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Cradle of Filth

Posted by December 8th, 2003 No Comments »

Cradle of Filth / Type O Negative
Blood for the Blood Gods Tour

Interview with Cradle of Filth
By August Mark Thomas Jude Pierre Francis Smith-Arcarese

The day I was scheduled to play the Jeff Buckley Tribute in San Francisco I got an email asking if I’d be willing to interview Cradle of Filth in conjunction with their current tour. Little did I know what I was getting myself into.

The album, Damnation and a Day, arrived quickly and proved to be of exceptionally high quality. It’s a 76 minute black metal symphony about the expelling of Lucifer from heaven, complete with extensive contributions by the Budapest Film Choir and Orchestra. It plays like a movie, reminding me of my most profound

Cradle of Filth / Type O Negative
Blood for the Blood Gods Tour

Interview with Cradle of Filth
By August Mark Thomas Jude Pierre Francis Smith-Arcarese

The day I was scheduled to play the Jeff Buckley Tribute in San Francisco I got an email asking if I’d be willing to interview Cradle of Filth in conjunction with their current tour. Little did I know what I was getting myself into.

The album, Damnation and a Day, arrived quickly and proved to be of exceptionally high quality. It’s a 76 minute black metal symphony about the expelling of Lucifer from heaven, complete with extensive contributions by the Budapest Film Choir and Orchestra. It plays like a movie, reminding me of my most profound influences: Hungarian composers Franz Liszt and Bela Bartok. Particularly Liszt’s “Totentanz”, or “Dance of Death”, based on the 11th century funeral hymn “Dies Irae” (“Day of Wrath”).

I spoke with guitarist Paul Allender, an exceedingly polite and courteous gentleman who’s Cockney accent threw me for a bit of a loop…Paul is second from from the left in the photo above.

NadaMucho.com: What has it been like for you guys? I mean, for one, you’ve had a lot of line-up changes over the past couple of years, so how stable is the current line-up? And how many guys besides Dani have been there for any length of time, can you tell me a little bit about that?

Paul Allender: The line-up now is pretty stable. The only reason we’ve had line-up changes in the past is because, like, there’s been members in the past who’ve decided they couldn’t be asked to work anymore, do you know what I mean?

NM: Yeah, that’s happens with musicians, a lot…

PA: So, we thought, instead of just fucking carrying people, a far as we’re concerned, everyone in the band has got to work as much as everyone else.

NM: That makes sense, because you guys are obviously a very hard working band. I’m listening to Damnation and a Day and Celtic Frost’s “Into The Pandemonium” comes immediately to mind. I’m thinking: this album bankrupted those guys. They never made their money back off of that album. But I’m looking at all these imprints on the back of your album… i’m looking at Epic and Sony, and I’m looking at a whole bunch of endorsement deals… and it’s looking like you guys are going to make your money back off of this…

PA: Umm, hopefully, we’ll see what happens.

NM: So, what was it like working with the Budapest Symphony Orchestra and Choir?

PA: It was cool. Very good. We went over to Budapest, to use their, um, Orchestra and Choirs… We had this guy called Dan Presley, come over from the states… flew over to England first, he scored all our Orchestra stuff…

NM: Okay so this is based on stuff that somebody is coming up with, the themes themselves… I mean, he arranged it, but it’s based on themes that you guys are coming up with…

PA: Yeah, yeah, totally….

NM: So, now, who’s coming up with this stuff? Who’s coming up with the thematic melodies that are recurring throughout the album?

PA: All of us really. Martin will come up with most of the stuff, on the keyboard, and then we’ll listen to it and go, “no, aw, listen. what about this bit, or this bit… this bit would sound cool over this bit…”… do you know what I mean? ….so it’s pretty much a full band input.

NM: Where are you guys actually from? What part of England?

PA: Suffolk and Essex. Myself, I’m from I’m from a place called Colchester, in Essex… and the rest of the guys are from Ipswich and Suffolk. I think Adrian, the drummer, lives in London, and Martin, the keyboard player lives in, like, the north of England.

NM: Wow, so you guys are all over the place. So you’ve had to work hard to pull this together.

PA: Yeah. Perhaps. It’s easy enough. When we’re writing stuff…. we’ve got our own studios. We’ve all got our own server spaces as well. We just upload to servers and anyone can download anything as well…

NM: Which brings up another question: You guys started out on the underground. You guys only a year ago were considered the Blackmetal.com sweethearts, you guys are the underground. Now you’ve got this big label backing. What’s that like, to go from the undeground to be… playing the same kind of music…?

PA: I don’t know. I still see us as on the underground. Do you know what I mean…?

NM: You’re definitely not catering to the mainstream. There’s not a song on the album…

PA: I don’t think there’s a case where we’d ever cater to the mainstream. It’s just the nature of the beast, you know. The sort of music that we play, it’s not gonna happen, you know. There’s no way it’s gonna happen in the mainstream. If we’re good enough we’ll get bigger, but it won’t go to as big as the mainstream. I just can’t see it happening.

NM: Well, apparently the video to “Mannekin” is getting played on heavy rotation on one of the MTV spinnoffs…. MTV2 or something like that. I’m reading all of the publicist info that was sent to me… and sure enough… you’ve got one video that’s in heavy rotation.

PA: Whoah. I knew about the video. I didn’t know it was in heavy rotation. I mean, we’re just in the band. We don’t know shit…!

NM: What were you guys listening to when you were starting out?

PA: Myself, I’m into, like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, I love those bands, and, I like Destruction as well, I like, they’re the ones who’ve inspired a lot of what I play, but outside of Cradle of Filth I’ve got no interest in anything you’ve got to listen to at all. I mean mainly, like, blues and jazz…

NM: Any particular names?

PA: I like Al DiMeola… and.. I forget his name… I can picture him but I forget his name… Elmore James… that’s the guy.

NM: So, you’re saying that most of the time all you’re listening to is Cradle…you do the music, and that’s all you do is your own music.

PA: Yeah. Pretty much. I mean, the only music I listen to is when we have to re-learn songs to go out on tour. The only time I hear new music is when I play my own new music.

NM: The theme of the current album seems to be about expelling of Lucifer from Heaven… you have what seem to be quotes from the bible, by a guy named Dave McKewen…. where’d you find this guy?

PA: I can’t fuckin’ remember now, to tell you the truth. I’ve never met the guy. I think it was Dani sorted all that out. With all the lyrics, because Dani is writing all that out. We tend not to get involved in all the lyrics and the concepts and all that.

NM: Tell me about the stage show. Everyone is talking about it like it’s some kind of big Satanic Cirque de Soleil.

PA: Um… oh, Christ. Um, it’s.. well… We’ve got like these big metal cages which cover all of our amps and stuff, we’ve got various platform levels, we’ve got these sort of like Gargoyles and stuff which sit on top of our amps and stuff and halfway through the show they get up and start walking around and stuff. We’ve got these like fire jugglers, we’ve got these like, angle grinders… put the angle grinders on their stomachs and start spraying sparks all over the place.

NM: Angle Grinders? What’s an “Angle Grinder”?

PA: You know… I don’t know what they call them over here… They’re used to cut metal.

NM: Oh… Oh… Oh… yeah. Ok. Got it.

PA: They just put them on big plates on their stomach and all these sparks fly off.

NM: Crazy shit. Reminds me in a certain way of… don’t take this the wrong way, but it reminds me of Spinal Tap.

PA: (laughs) hahaha oh yeah.

NM: And another thing it reminds me of is W.A.S.P., back in the early 1980’s, the guy who had the saw blade attached to his G-String….

PA: … and I mean we’ve got these stilt-walkers that come on all dressed in demon costumes and stuff, and it’s got all kinds of trapeze and all that, it’s just fucking loads, it’s all kinds of stuff, it’s a full on fucking stage show.

NM: So tell me this: what’s it like playing with Type O. What do you think of those guys?

PA: Cool, yeah. Good. Very sweet. We’ve shared dressing rooms and hung out with each other quite a few times.

Right here my tape runs out and further conversation ensues. We talk about my meeting Type O Negative on their 2000 World Coming Down Tour and all that shit, Josh the keyboardist saying “Fuck you, I ain’t signing no fucking autographs..” and yada yada ya. Mr. Allender is quite polite, the very pinnacle of british tea-time eloquence, and thanks me for my time, for my politeness, for my own british-tea-time-demeanor… says we’ll meet again and Hallelujah the savior is born… we’ll see you at the show…


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