It’s been a while but Brit black metal pioneers Cradle of Filth are returing to Australian shores this week as part of their ongoing Cryptoriana World Tour, the Australian leg of which kicks off in Canberra tomorrow. The ‘Filth are a cornerstone of the British metal scene and a band I’ve followed for years, so it was a no brainer when a last-minute chance came up to have a quick chinwag with the band’s prime mover and frontman Dani Filth to talk up the saturnalia that awaits us…
Thanks for talking to us – looking forward to getting the Aussie tour underway I’m assuming? “Absolutely, yes”.
That’s good to hear. You’ve been doing this a fair few years now – can you remember doing your first ‘proper’ tour with the band? “Ooh, it would have been in ’92, something like that? 1992 that is, not 1892, obviously (laughs)… I can’t remember a great deal about it actually. We were doing a selection of shows and just managed to jump on one… I think it was Cerebral Fix and the band Cancer cancelled, they said can you do the rest of the tour and we said ‘sure!’ and jumped on. It was literally just a smattering of shows, three or four, but it was the first time we’d been on a tour bus, and after that we caught the bug for it! I think the next one after that was with Emperor, then At the Gates, Anathema… things really took off for us after that”.
The first time I remember seeing you was probably at around that time in a tiny pub in London called the Dublin Castle. “Crikey! I remember that show! It was a small venue but we sold it out”
You did indeed. It was an amazing show. You open the tour in Canberra at a venue, The Basement, that isn’t much bigger. You’re used now to playing with a production – do you enjoy playing back down in the smaller clubs? “Yeah, we’ve just come in from playing the Pulp Summer Slam show in Manila, which was massive – pyro everywhere, thirty thousand-odd people, but sometimes I prefer the more intimate gigs. But either way, they’re all shows, and we endeavour to make each and every one special”.
Do you still get the same buzz from touring? Or does the waiting and travelling get harder the older you get? “No, no. It’s a classic quote – I don’t know where it’s from, probably a lot of people – but I don’t get paid to do the show – I’d do those for free! But I do get paid for sitting around in airports and hotels and what have you! But I do still get the same buzz. We’ve got a great band, a great crew… and this leg of the Cryptoriana World Tour has seen us jump from South America to North America, Indonesia, Japan, Manila and finally down to Australia. It’s cultural, and exotic…”
So once you finish up with us here is that it for the (Northern) Summer? Will you start thinking about a new album? “I’m not quite sure about that. I know we’re doing some shows in Greece and Portugal, we’re doing Download and With Full Force festivals, but we’re having quite a sparse Summer because we are planning on doing Winter festivals, and then next year we’ll be doing a whole Summer run. And in between those yes, I’m sure we’ll have one eye towards development for the new record”.
This interview opportunity only came up at very short notice and I was struggling to put together a selection of questions quickly when I remembered a rumour that circulated around the band’s Dynamo Open Air performance in 1999, when Manowar headlined the night you were playing. We’d heard that you had intended to take the stage in Golf Carts but Manowar’s people put the kybosh on it. True story? “It was absolutely true, yes (laughs). They obviously, being very heavy metal, come onstage on motor bikes, and there were a lot of Golf Carts around backstage. So we thought it would be great, hilarious… but yeah, they scuppered that!”
I’m so glad that story is true! To move on to something a little more weighty, the industry as it is now is pretty much unrecognisable from the one in place when you started out in Cradle of Filth. Do you think it’s as important for a young band now to have a good booking agent as it is a record label, being as how we hear almost daily that record sales account for so little these days? “The industry is in a bit of a dip. Physical album sales have declined because everything these days is so immediate. In the current climate people think it’s OK to just download music for free, which I think is a shocking crime really. There should be some government legislation as there is with movies. Obviously as so much is invested in the film industry, there’s legislation to protect the people who work in it. That doesn’t ring true for the music industry. Everyone seems to think ‘it’s music, it’s fine. Music is free’. So yes, there’s been a noticeable decline because of that. But the metal community are quite passionate about bands and supporting them, so our position is not terrible, but it has taken a dip. With the increase in vinyl sales there does seem to be an increase in interest in collectibles, and supporting bands that way”.
This resurgence is being well managed by the labels and the industry as a whole with things like Record Store Day – are you a fan of that initiative? “I think other members of the band are more into it than me. I’ve got a massive CD collection, the reason being I spent years replacing the stuff I had on vinyl with CDs, so I think ‘sod this, I’m not going back!’. I’m quite happy like that. I get the odd bit of vinyl bought for me, but that’s about it. The other guys in the band are a lot more passionate about it. When we were in Japan they bought a lot of old vinyl”.
It’s easy to fall prey to. I’m on my third or fourth full set of Iron Maiden albums on various formats. “Well, that goes without saying really”.
It does! We’ll be putting together a two hour Cradle of Filth special on Sentinel Daily Radio to coincide with the tour – what songs would you say should be featured in that? “Ooh, that’s a hard one. Just a song from every album really, we’ve got twelve albums out!”
I’m sure we’ll manage. “That’s what makes picking songs for the live scenario so difficult. Especially when you add in all the tracks from expanded editions and EPs. We try to play fan favourites, band favourites and obviously tracks from the new album. But we try and get a selection from across the albums. We have fans from a long way back who want to hear tracks from every era. And it gets harder with each new album. If it was up to our drummer we’d play for three weeks at a time”.
What do you think about the current trend of playing whole albums live from start to finish? Do you like that? “I do, but we’ve never done it. Actually I’m not overly keen. I went to see Iron Maiden at Earls Court on the A Matter of Life and Death tour. And I had to sit through that album just to get to the five songs they did for an encore. And that was very painful. I mean it’s a good album, but when you put it up there with ‘the classics’ I’d have maybe just played two or three or four from the new album only. Especially when you’ve got great songs like Maiden”.
He’s not wrong, and there’ll be no full run-throughs of any album on Cradle of Filth’s upcoming Aussie tour – see you there!
See Cradle of Filth in Australia from tomorrow!
Wednesday 9 May – The Basement, Canberra – 18+ *new venue, all tickets for The Academy remain valid*
Thursday 10 May – The Triffid, Brisbane – 18+
Friday 11 May – 170 Russell, Melbourne – 18+
Saturday 12 May – Metro Theatre, Sydney – 18+
Monday 14 May – Capitol, Perth – 18+