About Me

Interview with Cradle of Filth

Cradle of Filth have just unleashed a live album “Trouble and Their Double Lives”, via Napalm Records, while fans anxiously await for the band’s next studio album. The brand new double live album features fan favourites, two bonus tracks and two entirely brand new songs. Dani Filth talked to Metal Imperium about the new live album, the collaboration with Ed Sheeran and band’s show in Portugal in August, at 14th Milagre Metaleiro Open Air.

M.I. - Hello. Hi, Dani. How are you?

I'm good, thank you. 

M.I. - When the band started, did you ever imagine Cradle would survive three decades in the music business? 

I don't think we even thought that concept of it. One would assume you just envisage one playing big audiences and having longevity in career. No, I guess the answer is, I didn't think so.

M.I. - How have these 31 years of Cradle of Filth been?

Amazing. Just lots of ups and downs, like anything but maybe more ups. We’ve seen the world hundreds of times. Yeah, it's been creative. All kinds of things happened and if I would write about it, it would fill a multitude of books, it really would. And it just doesn't feel like it's been 30 years, it's gone quite quickly. 

M.I. - How exciting is your life as a musician? Is it everything we imagine it to be: lots of money, parties and glamour?

It gets quite boring sometimes. It's just a lot of downtime. We will record an album, in a week and a half. In fact, we go to Las Vegas to a big festival, come back and then we start as soon as we land. But that's gonna take us, because we don't have work weekends at the studio, about four months. So, you should imagine it gets a bit repetitive. Even touring could get quite boring as well. There's a lot of down downtime. I remember there's one famous quote that I love, I can't remember who said it but he said: “You don't pay me to do gigs at all. I'll do them for free! You pay me to sit around in hotels and in airports for hours”. Yeah, I’d do gigs for free. Just pay me to sit around.

M.I. - But “normal” people also have repetitive lives, you know? I mean, way more boring than yours, I’d say! 

Well define normality, you know! (laughts)

M.I. - How did the idea of releasing another live album come up? Is it a way of keeping fans entertained while waiting for new material?

I guess, it's an album full stop. It actually just came to life! We didn't decide to do it. It's kind of just a circumstance the delay Covid provided. It also meant that our last record with Nuclear Blast got delayed by a year, because of the pandemic we couldn’t tour, so it was pointless. It just made sense to hold it back on there. Remember the transition from leaving Nuclear Blast for our new label Napalm was a year later as well. So, we found ourselves having some downtime and we had a slight line up shift. So, we decided that with the new members, we would press a reset to the writing. So, whatever we had, we put towards the live record as well, because they were short.
We had quite a big select selection of songs that were generally right across the whole spectrum of Cradle albums. So, circumstantial because we didn't realize that our live engineer had been recording everything that we'd done pretty much for four or five years. So, it was his suggestion actually to translate it into a live record. I mean, if we planned ahead, probably we would've recorded a show. We wouldn’t have done it that way. We chose the best performances and our studio engineer delivered them in a way that made it sound concise, cohesive and exciting.

M.I. - Okay, I was going to ask you, how were the track select selected, but you just said you chose the best ones!

Well, I guess he was looking for explosive forms, you know, good performances, good reaction, good energy. It was okay taken from the desk, so we had to manipulate the sound a little bit, obviously bringing it up to the quality to be played on CD and digital platforms, et cetera. So yeah, that's how we did it. And then we sat in a mix to make sure everything got the right order. I mean, the hardest job really was to satisfy our request list because the criteria was quite brutal. There’s nothing that was on the previous live album because, despite the 21 year or 20-year gap, they're still sitting next to each other on a shelf on a record store, if they still exist. There also had to be favorites in there. 

M.I. - Yeah. But there's a repeated track in both live albums: “Born in a Burial Gown”.

Yeah. That happened. (laughts)

M.I. - I checked one by one and I realized that was repeated. I was going to ask you why? Is it your personal favorite or what?

I dunno why that happened!

M.I. - Do you think this live album gives the new listeners a good idea of the band’s sound evolution throughout the years?

I mean, this is a live experience. We wanted to sound kicking alive and energetic, no dubs. I don't know if there’s a demand for live records. I don't know whether the whole music industry shifted to it somewhat, but I don't know if they're as popular as they were, maybe because of the whole digital way… people getting access to records whenever they want, it lost a bit of magic. We didn't go through the plan of really releasing live records. I think we skirt around the inevitable disasters. And I think a brand new studio track in each side of the double album also works as well. But it seems to be getting a good reception and then it's gonna serve a good placeholder for future studio output for mass.

M.I. – So, you were saying you don't know if there's a popular demand for live albums. How are sales going? Do you have any idea?

Well, I wouldn’t know, but Amazon’s chart seems pretty healthy. We are getting a good feedback from people. Napalm have been doing a great job on press, hence I'm speaking to you. Yeah, so I've been doing press now for a month, like 16, 20 interviews a week. So, they're doing a good job. It seems to be working and well, the main, most important thing is that the fans are enjoying it. And even if it's only the fans enjoying it, then we basically succeeded on our quest.

M.I. - Do you have any idea if your fans still buy physical copies or if they're more into digital formats these days?

I have no idea. You’d have to question the record company about that.

M.I. – “She is a Fire” and “Demon Prince Regent” are two new tracks. Are they a preview of what fans can expect soundwise from the upcoming album?

Yeah. Well, not necessarily the same. A new line up, new sound, but not drastically different. I would say it's a fair representation, definitely.

M.I. - You’ve mentioned that the new album will have a “Dusk and Her Embrace” vibe. Care to ellaborate on that?

We’re moving close to the recording date and I would just say it's thematically sort of “Dust and Her Embrace” and “Midian”. It's got a vibe to it, that kind of dark fantastical element to it. It's gonna be very spooky.

M.I. - So you are about to start working on the new album. Are lyrics all written by now?

No, not all, maybe 80%. I've got a few songs. I've got time with those, because I don’t want to rush to get those songs done. And it's fine. 

M.I. - You are the main lyricist. How long does it take you to write a full lyric? I mean, they're quite elaborate. 

Yes, I write all the lyrics. I don’t know, sometimes it takes me quite a long time, other times it comes quite naturally, can't dictate these things. It can be frustrating for a writer in general. You could sit down for a month and do nothing, and just can’t think of anything. And other times it just all comes and, you've done everything within two days. You can't just say: “Okay, next week I'll work on the new album!” and I'll be doing something else because it just doesn't work like that… coming up with ideas, structures, vibes, atmospheres and story alliances and the sort of music that people can listen to for a long time. It's like a puzzle. Sometimes you take a long time to get it done, other times you do it in one day.

M.I. - But are you preparing a concept album?

Well, everything Cradle does is conceptualized. It's not like “Cruelty and the Beast”, it's more like “Midian”. It's a collection of songs, thematically they are linked. But it's not a concept, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to doing that, we may do it at one point or another. It's very hard to write like that, because it takes writing a full story, not just a collection of songs, about a theme which most people attribute to a concept record. By that you could say yes, all our records are based on concepts.

M.I. - So tell me, your collaboration with Ed Sheeran is a hot topic these days and has sparked a huge debate online and I believe it probably wouldn’t be something you’d consider doing two decades ago but, fortunately, now, you are older and wiser and metal fans and people in general seem to be more open-minded these days and all is possible. Why do you like doing what might “shock” fans? 

Well, I like the marriage of extremes, the juxtaposition, hence all the previous collaborations I've done with Bring Me the Horizon, Twisted and 69 Eyes, just to name a couple.

M.I. - Yeah, but they're not so mellow…

I know the average black metal fan enough. But I like the juxtaposition, the marriage of extreme extremes. I like Ed, he's one of the biggest artists in the world. We’re doing a song with him. He plays acoustic guitar. It's a serious song for a charity. I think it is gonna surprise a lot of people. I like pushing boundaries. I don't like being told what to do. Another reason for doing it is that very reason… and metal fans are a divided community anyway. Don't get me wrong! Metal people are loyal, but they’re only loyal to their bands. It doesn't matter what you say, you're gonna get a million people going “You're not as good as so and so” all the time. So, it's a very divisive genre. And this is my way to antagonize that division and people will like it or they will hate it, they're never gonna change. But the good thing is that it’ll be for a good cause at the end of the day.

M.I. - Which charity is it for? 

I can't speak about it.

M.I. - And when is it due? Can you tell us that?

We don't know that. I'm starting the mix of it tomorrow and it's about a week to finish mixing it, because obviously we will be back in the studio, we go to Las Vegas to play a gig. We're hoping to release it at the end of August, beginning of September. But it's got to go through a lot of administration and the contributions, gotta get radio involved, charity’s a lot of work.

M.I. - Okay, so how's Zoe Marie fitting in the band?

Yeah, both new members are fantastic. They get on really well, that's a very important part of being in a band… to understand the theology and the workings of creativity and be able to integrate and contribute as is expected. You also gotta be a good person. You know, we've got a bit twisted sense of humour, so they’ve got to be fun, life loving and considerate. There's a lot of attributes and Zoe and Donny both tick those boxes. They’re really lovely humans and we get on very well. Despite having had numerable line-up changes in the past, we are a very tight-knit community. And that was demonstrated on the recent tour, with DevilDriver, because Dez is our manager and we were sharing crew and production and it felt like a family. 

M.I. - Okay. You'll be coming to Portugal this summer. What can fans expect you to play? A mix of tracks from all the albums or you'll mostly focus on the new live album?

No, it'll be a mixture. It'll be a good festival, a good set. We'll definitely have a lot fan favourites. It'll be original stuff we played back in the day when we first came to Portugal. Obviously, there’ll be a couple new songs in there. We'll probably do an extensive set. We always reevaluate, review the sets and make sure we play what the fans want to see, you know, their favorites. 

M.I. - Ok, Dani, many thanks for your time. Hope you have a blast in Portugal in August. Is there a final message you’d like to share with the fans? 

Yeah, thank you very much for being fans of the band. We have an affinity with Portugal, as it was the first country to accept Cradle back in the day, first country outside of home territory. Our first show was played in Penafiel and, after that, we went over for the next three or four years. We were always in Portugal.
And there was an unfortunate turn of events at one point, but Portugal's always very close to our hearts. It's good to come back and play. The last time we played there, I believe it was in 2018 or 2019. We've had a two-year pandemic in between but it's still good. You should come to the festival! So anyway, I’m very much looking forward to it. .

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Questions by Sónia Fonseca