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Cradle Of Filth - French Satanist and other highlights
French Satanists, complex storylined lyrics, new band members and mixers, men in shadows, and the end of the world. Nothing new here for Cradle of filth, except for their latest Album, ´Godspeed and Devil´s Thunder´. We caught Dani via telephone to see what´s happening in the new album as well as the band itself.
Hello, I´m sorry, I´m a bit slow now because I have terrible jet-lag and when I have jet-lag I don´t sleep and I didn´t sleep last night.
Jet-lag? Where have you been?
I´ve been touring all along Europe. Every day we fly somewhere and in the evening we play and them leave, so now I´m a bit *wooorgh*.
And now you have an interview marathon. Good that I have you first.
Yeah, towards the end I may be a bit loopy.
Well as we don´t have that much time, let´s talk about the album first and if we have time, I´ve got some additional questions. Ok for you?
First of all, “Godspeed and the Devils Thunder”. I know what Godspeed is, but what is Devils Thunder?
Well, it´s like a blessing, really. It´s like the saying “May flights of angels wing you to your grave”. It´s something I used to sign off with in our fan clubs blog. It kind of represents the two extreme sides of albums of Gilles de Rais, the French nobleman, who was also a child killer, Satanist…
The one who was fighting along the same side as Jeanne D´Arc?
Yes, that´s right, exactly; he used to be comrade-in-arms with Jeanne D´Arc. The title is kind of a blessing and a curse at the same time.
Do you believe that this could just be a clerical lie?
Yes, they said the same thing about Erzebeth Bathory as well, but it would make an interesting concept record, wouldn´t it?
Sure, definitely. Could make a movie of it. They made several out of Jeanne D´Arc.
Yes, also in the movie, they never explored Gilles de Rais; I think Vincent Cassel played him in the one with Mila Jovovich. I think Jeanne D´Arc was as good looking as Mila Jovovich.
Ok, well the album, what does it sound like? Well, it sounds like the old Cradle.
Wait a minute, are you answering you own questions?
Yes, well, we only have 10 minutes left, that´s why I just want to ask you stuff I don´t know.
Ok, that´s cool.
The names of the songs are interesting. Some of them I understand, but some of them I just really don´t get, for example, the 13th Caesar. I was counting all of the Caesars and I came up with 10.
No, there were 12. He lived a very lavish lifestyle; he kind of lived like a rock star. He depleted his vast fortune; he was one of the richest men in France, if not the richest in Western Europe. Henceforth he started trafficking with alchemists, not only for the pursuit of eternal life, but the transmutation of base metals like iron and copper into gold, and so he was trying to replenish his fortune through magic. At the time he was reading a lot of Sictonius and Ovid and he had read about the Caesars and their lavish lifestyles and he considered himself as the 13th one, which I thought was quite synonymous with bad luck.
Sure. Tiffauges? That´s a city in France, right?
Yes, it´s the main castle in which we have set the story. We´ve groomed it, propped it into a dark fairytale. He abducted and murdered children in lots of different castles, but Tiffauges was the main one, I guess, but this is to avoid confusion for the listener. So Tiffauges is the point of the album where it starts really darkening up. Prior to that we´ve had kind of like an overture, kind of like an introduction, it touches on the whole album. ´The Death of a Love´ is about his relationship with Jeanne D´Arc and her death, because in my opinion that was the trigger of his madness. After reading lots of books and such about his, I believe he was in love with her -not in a physical sense, but in the ideal- because he, like many others believed that she was a messenger of God.
Do you believe that too?
Whatever she did, she managed to rally the French against the English. For instance she took a famous town in 8 days, whereas it took nearly 8 months before. So weather she was a messenger of God or not, she still served the same purpose.
Can you tell me about your new band members?
Well, our drummer has been with us for two years, and this is the first time were recording with him. I mean no disrespect towards previous drummers from our past, but this guy is jaw-droppingly amazing. And we almost didn´t have him in the band, because when we auditioned him it was a split between him and Adrian Erlandsson. Adrian had lots of other projects going on and he couldn´t devote all of his time into the band. He still did play in a lot of the summer festivals while we were looking for another drummer. Martin is from the Check Republic and we found him through a university -a music university- and when he came to rehearse, the rehearsal room was booked that day, so we had to find another one that had a drum kit in it. When we found it, it was a drum kit that was cobbled together from other drum kits and it only had one bass drum in it. This poor guy was really nervous anyway and then he had to play in this shit kit. Obviously it didn´t sound brilliant, but we gave him another chance and thank God we did. There are actually only four people playing on the album, because our keyboarder, Rosie and our other guitarist, Charles only play live, and they are both tutors. Half the time they teach and the other half they play with us. So the keyboards and the orchestration on the record were undertaken by a guy called Mark Robson, who we worked with in the past and we call him “Captain Keyboards”. He was captain in the British army and he´s a great guy, but I call him “The Man in the Shadows” because he´s not with the band at all, but he´s been helping embellish the record. I didn´t get to meet him this time round, which is why I call him “The Man in the Shadows”, but I like “Captain Keyboards” as well. I want to make him a little costume.
Who´s the female voice here, is this Sarah?
Sarah is just the harmony and the narration. The lead is one of the members of the choir we have on the album. Sarah´s voice is a bit too severe, a bit too powerful. We wanted something lighter. Sarah´s is great for narration, but we wanted something a bit lighter to represent Jeanne D´Arc, you know, she´s supposed to be virgin, pure of blood and it just worked better with her doing the main part and Sarah doing the harmony and narration. Although we planned this album meticulously, this was one of those things that sort of happened in the studio, a happy accident.
How big was the influence from Andy Sneap?
He mixed ´Thornography´, and whilst we were doing that we decided between us that he should not only mix, but record the next album, which was ´Godspeed and Devil´s Thunder´ because it was concept. We had meticulously planned out record and he had an amazing studio. It´s in an old converted farm, all brick and it sits in this beautiful landscaped valley right in the middle of the Derbyshire Dales, a really famous part of England. So even though we are really isolated -which is great for the album, another reason it was done so swiftly- you could just stand out of the door for inspiration. Andy had already planned which guitar heads he would use, what cap, how he was going to record the drum.
How long did it take for you to do it?
It took a relatively short time because it was so well planned. We also brought in a guy called Doug Kirk, who had worked with us previously on ´Bittersweet´ and ´Midian´ as solely a vocal engineer. I was able to do my vocals at the same time as the guitars.
Usually it takes a long time to record with Andy because he is such a perfectionist.
Oh, he is a perfectionist, but he has such a great way of recording and mixing. He sort of does things as he goes along and nibbles away with it, and you can revisit. And he obviously masters it, so it saves a lot of time, but yeah, he is a perfectionist. He is considerably faster than other producers, which I can´t mention.
Is there something else that you would like to say about the album?
The lyrics can be taken out and used solely as a story, its not like satellites orbiting around a theme. It was worked concurrently throughout as a story and the music and lyrics working in unison. Everything that happens in the story is replicated in the music, weather it is the choir representing the choir of the damned or children representing the spirits of the children coming back to haunt him. Also the artwork, which is done by a guy called David Hoe, I think he did 12 or 13 pieces of art in the booklet, which all come together for all who want to scratch beneath the surface and immerse themselves in the whole myth and story. Recently we had a download on the Roadrunner website and we have another coming about 4 weeks prior to the albums release. We also have a video coming for the song ´Honey and Sulphur´, so the tracks can also work out of context. There is no filler song in it just to make the story work; you can enjoy them without the concept as well.
Ok. There´s a Mayan and Hopi belief that the world end on December 21st 2012, I don´t know if you have heard of it.
Yeah, I heard of it, but I didn´t know the specific dates, but thanks for that. Yesterday the Swiss scientists were trying to recreate the big bang, and they didn´t actually know what was going to happen. I was watching this like “what the fuck?” because for all they know, they could have ruptured the space/time continuum and made loads of little black holes that swallowed the Earth, I just couldn´t believe it.
It is kind of scary, isn´t it?
It´s bloody scary! They could have brought a daemon here or something. And it costed 5 billion pounds. Which could have been used better, like feeding the starving children in Africa, but instead they decided to almost destroy our world.
If they decide to do that again on the 21st of December 2012, what would you do the day before?
I´d spend it with my family. Take my child to the theme park, but I´d think it would be quite crowded though.
I don´t think anyone would be working in the theme park then.
Yeah, I´d guess you´d be barricading yourself in your house from all the people looting and rioting. I´d have sex with my wife for a start and take my daughter out somewhere cool, like a great party or something.
I believe we have run out of time.
Ok, thanks for waking me up and scaring me.