Cradle of Filth
’And The Cradle Will Rock'
This outlandish band quickly became the most popular UK representatives of the Satanic black metal revival of the early 90s with the release of their formidable 1994 debut, The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh. Formed in 1991 by Daniel Davey aka Dani Filth (b. 25 July 1973, Hertford, England; vocals), John Richard (bass), Paul Ryan (guitar) and Darren (drums), the band went through the several line-up changes before the release of their debut, with Robin Eaglestone aka Robin Graves (bass), Paul Allender (guitar), Benjamin Ryan (keyboards) and Nicholas Barker (drums) added to the line-up in place of Richard and Darren.
Visually, Cradle Of Filth were evidently influenced by the Scandinavian bands who led the movement, such as Mayhem and Emperor. This influence included adopting the black and white make-up known as "corpse-paint" and funereal garb, while incorporating displays of fire-breathing and drenching themselves in blood on stage. While the Scandinavian black metal bands have become increasingly interested in the occult, right-wing philosophies of Viking mythology, Cradle Of Filth have a more gothic, quasi-poetic musical outlook. This is evidenced in their darkly poignant lyrics, use of a cello player and the haunting singing of Andrea Mayer (a German Satanist who has since married a member of Emperor). The core of Cradle Of Filth's sound, however, remains a blizzard of apocalyptic guitars and vocals.
Following the release of their debut the band entered a tumultuous phase, with the loss of several members and problems with management and their record label. They eventually regrouped in 1996 for ’Vempire: Dark Faerytales In Phallustein’, by which time the line-up incorporated founding members Filth and Robin Graves, as well as Irish keyboard player Damien Gregori and guitarists Stuart Anstis and Jared Demeter. The new mini-album was released on Cacophonous as a compromise solution to allow them to escape their contract and release a third studio set, Dusk ... And Her Embrace, on the Music For Nations label. The album featured new guitarist Gian Pyres, who was brought in to replace Demeter. Once again it explored at some length their fascination with vampire mythology and Victorian and Medieval romanticism. Gregori was subsequently replaced by Les "Lecter" Smith.
Cradle Of Filth gained further notoriety (and popularity) by insulting socialite Tara Palmer Tomkinson at the 1998 Kerrang! music awards. The same year's Cruelty And The Beast featured a guest appearance from actress Ingrid Pitt on "Bathory Aria". Was Sargison and then Adrian Erlandsson (ex-At The Gates, Haunted) replaced Barker on the ’From The Cradle To Enslave EP’, while Martin Powell (ex-My Dying Bride) replaced Smith and Allender rejoined on the full-length Midian, but departed once again. The stop-gap mini-album Bitter Suites To Succubi was the band's last on an independent label, having signed to Sony Records where Damnation And A Day was next to arrive to the masses.
Chatting with Paul Allender on the tour bus, I first asked why all the personnel changes had come upon the band over the years?! ”People just don’t work,” he quickly replies. ”That’s the short version!," he laughs. "Well, I left to start off with because I wanted to do a different style of music and there were people in the band at the time who were really pissing me off. I just thought f**k it! I’d just got married, had a kid and I wanted to go and do something different. But, I’d never worked before, as all I’d ever done was music. So, I left and they had all the other guys, whoever they were, come in to take the places and stuff and literally four years later, Dani phones me up and says, 'Do you wanna come back into the band?!' And I hadn’t even spoken to him since I’d left! So, I’m like ‘Why?’ And he told me, 'Because the others aren’t working hard enough!' So I told him I’d give it a bash and rejoined the band! And, now, we’ve just recently lost another guitar player because physically he wasn’t up to it either! You see, what seems to happen is when people come into Cradle they just take it completely as a f**kin’ holiday. And they don’t actually physically class it as a full time job and work. And this is what people have got to understand. It is a full time job and there’s no clock in, clock out and I’m gonna work these set days! It’s seven days a week and full on as many hours a week as you can squeeze in and that’s what some people obviously who have come in the band and gone out the band can’t physically understand."
And so, as a family man, how can you devote so much time to a project that keeps you away from home for so long?! ”Luckily I have a very understanding wife, so she understands it’s my job and that the bills have to be paid and stuff. She’s been working for the last eleven years solid as a Civil Servant and like now she’s on a career break so that I can do this. Now I’m the one earning the money so the roles have swapped over and I guess they’ll swap back again a few years down the line,” he laughs.
Where did the bands name originate? ”Erm, I think it was a heavy night on Special Brew,” he laughs.
1st demo dubbed ‘Invoking the Unclean,’ 2nd demo was ‘Orgiastic Pleasures,’ 3rd demo was ‘Total F**king Darkness,’ proper debut was The Principle of Evil Made Flesh, the mini-LP was ‘Vempire or Dark Faerytales in Phallustein,’ then came the full-length Dusk and Her Embrace, Cruelty and the Beast, ‘From the Cradle to Enslave EP,’ Bitter Suites to Succubi and now Damnation And A Day … is there any f**king light in your world?! ”Oh yeah, totally,” he laughs loudly. ”It’s just my fascination with the occult stuff. I mean we don’t practice it and we don’t f**kin’ hail Satan and all that, you know. It’s just a fascination where we read books on it and stuff and watch films that are based on it. It’s just what we’ve always been into.”
So, who comes up with these titles?! ”Erm, Dani the singer, most of the time. He just researches films and reads through books. It’s also where he gets all his ideas for his lyrics from and stuff.”
What does the latest album title Damnation And A Day mean to you personally? ”Erm, I just think it’s a fitting title for the way the whole concept is based on. I don’t tend to, personally myself, I tend not to get involved with titles and stuff, which I don’t tend to look into all that deeply.”
With all those album titles, why have you never had a self-titled one?! ”Because it’s gay,” he laughs. ”They’re crap, aren’t they, self-titled albums?! I do most of the artwork on this stuff as well so to physically just sit down and put time into like doing up the artwork to fit the music ... well, if you’re gonna put that much time and effort in and then call the bloody album ‘Cradle of Filth’ …”
Tell me more about your album concept for Damnation And A Day ”I didn’t do the artwork on this album. I didn’t have time. I do a lot of the band shots. Over last Christmas when I was at home I had to come up with twenty-four f**kin’ pictures of the band. We had the photographs taken and they were absolute f**kin’ rubbish and I was meant to have only just slightly touched them up, but in the end I had to take bits out of bodies and stuff like this and people out from here, there and everywhere and I’d construct whole new photographs! Then, I went completely over the top of them with f**kin’ digital effects. I do that with most of the T-shirts also.”
Who’s the girl on the back of the CD cover?! ”Just a model we hired,” he says, shrugging his shoulder. ”All the women and blokes that we had all came from a proper modeling agency in London.”
Will there ever be a ‘Greatest Hits’ of Cradle of Filth CD?! ”Well, there’s been a ‘Best Of’ come out,” he quickly informs me. ”It’s called Lovecraft & Witch Hearts in 2002. I thought it was worldwide, but I guess it’s just Europe,” he shrugs his shoulders once more.
’Living’ in the dark world that you do, what scares YOU?! ”Flying,” he laughs. ”I f**kin’ hate it. It’s just totally f**kin’ unnatural.”
What’s your favorite horror movie? ”’Nightbreed’,” he instantly retorts. ”I was so into ‘Nightbreed’ when it first came out that one of my friends had his video player set up, taped and recorded the whole of ‘Nightbreed’ on audio cassette and I used to listen to it on my stereo all the time. All the time”
What’s the most interesting thing to know about you … away from the band and music?! ”Well, I’m a karate instructor. I’ve been training since I was six, but I don’t believe in grading. I don’t believe in belts. Because belts were only brought in to keep children interested originally. Adults, never, ever, ever have belts and it’s only a Western thing for the belts that adults do have.”
Tell me your favorite song from this latest album and explain why? ”Well, ‘Serpent Tongue’ is one of them, because it’s got a wicked f**kin’ groove to it! I remember writing it, because I’ve got a studio in my house and it’s all computer based so it doesn’t take up much room. And we were recording like the riffs on it and stuff when I was demoing the song, and I’ve got this habit of turning it up loud and going to stand in the front bedroom and just listen to it. And this time, when I came up with these riffs and then turned them up in the front bedroom, I thought ‘f**kin’ hell is this good.’ So, yeah, definitely that one.”
The Fun Five:
1) Who would look the best dressed as a woman in the band … and why?! - ”Dani,” he replies without any hesitation in the slightest! ”Because he’s halfway there already,” he laughs.
2) Who is the worst to travel on tour with … and why? - ”Erm, that’s a hard one, ‘cause everyone’s got their own quirky little bits. But, I think it must be Martin when he gets pissed [aka drunk] and he’s constantly trying to hug everybody.”
3) Who was the last member of the band to throw up … and why? - ”Martin, he got extremely pissed [aka drunk] and we were playing one of our own shows a few days back and it was his birthday! He was playing keys and one of the guys from one of the other bands, Killswitch Engage, he just kept on giving him pints of Jagarmeister and whiskey! And so, the keyboards went completely tit’s up on stage and our tour manager ended up carrying him off stage!”
4) Who's the freakiest member of the band … for whatever reason?! - ”Nobody when they’re sober, but drunk everybody,” he laughs.
5) What was the cheesiest ‘80s hair band you personally bought a record of back in the day?! ”Poison and my wife used to be into Faster Pussycat and so we’ve got all them albums at home on vinyl.”
Finally, please describe the bands music in three words! ”Hard as f**k,” he answers without blinking an eye.
Interview by Russell A. Trunk
To win a Brand New copy of Cradle of Filth's latest CD, Damnation And A Day just answer this question! Which English town is Paul Allender from? Now, just send an e:mail to me with the subject title 'CRADLE' and the answer in the text to:
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