Few bands come into the world as fully formed and fully realized as Cradle of Filth did when their debut album, The Principle of Evil Made Flesh, was released 25 years ago. Frontman and chief visionary Dani Filth knew exactly what kind of sound and aesthetic he was striving for — a noir-ish combination of black metal and goth rock — and stuck the landing right out of the gate.
A quarter-century later, the album still feels like it is falling down a scabrous Lewis Carroll-like rabbit hole, where every cut and bruise is met with delight instead of agony.
Through 11 more studio albums, including their most recent full-length, 2017’s Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay, and numerous lineup changes, the core concept of Cradle of Filth remains solid, with only a vast improvement in production values and some bolder lyrical content from Filth marking the passage of time.
This month, Cradle of Filth are embarking on the second leg of a North American tour to support Cryptoriana, followed by headlining and festival dates in Europe and Russia through late June, before setting their sights on album #13.
Heavy Consequence caught up with Dani Filth right before he hopped on a plane from his native U.K. to Los Angeles to start tour rehearsals to talk about the forthcoming dates and to look back at bit at the band’s past while getting a glimpse of their future.
On the approach to writing and recording new music nearly 30 years after the band formed
When our new lineup developed, it was born out of necessity because one of the guitarists decided he just didn’t want to do the band for a while and wanted to go on hiatus, which is ridiculous. And the second guitarist had a neck injury that developed into a proper problem that he had to go and have surgery for. So he was out of commission for a few years. Basically, we had to get two new guitarists that became the crux of a new lineup.
Every member of the band thereafter, having learned the set for various tours and having been fans of the band themselves, had an inner knowledge of what suited the band. That’s how the band know what to write and what to develop and move forward as a unit. It’s this, I don’t know, magical process. You already know — it’s like ESP — how it’s going to sound and what’s going to work and what isn’t going to work. What’s true Cradle of Filth and what isn’t. And what we can do to expand on that or experiment without straying too much off the chosen path.
On scrapping an idea to work on a sci-fi-centric project inspired by H.G. Wells
I’m a massive fan of War of the Worlds, in particular the musical version, Jeff Wayne’s version. It’s this enormous ‘70s rock opera album that tells the whole story, and it’s epic beyond belief. I’ve always wanted to do something on that scale, but I think the premise of an alien invasion would escape our fans somewhat. Believe it or not, we’ve kind of entrenched ourselves in that grandiose Gothic horror scenario. I think straying too far out of that, particularly into modernity for a band such ourselves… it’s like us doing a reggae record. I think it would leave a sour taste in our fans’ mouths.
There’s plenty of scope with us as a band to experiment. Not going so far as reggae, but it’s a huge ocean. A gene pool of ideas and things that can be done and influences and originality that can be done. Obviously, this is what Cradle of Filth is about: the occult influence, the Gothic literature, the visuals, the soundtrack quality to everything. We have fun exploring that. Sometimes, you can try and change as much as possible but then you realize you’re wearing the wrong pair of trousers. The ones you’ve got on are fine and they’re the ones that make you look good. And sound good.
On the secret to maintaining his impressive singing voice throughout his career
Preservation. You don’t want to keep blowing it out. Now and again, I see a very good vocal doctor that does throat massage. Just warming up. Technique. I’ve been doing it for so long that I have so many intrinsic little tricks and techniques that wouldn’t work for anybody else. It’s pointless me telling them. But yeah, it’s about preservation. Being relaxed, as well. Not getting stressed about it. And having great people around you because if you’re going out every night and you can hear what you’re doing… you’ve just got to be in control and that involves having good sound, good monitors, good in ears. As well, people always ask, “Why have they got that weird screen around the drummer?” That drum screen makes everybody’s lives, especially in clubs — the band, the crew, the audience, the sound guy — so much easier. It brings down the clutter that’s filling everybody’s ears.
On the new stage production for the 2019 US tour
We’ve got three days in L.A. to put it together. We’ve got a huge lighting rig. We’re bringing tons of lights out. We’ve got these cannon things…they’re like a flame cannon but they’re multi-directional so we can use them wherever. We’ve got some fantastic stage props like lanterns, Victorian street lamps. New costumes. New backdrop. But there’s a bunch of new stuff. New crew. And, like I said, we’re going into a new production scenario. Three days in L.A. to try all this new stuff out. Get some choreography planned with the lighting and knowing when things are going fire off. It’s a real step up. It’s gonna be the biggest production we’ve done in a long while.
The last tour, the way it was, was great as it was, but it was sandwiched between Europe and South America and Asia as part of an overarching world tour. This is coming back with preparation. Better plans. Better outlay. Things done in advance. And we’ve got a more theatrical lineup with Wednesday 13 and Raven Black. Both very theatrical bands. So the whole thing’s going to take on this very cinematic vibe to it.
On the longevity of the band
You don’t really form a band with failure in mind. When you’re actually forming this band, you have this vision in your mind of being on this massive stage like Download, playing in front of thousands of people. That’s what you’re aspiring to. We’ve been there, done that. It’s going to plan. Not perfect. Our career has been something like a pinball game or this weird haunted maze. But it’s not exactly how I planned it but it is. That’s how I always look at things. I didn’t imagine playing in a band in front of two people and a dog. I had a vision in my head. It’s slightly different. The faces are different and the scenarios are different but it’s the same premise.
On this year’s 25th anniversary of the debut album The Principle of Evil Made Flesh
Each album has been magical but because it was the first, it was the most magical. We didn’t mind the fact that we were staying the owner of the studio’s house even though it didn’t have much furniture and we didn’t have much money. The whole thing was magical beyond belief. We were only in the studio just shy of a month. Whereas nowadays it’s like three or four months and we’ve been in all kinds of expensive residential studios in the past. That I think was the most magical. I just remember the youthful vigor and determination of that period. Everything was colored with a sense of occasion. It was autumn. It was a beautiful part of England, up north. It had a very Gothic vibe about the entire thing. I remember the albums we were listening to quite distinctly, one of which was Jeff Wayne’s music of War of the Worlds. Type O Negative’s Bloody Kisses. Darkthrone. It was great.
On his various projects outside of Cradle of Filth
I’ve got a poetry book that’s been in the works for ages. The reason it hasn’t come out is I’m embarrassed about it. It’s personal. I know it’s not going to make me a millionaire so there’s no rush for it. I don’t think the Queen’s going to bequeath me as poet laureate any time soon. I’ve just done a bit part in a film called Baphomet. Doing the journalistic work. So there’s a lot of cool things in and around the periphery of the band, but at the moment the main vehicle is just so busy that I find it very hard concentrating. Just last night, my other band, Devilment, just did their last show for the rest of the year, due to the fact that Cradle is busy from two weeks’ time when I come to America right through to mid-August. It’s an enormous year for us. And we’re writing a new album. And Cruelty and the Beast, which has been remixed and remastered should be coming from Sony in about April. It was supposed to come out last year to commemorate the 20th anniversary but there were a few tiny legal wrangles that had to get to put to rest.
On the status of the band’s next album
It’s in its embryonic stages. Embryonic to us. I was playing someone a track on the way to a festival and they said, “It sounds amazing. Sounds really together.” But that was, like, the second draft. It will go through a year’s worth of drafts before it gets to the final thing. So, at the moment, it’s random, as in we haven’t assimilated and pushed in a direction. But it’s already on its way.
Our thanks to Dani Filth for taking the time to speak with us. Cradle of Filth’s 2019 North American tour dates are listed below, with tickets available at this location. The band’s most recent album, Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay, is available here.
Cradle of Filth North American Tour Dates with Wednesday 13 and Raven Black
03/07 – Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues
03/08 – Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues
03/09 – Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades
03/11 – Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
03/12 – Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
03/14 – Billings, MT @ Pub Station Ballroom
03/15 – Calgary, AB @ Marquee
03/16 – Edmonton, AB @ Starlight Room
03/18 – Winnipeg, MB @ Burton Cummings Theatre
03/20 – Minneapolis, MN @ Varsity Theatre
03/21 – Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave
03/22 – Flint, MI @ The Machine Shop
03/24 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Intersection
03/25 – Chicago, IL @ House of Blues
03/26 – Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues
03/27 – Toronto, ON @ Opera House
03/29 – Guelph, ON @ Guelph Concert Theatre
03/30 – Montreal, QC @ Corona Theatre
03/31 – Quebec City, QC @ L’Imperial Bell
04/01 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
04/02 – Huntington, NY @ Paramount Theater
04/03 – New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
04/05 – Asbury Park, NJ @ Stone Pony
04/06 – Baltimore, MD @ Baltimore Soundstage
04/07 – Newport News, VA @ Boathouse Live
04/09 – Greensboro, NC @ Cone Denim Entertainment Center
04/10 – Charleston, SC @ Music Farm
04/12 – Fort Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution
04/13 – Pensacola, FL @ Vinyl Music Hall
04/14 – New Orleans, LA @ House of Blues
04/15 – San Antonio, TX @ Aztec Theatre
04/17 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues
04/18 – Dallas, TX @ House of Blues