Interview: Cradle of Filth

We obviously wanted to have an eclectic spread across our whole back catalogue for a start and not favour one epoch over the other.

Ahead of a new studio album, Cradle of Filth have just released a new live album called Trouble And Their Double Lives that showcases their power as a live band on their recent tours. As well as this live album, the band also have a single coming out with pop superstar Ed Sheeran so it’s all go on the Cradle front. Gavin Brown caught up with Cradle of Filth frontman Dani Filth to get the lowdown on both of those releases and to talk all things live including memorable live shows, eclectic bills, first gigs and dream lineups.

E&D: Your new live album, Trouble And Their Double Lives, is out now. It’s been twenty years since you last did a live album, did you want this to be a new document to show the power of the band today live?              

Dani: It was a fortuitous thing, it really wasn’t planned at all until the pandemic threw a bit of a curveball in the fact that it allowed us to work on the album that we couldn’t release it until the pandemic was over. We basically lost a year and we also lost a year in our transition from Nuclear Blast to our current Napalm Records slot. Our live engineer suggested, why don’t you do a live album, we recorded all these gigs during your four year world tour. So it just came about like that. With our studio engineer, we went through everything and chose the best stuff. We obviously wanted to have an eclectic spread across our whole back catalogue for a start and not favour one epoch over the other. So yeah, that’s how it really came about, there was an opening for it. I’m really proud of it and it also gave us the opportunity to release two songs that would be written toward the new album, but they were in the sort of foetal stages of the writing and we had a  different lineup there. So we decided that we would reboot the writing with the current members and we decided to put them on the double album as well.

E&D: Are those two new tracks an indication of the sound of the new album or do they close the chapter on the last one?

Dani: The new album is not a million miles away from it, but they don’t herald its direction at all. The new album has more of a Dusk And Her Embrace vibe. That’s my opinion is not whether it’s kosher or not.

E&D: When can we expect the new album?

Dani: it’s going to be recorded this year and out next year. We’ve got the live album and then we have our collab with Ed Sheeran coming out later in the year. We’re going to record it in May, but we also will be working on it behind some festivals. A record will be delivered to the record company at the end of the summer. and it’ll be out, I reckon, in April next year.

E&D: Going back to the live album, was it a challenging task selecting which songs you wanted on it? And did you ever think of just doing one live gig or did you want it as a representation of all different gigs?

Dani: It was already recorded so we didn’t predetermine it but yeah, it was pretty hard choosing the tracks. Obviously there had to be tracks we played on the world tour the which was basically three years and it was elongated by a year because we decided to release the Re-Mistressed version of Cruelty And The Beast. We started to do Cruelty themed sets in between, and took that to America as well so there had to be some played on that. Having done that, the cool thing is, they also gave us a whole bunch of more different material. We obviously didn’t cover every single album but I think we got pretty much a lot of fan favourites and a couple of rarities on there.

E&D: Is that a similar sort of set that you’ve been playing on your recent tour with Devildriver?

Dani: No, not really. We’ve done three big tours and some festivals since the pandemic so we had a chance to mix things up a bit as well. Obviously, we played ‘Nymphamphatamine’, ‘Her Ghost In The Fog’, ‘She Is A Fire’. We mixed it up as we went along.

E&D: How did that tour go and what were some of the highlights for you?

Dani: It was great. The first leg of maybe three legs, one begins in September which is going to be announced the beginning of May. It was different because obviously it was a co-headline, we finished every night but we had to play an hour instead of an hour 45 which was funnily enough a challenge to actually get a set down for. It was just so cool because Dez is our manager anyway and one of my best friends so it was fun being out with him and his wife, and my girlfriend flew out. It  like a good travelling family, very chilled and very relaxed. Lots of good fun really, great gigs, fucking awesome turnout. A lot of sold out shows. It was a very short tour,  I could quite easily have done another two weeks easily but I think primarily it was because Dez during the pandemic, got COVID really badly to the point that he was actually saying these goodbyes to family so I think he’s still got a little bit of an issue was just testing the water. I believe the second leg is gonna be at least at least a week longer.

E&D: Going back to two live albums. What are your favourite live albums of all time?

Dani: Obviously, Live After Death. Decade Of Aggression is good as well. I’ve got a few bootlegs I’ve got great Misfits ones. I’ve got a great Bad Religion one that I love, but I don’t really listen to live records that much.

E&D: What have been some of the most memorable tours that Cradle of Filth have ever done?

Dani: There’s tons! We headlined the B stage of the American Ozzfest in 2003, that was incredible! It was 10 weeks across America and there’s a lot of bands who became big who were on our roster, who we also did gigs with in between. You would do 1 gig or 2 gigs on the days off and you can afford to do that and we had two buses as well at that point, so we had like the likes of Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage, Sworn Enemy, Motorgraterwho later turned into Five Finger Death Punch, Voivod, Chimaira. The main stage was Ozzy, Marilyn Manson, Korn, Disturbed. It was amazing. A lot of it was sponsored by Jäegermeister as you can imagine. When I came back after 10 weeks, I literally had alien blood.


E&D: Who have been the most mismatched bands that Cradle of Filth have ever played/toured with?

Dani: There’s a festival in Italy called the Beach Bum festival. This must have been 1998 and we’d filled in for Marilyn Manson who pulled out at the last minute. So we headlined instead and we were playing with Cornershop and Asian Dub Foundation. It was an eclectic bill and there was another one in Bulgaria and I think it was Ke$ha, some sort of pop diva. We were the only metal band on our day and it was literally on the beach with the audience standing in the water and it was one of the best gigs we ever did!

E&D: You went down well?

Dani: Yeah, I mean, there was a big contingent of metal fans, but we were the only metal band playing. We were headlining, there was just a mixture of across the board of different genres. Sisters of Mercy played the night before but I think that’d be the only band that really that had any relevance to us.

E&D: Have you ever played with many punk and hardcore bands, because I know you’re big punk and hardcore fan?

Dani: Yeah, we had Poison Idea support us once in Portland, which was really cool. There was a festival in France once, I think a Vans thing was going on at the same time as what some big metal festival, with revolving stages, Bad Religion, I think Descendents and a bunch of skate bands. It was really cool, actually.

E&D: What are some of the most memorable gigs you’ve done, the ones are the ones that still stand out to this day for you?

Dani: So many good gigs we’ve played over the years. Just off the top of my head last year, we did a tour of support with Danzig in America, which was amazing. Last year we were  main support for Judas Priest in Athens with fucking thousands of people, it was amazing! There’s so many so many good ones.

E&D: Does it still blow your mind still that you you get to play with with bands you grew up listening to?

Dani: Oh, yeah, absolutely. A few years ago at Hellfest, we were asked if we wanted to headline one night and the special guests were Sisters of Mercy. So we decided to be special guests and have them headline! This year we have the same thing at Graspop but we decided we wanted to be special guests to Ministry. So yeah, it’s got its perks!

E&D: How was it playing with bands like Emperor so early into your career?

Dani: Yeah, good but I love the fact that everybody I speak to, if anybody brings it up, there’s always someone that goes well, you know, I remember that was a great tour. I’m just thinking fuck off. You went there. One gig we did in Edinburgh and we played to literally 2 people. It was  a great gig for metal fans, but literally, there was a dog and 2 people and bar staff. There was more people on stage than in the crowd!

E&D: What was the first live gig that you ever went to?

Dani: Ozzy Osbourne on the Ultimate Sin tour in Ipswich. Tickets went on sale at 10 and me and my friend were there at like 5 in the morning with a little ghetto blaster blasting out Krokus!

E&D: What are some of the best live gigs that you’ve ever seen?

Dani: I saw Danzig and White Zombie play at the Forum. That was an incredible gig. There were a bunch of gigs we used to go to at the Hammersmith Odeon that were amazing  thrash gigs. I saw W.A.S.P on the Inside The Electric Circus tour, that was great. There was a gig in Italy, me and the previous keyboardist Caroline. We used to joke about it being the best Wednesday ever. We just ended up on the strangest bill. Priest headlined with Whitesnake and Europe. There was a guy from Guns N’ Roses. I think Cavalera Conspiracy too. We were right in the middle, I think we went on after Europe and before Whitesnake, and it was just one of those gigs.  Every now and then you play a gig where it’s a real eclectic mix and you get to see some great shit. There’s a Canadian festival called Amnesia, I almost forgot what the name was, and that’s why nowadays I remember the irony and they literally have fucking everybody playing, you’re like a kid in a candy store. We played at 2 in the afternoon, and it’s like later we can go and see the Dead Kennedys or go and see Mötley Crüe. It was just like a who’s who. We’re doing one in Las Vegas called Sick New World. It’s basically everybody that was big in the 90s. I think System Of A Down are headlining and I don’t even know how they’re going to put them all on one day as the bill is that huge. Dez is playing with Coal Chamber. Lots of big hardcore bands, the 69 Eyes, Sisters of Mercy.

E&D: If you could put together your own  festival bill, who would you want to play?

Dani: Definitely King Diamond. Danzig, the original Misfits. The classic Iron Maiden lineup.

E&D: You’ve got the song with Ed Sheeran coming up, who are some of the other unlikeliest Cradle of Filth fans you know about?

Dani: Just unusual people in different lines of work show up at shows. judges, lawyers, people in the armed forces. Kat Von D is a fan. People in the Jackass crowd I used to hang around with. Noel Fielding is a fan and of course, Ed Sheeran is quite a big deal.

E&D: How was it working with him I’m the track you’ve done together?

Dani: Yeah, brilliant. I’m quite busy sometimes believe it or not and obviously, he’s mega busy. So it was never the twain with me for ages. We were literally emailing for about two years and he stopped for Christmas, not doing anything just wanting to spend time with his family. He only lives like twenty miles away as the crow flies so he came to the studio, came on his own. Nobody with him at all, just him and his guitar slung on his back. He came in his wife’s car with a Cradle of Filth hoodie on and it was great. There’s a few things to put in place. I’m finishing the vocals and that’ll be done soon. I’m going to mix it and then approach both managements about it and see where we go from there because we’re doing it as a charity single, he’s got a charity, I’ve got a charity. It’s not a comedic song at all. It’s got a strong message. It’s exactly what you would expect. It sounds like Ed Sheeran mixed with Cradle of Filth. He’s playing the acoustic guitar, he’s doing the singing as Ed Sheeran. It’s very, very catchy but then I scream on it and we snuck in a blastbeat!

Photo by Annie Atlasman

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