Metal and the Halloween season go hand-in-hand, and few bands represent that symbiotic relationship quite like Cradle of Filth.
Fitting then that the theatrically minded and relentlessly heavy Brits will signal in the spirit of the season of the witch with a virtual performance at the hallowed St. Mary's Church, Colchester Art Centre, England on October 30th.
Metal Injection caught up with enigmatic frontman Dani Filth for a deep-dive into the can't miss showcase, details on the band's forthcoming new album, a replacement for departed member Lindsay Schoolcraft, the status of Devilment and much more!
On Band Status During COVID-19
We are very fortunate in that last year was one of the best live years we've had. Then when we finished we started writing the record. Only the beginning was supposed to be an album year, the rest was fully booked with live shows, which is fortunate that when the pandemic struck and everyone was isolating and locked down that and weren't sort of halfway out the door on a tour with all merch bought and a tour bus and venues across wherever. We were very lucky that we were in a studio that was close to where I live and that we were able to spend longer on the record. Nobody knew when anything was going back to normal. We've had a few moments bringing people in and out of the country because of the restrictions in travel.
On Re-Teaming with Producer Scott Atkins
It's very comfortable recording with him. You know, he's very free and easy with how he talks to me. There's no pandering … we're good friends and we can talk to each other how we want. Like you say, his studio is not far from where I live. It's in the countryside so during lockdown I was able to travel to and from the studio. We had less hours to work. We had nothing more that we could do. There was no pubs that we could saddle off to over lunch time … it was just work, work, work. And it was nice, relaxed and fortunately lockdown in England's been okay because we've had some fantastic weather this year. Should the second round happen in the winter? I think it's going to hit us a lot harder than it did the first time. But you need to look for the silver-lining in the clouds and all that. It's been a pretty shitty year other than that for the fact that nobody can do anything. We should have been on tour now in the States and that's been put back. Now it's looking like it's going to happen next September just to be safe.
On Upcoming New Album
Well, we were actually just at the beginning of the mix … At the moment, the engineer is just doing the the exciting tasks of drum edits and making sure everything's on the right level and everything's in the right pockets. It's very hard to say how this album is, but it's fantastic. It's probably the best album we've written. We've had the opportunity to really dig deep into it and work hard on the tracks, and if necessary rewrite parts, which we have done. I certainly have rewritten parts and have no qualms about Scott saying this just isn't good enough compared to all the other songs on the record. But I would say it's not very different from Cryptoriana. It's not as intricately laced. That album spoke of the times it was trying to assimilate and represent. This album is about existential terror. The threat of everything. The end of the world, the end of one's life, existential dread. A little hope, I guess in there … It's a Cradle of Filth record. The songs are strong. They're extreme, but it's a mixture of everything.
On New Bandmember/Exit of Lindsay Schoolcraft
(Lindsay's) replacement was privy to the whole writing process. She's been involved in the new album from day one. All the ingredients, contributions toward the album, finished. So very happy with that. Lindsay's replacement has been involved totally in this record. And she's totally brought a new edge, another arrow. Another string to our bow. It was great, the time we had with Lindsay, and obviously, we're going to miss her. She was a sister to us all. When you're in a band and you toured as much as we did in the last two years, you become very close. And yeah, it's a shame. But she had issues with her mental health, the time being away from home.
Obviously, she was so far afield from the rest of us guys in Europe that there were times when she had to stay between tours. So she didn't get that time home and quality time, so that was a major contributory factor. She's probably looking at it a little differently now because naturally everybody's been home for like seven, eight months now. This time last year she was obviously very, very tired. And we have a very strong work ethic in our band. I mean, if this hadn't happened the album would be coming out probably Halloween and we'd be well into a tour by now. You know, no rest for the wicked.
We were just going to wait until the next live performance (to reveal the new member). We didn't want to make a massive deal out of it. And at the same time, we want to just keep our cards close to our chest, especially after the album. The release date or the intended release date is obviously going to move as many times as the tour. I think we're probably looking at an April release now to be perfectly honest.
On Halloween Show at St. Mary's Church
The origins of it are actually a little far flung. I mean, it's not like something we just thought of because other people are doing it. It was actually started and put into effect late May. And we were supposed to be doing the livestream at the beginning of July and we looked to other venues as well, but this made perfect sense because it's in the next town over from me. It's close to some of the crew. It's in England, so the majority of the band are based in the British Isles and the crew. We looked to the Czech Republic because they're still having shows and we were going to film it in front of a live audience. But with the travel corridors opening and shutting between Britain and the mainland, that just proved impossible. So it's a lot easier to get two people here than twelve people, and that's the film crew as well. It's worked out perfectly.
It was originally intended in July, but the church was undergoing renovation anyway. And with this coronavirus going on, that obviously slowed significantly. So it went from July to August to September, and at which point we said, fuck it, let's just make a Halloween show and be done with it. So it's all worked out well. And like I say, it's taking a lot of planning because obviously there's got to be a lot of safety issues in place to even undertake this. We've also got to have rehearsals. We're going to have a day where we go through it, the staging and the effects and the camera crew working angles. It's not just like, okay, let's do a gig and just put it on the internet.
On Relationship Between Horror & Heavy Metal
It's just a lot of cross-pollination between the two. I mean, you could go back to classical music of the 17th, 18th, 19th centuries. Classical music was like the heavy metal of the day, and it was up to them to express strong emotions. And as well as having a lot of very cheery classical pieces, there's a lot of dark stuff. I mean, just off the top of my head, Berlioz "Fantastic Symphony". For example, Stravinsky was almost like a Slayer of his day. So I think it goes hand in hand before even the distinction of a genre even being called horror, which I believe didn't even happen till the late 19th century, beginning of the 20th century. It's quite a virginal genre. It's natural that the two go hand-in-hand because of the visual aspects of the bands, aggressive nature. The dark ambiance of heavy metal lends itself perfectly to the horror genre. So many fans of heavy metal and fans of horror cross-pollinate. If you go to like a comic con, a horror comic con type of thing and I've been to loads, the majority of them there are metal fans.
On Personal Horror Influences
I was always a massive fan of horror literature. That's where Cryptoriana sprung from, a love of Victorian ghost and horror stories. So yeah, I mean that's essentially where this spirit of Cradle of Filth came from was from literature, soundtracks, the blend of like different things that inspired us musically. Anything from soundtracks which I probably listened to as much as I do heavy metal, darker aspects of classical music, punk, hardcore, traditional heavy metal, New Wave of British heavy metal, speed, thrash, everything. Everything influenced us at the time. And I guess we cherry-picked the parts we like liked and much like a trivial pursuit puzzle bit and we just added the segments and got Cradle of Filth at the end of it. But yeah, there was a strong alliance and tie with all things theatrical and horror. Horror movies grew up with them. Absolutely.
On the Status of DEVILMENT
It’s on kind of a permanent hiatus at the present. Cradle are just way too busy. Also, it’s kind of become more and more diluted as everybody sort of went their separate ways. And so I think a lineup for a third album would be so far removed from the first and even the second that it wouldn’t be Devilment anymore. And I’m not really keen on that. Also, I may have something else come to the forefront in a little while that I’m working on. So yeah, I mean, possibly. I’m sure album number three will surface at some point, but I guess it wouldn’t be in the very near future.