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M.I. - Finally your eagerly awaited 12th album, 'Cryptoriana - The Seductiveness Of Decay' is about to be released and Dani has stated that the new album “It's A Cross Between 'Hammer Of The Witches' And 'Cruelty And The Beast''. Do you agree?

I do. Naturally it was going to sound similar to ‘Hammer of the Witches’ as it is the same lineup. We work really well together and after the tour cycle behind the last album we felt more comfortable pushing each other’s writing to the limits. I think it made for a stronger album. The ‘Cruelty…’ comparison came from the cinematic feel that the songs were starting to take. It was never intentional, but we felt we had to go beyond the last album instead of simply writing another version of ‘Hammer of the Witches’.

M.I. - “Hammer of the witches” was a huge success… do you think Cryptoriana can surpass it?

I like to think it would. We’re still very proud of ‘Hammer of the Witches’ but with every album we hope to go further and go places where Cradle have never gone before. It all depends on how the fans react. All we can do is write the best album we can and hope for the best.

M.I. - The title of the album is “Cryptoriana - The Seductiveness of Decay” and supposedly the title “is deeply infused with Victorian gothic horror and thus the title is a reflection of that. Who is Cryptoriana after all? Do the tracks have a storyline that links them all in order to create a concept? Tell us about the concept.

Cryptoriana is a play on words of Victoriana. In the Victorian era, a lot of people had a fascination with the dead, seances, the occult, the strange and wonderful, and Dani wanted to reflect that in the writing. He was reading a lot of Victorian literature and was lyrically influenced by it.

M.I. - The release of the first single had to be pushed back one week. What happened?

From what I understand it was something to do with post production. I’m not sure of the specifics, but it takes a lot of work to produce a video of that kind of production and detail. Sometimes it takes a little longer than predicted to get it exactly how you want it. That goes for any kind of art.

M.I. - The album contains 9 original tracks and 1 cover of Annihilator’s track “Alison Hell” and Annihilator have already said it is the best version of it so far. Why have you opted for this cover? Are you proud?

Dani had talked about covering this song for as long as Ashok and I have been in the band. He kept bringing it up when we were on the road. Then we met Jeff Waters while we were on tour in Germany and Dani mentioned we were planning on covering ‘Alison Hell’. That’s when we got Jeff’s blessing. We’re really proud of it. Our producer, Scott Atkins, pushed us hard to make it very faithful to the original yet retain what makes it sound like Cradle of Filth. I like to think we got the balance right.

M.I. - In your opinion, what’s the strongest track of the album?

That’s a very tough question to answer. I’m very proud of the songs I contributed, but everyone on this album has brought their A-game. All of the songs have their moments.

M.I. - The band’s line-up hasn’t changed since the release of “Hammer of the witches”… do you think it had a good impact on this one?

I think it had a great impact on the writing and sound of the album. We started writing ‘Hammer of the Witches’ after Ashok and I had only been in the band for a few months. This time, we had been in the band for over two and a half years and had done countless shows together. The chemistry was great from the start, but we felt we could push each other further, even beyond what we personally felt we could achieve.

M.I. - The stunning cover artwork was done by Artūrs Bērziņš, the mastermind behind the new record’s artwork, photography and videography. He has been proclaimed as a “sacred monster of Latvian postmodernism”. How did you find him?

Dani mentioned that he would be doing the album artwork for ‘Hammer of the Witches’ and that’s when I first heard of him and started to research his work. I was blown away by what I was seeing, and he still blows me away. His vision for Cryptoriana’s artwork and videos added a new dimension to the music.

M.I. - The album has to be released in September because of new management planning a big world tour which has to start in America on a certain date. So, the album has to be delivered and released. The pressure to put an album out is always huge, huh? Does it affect creativity?

Personally, I like deadlines. I find I’m a lot more creative when I have a deadline and something to work towards. I seem to get my best ideas when there are time pressures. Some members of the band sit and write in their spare time, whereas I need that added pressure to at my most productive.

M.I. - Your video “Heartbreak and séance” caused quite a stir… why this track to promote the new album? Is it the best?

We felt it was a very strong song early on, but then again we feel all of the songs are strong. If they 
weren’t, they wouldn’t be on the album at all. The song has a lot of elements that Cradle of Filth are known for but at the same time, is a very good representation of the cinematic tone of the album.

M.I. - “You will know the lion by its claw” is a very well-conceived lyric video… who comes up with those ideas? Did you choose the band for the lyric video or was it Nuclear Blast?

From what I gather, Dani got some ideas together with the director, Sam Scott Hunter. He directed the videos for the singles from ‘Hammer of the Witches’ and is another visionary director. We’re very fortunate to work alongside some very talented and creative people.

M.I. - COF’s debut album celebrated the 23th anniversary of its release. That’s a huge milestone, isn’t it? Were you a fan of this album in particular?

For me personally, I like the album now but I got into Cradle of Filth from ‘Midian’ onwards. I went back to ‘Cruelty and the Beast’ but the earlier albums kind of passed me by. When I was asked to join the band and learn the earlier material, that’s when I found a new appreciation for the first three albums. They are true classics and I feel very fortunate to play those songs on tour.

M.I. - The band will be playing live in the UK, Ireland and Japan. When will other dates be announced? Is Portugal included in your plans?

The European/Russian dates have just been announced for January - March 2018. The dates for North and South America, Asia and Australia will be announced very soon. As for Portugal, we will be performing at Vagos Metal Festival on August 10th 2018.

M.I. - The tour that starts in January will see Moonspell alongside COF. How’s your relationship with them? Are you familiar with other Portuguese bands?

Cradle of Filth have toured with Moonspell before but not while I’ve been in the band. I’m really looking forward to hanging out with them and playing music alongside them. I’m not that aware of many Portuguese metal bands, but I’d love to find some. I’m always on the hunt for new music. Please tell me some bands to check out.

M.I. - You have recorded 2 albums with COF… were you excited when the opportunity to join the band present itself?

I really was. I was a fan, more of a casual fan, but my brother has been a die hard Cradle fan since 1998. He was so excited when I told him the news. I had to learn two songs, ‘Cthulu Dawn’ and ‘Born In A Burial Gown’, and send a video audition. I got an email from Dani asking me to join a few days later, as well as the set to learn for my first tour a month later. It was quite the whirlwind and I was thrown in at the deep end, but what an experience it was.

M.I. - Kanye West has been seen wearing your t-shirt “Fuck your god” t-shirt. Do you think this type of “publicity” works for the band or do you have something against it?

I have nothing against it. I think it’s fantastic. The more people who become aware of the band, the better. I find it strange how some fans get really precious about who wears their favourite bands’ t shirts. What if he’s a fan? What if he isn’t? At the end of the day, he’s free to wear what he wants and not conform to what anyone else says or thinks of him. Everyone should be allowed to wear what they want.

M.I. - Please share a message with Metal Imperium’s readers and Cradle of Filth’s fans.

I want to say a massive thank you to the readers of Metal Imperium and all of our fans who have supported us all of these years. No matter what, you are all passionate about the band and metal music. You’re the best!

Questions by Sónia Fonseca