Interview: Cradle Of Filth Vocalist Dani Filth
When you talk about classic albums shaping genres 'Cruelty and the Beast' by Cradle Of Filth sits proudly and menacingly at the top of the tree for extreme music. The British extreme metal legends are bringing the 'Cruelty and the Beast' show down under next month. In the lead up to the tour, I was asked if I wanted to interview Dani Filth, of course I said yes!
First of all, I have been a huge fan of your since I was 14, that’s 21 years! I have met you in Brisbane a few times, one particular night I asked you to sign my leg in the pouring rain. You took the time to move into the light and grabbed the biggest Nikko anyone around had and you signed my leg perfectly, to which I went straight to my tattoo shop the next day to get it tattooed! To have the opportunity to talk to you today is an absolute privilege.
It’s been just over one year since Cradle Of Filth toured to Australia and in just one month you will be back on our shores again to play “Cruelty and the Beast” in full. It’s been 21 years since this album was released. A lot of bands are doing the “20th Anniversary” shows of a particular album at the moment, what made you as a band decide to play this album in full live as a tour?
Firstly, we were going to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Cruelty and the Beast by re-releasing a remixed, remastered version of the album. We actually went into the studio and spent a long time converting the tracks from the original tapes and remixing it from scratch. I think we spent as much time on that as we would have spent on doing a whole new album. *Dani laughs*. The album is all lined up with Sony. We did two days’ worth of press up in London and a lyric video. All the artwork is all done up, we actually have some different artwork from the original sessions by contacting the original artist Hugh Williamson. Then Sony told us they haven’t gotten permission from all the old band members and one particular band member is being really obstinate about it. Like throwing up everything in the way to stop it from being released. That was supposed to accompany the touring, it’s an ongoing issue. We still went out and did the tour and we thought Australia was being left out, so we thought we would bring it over to you and we get the chance to do New Zealand for the first time. New Zealand is one of them places we need to tick off the bucket list.
What was the significance behind the album when you made it?
It was a real springboard for the band, in respect of, we started getting a lot of recognition at that point. It was our second album. It got complicated because our previous album had been rescued from another label and subsequently it was re-recorded, so the material wasn’t originally the members that played on Cruelty and the Beast. I decided somehow after writing two songs about Elizabeth Bathory that I thought I could stretch it to a whole album. It was the first concept record, before that a few people had only done the odd song about torment, Bathory, Venom etc about Elizabeth Bathory. So that was kind of unique too. All those things really added up and it was just a vital push in the right direction for the band as we started getting all this mainstream attention after that.
What was the influence and inspiration behind your music back then?
Well, it’s the same as it is now. We haven’t changed in that respect. We are just very cinematic, very dark, majestic, colourful in a respect that incomes the orchestration. I’ll just talk myself into an early grave if I carry on. *Dani laughs*
Well it’s definitely made your mark as Cradle Of Filth, the style that you guys write in has always been the same. With you being the only original member left in the band from when this album was recorded, what is it like to bring this album back to life with different musicians behind you?
Yes, its great. It does prove that we can do it for literally every anniversary after this one starting with “Midian” *Dani laughs* but I doubt we’ll do that. Anyways, it was an interesting thing for us to do really, because we obviously had to learn the entire album. It was a difficult album to play back in 1998 let alone 21 years later, but it sounds great live. It really came together. We don’t just play the album, that’s the first act and then we do like an encore for the fan favourites and then one or two unusual songs that we haven’t played for a while
Ohhhh that’s exciting. So how long is your set for on this tour, is it longer than usual?
Its about an hour fourty-five.
You’ve already answered my next question about the remastered version of Cruelty and The Beast, so that will be coming eventually when it gets sorted, I guess?
Yeah, we can only hope. It’s just a ridiculous scenario to be in. It just benefits everyone involved. It’s just someone being very bull headed, I can do this so I shall. The fans are all waiting for this re-release, so I just don’t understand it. Everything points to the positive for everyone involved in the record.
When it can be released, can we expect a crazy super deluxe edition for crazy fans like me?
Well, depends what you mean by crazy, shall we put nice in there? *both laugh* At the moment to get anything released it would be an absolute miracle. Should it get released, yeah there will be a limited edition in there for sure.
There was talk of a live album being released, is there any more news on when we can expect this?
Um, not as yet. We’ve just been recording the odd shows here and there. We could definitely put together a killer live record. But before then I think we are going to be videoing a show, I can’t really talk to you much about it because we haven’t even announced the show that is going to happen, so yeah there is plans obviously. I can talk to you about the new album. The new album is going to be due out next September. We’ve already started the writing process. It’s very hard because we have literally been playing solid since February with only a few days at home. But now we are ending the final period of the summer festivals, so we are going to be getting more and more time as the touring fizzles out. Come November we will be free to have much of the album writing finished and then it will just be left to me to make sense of it *both laugh*
Do you do most of writing on the albums or do you do it as a band?
We do it as a band. I write the lyrics; they write the music and I chip in with ideas and structure. So, we are due to be in the studio at the end of January, beginning of February, the album will be out next year. In respect to your last question, not sure about the live album, where it will fit in. But we are hoping to film, like I said, a special show.
As a fan and as the owner of your most controversial shirt “Vestal Masturbation” how surprised are you all these years later that it’s still making headlines around the world?
Well, I guess it is a brutal statement. The statement wasn’t necessarily satanic, I guess more anarchic really. Poking fun at a figure head. It was a nasty shirt, I mean we laughed our arses off when we came up with the idea of it. *both laugh* I mean we were really lucky to even get it printed to be honest. It’s cool, the fact that it’s a strong image.
What is your favourite memory from being in Australia?
I’ve got lots of good memories from being in Australia, I mean like the Koala Sanctuaries, walking around Sydney City, Visiting Bon Scott’s grave. The parties in Australia are pretty mental. I flooded a hotel room once.
How did you do that?
I had jet lag coming from Japan and I left the bath running. *both laugh* I got bitten by a possum once in a park, had to get a rabies shot.
I did see a photo surface of you with a Koala at Lone Pine Sanctuary and I have to say, it is the cutest photo I have ever seen! Like, you are such a dark metal person holding this little Koala bear, it was really cute.
They are dangerous, I was holding it very cautiously. Everything in Australia wants to kill you.
Even the people?
*Dani laughs* I don’t know about that yet, but we send everybody over there, so I guess they probably do want to kill us. You are actually slaughtering us through the ashes at the moment in the cricket.
I’m not into the cricket, do you watch it?
You must be the first Australian ever to say that! *Dani laughs* I was watching it today whist I was eating my lunch to be honest.
Do you ever intend to do an autobiography on your life as Dani Filth?
Um, I don’t know. Possibly not as I’m too much of a private person. Maybe, but I don’t think people would belive it.
I for one would love to read it because you are such an interesting person.
Can we expect Cradle Of Filth back in Australia soon or will you be taking another five years like you usually do to come back?
I should think it will definitely be on the next touring cycle for the new album. It depends where Australia fits on the touring cycle. If it’s at the beginning it could only be a year away.
You guys usually come to Australia in May, so I was a bit surprised when this tour got announced.
At the end of this year we would have toured literally everywhere, within reason. We’ve been on most continents apart from the Antarctic. The possibility was raised and then it was agreed upon and it went from there as we didn’t want Australia to miss out.
Your fans sometimes give you gifts, have you ever received anything that has really stood out?
Yeah, I got a sculpture of me. It’s got like 2 vampire ladies crawling around my feet, It’s from the video “from the cradle to enslave”. It’s really good, it must of taken a really long long time to make. I get gifts all the time. Russians seem to be the most generous people; I get completely crazy stuff from people in Russia. Who doesn’t like gifts?
Do you keep every single gift?
Yes, but you have to be careful, like if someone in Australia gives you a very big gift, you are not going to get that home.
Thank you for taking the time for me today, do you have any words for your Australian fans before we go?
Yes, Thank you for all of your support. If there was no support, there would be no reason to come over there and play the Cruelty show. I am really looking forward to it, it’s a great time of year. I have never experienced Australia at that time of the year. Keep supporting bands and we look forward to seeing everyone at the shows as they are going to be killer.
Tuesday 3 September – Capitol, Perth 18+
Wednesday 4 September – The Gov, Adelaide 18+
Friday 6 September – 170 Russell, Melbourne 18+
Saturday 7 September – The Valley Drive In, Brisbane 18+
Sunday 8 September – Metro Theatre, Sydney 18+
Tuesday 10 September – The Basement, Canberra 18+
Thursday 12 September – The Studio, Auckland 18+