Rocking the Cradle
An interview with Dani Filth
By Michael Henningsen
Man, I’m going to take a rash of shit for this one, I can just feel it. But it’s not every day that one gets the opportunity to have a phone chat with the most famous metal midget on the face of the Earth, so I grabbed it. What can I say?
As the leader/lead screecher of British gothic black-ish metal outfit Cradle of Filth, Dani Filth is at once the most revered (mostly by Hot Topic-shopping “hardcore” teens for whom their most hardcore trait is how hard they still suck at the teat of weekly parental allowance) and reviled (by most everyone else) figure in extreme music. And all 5-feet, 3-inches of him couldn’t be more pleased about it. Metal Hammer magazine recently proclaimed Cradle of Filth to be the most successful metal band since Iron Maiden, and there’s worldwide record sales and concert attendance to back up the notion.
The band released its ninth album, Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa, on Peaceville Records in November before embarking on a world tour. Mr. Filth himself took time to speak to the Weekly Alibi from a hotel room in El Salvador.
Tell me about the new record.
Tempo-wise, it’s our fastest record and very ornate. It’s a concept album about Adam’s first wife Lilith’s reemergence into the 14th century world—an old-fashioned gothic horror story. But it’s an album that doesn’t suffer because of concept. Songs can be enjoyed separately. Each song is a different chapter: very ornate, melodic. We were able to find the perfect balance, I think, between the orchestral and cinematic elements and the metal ones.
Cradle of Filth has toured with a veritable who's who of black and death metal bands—what's been your favorite tour so far?
Who are some of your biggest personal influences?
Soundtracks, for one. I’m very moved by those things which are cinematic, whether it’s music or film or whatever. I’m actually working on an orchestral album as a sort of side project—a John Williams-style version of our first four albums with choir and strings [interviewer’s note: *?*!]. Musically, as far as my professional life is concerned, I’ve always admired Diamanda Galás and Mercyful Fate.
What are you currently listening to?
Well, the new Cradle of Filth record, of course, and the new Triptykon [the “Shatter” EP on Century Media], which I think is absolutely brilliant.
It seems that as more and more extreme bands evolve, they tend to push the envelope the other direction—back toward a more traditional rock paradigm, with acoustic passages, clean vocal breaks or full-on progressive rock excursions. How much farther in the other direction can things go in your opinion? In other words, how much more extreme can extreme music get?
Things are definitely coming full circle; heading towards stadium rock, I think. [Laughs.] It’s like movies, isn’t it? Recycling, remaking everything. So one has to experiment. It’s all about the things. Equilibrium, theatrics, story lines, concepts—it all has to be thoroughly considered, then combined in perfect quantities and never in the same way twice. It’s more difficult than anyone thinks.
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Sloan Armitage • acoustic, singer-