CRADLE OF FILTH
- NO ONE KNOWS WHAT LIES BEYOND THE GRAVE - Cradle of Filth are without a doubt the new masters of the Black Metal revival, in the nineties. This they accomplished almost immediately following the release of their debut album on Cacophonous Records, "The Principle of Evil Made Flesh", in 1994. Prior to this, the six man British outfit released a demo, "Total Fucking Darkness", in December '93. This demo saw them clenching a record deal with Cacophonous Records. Disillusioned with Cacophonous, in the promotion of their debut album, the band ended their contract. Which resulted in a long legal Battle between Cradle of Filth and the record company. This legal wrangle came to an end following a judicial process in the courts of law. With Cacophonous Records claiming another album from the band to which they were entitled under contract. And thus, the release of the EP., "Vempire - Dark Faerytales in Phallustein, which saw the bands eventual departure from the record label. Following this, Cradle of Filth recorded the highly acclaimed album, "Dusk and her Embrace", in 1996, on Music for Nations. An album which has sold more than 100 000 copies in Europe alone. In May this year, Cradle of Filth will release their second album on Music for Nations, which will be entitled, "Cruelty and the Beast". Drawing on influences of the previous masters of the Black Metal scene in the 80's - the likes of Bathory, Celtic Frost and Mercyful Fate. Bands that formed the corner stone of the satanic inspired ritual, that became known as Black Metal. But it must be said that Cradle of Filth took this art form one step further, by incorporating Keyboards in their repertoire, their music meanders from a slow majestic interlude only to later come crashing down with a barrage of guitars played at breakneck speed, followed by a screeching vocal approach, bringing in female vocals at times. Song arrangements, structured on a perfect equilibrium of harmony and aggression. This combined with the writings of Crowley, Nietzsche, Byron, Shelley, Stoker, Hegel and Polidori, which is the base of inspiration for their music - makes Cradle of Filth one of the most intelligent and original bands in the 90's. This is the first part of an interview done by Frank Ferro of Ferro Metal for Barney Simon of Radio 5. The interview will be flighted on Radio 5's UK/USA slot on Thursday 30 April 1998. On the great Walpurgis Nacht, Guard your souls! This is Franks chat with Danni, the vocalist and head honcho behind Cradle of Filth. The second part of the interview follows directly after the first, guaranteed to give you the shits! FRANK: Danni, How are you? DANI: Well it's a pleasure, yeah, I'm fine thank you! FRANK: I believe you live on the outskirts of London - In very tranquil, very quiet surroundings. Would you say, somehow these peaceful surroundings is a base of inspiration for your music? DANI: Yeah, I definitely reckon it is an influence, yeah, inspiration to the music. I think without the tranquil nature, the isolation that living in the countryside affords us, I don't think we'd probably come up with the same atmosphere had we lived in the city. FRANK: Would you say there is any connection of sorts - You talk about residing and living in very tranquil very peaceful surroundings of the countryside, yet Cradle of Filth and the music that you generate is very aggressive, very, very evil at times and always uncompromising, Where would you say the connection is; is there any connection between your music and the place you actually live in? DANI: Yes, I think our music can be brutal and uncompromising but at the same time it can be forlorn, majestic and orchestral, perhaps even romantic at times. I don't look upon it as being any way disrespectful to the area in which we live in or the music, not compromising with, you know, certain tranquil atmospheres. FRANK: A lot of your songs talk about Vampires, the dark, the evil aspect of the human race, yet they also talk about eternal life, don't you see this as some kind of paradox? DANI: What attracts us to the Vampyric nature reflects back to our surroundings in which we live in, we're members of certain Occult organisations. I was brought up on nineteenth century literature, people like Byron, Polidori and Shelley, right through to things like Nietzsche and Crowley. I mean that is reflective, we have always been big fans of Hammer House of Horror stuff, we just try to put it into context, make it a thing to be part of, rather than something to be afraid of. FRANK: I must say the first time I heard a Cradle of Filth song it scared me shitless, is that the way it's meant to be? DANI: I don't know! Yeah, I think it should to a lot of people, Yeah. But it comes naturally to us, It's what we do. If it scares some people that's great, so be it. But I think the real message Cradle of Filth are trying to put across is - It's OK! To be a member of the dark side, It's a personal thing. I try to give it atmospheres pertaining to the dark side, giving that kind of majesty, tranquillity etc. Giving it that personal level so that you can relate to it, sort of like stepping inside the scenario, whatever the song creates rather than shying people away from the whole aspect of it, making them feel like they're shunned. I think our music can be really erotic, it draws people in. FRANK: Talking about your vocal approach, how do you get your voice pitched that high. DANI: By opening my mouth and screaming a lot. No, no the new album, reflects some different changes in the vocal delivery, there is a lot more varied kind of vocal styles. But the familiar vocal style of Cradle of Filth is still there. I could not sing Burt Bacharach records I'm sure FRANK: When it comes down to the inlay of any Cradle of Filth CD, I must say the Female form has definitely been preserved. Who are these beautiful women on your CD covers, are they models, are some of them girlfriends of the band. DANI: Some of them are from modelling agencies, some are friends, some of them are even our girlfriends. It is a trait of Cradle of Filth by portraying our art by using visual stimuli, such as the female form. It is something that attracted the ancient Greeks, the Romans, right through history. Pre-renaissance art for example always featured the use of women because I think it is the most perfect form to represent different attributes around. A lot of our attributes centre around themes of vice over virtue, eroticism, but it's always in a Dark way. The new album features a lot in the same context, beautiful women etc., but it's around the theme of Elizabeth Bathory, the blood countess of Hungary. FRANK: Turning our attention to the new album, when is it due for release and what can we expect this time around. Will you be opting for the services of Kit Woolven to produce the album as you did on "Dusk...and her Embrace"? DANI: We are actually doing the mixes now. It's due on May the fourth this year. Kit Woolven did not produce it, we used a German producer called Jean Peter Genkel - Who has worked with bands like Therion, Lacramousa, Love Like Blood etc. It's brutal, the production is clearer, sharper. I think this album is a little more twisted than the "Dusk...and her Embrace" album. I would compare it as a better produced version of the Dusk...and her Embrace and the Vempire EP. FRANK: Would you say Cradle of Filth have progressed with this new album. DANI: Most definitely! Our fans will benefit from this new album, 'cause it's an increasingly long album, for a start. There is a lot of artwork, you know, things to be involved with, a lot of things to read and look at. It's a really long album of...Fucking top quality Dark Heavy Metal to listen to. I use the term Heavy Metal, rather than Black Metal - because I think that is a bit of a fad now. FRANK: Call it what you want...Death Metal...Black Metal...or any kind of Metal, when it comes to this musical genre; there are many poseurs coming on to the market, trying to make a quick buck, a lot of stuff is going down in the Scandinavian countries, bands like Dimmu Borgir, Emperor was definitely one of the bands who reigned supreme. You guys have been featured in numerous magazines from Kerrang to Metal Hammer, to heaven knows what! How do you see Cradle of Filth are you guys a poseur band? DANI: Well... that is something that Cradle of Filth has been perceived as, because we get featured in big magazines, people have labelled us as a poseur rock band or whatever. But if we ever see people like that we normally beat them up! I'm flattered by some of the bands that have come after us that have been inspired by our sound. The copying, the mimicking that some other bands have done of Cradle of Filth's style is amazing. The new scene has become a little overcrowded, Death Metal died out, because there were too many bands and there was no distinction between all these bands. It's the same with the Thrash Metal scene in the Eighties, it was bands like Metallica, whether you like them or not. I prefer bands like Destruction and the German Thrash wave. Bands like Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, they were the leaders in the field, the rest of the pack died out and went on to better things. It's the same with Death Metal you have a few bands remaining who were the pinnacle of things. I think that is what will happen to this scene... You get too many bands coming in trying to replicate the sound, it just becomes a blur...and the scene dies and sinks FRANK: There's a band that's going on the Nuclear Blast label called Dismal Euphony, I don't know if you've heard of them? DANI: Yes I have, yeah! FRANK: They sound very similar to you guys, what do you think of that? DANI: I haven't actually heard them no, I've just noticed that one of the girls in the band is exceedingly beautiful. FRANK: A while back a fan of yours was put into prison for wearing one of your t-shirts, what actually happened fill us in, and is he still in prison? DANI: He was on trial, refused bail, he was in prison for a couple of months, he lost a court case and had to pay a fine but he's free (That sounds paradoxical to me - Lunatic), which is fair enough really considering civil liberty and whatever, although, we do have the fifth amendment in England. We also have the right of free speech, something that England's always been proud of, it just defies comprehension, its absolutely beyond belief that anyone could be in prison for wearing a shirt. Incidentally at the moment in Florida, a similar trial is going on with, about the same shirt. A store clerk in Florida was arrested recently for wearing a shirt and he faces up to a $1000.00 fine and a whole year in prison, and that is yet to be resolved and it's going to court in the next month, but I look towards that with interest because imagine going to prison for a year for wearing a shirt, you know A YEAR! FRANK: Would you say the whole merchandise aspect of Cradle of Filth is instrumental to the success of the band? DANI: I wouldn't say it was instrumental. I'd say it was part and parcel of the success of the band. There was a demand for the merchandise and it works vice versa as well. Art works have always been very important. We try and create intelligent lyrics, really ace artwork good music, good production, to give everything a solid all round package. I'd get annoyed if I buy an album by a band and it sounds great but the packaging and the artwork make it seem like a poor attempt to try an simulate something. I do think people turned on to what we are doing, and obviously art work is visual stimulation, people like it, people buy it. Obviously you gonna get some success. FRANK: Are you an art collector of sorts, Danni? DANI: What are you referring to, like pornography. I might have a few pictures here and there. I collect prints of photography, Simon Marsden, Nigel Wingrave and Chris Bell, etc. FRANK: Looking ahead, again, to the new album, what can we expect this time round, are you guys going for the whole soundtrack feel like on Dusk...and her Embrace? DANI: Yeah, though on this album the Metal comes through a bit more. The drums are louder, there's more drive, there's more as you would say aggression, but I would say it's more like traditional Heavy Metal, but the keyboards, they swirl around it all, I think it's just a fine balance between "Dusk...and her Embrace" and the "Vempire" EP., which was an aggressive, fast album. FRANK: I believe the album will be called "Cruelty and the Beast", nothing to do with Beauty and the Beast? DANI: No, it's a play on words, it's a fable about, as I said before, the Blood Countess, Elizabeth Bathory. Told from my point of view, it's kind of chronological. It's like a story that runs through the entire album but it's like nine separate little fables in itself. FRANK: Any possibility in the future that one of your albums could perhaps be translated into a movie? DANI: We actually did talk about it at the moment and we are about to record or produce a video when we come out of the studio. We begin work on our long form video and it's gonna be of movie like quality with quite a few extras. We've sorted out the film crew already. It's gonna be something special, anyway! FRANK: How would you say Cradle of Filth's music translates live, when you guys perform live? DANI: Well, pretty well. We usually take a female vocalist with us as well as a female dancer on tour with us, providing the money's there. Sometimes like when we went to Japan we had to forsake the dancer, just because of the money, it's expensive to fly her all around the world. We use theatrics, a really fucking great live show because we have our own lighting guy which we keep constantly, and we upgrade his lights. He's got these things called punishers at the moment, which are like laser guided lights. It looks fucking excellent. Musically, live, we are practically almost the same. Obviously I can't do double vocals, but I jump from different kind of vocal styles, the atmosphere is really electric, when we play live. The keyboards do virtually everything you hear on the album. If we use any live instruments on the album we sample them and fire them from mini-discs. FRANK: When can we see you guys performing in South Africa? DANI: Well, funny enough, we were supposed to be playing this year in some kind of night club in, was it, Cape Town or Johannesburg or something like that, this summer. I've yet to know if that's still going to go ahead but I would like it to. FRANK: Excellent, we would love to have you in Africa. I'm sure you would scare a couple of people shitless in this place. DANI: I would love to come to South Africa! So ends part one of this interview. We now bring you part two, the more controversial half and thus the half to be featured on "Ferro Metal" (1602 AM), on Sunday the 26th of April 1998, four days before Walpurgis, Prepare your souls! FRANK: As we fastly approach the beginning of the new millennium, how do you see the future of the human race? DANI: We're all fucking dead, we're extinct already. Our cards have been marked and it's been prophesised by so many fucking people. I strongly believe this because I don't think what we're doing, I don't want to sound like an environmentalist or one of these green idiots. We're doing so much damage to the world and overpopulating it, the food we eat is crap. We're polluting everything else and the water. I mean we can't sustain mineral or vegetable plant life on this planet any longer. The heavens are falling in on us. I mean the next stop is just to leave this fucking hole and go somewhere else and corrupt that like a plague of locusts as well. In my books, I think the only thing that's gonna keep us from damnation or the eventual Armageddon is probably to have like birth control, which is a horrid thing to impose upon womankind, but I think it's probably the only thing that's gonna save this planet, cause there's just too many fucking people. FRANK: Earlier on you spoke to me about love. How do you draw the distinction between love and hatred. Cradle is a very intense band, you draw on a lot of sombre, dark, ambient sounds, encompassed by should I say very aggressive, very brutal vocal approaches as such. How would you say you draw the actual distinction between love and hatred. DANI: Firstly, I think it may surprise a lot of people but I think that the paramount emotion that Cradle of Filth generate is one of love. It sounds weird but for the people who are really into this kind of stuff, these atmospheres etc, then I think they'll understand what I mean by that and the hatred aspect of Cradle of Filth is more Misanthropic. We're not a racist band whatsoever we completely denounce that theory. Misanthropy stands for a bitter, well not a bitter, but a contempt for most of humanity, but no, Like I said before, I think Cradle of Filth's more about emotions etc., and you can't have hate without love etc. So I mean the aggression parts going to come into it. Aggression comes from anything, I mean just watching the fucking Television makes you want to destroy the fucking planet or just wipe it free of Humankind so everything else can get on and evolve. FRANK: How do you see Cradle of Filth, are you guys some kind of clan, some kind of cult. With the following you've established with the fans as such. DANI: Somebody else mentioned this to me in an interview. Well this is how the whole thing is perceived by some people because I mean the association with the artwork and what have you, cause we've got an awful amount of merchandise and artwork and the new album is just littered with, cause we've got a new photographer, all kinds of sordid imagery on the Elizabeth Bathory theme, I was speaking about to you before. The bands taken a whole different image as well, it's more visual, it's certainly more visual and probably more aggressive as you might rightly say. There is a kind of life style about Cradle of Filth and I hope it influences people, god knows why though (Laughs)! FRANK: Just judging by one of the pictures we've got in the studio of you, is that how you look 24 hours a day or is it just for the actual show that the whole art aspect with the blood coming out of your mouth, painted face and such? DANI: Depends on what kind of picture you've got there. I mean if it's one with me in my pyjamas then, no I'm not like that all the time whatever you've heard, it's not true, alright no, pretty much so, I mean we don't walk around with our faces obscured or whatever. I think a lot of that's been dropped anyway. We're pretty easy going people you know, if I was to go out with my girlfriend to a club or whatever, we usually try to get really dressed up, that's what we like to do. I mean that's part of the way we are, but now I'm sitting in leathers, but I've got dare I say a white top on. We're in a studio, who's gonna see me? FRANK: Sounds exciting, white t-shirt with a Jon Bon Jovi picture up the front with big letters "Bon Jovi". DANI: No, it's a fucking England Rugby shirt. FRANK: How do you feel about the spate of events that have gone down in the Scandinavian countries, Norway to be more particular, with the burning of churches as well as graveyard desecrations and stuff like that. Are you into that type of thing? DANI: It was all a bit childish but at the same time it was like youthful vigour, unfortunately I think half of the Norwegian clan have realised their mistakes because they're like what, in prison at the moment, whereas people who were slightly a bit more careful about their actions are still free. In a way it was good because it was like the church burnings were like a beacon to the rest of the world saying, look, music is an important factor in peoples lives. This is what it can do to people etc. So for that it was like a wake up call for religion, for music, for people in general, from a section of the youth. The bad side of things is that it would probably have been better to burn something like a despicable piece of seventies architecture, or something like that, instead of these wooden churches that have been around since the Vikings. So I think their targets were kind of misrepresented. FRANK: I know Cradle of Filth like women, you love women. Are you guys very patriotic when it comes to the royals and the royal family as such. What do you guys think of Princess Di? Do you think you'll do a song for her? DANI: (Laughs) No, I don't think so, no! We're not budding Elton John's, because it's a bit gay (Laughs). That's an English term for a Homosexual. No, we are patriotic I mean probably just as much as you being South African and maybe not. Maybe you are. I think it's a class thing that England has got to hold on to or the British Isles hold on to, seeing as we gave away most of our World. I mean we owned a third of the World, gave most of the territories back. We gave Sri Lanka back, Hong Kong's just gone back to Chinese rule, isn't it. India's gone, parts of Africa. I mean, I think it's the last thing the British Isles have got to keep hold of. We're just becoming an anonymous country as most of the Europeans are, and I think we're strongly trying to oppose becoming a part of the European community, just because I mean, we don't want to be part of Europe. Basically the Royal family are cool. I mean they can say some pretty stupid things at times but they were born into it you know. I'm sure you wouldn't be complaining if you were born in to the Monarchy and had shit-loads of money and people running around after you. FRANK: Dani, how do you see it? Do you still think there's room for the Church in the 1990's. As we fastly approach the end of this millennium, as such, the values of the church and church going, are on a decline as far as the United Kingdom is concerned. How do you feel about this. DANI: I think there will always be a place for the values of the church and the belief in something. The Christian values, there will always be a place for, I think, because it holds people together. But the whole doctrine, the belief in something that probably doesn't exist whatsoever, and it's also ludicrous that in an age of science, that this undoubtedly is, although we are believedly moving into the age of Aquarius, a more magical age. I think people are just being absolutely ridiculous to keep a hold of any threads or common links to a dead God. Something that exists in people's imaginations, so no, I don't think there's any part, religion has any part. There's no scare tactics that work anymore. People aren't bothered about it. It's definitely on the decline, the Church of England, in England and the British Isles. Mainly due to the fact that a lot of priests have been caught recently or within the last five years, dabbling in what I would call uh, Choir-Boy, Cloister fucking around, if you know what I mean. Ending up abusing children and what have you. It doesn't do 'em any favours, yeah, it's definitely on the decline. I don't think there is a place for it. People will always struggle to believe in it. I actually live next door to a Baptist Church and that's bad enough, but good on them if they want to keep to a faith, then you know, let them do it. Let them dance around as a token to their cold, sterile God, but the rest of us will get on and live our lives. There is no threat of eternal damnation. No one knows what's beyond the grave, if their is anything. With that in mind, there's no fear , there's no pressure, to be forced into a religion, which was half the problem. The church next door to me doesn't bother me. I don't graffiti it or try to burn it down. I get annoyed sometimes by them playing their music, fucking choir rehearsals every fucking night, but that's just a side line. There's bigger enemies to face, I think. FRANK: What do you think about human cloning and do you think the possibility exists that though cloning, a Dani could be created, somebody just like you? DANI: God forbid. I know that they are already doing it. I've got a few friends, I suppose this doesn't go out on English radio so it's OK, who are in the A.L.F (Animal Liberation Front). There were rumours of genetic experiments as long ago as five years ago, going on around the East Anglia area, where they were actually cloning chickens without heads and somehow controlling the nervous system through electrics or whatever, so that they could just grow chickens, mass produced. You could go straight from birth. You wouldn't have to worry about the humane aspect of keeping them in boxes, transport etc. Just grow these lumps of flesh, eat them and grow some more. It's quite disturbing really, isn't it? FRANK: This is no Urban Legend? DANI: This is straight from the horses mouth, literally. So I know, but whether to believe it or not is another thing. In a way I do because it's all come to light now, you know, they found out whether the government issued a white paper on it or what have you. They're allowed to break out the truth about the whole thing. It's all coming to light FRANK: Dani, I would like to say thanks for taking time out, I've been waiting for about an hour an a half, but that's cool. It's a pleasure! DANI: I'm sorry about that but we're right in the middle of a mix, so I might have just waffled on a bit, gone a bit haywire, but this is the same song now for 10 hours. My brains shot through!!!