Horror was a big influence on Cradle of Filth”
Dani Filth: Hello.
Wikimetal (Nando Machado): Hey, Dani Filth, please?
DF: Yes, speaking. Hello.
W (NM): Hi, this is Nando and Daniel from Wikimetal, we’re sorry we’re a bit late, we have an interview with you now, can we start?
DF: Yes, fine. Yes, of course.
W (NM): Thank you, so much.
W (Daniel Dystyler): Excellent, Dani. This is Daniel, from Wikimetal. You released a great album at the end of last year, how is the repercussion by the fans so far towards “The Manticore and Other Horrors”?
DF: It’s been very good, in fact. Surprisingly, very good, even from the moment we started doing the promotion for it, in Europe, there were suddenly loads of journalists, and a lot of good attention centered around the album, and it became quite a surprise really, because obviously we hadn’t been out doing press for a couple of years, and it suddenly became quite a big issue, and quite overwhelming. Obviously, we went out and toured Europe, with God Seed and Rotting Christ supporting us before Christmas. And it was pretty madness everywhere, it was a great reaction, we really enjoyed it.
W (NM): That’s great. You are coming to Brazil again and will be playing in São Paulo on the 20th of April, what can the Brazilian fans expect from this show, in terms of set list?
DF: In terms of set list, we’re going to… Obviously, because we don’t come to Brazil very often, we’re going to do a long set, and it’s going to be comprised of tracks from pretty much every one of our albums, so there’s not going to be too much emphasis on one era or the other, it’s a lot of old tracks… Stuff from “Dusk…”, “V Empire” and “Cruelty”, there are going to be tracks from “Midian”, “Damnation”, so yeah, it’s going to be very fair. Obviously, we’ll be playing a few songs from… Two or three songs from the current Cradle of Filth album, obviously “The Manticore and Other Horrors”, but like I say, you know, it’s going to be a really visual, cinematic, big night. And we’re going to play as long as we can, with as much material from our past as possible.
W (DD): Very good, Dani. We are really looking forward to that concert as well. How was the Metal scene in England when you formed the band in the early 90s and how do you see the Metal scene in England nowadays?
DF: The Metal scene in England was surprisingly good in the beginning of the 90s. In fact, I’m actually writing a piece about that, I’m terrorized at the moment… Like a thousand words or so, about that very time in history. Yeah, there was a great scene – not so much with Black Metal bands, we were really one of the very few at the time. And there were a lot of great bands at the time, like Anathema, Paradise Lost, Carcass – which, you know, Carcass is bringing out a new album now, which is going to be great. So I think a lot of the great bands that were around in the beginning of the 90s were really coming into their own, and doing some really modern stuff, and current at this very moment, so a comparison could be drawn between the two.
W (NM): Back in the day, when you started your musical career, who were your main influences?
DF: I guess at the time it was a sort of hybrid of bands that we grew up on, like Venom, and Bathory, and bands like Paradise Lost were bringing out phenomenal albums, like “Gothic”. We were big fans of soundtracks, which we still are. People like Mercyful Fate, Autopsy, you know, because Death Metal was a very big thing back then, and there were bands we liked from all walks of life, so we took inspiration from lots of different stuff. You know, Maiden as well… And we got together came out with a sort of chimera of the band, called Cradle of Filth.
The nucleus of the band has carried it through turmoil and ups and downs and 20 years of pretty much Metal madness.”
W (DD): Very good. Dani, do you agree that Metal is going through a very fruitful period at the time all over the world with bands from many countries achieving commercial success? Why do you think that´s happening now? Do you think that the internet plays an important role for this to be happening?
DF: I think it’s two things at the same time: it’s bad for Metal at the moment, and it’s very good. What I mean is, there are lots of bands, and yes, you can put their current success worldwide down to the internet, the fact that people can access music quite steadily. Back in the day, it was all about tape-trading, so you were able to become known worldwide, but it was just a comparably slower process. But, yeah, that’s good on one hand. What’s bad on the other is, there are so many bands, and so many people want everything so immediately, that obviously bands are suffering because there’s not as much money in the music industry, a lot of companies are closing. So it’s good in one aspect and bad in the other, bad in the fact that you do get a lot of bands that are sounding remarkably similar as well. But, yeah, there are two sides to that coin, I think.
W (DD): Very good. We’re going to be listening to a song now, so we ask every single guest that we have in our show: imagine that you’re listening to your iPod on shuffle mode, or you’re listening to a rock radio station, and all of a sudden a song starts that makes you lose your mind, you can’t refrain yourself, you can’t stop head banging, you feel you need to start head banging wherever you are. What song is that so we can listen to it on our show now?
DF: Right now… I’d say “For those about to rock, we salute you”, by AC/DC.
W (DD): That’s a great one, man… The final part, when the song starts speeding up, I really get goose bumps every time I listen to it, it’s a great song, man.
W (NM): Tell me, Dani, do you believe that your shocking merchandising helped to promote the band? And was it intentional when you did it? Were you aware that these actions could help the band to become more popular, or were there also two sides to the same coin?
DF: Yeah, again, it’s two sides to the same coin: some things have helped, some things haven’t. But it wasn’t… Yes, we knew what we were doing, we knew that we wanted to make T-shirts that people wanted to buy, but it wasn’t the only, sort of, string to our bow – I think that’s the term that you would use to describe it. We had other things that we pursued as well, so it wasn’t just our T-shits, but it was the way our artwork was presented, it was videos, it was stage performance, you know, sound quality, studios we used… The way we looked onstage, the way we presented ourselves in photos… And above all else in our approach, obviously, the music was the most important factor. But we just tried to concentrate on everything to bring Cradle of Filth to a bigger audience, and when that audience was reached, there was enough there for people to… Not see as a two dimensional thing, but something you could scratch beneath the surface, and discover more things about, so every facet of the band was important to us, as well as merchandise. And still is.
W (DD): Dani, how was the experience of working with an eighty-piece Film Orchestra and Choir, when you were recording “Damnation and a Day”, back in 2002?
DF: That was an amazing experience. We were on Sony at that point, for an album, and we did some amazing things, although it was very short-lived, as most Metal bands that suddenly find themselves in that position. But during that period, we headlined the B stage in the American AllFest for ten weeks, with people like Killswitch, and Shadows Fall, and Chimera supporting us… Yeah, and obviously we did the album “Damnation and a Day” and we got to work with some really great people, including the Budapest Film and Radio Orchestra, which was like… It’s an 80-piece orchestra, and 21-piece… There are like 101 people… It was pretty epic. At that was something that we wanted to realize for a long while. And since we’ve done that, lot’s of people have kind of followed us, but we were very happy that we could do that at that particular moment of our career.
We get lots of good backing from labels. It’s a sense that all our hard work paid off”
W (NM): Dani, why do you think that Cradle of Filth had so many different line ups through the last 20 years?
DF: Well, I suppose it’s a bit like working at a radio station, isn’t it? It’s like you want the best of the radio station, and you want the very best output, and sometimes people come and go, people choose different career paths, some people think they can do better than you, so they form their own bands… Sometimes, you know, people find it’s too much hard work, you know, a lot of traveling, a lot of unsociable hours working as a musician… Sometimes you have to let people go because they’re just not working enough… Essentially, the core members of Cradle of Filth have always been there, so you know, the fire’s always burned. The nucleus of the band has carried it through turmoil and ups and downs and 20 years of pretty much Metal madness.
W (DD): And speaking of that, in the very same period, you’ve been signed with a lot of record labels, from Sony Music to small independent labels and also Roadrunner and now Nuclear Blast. What were the best and the worst experience that you recall from working with a record company?
DF: Immediately, of the top of my head, I would say that the worst experience probably would have had to have been Cacophonous Records, right back in the day, between “Dusk… And her Embrace” and “The Principle of Evil made Flesh”. We actually recorded “V Empire” as a way to get out of the record contract, and delivered “V Empire” as a sort of final farewell kind of gesture, etc., etc. We had actually taken Cacophonous Records to court at the time, so we were in a bit of a limbo. So that was kind of bad, because that was right after the debut, it got lots of good press and stuff, and then the next thing, we were held up, and half of the band left, it was just myself and Nicholas Barker and Robin Graves keeping the flame burning at that time, so that was a low point. I’d say high points were really… Every time we released an album on a label, we’d get lots of good backing from that label, videos and promotions… It’s just a sense that all our hard work and all our time in the studio writing actually paid off into a physical product that actually was being pushed out there, so, yeah… I’d say that.
W (NM): Can you choose a song now from Cradle of Filth, so we can listen to it on our show right now?
DF: Well, I’d best choose something from our latest album, so I’ll probably go for – and there’s a reason for doing this as well – a track called “For Your Vulgar Delectation”, it’s, I believe, the second track from our new album, and the reason I’ve chosen this is because we’ve just shot a video for this, which is like a mini horror film. Lots of zombies in it, and people getting set on fire and shot and eaten… It’s just a really, really cool horror, and a very modern context video, which is going to be coming out, strangely enough, just in time for the South American Tour, in a few weeks time.
W (DF): Perfect, perfect timing. And since you mentioned that, what is the importance of cinema, theatrical and visual arts in Cradle of Filths performance? Can it also be seen as a big influence for your music and lyric writing?
DF: Film? Yeah, of course… Massive, massive, massive horror fan. Inspiration comes from everything, it comes from literature, it comes from the environment around us, you know, artifacts, what’s going on the seasons… But, yeah, horror films and anything to do with those are a massive influence, and that can be read about in “The Gospel of Filth”, which is the book we brought out a few years back, because there are chapters there about horror films and their influences, and interviews with starts and what have you. And obviously, we’ve had people like Ingrid Pitt and Doug Bradley guest in our records. And also, we also did back in the day, the horror film “Cradle of Fear”, so we have a lot of detachment to the horror genre. Yeah, I’d definitely say horror was a big influence on Cradle of Filth.
We were the very opposite of what was going on at the time, which was pop music and grunge”
W (NM): Yeah, I was going to ask you about this experience of working as an actor on the Cradle of Fear film, is it something that you’d like to do again?
DF: Yeah, I mean, it was really good fun. It wasn’t so much the acting part of it, it was just great being involved in the whole process. And it’s something that we’d like to undertake again. We’ve looked into it, but it was such a massive project, and it requires a lot of funding. Back then, we were lucky to know a lot of people that were working on other films, and they came and worked in our film, between other projects with the deserved payment, which basically meant that when the film came into profit, they got payed, which did happen. But you can only get away with that sort of thing once, and if we were to do it again, we’d have to raise an awful amount of money, so it’s quite ludicrous to realize just how much money in invested into movies. I think we got that one for about 80 thousand dollars… 100 thousand dollars, sorry. You’re talking about two or three million just for a cheap film nowadays.
W (DD): Yeah, it’s an awful lot of money. Dani, you started your career in the early 90s, a period that most Metal bands were not very popular. Why do you think that Cradle of Filth became so successful and popular in probably the worst period in the Metal scene regarding popularity?
DF: I think because we were the very, very opposite of what was going on at the time, which was, effectively, sort of pop music and grunge. When grunge came along, it pretty much killed Metal dead, in the sort of popular aspect of it, it survived very strongly in the underground. But there wasn’t a great amount of Metal actually doing anything. And I think we were just very different and were in the right time, and like you say, you know, we’re a very sort of cinematic, theatrical, outspoken band, and the music backed it up, so I guess… I think we caught people’s imagination at a time when everything was, you know, a bit bland.
W (NM): To me, Dani, there are many bands playing the same kind of music that you guys helped to create in the early 90s. Why do you think this genre is becoming so popular nowadays? Do you feel proud for being a huge influence to all these bands?
DF: Yeah, of course. But like you said earlier on, I mean, the scene is saturated with all kinds of bands. There are bands like Tribune, that are more sort of hair-styled American bands – lots of tattoos and big hair and that stuff, getting popular, you know, like four or five years ago, and suddenly everybody was doing that, and it was the same when New Metal happened. You know, there was Korn, and there was Mushroomhead and Slipknot, and then suddenly everybody was doing it, and it’s very much the same thing. But yeah, there are some genuine pearls amidst the swine, as generally good music out there. It’s just that there’s so much of it, you really have to sit through it to find the real gems.
W (DD): Very good, Dani. Thanks so much for your time, for your patience, and thanks for being here at Wikimetal. Could you please leave a message to all your Brazilian fans and invite all the head bangers from São Paulo to the show, the Cradle of Filth show on the 20th of April?
DF: Yeah, we’d just like to say come down to the show, it’s going to be amazing, it’s going to be a really, really hectic, fun, enjoyable, loud, overboard night. And in the meantime, just thank you to everybody that supports the band in Brazil, it’s very much appreciated. Obviously, your completely in the other side of the world to us, so it’s nice to know that down there, in the midnight garden, as we call it, the animals are still restless. So thanks so much for that, and see you when we come to Brazil, in a few weeks time.
W (NM): That’s perfect, Dani, thanks so much for being on Wikimetal, and see you on the of 20th April, with Cradle of Filth in São Paulo!
DF: Cool, thank you. Thank you for your time.
W (DD): Cheers, man, bye, bye.
DF: Bye. Cheerio.
Listen to the full episode here: