For the last twenty years, Cradle Of Filth have been at the forefront of the ‘black metal’ genre – weaving the gruesome history of the world into some of the most theatrical and cinematic albums of our time. Ahead of their set at the HiFi in Sydney, we sat down with the Devil himself, Dani Filth – to talk about celebrating twenty years, moving Cradle Of Filth into the future and how they want to create their legacy.
By Meghan Player
“These dates in Australia are like a crash pad at the end. The shows have been really great,” smiles the enigmatic frontman, as we chat on the eve of the Cradle Of Filth‘s Sydney show. Dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, Dani Filth is practically a different person from the screaming, black clad, gothic nightmare that he presents on stage. At ease after the bands sound check, the vocalist is interested to reflect on the bands 20 years in the metal business – no easy feat by todays standards.
“We always say that musicians lives are like dog years – so much goes on. It just sort of goes by. Then you turn around and your life’s gone,” he laughs.
Undoubtedly, the band has had a colourful and diverse past – ranging from the controversial [and subsequently banned] t-shirt to most recently restructuring the members of the band into a neat 3 piece. But Filth is quick to dismiss the idea of changing anything the band has done previously, admitting that it is those moments that have defined the band, and the path they have found themselves on twenty years later.
“In hindsight, I guess there are a few things that we would change, but I don’t think we should look back,” he explains. “I think there are so many good things that have happened and things could have gone quite badly – but it’s all been very exciting and we’ve had a good life with it. I wouldn’t change anything.”
Certainly, Cradle Of Filth have been a band that have remained consistent throughout the years – rarely moving away from the dark, theatrical ethos that has seen them through ten studio albums – and most recently with, ‘The Manticore & Other Horrors‘. Never a band to shy away from a good narrative, the album delves into a series of short stories with all manner of monsters included – a subject that is quite close to Filth’s heart.
“Monsters is just kind of a periphery, loose explanation – some of them are like demons of the mind,” he explains. “I thought it was quite cool calling it bestiary, which is a medieval collection of treatises and papers on all these wonderful monsters.”
Interestingly, it is impossible not to look back on the bands past and not notice how much literature has inspired their albums – from the legend of Lady Bathory to the transcript of the trial of Gilles De Rais. However, Filth reflects that while it is [literature] a major source of inspiration, it isn’t the be all and end all.
“Yeah, influence comes from all sorts of things. Mainly it comes from the environment when we record in the studio. I think it’s to keep our own sanity really so we stay away from nightclubs and bars,” he laughs, “but we always seem to find somewhere really ideal and remote which I think helps with some themes of isolation.”
With that being said and all manner of darkness, monsters and medieval history covered over the last twenty years, it’s certainly a curiosity to know where Filth and the band will go next.
“I haven’t thought about that yet,” he laughs.
Perhaps most importantly, where ever the band decide to go with the next album, the cinematic quality of the band will remain intact. When we mention to Filth that the theatrics of the band offer something deeper for the fans – a greater connection to the music – his face lights up.
“Yes, definitely. It’s sort of like that when you scratch the surface, there’s something more underneath, something more tangible,” he explains. “I think we tried to explain it all in ‘The Gospel of Filth‘ – by having the author relate per chapter and linking it to each and every album and its theme.”
“Like ‘Dusk & Her Embrace‘ is really about the gothic aesthetic – architecture from when it was first introduced through to the gothic composers and the literature, and then the goth scene – but then using Cradle Of Filth as the springboard. I think that was just another way for us to exercise these ideas and let people know where it came from and, like you say, give them a little bit more to immerse themselves in.”
“I think it’s good fun to dress up and be something else,” he continues. “I think that’s what the fans appreciate. Sort of being able to disappear and forget about everyday life, and go into a surreal never world.”
Certainly, Cradle Of Filth are still the same band they were twenty years ago. While their past has been controversial, the consistent dedication to creating their own dark universe still makes them one of the most fascinating and interesting bands of our time – a fact that is certain to form part of the bands legacy.
“I think the biggest accolade is when people just remember you or your band. There’s something there,” Filth explains. “When you think of Metallica and Iron Maiden – you don’t think of that Bay area thrash band or that British band – people know what you’re talking about. It’s like they have their own brand. I think rather than being called gothic, death, sludge, doom, hardcore, emo or whatever, it’s nice when people just go ‘oh yeah Cradle Of Filth.. that’s that goth dude,” he laughs.
Many thanks to Dani for taking the time to chat to us. Special thanks to George and Matty for their help. You can keep up-to-date with all things Cradle Of Filth at: http://theorderofthedragon.com