Cradle of Filth Interview

Cradle of Filth
Interview with Gian Pyres and Dani Filth

What have you been doing since the release of Cruelty and the Beast?

Gian: Rehearsing and writing; just taking care of the new version of Cruelty and the Beast. We didn’t want to do another copy of Cruelty and the Beast like we did with Dusk and Her Embrace and the coffin, so we did this kind of new EP – which is worth the money. We have also been working on new merchandise, like shirts, posters – press, basically. Lots of interviews, a few shows, and we did a tour in America that took up a lot of our time, but very successful; from east to west, basically. It started off in Mexico and we went to San Francisco, L.A., Chicago, New York and several other places.

Dani: With Dusk and Her Embrace there were three different versions when the album came out, but that’s not the bands’ fault. Unfortunately, you are in a position where other people still have to decide things for you, but this time we’ve decided we didn’t want three releases because it’s pointless. We did want a special version of the album, but that was different and cleaver.

Recently you took part on the BBC2 documentary Living with the Enemy: how did your fan-base react to it and how do you look upon the show today?

Gian: It was really funny. These people went with us on the last couple of days of our tour and they were like condemning us, like “evil people” and we were just being ourselves, just getting really pissed. They put a camera on the bus and we just kicked it, so I guess we were a bit paranoid about the whole thing. I guess everyone thinks it was funny and cool.

On the last special edition of Cruelty and the Beast, you included a Techno mix under the title Twisting Further Nails: was this just a funny, one-off experiment or was there something more to it?

Gian: Well, I like it, but we are joking, of course. It’s our music, but it’s ironic and we do what the fuck we want; we did it to piss people off, as we try to piss everyone in any way we can, especially, all the “true” Black Metal people who say “it has to be this” or “it has to be that”, so that’s why we did the Techno track to fuck everybody off and it was worth it, I’m really happy about it.

Dani: Whether people like it or not, the philosophy that we follow in our band is Aleister Crowley’s maxim “Do What Thou Wilt”, and you can do anything in the world if you put your mind to it. There are no limits to anything and people tell you sometimes “you can’t do this, you can’t do that”, you can do it anyway! We are like pushing back boundaries and censorship, like the Techno remix: we wanted to do it, so we did it.

Was it an attempt to satirise the mainstream, in a way?

Dani: Kind of, but it wasn’t a joke song; we just wanted to try something different. There are so many bands like Dimmu Borgir and Hecate Enthroned copying us, recently (over the last couple of years), that we wanted to do something that was like a departure from the general scene.

Apart from this particular track, there were also a bunch of cover songs from Iron Maiden, Sodom and Venom; apparently, Slayer didn’t like theirs, but do you know if the other bands have heard them as well?

Gian: I don’t know, it’s possible; Venom will be laughing their heads off. I’m sure Maiden will like it, but then they’re all top good musicians, whereas we are not as good as them. Iron Maiden is a really big fuckin’ band in my influence and I am just happy to have played their music (I hope they didn’t mind). I saw Bruce Dickinson in a party a few months ago – on that Kerrang! Awards thing – and he liked Unhallowed Be Thy Name, he said it was cool; and if he says it’s good, then it’s good. We’re trying to get him to return back to Iron Maiden, to the real style, with him on vocals and Adrian Smith and Dave Murray. Slayer didn’t like it, but fuck them, I like it; I don’t like Slayer as well, so…

Regarding the Dusk and Her Embrace movie project, wasn’t it supposed to be released by now?

Dani: That’s right. We had some problems with it, as we are kind of perfectionists and we are usually not happy with things, so it didn’t get released; the footage is still around somewhere, I guess. Recently, I’ve been in London and I’ve spoken with some possible directors and showed a few ideas about starting a movie – something completely strange! Hopefully we’re going to start in January and it will be an extended format for one song, like perhaps Bathory Aria, or something.

What did inspire you to do a concept based upon the infamous Hungarian Blood Countess?

Gian: Well, we thought it would be cool to do it, although we knew it was not a surprise, because Elisabeth Bathóry is already known, so it was kind of a tribute. Also, this is not that kind of Dracula stuff, like pointy teeth and so on, this is a lot more fuckin’ morbid and it wasn’t written to be a concept album, we’ve just wrote lots of songs and then gave them a title afterwards.

Dani: It just seemed apt to tackle the Elisabeth Bathóry issue, because she has always been a heroine of mine; and it was perfect to make this album a kind of fairy tale, since she was also a real life psychopath. She is over vampiric nature, but she wasn’t actually a vampire – rather a template for a lot of the dark Disney characters, like The Enchantress, “mirror, mirror on the wall” and stuff.

Musically, it seems there’s a Classical foundation on the riffing and musicianship, as a whole, this time.

Gian: I like all sorts of music: Classical, old 70s Rock, 80s Thrash Metal, Black, Death and Heavy Metal; even Gay Metal (if there is such a thing). Just give me loads of guitars and speed and harmonies – like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy, Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath or even Dead Can Dance – and I’m happy.

Before you joined Cradle of Filth, you were playing with a band called Solstice, so what lead to your departure?

Gian: Cool question! First of all, I have to say their new album is really good, fuckin’ brilliant!
I left Solstice because back then my ex-girlfriend was pregnant, I was unemployed and I hadn’t any money at all. Of course it wasn’t all about the money, obviously, as I really enjoyed playing the music, but I didn’t have that frame of mind of rehearsing four times a week, so I was getting really bored. So in one of the Cradle of Filth shows in Bradford I sold myself like a whore (laughs) – I just thought it was really mental. They all seemed to be having a good time and their music sounded really intense and it seemed to be a lot going on in it.

You were supposed to play here a couple of years ago, but since there were several rumors about this, could you explain what really happened?

Gian: Basically, what happened was that when they first played here in 1994, the promoter ripped the band off and didn’t pay them, and, on top of that, the sound guy had a heart attack (he was really ill) and the band was really upset, so they weren’t in the best of moods and were fuckin’ angry, as a consequence, because they weren’t even paid. So we’ve come back in 1996 to play here, but before we stopped in Porto, we arrived at 11 a.m., all packed and ready to go, but the people there were like “we don’t have this, we don’t have that”, so it was completely impossible to play because there was not enough electricity; basically, we could blow the building off if we tried. So by the time everything got organised, it was already 6 p.m. and we wouldn’t have time to set things up before midnight – even if we had tried – because we would also have to soundcheck and this takes time (almost a day). So then we left the gig and a guy on the radio started spreading rumors about us wanting drugs we weren’t allowed. I mean, we’ve got no problem with this country, we love coming here – and that’s why we’re back – but what sort of shit is that? We would never do that, ever! We do drink and we do smoke dope, but we never put gigs out; that’s why I’m so angry, because it’s such a malicious rumour and I’m really fuckin’ pissed off. If I ever see this guy, I’ll kick his face!

Dani: Cradle of Filth get blamed for a lot of things that haven’t got anything to do with the band and these gigs that were cancelled had really nothing to do with us. Everybody got the wrong impression, but, personally, I really do like Portugal, but it’s quite hard work for a band to put Portugal on the tour because of the long drive. I mean, we had to take a day off yesterday and drive straight from Toulouse, which is miles away; and tomorrow we are not playing, because we have to drive back and that’s worth two days you could be playing other gigs. Don’t get me wrong, it’s worth it, but at that point, when we pulled that show, we turned up and it was being promoted by the bass player of Moonspell at the time; it was this little club and there wasn’t even power in there. Our lighting guy went in to measure the voltage of the place and when he put one light, it blew; there was no way in the world we could do it! We were just saying “What the fuck are we going to do? Can you bring in an alternative power resource?” and he was like “What? I don’t know, I’m not your promoter.” So we had to pull it, there was no other way. What were we suppose to do: stay there and physically say that we couldn’t play? We just had to move on. But what really annoyed me was that he went on to the radio with some fuckin’ garbage story about the reason we weren’t playing and it was because we demanded some heroine: that’s preposterous!

What is it that you like in Portugal so much?

Gian: We like the people; they’re different and there is no one like it in the world. It is not like Spain either, it’s completely different. Portugal is more Arabic-influenced, more eastern and Mediterranean.

Talking about Arabic influences, have you ever heard Moonspell’s Under the Moonspell?

Gian: Yeah, I like it, it’s quite good; I didn’t like them before, but they’re playing what they want, doing their own thing, so good luck to them!

Going down the memory lane, do you still remember the first Cradle of Filth tour?

Dani: The first tour we did was with Skyclad and Paradise Lost, I think; just in England. Then the first European tour was with At the Gates and Anathema and we also did that small tour with Emperor, which wasn’t very well put together; but it’s kind of legendary now, as everyone seems to talk about it.

Like several other artists, do you have any musical project on the side?

Gian: I don’t know if it’s going to happen, it’s still on the make at the moment. I don’t know what the fuck I’m gonna do, but I’ll do it; mostly, just to get anyone together and do something never done before for a laugh (just to do it has a demo). I hope it to be something really mad, with no keyboards, heavy guitars or blast speeds (none of that), more Dead Can Dance-oriented, or Ambient-like and a lot more funny.

Either aesthetically or musically, do you think Cradle of Filth was (and is) inspired by the Goth movement in some way?

Gian: What is Goth? Two steps forward, dramatic hand movement, two steps back, just a bass and a drum machine, that’s Goth. But we dress how we want to dress. Our music is dark, our lyrics are dark, our image is simply black, but that doesn’t mean I need spikes to protect myself or anything, as I’m not scared of anybody. People wear spikes because they are frightened of other people running into them, because they are too skinny to blow over. You can fuck the spikes off and use your fists – or your feet and your head. We use witchcraft, not spikes (laughs). But, really, we dress like this for years and I view the term to describe an attitude, not a style. It’s as if you like to be around graveyards at night, going to nightclubs, or you stay up late at night because you want to party and you like dark music and dark things. It’s hard to explain, you just want to party and it’s a night thing, partly because you stay up late in a nocturnal lifestyle.
I was a Catholic till I was 16; my family’s Catholic, Roman Catholic, but I just don’t listen to anybody telling me what to do: I just make my own mind about everything. I do believe in a destruction force, as well as in a creation force. Basically, my religion is to do what the fuck you want, although I believe in Karma as well.

What was the last book you bought (or read)?

Gian: Anne Rice’s The Vampire Armand, which I got signed and I’m really happy for that (smiles). I’m also reading a book about Arthur and the Dark Ages.

Cradle of Filth

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