Cradle Of Filth Interview

Band Name: Cradle Of Filth
Interviewed: Dani Filth
Date: 2009-10-15
Previous Cradle Of Filth Interviews

The Gauntlet: How is everything?

Dani Filth: Things are quite busy at the moment. We are highly busy with the band at the moment as well. We started to write a new album and things are coming together with that. I am also involved in a side-project with Rob Caggiano from Anthrax, King from ex-Gorgoroth, drummer John Tempesta [The Cult], and Ice Dale from Enslaved. And then there is the book [The Gospel of Filth] I got coming out. Then my sister had her baby last week so things have been a bit hectic this last week.

The Gauntlet: The Gospel of Filth will be hitting stores later this month.

Dani: Yes, we started this book quite a while ago; like 5 years ago. It is unbelievable to think about that. It came about from Gavin [Baddeley] who had interviewed me and suggested it. It was a great idea and the extent of the book blossomed over time. The bloody thing is huge and covers all aspects of the dark side. It is really an intense over appreciation of the band. The whole thing is kind of hinged in a skeletal structure that relates to the album titles as chapters. Like "Middian" would be horror and "Dusk and Her Embrace" is about gothicism. It uses it as a springboard into people in the know talking about it. The whole thing just laces in with storytelling and is about the bands musical journey as well as the occult. There are all kinds of box outs with pictures.

The Gauntlet: I was shocked by the amount of information. I was really expecting the typical rock & roll book about being on the road and battling drugs and addiction to sex.

Dani: No, that is just the extra chapter [laughs].

The Gauntlet: I have always been a fan of Cradle of Filth, but never tied in what you have been doing to British history and the occult. I knew it was present but didn't know to what extent.

Dani: We wanted it to be something you could get into, perhaps even while sitting on the toilet. We wanted it to be fun and have a lot of information too. That is why it took five years to complete. It is riddled with history, mysteries and lots of information.

The Gauntlet: How much of the book is written by you?

Dani: I did quite a bit of the research for this book actually. It is about 60/40 in favor of Gavin in respect to all the research. The amount of stuff I had to look through, phone calls, meetings went into hundreds of hours.

The Gauntlet: With the book so tied into the bands albums, why now, why not wait until the band is ready for a break?

Dani: Originally we were following a different plan. It started to become bigger than we wanted; it became a monster. There was a point where it ended with "Thornography" and then "Godspeed [and the Devil's Thunder]" came out so that had to be incorporated and that created even more work and research. But why not now? It has been 15 years as a band. It just felt like the right thing to do. We were stretching it tight with the amount of revisions. If we put it out ten years from now, maybe the chapters would be running a little thin. We knew this would be a lot of hard work, but as it became bigger, it got more exciting. It was all independently done; we did all of this ourselves.

The Gauntlet: One of the chapters, I think it was for "Femme Fatale" went into female sexuality at length. How important has sexuality and the use of it been to Cradle of Filth?

Dani: We have always accompanied our artwork to use that female aspect. We probably find it much more interesting being men than to use males on the covers. That album goes into depth and explains the associations with mythic cultures, female worship and S&M.

The Gauntlet: How much is shock value in what Cradle of Filth does?

Dani: We are the beast of two arts really. We like to get outside and into the proverbial grey really and we will do something like "Jesus is a Cunt" and other times we will do something that really wouldn't be out of place on a wildlife calendar. We might have a gothic women or something. We have used lots of famous artists and we have worked closely with them telling them what we want and they use their strong and visual interpretations. It sort of just goes hand in hand. While we were working on Cruelty & the Beast we approached someone in that field and Stu Williamson, who was a classical photographer in style, was brought on. His sister wrote gothic novels. It was the same for "Dusk [and Her Embrace]." That album is a marriage of sex and death and we brought on Nigel Wingrove to do a sort of feminine slinky gothic woman. I think my favorite cover of all our records was the cover of "The Principle of Evil Made Flesh." I like the cold simplicity. No bands were doing that at the time. It made it stand out.

The Gauntlet: When that album came out, Cradle was more thought of as a black metal band and that was a different cover style than the other bands at the time.

Dani: Yeah, I would totally agree with that.

The Gauntlet: With everything Cradle was doing in the early nineties, most of the attention at the time was going to the Scandinavian black metal bands.

Dani: That is true, but it only worked for so long. It only worked as long as the disasters of the smoke, church burnings and stabbings lasted. We are still friends and have connection to those bands like Immortal, Emperor, and Gorgoroth. Emperor took us out on tour with them early on. I think because we were so isolated, that curtailed this individuality in our sound. The church burnings, arson and murders did over-shadow us, but I think we have shown through it in the end and we have our own individuality.

The Gauntlet: It makes it hard to have church burnings in England when the churches are made of stone, but did the band ever discuss ideas of other ways to be blasphemous?

Dani: I think in the end it was Turbonegro that won by going gay. That was it, no one could contend with that. They couldn't contend by being evil so they just went gay.

The Gauntlet: Did you ever think about going gay? Is that the final chapter of the book?

Dani: [laughs] I think I will just be less evil as my way of contending.

The Gauntlet: In the book you brought up that metal in the 90's was killed by grunge music. I have always believed it was metal that killed metal as you had top bands like Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth changing their sound and a ton of thrash bands breaking up. Glam died but they had it coming with all their excess; it wasn't caused by grunge.

Dani: Possibly, I think metal morphed too much. A majority of the bands left the scene. I remember it quite distinctly and it put me off of a lot of bands at the time. It was stagnant and I was glad some of it went away really. I think it went a bit deeper though.

The Gauntlet: Cradle of Filth's lyrics have always been rooted a bit in mythology and symbolism yet the book is very factual and historical.

Dani: Our lyricism is based on facts and mythology. You can only say that the mythology is factual as saying that so is your belief in god. The mysticism and mythology leads into the symbolism in a way in the same way that the godheads fill the same jobs.

The Gauntlet: Early on in the book, you touch on witchcraft and the Salem Witch trials along with the witchcraft trials in England. The difference was in England some of those on trial were really witches.

Dani: Oh yeah. As an example, I used to live in a place in Hadley which is just down the road from Suffolk. Suffolk is known as the witch county due to the famous events. There was a movie with Vincent Price in it called "Witchfinder General" that was based on a character called Matthew Hopkins whose job it was to find and try witches. Of course he got more money with the more witches he brought to trial. That all happened pretty much around where I grew up. In fact early on, my wife and I owned a cottage in Suffolk. It was quaint and was Suffolk pink in color. They'd mix the blood with the paint and that's how the color got its name. Hopkins was rumored to have stayed in our house on his way to his Parrish at times.

The Gauntlet: What is next for Cradle of Filth?

Dani: At the present we are working on some ideas. We have 4-5 songs ideas we are throwing around. A few of us are based around here and right now trying to at least get a link among the tracks and get artwork ideas. We are hoping to be in the studio at the end of January. We can do that but it is just tentative now. It is like panning for gold right now, just getting rid of the shit and building a platform for the album.

The Gospel of Filth