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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Dani Filth Cradle Of Filth - Interview
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Dani Filth needs no introduction as the frontman for influential black/gothic metal band Cradle Of Filth. With countless bands citing them as a huge influence and numerous albums and tours worldwide, the English extreme metallers have been pretty consistent with new music over the years. 2015 sees the band release "Hammer Of The Witches", a dark and heavy album that harks back to the traditional Cradle Of Filth sound that the fans love them for. Not that this is a repeat album in anyway but there are elements which hardcore fans will definitely love. We spoke to the frontman himself to discuss the new songs and the longevity of the band.



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Andrew: So hows things with you?

Dani: Yeah all good thank you!

Andrew: The main discussion today is the new Cradle Of Filth album "Hammer Of The Witches". I had a preview of the album that your label sent us and it's sounding really good, you must be happy with how the songs turned out.

Dani: Yeah very happy! We worked incredibly hard on the album with the new lineup. We were in the studio, if you took Christmas out of the equation, for about 4 months. Working on the album for a year, doing press now for about 5-6 weeks and I can only go by what the journalists have said but they all seem to fucking love it which is great since they are the only people that have heard it thus far. Nuclear Blast have been a bit stingy with sending it out with all this thing about leaking with downloading, threatening people with suing if they release it which has got people in fear in the UK just listening to the bloody thing haha! I'm totally in agreeance with them, I think music downloading is killing music but there's a certain way to go about it. But anyway the point is we are in a good place, very happy and like I said we're in the midst of doing press and now because the album is finished and things are starting to roll again after been tantamount to Christmas for months. We're also just starting to book worldwide tours so Europe is coming together, South America is coming together, [we] go as far as America in January and then we're looking at Australia and Asia after that so pretty exciting times.

Andrew: Yeah definitely sounds good. We would love to see you come back to Australia again! Just getting back to the album again, this sounds like old school Cradle Of Filth. Would you agree with that?

Dani: Well in a modern context yeah. I think it's helped going back to a 6 piece, before our previous guitarist always wanted to do a thing himself. We were kind of forced into getting 2 new guitarists because we did a co-headlined tour with Behemoth last year, Paul (Allender) couldn't do it because of personal issues so that was out of the equation and then we found out our other guitarist James McIlroy who had been suffering from a severe neck injury had to go and get major surgery so he was pretty much out for a year or so. So we had to find 2 new guitarists who just worked out perfectly because we were playing tracks like "Haunted Shores", Funeral in Carpathia", "Beneath The Howling Stars" so a lot of the old twin guitar harmony type fast melodic stuff. I guess they had a springboard from which to start writing from. Also both guitarists who are amazing guitarists were also big fans of the band, they had the direct idealogy already about how they wanted to start writing and like I say, all of us contributed to the writing effort and yeah, it's what we came up with. It's what we shat out in the end!

Andrew: Haha yeah it does sound great. With the new guys you got a full lineup again, what was it like working with those guys as it was the first album with them?

Dani: It's awesome and we've already done so much. Obviously we did that tour at the beginning of last year and did a huge amount of summer festivals. Went to Russia for a month and then there was a month between where I went to tour with my other band Devilment with Lacuna Coil but basically the others were just thrown into the deep end. And now obviously with the combination of the album and the press, we start with the festivals in a couple of weeks time with Hellfest and Graspop and then the floodgates open. So yeah very exciting and exciting for them obviously, it's all new for them.

Andrew: How has it affected the band, like you mentioned before these guys are fans of the band already. Obviously they had an impact in a positive way?

Dani: Yeah definitely, they had a very good idea about...between us we speak a lot obviously, we spend a lot of time together and we kinda knew where we wanted to go. The man instigator is obviously Martin 'Marthus' Skaroupka, drums) and Daniel (Firth) the bass player. Daniel writes a lot of guitar parts, Martin writes a lot of orchestral parts and did so on the album so that helped steer the ship a little bit. We also wrote so much stuff, we went into the studio with our producer Scott Atkins, he kind of wanted us to concentrate on quality over quantity. There were 3 songs we dropped in the studio, one of which I actually thought was going to be my favorite track called "Achingly Beautiful" so it kinda proves it's democracy because I had to really let that go. Even the 2 bonus tracks they were as good as the bulk of the album because we hadn't decided on the running order until about a week prio to the actual mastering so there's no loss of quality, only that they are bonus tracks so we'll spend less time on them. Some may even prefer those tracks, just a matter of preference. Some had to be bonus for a special edition and some didn't but over and above all of that, we actually dropped 3 tracks so the writing was pretty prolific regardless. Hopefully to bolster a large cycle of touring, those 3 tracks may join up with a cover by us of "Alice In Hell" by Annihilator which will form the basis of an EP. That's the premise but it involves twisting around the company's arm if the album does well.

Andrew: Well that would be great to see, I'm a huge fan of Annihilator as well and to cover Alice In Hell which is a classic thrash metal album, that would be great!

Dani: Well it won't be the whole album, it would just be the track.

Andrew: Oh OK just the song.

Dani: Yeah the whole album would be um...haha!

Andrew: Haha now there's obviously references to the witchunts of the 16th and 17th century (on the new album). Can you tell me a bit about the historical aspect and why you decided to do that on this album?

Dani: Well we didn't, it's not really a concept album. The title is based on the book and there are a couple of songs that involve witchcraft and demonology. I mean the whole album is pretty much well versed in the medieval, Cradle Of Filth always pick a pocket of time to work from. We're not a very modernistic band, not a lot of songs about spaceships and things like that but we do draw parallels. For example there's a track about Onward Christian Soldiers which concerns itself with the crusuades and in the hundreds of years since the crusuades into Muslim territory, as a race advanced technologically a thousand fold but spritually we're pretty much still back in the same place. Between east and west, between the Zionists and the Christians and the Muslims so there's a lot of parallels drawn. But going back to the title, "Malleus Maleficarum" which was a handbook of treaties which has a lot of magistrates all across Europe in order to deal with the suspected problem about the rise of witch cults in Europe. And the title "Hammer Of The Witches" which is a definition of "Malleus Maleficarum" was more like the judges gavel, the power in the judges hand to root out and persecute the powers of darkness etc. It's all bollocks really. And our interpetation of that is a hammer for the witches so the themes in the album is about retribution, revenge, revolution because we obviously live in more clement times apparently. People are free to believe in whatever they want to believe so that's pretty much the premise of the album. It's not a concept album but the artwork done by Arturs Berzinsh who is quite a famous Latvian artist, he's done such a fantastic job on bringing it all to life. All the songs, one would be forgiven for thinking by looking at the artwork that it was conceptual. I mean it's conceptual as much as fucking loads of pop albums would be but it doesn't run concurrently A to Z like "Cruelty And The Beast" or "Damnation And A Day" or an album like that.

Andrew: What is it about that kind of history, the barbarism of human history that interests and intrigues you?

Dani: I've always studied that sort of thing, hundreds of books on the subject so it's nothing new. What is new is the fact that the music we are writing is inspired...I mean I can't give you the exact time of the epiphany where I went 'Oh good 12:38, July 23rd I suddenly had this great idea'. I think inspiration comes from multiple influences whether it's reading, people you're hanging out with and music you're listening to, films you're watching. It melds together and especially when you sit down to write and you start getting through the first ideas of songs. And also you suddenly find yourself with tons of songs and no ideas and a bit of a panic attack.

Andrew: But I guess there's plenty of sources of inspiration out there especially in human history where you can borrow ideas from.

Dani: Yeah it just fascinates me, it's just something that's been behind Cradle Of Filth from the off really. The whole idealogy of the occult and the most interesting time was when people were very naive and religion was taking a massive foothold in Europe and the power of the church was at it's peak. That was when the powers of darkness was at their peak because the church had to have something to rally against and to conform people against and so yeah it makes for a very interesting subject matter. And like I say you can draw distinctive parallels between that and the idiocy that still goes on today.

Andrew: Yeah it seems like people in general don't seem to evolve any better than where we've come from, we're still stuck in the same position.

Dani: Not really no, it's just now we've got iPhones.

Andrew: Haha! Yeah the only difference I guess. Now it's coming up to more than 20 years for Cradle Of Filth which is an amazing run. At this point what keeps you going?

Dani: Hard drugs haha!

Andrew: Haha!

Dani: No I mean when you look back it does seem like we've done a fucking awful lot but then at the same time you think that went quickly as well. What keeps us going is the same that we've always done which is we love what we do, we love the music. We're massive fans of the scene, we love going out there dressing up, we love doing interviews, working with artists and film videos. We love creating the music we do and we love the idealogy behind it, it's a lifestyle. We've been at the top of our game now for years and we don't seem to want it to dimnish. With this album our producer Scott Atkins really pushed the band and he was saying to me he wanted me to sing like I did 15 years ago and I said 'Pffft good luck!' But he did, he pushed everybody to really get the best out of everybody, hence the album.

Andrew: Awesome! And you mentioned before you are setting up tours now and hopefully you can come to Australia maybe next year.

Dani: Yeah it's been a couple of years, we're due in your part of the world again. I really loved it last time, we were fortunate enough to come from Taiwan and we had a couple of days off in Brisbane I think and just had an awesome fucking time. We did the usual, kangaroo sanctuary, a few gigs, hard liquor, that sort of thing. But yeah can't wait, it's going to be awesome!

Andrew: Like I said before the album sounds great so congratulations on the new album and we will see you on tour hopefully sometime!

Dani: OK brilliant, cheers man!

Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on June 5th 2015