Anya Svirskaya recently chatted with Dani Filth about Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay, the twelfth studio album from Cradle of Filth, release on 22 September 2017 through Nuclear Blast Records.
ANTIHERO: Thank you for taking the time to speak. Congratulations on the new record. How has the fan reaction been so far?
Dani Filth: Thank you. I’ve had a look at people’s reactions online, and it seems to be quite favorable. Very favorable.
ANTIHERO: Good, good. And, you know, with the 12th studio album it feels like the band has matured in a lot of ways, and everything is the absolute best from what a Cradle of Filth album should be. And an homage to the past but embracing the present. Everything is on a bigger scale.
Dani Filth: Yeah. Yeah. Along our career we’ve been accused of deviation on quite a few occasions, so I think there’s enough on this album. It’s modern, it harps back to, obviously, other Cradle of Filth albums but, I mean, it’s the same band so, you know, plagiarism isn’t a real problem I don’t think. But I think there’s enough that’s new on the record. There’s orchestra- … there’s a choir, a very ghostly choir with the emphasis on lead soprano, which best emphasized the Victorian aspect of the album. There’s acoustic work, there’s some fantastic guitar solos … we’ve dispensed with the keyboard intro, like the orchestral intro and the orchestral outro, as separate pieces. Instead, the songs are seen to have engulfed those and incorporate enough of those classical elements within them anyway. Yeah, there’s quite a few different things. There’s a cover of … well, on the special edition at least … a cover of the Annihilators Alice in Hell, something that we wanted to do for ages, and it’s only because really, we bumped into Jeff Waters several times over the past couple of years, and mentioned to him that we wanted to cover it, and he went, “Yeah, you guys should do a great cover,” et cetera, et cetera. So, that was something that was quite different for this record, I suppose. And yeah, I just think it’s another foot forward from where we were with Hammer of the Witches.
ANTIHERO: What was the most challenging aspect for you when making this album?
Dani Filth: Well it’s very fast and ornate and, I suppose, you can get that across lyrically. There’s some extremely fast bits. Also on those fast, ornate parts you want to try and establish some good vocal patterns, and obviously, the music’s very cinematic so we wanted to retain that element at the same time as well. So, it’s constantly walking a tight rope between those elements. Yeah, I mean it’s always a challenge. If it was easy everybody be doing it. Yeah, it’s never easy.
I was going to say it was easy on this record. It wasn’t easier on this record, it’s just that they were prepared in respect that we traveled to Brno in the Czech Republic last summer, that’s where Martin, the drummer, and Ashok one of the guitarists live, and it was sort of half team building exercise, half album building exercise. Fortuitously, we came away from that session with like 85% of the album in place, way more than we thought we would, because everybody did so much work prior to going to, you know, doing their own songs, or parts of songs, or riffs they would feel that were great that could contribute towards another song, or whatever. So, yeah, the pre-production and the further pre-production once that was done last autumn prior to going to the studio, that’s where we worked particularly hard at, although even in the studio the album mutated further. Once you get with them, a fussy producer like ours, then yeah, that sort of thing is arbitrary.
ANTIHERO: Were there any tracks that did not make the album?
Dani Filth: Well, there were a couple of tracks from Hammer of the Witches were left from that record because they were underdeveloped, and we developed them way further for this album, and they sit much better on this album than they would have done on that. And there’s a couple of tracks that didn’t really get much further than the Brno trip where we were, “Yeah, it’s just … yeah, it’s not quite us,” but parts of them will probably resurface. You know, you always have … much like, you know, anybody that’s building something, they always keep stuff back in advance of, ahead of the next record. It might be that some of these things work better once you’ve had time to scope it out or, you know, sort it into the right atmosphere.
ANTIHERO: You’ve stated many times that you’re inspired by the Victorian gothic, and I can certainly see the influence on this album. What are some of the works of literature that inspired the album? Or places, perhaps?
Dani Filth: I was reading a lot of Victorian ghost stories and gothic horror, particularly collections for some reasons, over the course of last summer. I’d veer onto different, you know, tracks, and I read one collection and I went, “That was great. I want to read another one …” and so on, and so forth. Yeah, I was primarily reading books by Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood, Rider Haggard, E.F. Benson, Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, Oscar Wilde and Robert Louis-Stevenson.
Dani Filth: Oh, and some H.G. Wells. Yeah, it was that that inspired me, but obviously I did some research, I did Wikipedia a whole bunch of research on Victorian era, you know. I know a lot about it. I live in a Victorian house, collect Victorian artifacts, and I love the, have always loved the literature from that era anyway, so.
ANTIHERO: You must have a big collection at home?
Dani Filth: Yeah, it’s all right (laughs)… he says, looking around at it. Yeah. It was written … a lot of the songs were written in the style of said 19th century gothic horror novelists.
ANTIHERO: I’m a big fan of mythology, and one of the stand out tracks to me was “Death and the Maiden”, obviously the goddess Persephone, and all that. Could you tell me a little more about that particular track?
Dani Filth: Yes. Well, this is quite different for us as well because it ends sort of … we usually end on a really fast note and this song does have some fast bits in it, it’s more meandering and huge sort of epic, you know? It’s quite a pummeling track, and yet it deals with … well the Victorians had a revival, like a gothic revival. There was the gothic era sort of 100, 120 years earlier, and they had a sort of revival of it, and they were also very attracted to the classic mythology, anything that really included a personification of death as well. So, it was very apt, this track, which on the mythological side of things deals with the first living visitor to the underworld although, you know, she was unwilling obviously, and that was the goddess Persephone, who was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter.
And she was just like frolicking around in these, you know, these fields as an innocent maiden, whereupon she was spied upon by Hades who, you know, fell in love with her, and as you know he stole her innocence, virginity and turned her into the goddess of the underworld, well at least for part of it, well that’s how the story goes, you know. I don’t want to go on all night about it, but yeah, it takes that as a template.
ANTIHERO: I was reading in an interview that you mentioned you’re interested in writing a book? How far along are you with the book?
Dani Filth: I haven’t really sat down. I’ve just been too busy doing other things, and just haven’t had the inspiration, because every time I come up with some inspiration for something it gets dedicated towards either Cradle of Filth or Devilment, my other band. But I have written a book of poetry, but I just haven’t released it yet. I saw where she was saying that I stole a couple of poems at the beginning of songs in the past, so it probably needs … it needs, probably, bolstering up with eight or nine fresh ones. But I just never got around to releasing it. I don’t know, I was a bit shy about the poetry, I guess. When it’s with music at least it’s backed up with a sort of all singing, all playing, dancing band in the background, do you know what I mean? Bells and whistles attached. It’s a little naked when it’s just out there on its own.
ANTIHERO: And in the same interview you mentioned that you’ve never been to a Comic Con and you would like to attend.
Dani Filth: Well, I am. I am attending … I’ve been to Horrorfind, which is great, just outside Baltimore, but yeah, I’m attending the London Comic Con, October 26th I think I am there, or 27th. God knows what I’m doing. I’m on a panel of other people doing stuff, and I don’t know. They haven’t told me yet. I hope it’s not karaoke.
ANTIHERO: If you were to attend a Comic Con as a fan, what would you cosplay as?
Dani Filth: Ooh, God knows. Everybody goes as harlequin, so … I don’t know. Big monster would be great because then you could have this great sort of big, gyrating, wobbly, great big, overly enormous, squiggly looking costume.
ANTIHERO: And let’s talk about your video for “Heartbreak and Séance”. It looks incredible, it’s very evocative. What was the most challenging aspect about making that video, and also your favorite shot?
Dani Filth: Well it’s quite difficult to organize, well, primarily for the director who also was the artist for, who is the artist for this album, and the previous album, Hammer of the Witches. His name is Artūrs Bērziņš. He’s like a contemporary artist. He’s fantastic. Then we found out from one of his peers that he was reputably as good at directing videos as he was his art, so … we thought well this is a great opportunity to combine a lot of our budgets like photography, and the artwork, with the video budget, fly over to Riga in Latvia, his hometown, home city, and obviously be a lot cheaper. He’s in command there. He’s got all the people he needs to work with, and when we got there we were absolutely blown away by the magnitude and size of the cast, and the crew, and the props, and … you know, it’s just a naturally and beautifully put together with … nearly, an area, a second thought to detail being … I mean, it’s enormous.
I mean, I was standing on this pile of human bodies, real human bodies all painted white, I’m painted black, and I’m looking out, doing my part, peering through this wood they’ve created, and then I noticed that there’s even a stumped crow. They’d even gone to the lengths of getting a stumped crow to make it more … just to add to the level of attention to detail. So, I was mightily impressed, and I think the end result is incredible. I think it looks just really luxurious and very cinematic. And all without the use of CGI, which is always a bonus.
ANTIHERO: And also on this album you’re working with Liv Kristine, and I know the last time, you worked with her was on Nymphetamine. Was it planned?
Dani Filth: It was actually very spontaneous and very eleventh hour. We were like two and half, three weeks into the … not very far from the end of the mix, and the delivery to the record company, and … I thought he was taking the piss, to be honest … the producer Scott, Scott Atkins, who’s … you know, he’s a great friend of ours henceforth why we keep working with him, and he’s just very good, and he tells us, you know, if things are shit or not, and there’s no pretense there or anything … he just literally turned round to me and said this song, everything else is working, this song is at 70% of its, you know, firing capacity or whatever. It just really could do with something quite unique. And I won’t bore you with the details. We talked about it all day, and eventually we just came up with the idea of trying some new ideas vocally. Even that was a longer story. And eventually we came up with contacting Liv, who was very surprised, very accommodating.
Dani Filth: She was supposed to be going to Italy the next day for a short holiday, so she postponed that to get some ideas across. And basically, it all went from there, you know, backward and forward. We changed some of the song to incorporate her, and it went from a 70% song to 100% song. I really, really like it. It’s a very different song to that on Nymphetamine, where she plays a very innocent character, whereas this … her characterization on this is one of … well she plays the vengeful spirit and … whereas … she’s the protagonist, I’m the victim, the person who’s wronged her in life, and she’s sort of come back from the grave to make my life a fucking misery.
ANTIHERO: And as far as touring is concerned, you guys are performing at festivals, I think, through January I believe if I’m not mistaken?
Dani Filth: We’ve got a Japanese festival coming up in Loud Park, and then we’ve got a British and Irish tour. Then we’ve got another festival somewhere, but I can’t say what that is because it’s teetering on being booked. We start a full European tour which goes on for about eight weeks. Then we’ve got South America, America, Canada … dates are about to be announced. Japan again, Australia and then we finish in Asia, although we do also go to Tel Aviv at the end of the European tour. So yeah, we’re pretty much busy from the beginning of January to almost June. We’re only going to do a handful of summer festivals next year, we’re going to concentrate on the winter festivals next year, and then that means the year after we can do everything over the summer, rather than having a year off just scratching our arses, going, “What we doing?”
ANTIHERO: So, for your fans in New York, could we expect Cradle of Filth to be back sometime in the spring?
Dani Filth: Absolutely.
Dani Filth: Yeah. Our new manager is an absolute stickler for synergy, so he wants it announced, you know, all at the same time via things. But I can tell you it is definitely in …. ooh, no, it’s actually in April.
ANTIHERO: Good, good. So, another thing that you’re busy with is the Cruelty and the Beast which is supposed to be released sometime in 2018? What can be expect for the 20th anniversary release?
Dani Filth: Well, it’s been totally remixed, remastered. We’re doing the full album and Hallowed be thy Name. Myself and the producer are undertaking that. We’ve already submitted a track to the record company because they wanted to get other people in to do it, and it was like, no. We want to make sure this gets treated with kid gloves, because we can make it sound really big, which we have, and a much better production. We don’t want to stray from the path. We don’t want it to lose any of its atmosphere, and I think that we’re going to be very careful with that, because that’s something the fans, you know, particularly like is the atmosphere on that record. So, we can strike a fine balance through production, and atmosphere. I think we’re going to do it right. The test mix sounds fantastic anyway. Then, hopefully, we’re going to have some new artwork to accompany that that’s in the style of the older artwork, if that makes any sense?
So, we’re not going to fuck with it, we’re not going to start putting like ’70s disco effects on any of the tracks. It’s not for want of trying. So yeah, when that’s due to come out, I think … oh, that’s why I’ve got fucking a week off after the … yeah. I do think that is free time this year.
ANTIHERO: And finally, my last question. It’s been quite some time since you put out a live DVD. Can we expect that also?
Dani Filth: Absolutely. In fact, I believe that we’re filming our show at Loud Park in Japan, and we’re going to be filming something else, obviously, because we’re only playing 50 minutes in Japan … and I think, if I’m right, that would be out toward the back end of next year. Yeah, so you know. These are things that we obviously are working on, or have been working on, you know, that have been added to the list of things to do.
ANTIHERO: Thank you so much for your time. Wish you all the best with the new record and safe travels on tour.
Dani Filth: Thank you ever so much. Brilliant. Take care.