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Cradle Of Filth- interview met Dani Filth (vocals)

Dani Filth: “We have been busy from the start of the year: a live record, American tour, the album being written, lots of plans, the Ed Sheeran song… so the studio is the next exciting time as well. And next year will be a very busy year for Cradle Of Filth with a new album and touring.
We blijven Cradle Of Filth intensief volgen aan de hand van de duidelijke uiteenzettingen tijdens gesprekken met opperhoofd/frontman Dani Filth. Begin jaren negentig werd Cradle Of Filth gelanceerd als één van de meest extreme metal bands van een nieuwe generatie. Nog steeds staan ze geregeld in the picture. Momenteel helpt het nieuwe live album ‘Trouble And Their Double Lives’ hen daarbij een handje. Het gonst van de plannen en nieuwtjes in het COF hoofdkwartier en Lords of Metal mocht even poolshoogte nemen.
Vera Matthijssens Ι 17 mei 2023

Hi Dani, we are going to talk about several things. There is a new live album ‘Trouble And Their Double Lives’, there are plans for a new album and so on. Let us start with something recent: you just did a co-headline tour with DevilDriver in the US. What can you tell about that?
Yes it was a double headline tour called ‘Double Trouble Live’. It was a tour for three and a half weeks in the States. That was the first part of it. There is a second leg approaching at the beginning of October, although that is not confirmed yet, but that is going to happen. There will be possibly a third leg next year, so we may bring the tour to Europe as well next year, due to the fact that it was really a family affair. Dez (Fafara, also singer in DevilDriver – Vera) from Coal Chamber is our manager, along with his wife Anastasia. We shared crew, we know the crew pretty well, so it is very much a family ran affair. Very relaxed. So it was a fantastic tour. It was our third since the pandemic.

A bit of activities again, that’s good, because the last time we talked, was for ‘Existence Is Futile’ and in 2021 you still could not tour. I think that is why you focused on a live album, isn’t it? It is the first live album in twenty years, so that is the next topic we are going to talk about now…
Yes, the pandemic ruined us. It didn’t afford us anything actually, just delayed everything about a year, which meant that our transition from Nuclear Blast to Napalm Records was delayed by a year. That gave us some downtime and the opportunity to release tracks that we recorded during the world tour that happened prior to the pandemic. So it was a very good choice in this respect and it was not planned as such a huge work as we went into it. Once we decided that it would be a very good option, fans started to demand and required a live album after such a long time. I believe the previous one was twenty years ago.

There are also two new songs on that release. Maybe we can shine a light on both of them…
Well, we decided with the onset of two new members in the band, that we would press ‘reset’ completely for writing a new album, just totally from scratch, no traces of previous members, so we didn’t want previous members having a hand in these songs. But these two songs were already written for the new album and it was best that they found a home on the live record and thus it aligns with Cradle Of Filth bringing the live songs from the past. So I think it brings an all-round package to combine it with the double live. Also those two new songs are the gateways to each side of the CD and also gateways to the album, because they are both also represented by videos.

Indeed and I think it was a very good idea how you presented it. The first video for ‘I Am The Fire’ is a normal one with actresses and gothic tinge, while the second one – for ‘Demon Prince Regent’ – is a live recording, so that’s a kind of link with the rest of the album let us say…
Yes absolutely. Actually the third video is going to be… they want a lyric video, but I hate lyric videos. I think it is a really, really poor excuse, a lyric video. Something like: ‘we need to promote something, but we cannot afford to do a proper video, okay let’s do a lyric video’. It never works, it is really boring, so we decided to do a film video – even though the band will not be in it – and do a live video for the second track.

What do you want to share with us about the transition from Nuclear Blast – a long time business partner – to Napalm Records?
Yes, we decided that we’d spend three albums – which was ten years. We originally signed to Nuclear Blast for three albums. It took us from 2014 to 2019 and actually 2021 – as I said that’s when the latest album for them was released. So we thought we had done our time with Nuclear Blast. A lot of people who worked for Nuclear Blast have left the label and had moved on. We heard a lot of great things about Napalm Records from our management and they have Jinjer and The 69 Eyes and other good bands on their roster. The support is really good, the people are really good, the press is really good, it seems like a no-brainer to make the switch and try something new, as none of us is getting any younger and we all were about to change and keeping things real and exciting.

Talking about the change of members… that’s nothing new within Cradle Of Filth, but I was a bit surprised that Annabelle Iratni is already gone, because during the former conversation you still had to introduce her…
Yes, it all started so well, it seemed so promising, but as it turned out she wasn’t right for the band. It was one of the few mistakes we made when bringing people on board. It really wasn’t working out with her, so our intuition was wrong. Unfortunately guitarist Rich Shaw also left, so we had two missing shoes in the band, and now we have two new great musicians in the band, which is over a year now. Donny (Burbage – Vera) and Zoe (Marie Federoff – Vera), they are both American, the reason for that is that we found ourselves in quite unpredictable times last year and we lost two people in the band. There wasn’t enough time to arrange work visas for our intended support tour with Danzig in the States. So in order to avoid complications, we decided to look for American people. It is not ideal, because of the travelling scenarios, but they are very compassionate with the band, they are great people, and they are working on the new album with us. Things are stable again although we have lost different people, but I guess that happens in every career. People come and go, people decide they got their things to do, they can’t stay in the band because it is not their thing or it is too much hard work, etcetera… for multitude reasons…

Next chapter is the new album. There is still work to be done, but I found out that this is the month (May) when you will enter the studio. Are you already in there?
No. Well, I am in the studio, because I am bringing final touches to the mix of the Ed Sheeran song, actually after this interview I have to rush over to the studio, but we actually fly to Las Vegas next Friday to play at the Sick New World festival and when we touch down on Monday – or at least Tuesday – I will stay for a couple of days in Las Vegas and it is my girlfriend’s 30th anniversary. Martin starts drums – or at least setting up the drums and arranging sounds and stuff like that – on Monday for the new album. We will be working on that over the course of the Summer. We only have a handful of festivals this Summer, due to the band activities, but next year is a very, very busy year for Cradle, when we release the new album. So this year it is all about being creative, at least until September when we are due to go to Mexico and possibly South America and other than that, like I said, the second leg of the Double Trouble live and small shows.

That means that this year is also very busy for you…
Any year is busy.

Yes but that is how it should be…
Yeah obviously, after the pandemic it is all a breath of fresh air being busy. Not to want to look a dead horse in the mouth.

Not to say that pandemic had a proper influence on the fuel and with the war we have now, everything is getting expensive. Times are always changing…
Yeah absolutely. It has quite a profound effect on the touring scenario as well. Obviously the war in Ukraine pushes fuel prices up which naturally pushes up bus expenses, driver costs… everything is more expensive at the moment and now in a reminisce issue, I don’t know how big it is or how global it is, when venues want to charge more money for merchandise, so the bands really experience an existential crisis. First the labels took as much as possible from the artists, because they suddenly realized that they had sold less copies and now the venues as well. It is hard for bands, especially for bands that are not that big. This will have an effect on a huge amount of bands on a lower level, they will go through very much struggle and I think you are going to find less tours and more festivals, because obviously a festival you get to see a great deal of bands and it is a different scenario.

So there will be no time to celebrate the release of ‘Cruelty And The Beast’ which turns 25 years old this year…?
Not really. I mean, there’s always going to be a celebration anniversary, it can go on forever. Next year is the thirtieth anniversary of ‘The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh’ and we re-recorded some tracks of that album. I am not sure which format they will come out. Will they come out on the new album as bonus material or will they come out separately. But we don’t know. Like I said, every year’s going to be an anniversary.

We cannot leave it unturned: your cooperation with Ed Sheeran. Will it only result in a charity single?
Yes. I think I have spoken too much about it. Things change from day to day and it has been elaborate. The time line may change a bit. I am not sure. It is out of my hands, but once the single is delivered, there is a lot of hard work that has to be done with the charities, with Ed’s management, with record companies, it is a huge undertaking and one that we just don’t know what’s going on exactly at the moment. Obviously it was a long time coming, we spent a year and a half in conversation about it – obviously I am a very busy man, but not half as busy as Ed Sheeran, he is one of the biggest artists in the world. We can only meet once everybody is finished with their work and it wasn’t before Christmas last year when he came to the studio and recorded his voice. He already recorded some parts separately, so now we are just finishing up the song – because obviously I had the live album to finish – and then he will go to the necessary parties. I am not going to give a release date because I really don’t know and I don’t want to put the car before the horses, but I hope it will come out this year.

To round off: maybe you can shine a light on the new material. What is your impression until now?
The material is written. It’s got a vibe of ‘Dusk And Her Embrace’, mixed with ‘Midian’. Not intentional, it is just the way we have written it. Those two comparisons are too lake. It is great! Even when an album is out, it is hard to describe, because it is so much. That is pretty much it. We are going next week, with the intention for releasing the album in one year, obviously preceded by singles and we are looking out for going on stage.

Okay, if there are still things to announce in this interview, go ahead…
There are always things that we are working on, but I don’t give any details because it is not 100% sure at the moment. Some things work, some things don’t or some things get delayed. Sometimes you have a master of how it should come out, but you have to rely on a record company or a business partner or just a gap in the clouds to make things work. Don’t necessary things come out in the order you want them to come out. There are plans, but as we said, next year Cradle Of Filth will be playing. We are not playing in Europe at all this year. We got a handful of Summer festivals, in Finland, Portugal, France, Holland, not many… and obviously Las Vegas, because next year the plan is ‘everything’. We are able to play and you see it is quite tricky when you are recording an album to keep getting off to lots of different places. But well… we are getting back to kind of pre-pandemic status. 2019 for us was the busiest year that Cradle ever had. I remember hundreds of gigs that year. I think 130 gigs. We went everywhere. Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South America… everywhere.

Good that you did that!
Absolutely! We were very lucky that that happened just before the pandemic. We were just writing ‘Existence Is Futile’ and luckily all the borders closed when Martin finished the fundaments of the record (drums), so we were able to continue with that. At least for the first part of the pandemic. But yes, like you said, we are heading back to pre-pandemic levels with the band and next year is going to be an extremely busy year for us.

That is something to look forward to…
Absolutely, but I am also looking forward to this year. We have been busy from the start: a live record, American tour, the album being written, lots of plans, the Ed Sheeran song… so the studio is the next exciting time as well. I am always saying that, but I am getting tired when I get to the mix, listening to some drum triggers been tested out for two days and then I am like ‘I wish I never said that’ (chuckles). But yes, I am looking forward to the creative process that is called ‘the studio experience’.

I wish you a very nice day!
Yes, I am going to put the final touches to the Ed Sheeran song now.

Thumbs up!
Thank you. Thank you for the interview, very nice to speak to you again.

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