The Gauntlet: What happened to you today? I thought we were going to meet up this morning?
Paul: We had some free time this morning and we did this murder tour thing in Hollywood. It was quite bizarre really. The guy who was running it was driving us around in this Cadillac limousine. It was just a fucking nightmare. The car kept breaking down and then it wouldn't go up hills because we had too many people in the car. And then we ran out of petrol. So our contact from Roadrunner Records had to give him some money for petrol. At the end of it, we needed to get a cab as we didn't want to get back in the car. The tour guide turned to us and said at least you got your full tour as he's driving away. I was like 'what the fuck are you talking about!'
The Gauntlet: What was the best murder spot you saw on the tour?
Paul: Most of it was places where people were alive. I don't think he had a clue what was going on. We saw a witch's house. It was really bizarre and quite a cool house. It was apparently on a movie set and they moved it to this hilltop and now someone is living there. We had some ghosts during the recording of our album. It was place called Chapel Studios in Lincolnshire in England. It is called Chapel Studios because the studio used to be a church so it has a chapel. Dani started hearing things and sounds. He would hear this child's music box. Then David started hearing it too. Everyone was hearing it except me. Then one night I took a nap in my room and I heard this child's music box moving around. It was just like one or two notes. I looked all over but saw nothing. Then one night we were all sitting at dinner and the noise started playing as it moved all around the table at head height. It was really bizarre. After that it just went absolutely mental. It just started playing all over the place. But everyone at the table heard it and heard the same song. We could hear this thing and everyone was turning looking for it.
The Gauntlet: Does it rattle the nerves?
Paul: A little bit. You wouldn't be human if it didn't bother you a little bit. At the end of the day you gotta be a little unnerved. They can't hurt you though, unless you have a poltergeist throwing things at you. The woman who owns the chapel said the spirit started in the chapel and then just moved throughout the house. She would be cleaning the windows and see a child's face or hear footsteps going up the stairs and stuff. It's very cool though.
The Gauntlet: How was the recording process for Thornography?
Paul: It went good except for being in spook central. This was the third album where Daves bass head caught fire. His bass head is always catching fire at the recording sessions. It was pretty painless to record this album up until Dani got a throat infection. Then we had to stop. We managed to get all the music recorded, but Dani had to give his voice a rest for six weeks. That is the reason the album was late coming out. By the time we came back to record, we had summer festivals to rehearse for. We would be in the studio for three days, then fly out on the weekends for the summer festivals and come back to the studio to record. We did that for about two months.
The Gauntlet: So was Dani's throat infection the reason for the instrumental song? Did he just get to the last song and say 'ahh fuck it, let's go home.'
Paul: [laughs] No. The instrumental song is there because I wanted to put one there. We have never done one before. This time around, I pretty much wrote all the music on the album. I wanted to see what an instrumental would sound like. I asked Dani if he wanted to put vocals to it. I wanted to leave it alone as an instrumental, but if he wanted to put vocals to it, I'd change some stuff around to make it more vocal friendly. He liked the song how it was and said let's keep it.
The Gauntlet: I thought you wrote most of the music on the previous albums also.
Paul: Pretty much. This album is the one that I had full control of. The last one, I just did a little over half of the music. In the past, there was more of a bands say in stuff. But this time around, I basically wrote the stuff and the band liked it and didn't want to change it. You can take it as they are getting bored, or I am getting better. [laughs]
The Gauntlet: With 'Thornography' there was a lot of departures from the old material.
Paul: I wouldn't say there was too much all at once. This one has more melodies and hook lines than previous albums. With this album, I wanted to go back. I haven't grown out of my roots. There is not much music around that I get an old-school buzz off. A lot of the new stuff out there doesn't appeal to me. I wanted to put more hooks on this album to make the songs more memorable and see if we could get away with it. There are so many kids that love this album. A lot of people have said to me that this album is the best album they have ever heard from Cradle. There are quite a few kids that have said that to me which is really quite cool.
The Gauntlet: I have been a fan of Cradle of Filth for a while. I always get nervous when you guys are in the studio and I start hearing leaks of info coming out. Stuff like Ville Valo of H.I.M. being on the album made me cringe.
Paul: Yeah, you and everybody else. This is one song we needed someone to sing on. Dani is a great vocalist, but he can't sing like that. It just sounds like crap, so we just decided to ask Ville to do it. We know him through Bam Margera. Ville showed interest so we thought why not and had him come out and track it. He went into the studio and did the vocals a couple times and we used it on the album.
The Gauntlet: Cradle has covered bands like Slayer and Iron Maiden in the past which are well known bands. 'Thornography' also includes a cover song from the band 'Seventeen'. I didn't even know this was a cover song, I have never heard of 'Seventeen' before.
Paul: We chose that track for a bit of a challenge. We didn't want to do another metal cover. They are so typically clich�. It's like 'Oh look another metal band doing a metal cover.' We wanted to do something different. Our guitar player was given a copy of the original song and was told to Cradle it up. When he came back, we changed a few little bits around and it came out really well. It rocks like fuck you know. We got Harry in to do vocals to make it a bit different. We also did the video for it. It is set in the Garden of Eden. When we play live, we have some pretty mad projections. It is like this dark, gothic and destroyed Garden of Eden. It is pretty fucking cool actually.
The Gauntlet: Is there a running theme that connects the songs on 'Thornography?'
Paul: No, it is just a collection of really good metal tracks. When we did 'Damnation and a Day', that was a huge concept album and that took forever. It is time consuming making sure the songs fit together and tell a story. This one, we just stuck some really cool tracks and make sure it is not too long. We want to do another concept album. It takes a lot of work and a lot of preparation.
The Gauntlet: With Damnation, there was also a full orchestra and choir to compose.
Paul: It was a nightmare. But we got a guy named Daniel Presley in to do all the arrangements for that as it was too much work. Daniel works with orchestras and choirs all the time. We are pretty good friends with him now. It turned out really well.
The Gauntlet: I assume you were able to afford the extras like a composer because you had Sony's bank account backing you.
Paul: Oh totally. At the end of the day we have always said if we ever had the chance to do it, we'd go for it. The money they put into us went to do what we always wanted to do. It sounds phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal. We did take advantage of Sony's bottomless pit.
The Gauntlet: Has being with Roadrunner Records allowed you to do something the band has wanted to do artistically?
Paul: No, not really. They signed us for who we are, and not for who they want us to be. Roadrunner's staff do their job very well. We are huge in Europe right now and trying to break into America more and Roadrunner is a great label to do that. We have a lot of touring in the US next year. We will be on atleast three proper tours next year. Two will be headliners and we are trying to get on as a support band for one huge act. If we can get on with someone who can sell more tickets than we can, that will be great. It would be amazing if we could support an arena band.
The Gauntlet: Would you be up for playing Ozzfest again?
Paul: Oh, totally. We are up for Ozzfest. We really want to try to push it and spread our name over here. We don't want to just sit back though and not play Europe. That's when another band will move in and take what we have worked for. There is also Japan and Australia we need to get to. We aren't very big in Japan. They have all these fucking weird Yngwie Malmsteen fans over there. In Australia we are pretty big. But people say that if you can crack America, your bloody laughing on the rest of it. America is such a big country with so many huge markets. It is huge. I don't know how many times you can fit the whole UK just in Texas. We need to crack it.
The Gauntlet: If offered the headlining spot for Ozzfest on the second stage or an opening spot on the main stage where you'd play in daylight, would you take it?
Paul: We have done the second stage already. We went on in the late afternoon. It wasn't that bad though, a little hot though. To be perfectly honest, if we were offered the first or second slot on the main stage, we'd turn it down. The amount of people you get watching depends on how late you go on. We'd like to be like third or fourth on so you can have the lights and the arena has a chance to fill up. Being first up on the main stage at Ozzfest is a waste of time. There is nobody there to watch it. If we can get onto Ozzfest though, it would be amazing. We'd jump at the chance.
The Gauntlet: There was a bit of controversy regarding the album cover. From what I have seen of the two versions, the changes they asked for were changed nothing.
The Gauntlet: Looking at the two versions side by side, it took me a couple minutes to even detect the changes requested. They just wanted the band to change the length of the dress of the Mary Magdeline image. They had no problems with her holding the severed head of Jesus or the infant coffin.
Paul: What it was, there was a huge store in the US. I can't say who it was. They were saying that the cover wouldn't fly. We thought they wanted us to change the whole design. Then we found out they just wanted us to change the length of the bloody skirt. This store is that big that they flexed their muscles. I don't really care if it is available in that store as we would never give into changing our artwork. But this request was so insignificant to the cover image. There was no point in arguing over it. It was a complete waste of time actually. It was weird, very strange and bizarre indeed.
The Gauntlet: Controversy has followed the band since its inception; does it ever wear on you?
Paul: No. We have gotten used to it. People don't seem to be batting their eyelids as much as they used to. There was plenty of controversy with the Jesus shirts and stuff and the 'Fuck Your God' shirts. The Jesus shirt, was just us thing of the most offensive shirt possible over a few beers and having a laugh. Someone came up with the Jesus shirt idea and we decided lets do it because no one would buy it or wear it as it was too offensive. Then we recently found out that the shirt outsells any shirt from Marilyn Manson. That offensive shirt outsells Manson and so many other mainstream bands. It totally blows their merch out of the water.
The Gauntlet: Dani explained the cover and album as 'mans obsession with sin.' Are you obsessed with sin?
Paul: Personally no. I don't know of the others in the band, but I'm not. The whole sin thing� I guess it depends what counts as a sin. You can talk to some people who might think everything out there is a sin. But then a band like us that has seen everything possible. For us, pretty much nothing is a sin. At the end of the day, it is what you perceive as a sin.