Fresh off Download Festival 2018’s main stage we caught up with the mastermind behind Cradle of Filth to discuss film, festivals and music. All the music, including Ed Sheeran. Yeah, you read that right.
Soundsphere Magazine] We are here at Download Festival 2018 with Cradle of Filth’s very own Dani Filth, how you doing, man?
Dani] I’m good thank you very much!
S] So, did you enjoy your set today?
D] I did, yeah. It was a little strange going on midday but we have just come back from Greece and I spent a couple of days doing press/hanging around on the beach.
S] Hanging around on the beach, that must have been hard?
D] Oh it was terribly hard. The press was hard. So, yeah, I guess the amount of years I have spent skulking in the shadows has built an intolerance to the sun so, you know, I won’t dissolve just yet.
S] Is it harder to create that Cradle Of Filth, dark atmosphere in the midday heat?
D] I think so, yeah, because people can see how knackered we look. [laughs]
S] Well, you look like you’re having fun today.
D] It was great! it’s just weird just being up. I mean literally I set my alarm for 7:30 this morning. I didn’t even know between 7 and 8 existed! I thought it was a joke.
S] Like of those imaginary times that people sometimes thought about…
D] Yeah, yeah, like the thirteenth floor.
S] Do you still getting nervous playing big shows like Download or has it become second nature to you?
D] We didn’t have the time to be nervous today. We had to cut our set, well, a song. As we were going on somebody just mentioned to us that the stage manager had said we were three minutes over [and] you’re going to have to cut your last song by 3 minutes. Yeah, we can do that, we’ll just drop it. We finished a minute early and they were very, very happy with us so everyone’s a winner.
S] Do you see festivals as a place to Showcase yourself and try and gain new fans or would you rather please the Cradle Of Filth die-hards that are already out there?
D] I think it’s a bit of both, really. We just hung out with Kreator, going back on their bus thinking about their set and, I mean, they played like six songs, maybe seven, but again it has got to be one of those cross platforms of tracks. It’s hard enough after thirteen albums and I think they’re on 15 or 16, to please everybody. You got to choose stuff that pleases you, your die-hard fans, the new fans, the new album, the previous album…
S] Yeah, you want that mixture of promoting the new stuff as well as playing the classics…
D] Absolutely and you have got to do stuff as well that is going to surprise people, like curve balls. I mean, we have been playing ‘Bathory Aria’ and ‘Promise Of Fever’, you know, strange, off the cuff songs we’ve never played before…
S] I think as fans is good to see the songs you wouldn’t expect to hear live, it’s definitely good to try that sort of thing out…
D] …Exactly, and if people want to, you know, like disappear to the bar for 10 minutes 51 during ‘Bathory Aria’ then they have the opportunity to do that.
S] I was actually going to ask how you go about choosing songs for 40 minutes set but like you say it’s just a cross section of everything…
D] Yeah, yeah, yeah, I mean, if it’s up to Martin [Škaroupka] our drummer, we will be playing for three weeks. His set lists at the beginning of the tour are like, you go, “yeah, but martin were only playing for an hour and forty five munities and this is almost three hours long” and he’s like “yeah, but we could…”, “but Martin, its three hours long.”
S] Cradle Of Filth are one of the only black metal bands to have rose from the underground in the 90s and remain in the limelight for a decade or two now, what do you think it is about Cradle of Filth that made them stand out from the crowd and ultimately stand the test of time?
D] Actually, today was the lowest position we have played on a festival stage so we obviously haven’t…
S] I don’t know, main stage at Donnington isn’t too bad going?
D] Yeah, yeah, that’s true. It’s like Bad News, we played one step higher than Bad News. Nobody got my joke about being the reincarnation of Jimi Hendrix. At least we didn’t get bottles of piss thrown at us like they did. I don’t know, I guess it must be my boyish good looks.
S] Do you think people these days are more accepting of black metal and extreme metal in comparison to back in the ‘90s when there was a lot of controversy surrounding the genre?
D] Well, the controversy surrounding it came from the controversy surrounding it. It was a smaller scene back then. You see, death metal and hardcore, well, UK hardcore all came off of that. Thrash was a really big thing at the back end of the ‘80s. The thing that killed all metal off was the advent of grunge and from its shadow, for the necessity, for people in to metal to get back in to something cool, the UK hardcore scene learnt how to play and morphed in to, you know, grindcore and death metal.
And then you had Swedish death metal, the American stuff, like Morbid Angel coming out. Earache, Peaceville, Osmose Records… black metal came to the force as a mixture of all that, and then they all crawled back out and ascended in to the realms around. Now, you know, Guns ‘N’ Roses are popular again, we could probably do an album that sounded like Whitesnake and people would go “yeah, this is fucking ace”. Ghost, are literally the second incarnation of Blue Oyster Cult. There is no question about it. Don’t get me wrong, I love Ghost. What they have done is brilliant, taking the sensibilities of traditional ‘80s metal like Witchfynde, Venom and more importantly Merciful Fate and King Diamond and mixed it with the sensibilities of pop and its brilliant, it’s great! Its ace what they are doing.
So, you know, we had what would be tantamount to a cataclys…cata…a big event [laughs] much like which feld the dinosaurs, the metal dinosaurs, around the early 90s.
What I love about festivals like this is the diversity. You know, like Bloodstock [Festival] as well. You get bands like Kreator and Body Count, Decapitated, Possessed, [bands that] a lot of people wouldn’t be subjected to normally and, fucking hell, this is great.
I think metal would be a lot bigger if you go back a revisit the 80s and look at the massive albums of the time, ‘Slippery When Wet’, Def Leppard’s albums, Whitesnake’s, you know, Kiss, all that stuff. Metallica, massive ‘80s albums. And now a days metal is overlooked in that respect. I mean, The Darkness came back a bit, other little bands came back but now it’s just whoever dominates the charts and it’s all downloads.
Basically, I think there was one point where Ed Sheeren was one, two, three, four, five, six, seven and eight in the national charts because people are just like, “I’m going to put him on Spotify on repeat”. That’s not helping music! You might get a bus driver that’s like, [Spotify has] glitched and Metallica come on and they’re like, “Oh wow, this is way better, I need to investigate this side of things”.
S] Speaking of Bloodstock Festival, last year you actually played with your other band, Devilment, had it always been your intention to create another output for your music or did it just happen?
D] Devilment was my second other band; I had a band called ‘Temple of the Black Moon’ with the drummer from White Zombie, King from Godseed, and Gorgoroth, [and] Rob [Caggiano] from Anthrax, he’s in Volbeat now. But there’s a movie coming out, I’m not quite sure what movie it is, but we have been asked to do a song so we might actually. We might revive those songs for this or do a new one. I’m one of those guys who’s a bit fidgety. I like a bit of down time but then I get bored.
S] Going back to the film side of things, have you got any plans to venture back into film-making yourself or back into acting at all?
D] I did one last year, it was only a bit. I played a professor of the occult but I looked like a maths teacher! [laughs] I look back at the streaming of it and it was like “Oh, I look a bit weird there”. I think that comes out this year, it’s called Bathomet, and I’m only in it for like five minutes tops. I play Dr. Lon Carlson. There has been a couple of offers for some low key stuff which I’m quite happy with.
I’d like to do Cradle of Fear 2 but the first one was such a labour of love. If we were going to do another one, we would have to find a few million quid off the bat. The people we borrowed to do that film was ridiculous, you know we were nicking people from ‘Saving Private Ryan’…or was it ‘Shaving Ryan’s Privates’. Yeah, it was a real labour of love and I don’t think it could be repeated. People worked in deferred payments and all that.