact that you went to a show and you got more than just a show. You went away and thought “Fucking hell that was incredible.” This new tour will have a Garden of Eden feel to it. We had been running with this group Circus of Horrors, and they integrated some of their characters into the crux of our performance and it worked really well, with stilt walkers and weird freaks. I think Motley Crue actually stole our bloody idea on their last tour.
Now Watch This:
A-D’s favorite Cradle of Filth video, “Nymphetamine”!