Cradle Of Filth - The Nymphetamine StoryIt was sunny and warm. With a silent gesture I wiped the sweat off my forehead. With a quick glance I saw my colleague, who was dropping himself on a bench. Heh, I could tell he also had been affected by the warmth. A long journey lay ahead of us: a three hour trip by train and then yet another 20 minutes by trolley... Life could be a bitch sometimes. I grinned by the mentioning of that word. Bitch. It sounded funny. Finally, the train arrived.
"Train's coming", I said.
Dinges looked up from his feet and stared at the arriving train. "Is it the one to Amsterdam?"
"Sure hope so...", were the only words I could bring forth. With a swipe of my hand sweat once again flew off my forehead. "Let's go."
It was indeed the one to Amsterdam. A hotel in the centre of the city beckoned us. As we looked at eachother, a glimpse of nervousness could be seen. This was, after all, quite a big case we were on. "Should we go in?", Dinges asked. I shrugged. "I don't know, man. We're early." "Let's do it anyway", he said. "We've got nothing to lose, now have we?"
I kept staring at the huge hotel in front of our eyes. The heat had intensified. "Guess not." Inside, a member of the Roadrunner gang was waiting for us. "Are you the Metalrage boys?", he asked. I quickly nodded. "Follow me", was the answer. As we followed the man through the huge hotel, I was getting more and more nervous. Finally, we were going to meet him. All the work was going to pay off now. We were made men. Upstairs, a couple of comfortable chairs were appointed to us. "He'll be here in a minute", the Roadrunner guy said. After a few minutes, a man walked up to us. It was him, the man we had been waiting for. It was Dani Filth, frontman / vocalist of the worldfamous blackmetalband Cradle Of Filth. And we had the privilege of interviewing him.
Hi! How are you doing?
A short, but powerful answer. Hehehe. You just finished recording the new album, how did it go?
"Good!" *Laughs again* "No, it's gone fantastic. You've heard the six-track promo disk? Well, they were basically 'work in progress' mixes and not actually finished. We actually ran a little bit behind in the studio because the guy who was producing it had to go on tour with his band Anthrax for 5 weeks in the middle... We had a load of problems like guitar amplifiers blowing up and some other stuff to reconvince we had a curse for a while. Then, I got an allergy too! To grass pollen... I had to wait for two weeks for the season to have changed. That's why I had to stop, 'cause I couldn't sing. But I had to start and do all of our summer festivals. At the time, I was mixing up in Linkinshire in a different studio called 'The Chapel'. Some time got lost there, too: working in two different studios. I had to drive all the way across England to the airports, fly to do the shows, do the shows, fly back, drive all the way back and that was every weekend, for six weekends. So, henceforth while you've got a promo just for six random songs that aren't even finished, you know, proper mixes, just because...
...People will have got something to listen to
"...Yeah. Something to wake people’s appetite. It hasn't even got the single on it, which features Liv Kristine (Leaves' Eyes, ex-Theatre of Tragedy). We sort of do a vocal trade in this really cool song. If this was for a promotional tour, obviously it would be on the promo disk as well, but it isn't. My favourite track, Nemesis, isn't on there, either.” *Laughs* '
Nymphetamine' means having a classic obsession for beautiful, beast-like women as far as I can tell. What does this tell us about Cradle Of Filth, seeing this is the title of your latest studio album? Because I've heard loads of weird titles for albums, but this is surely one title I would never even have thought of.
“Well, it's a combination of 'nympheth’, a nymph, a Greek maiden; a young, beautiful woman. Nymphetamine is like a marriage between sex and drugs: an addiction. An addiction to women, an addiction to one particular woman in question. The title of the album, the title track, is actually nine minutes long. It has two wings and then it has the song in the middle, which is actually the single. The single is like, four and a half minutes long. We’ve taken that out and it’s got a different intro for the video. You’ll get the impression from how we’re singing, when Liv is singing the main hook, then I’ll sing, then she’ll sing the pre-chorus and I’ll sing the chorus, that there’s a struggle between this guy’s sanity and this woman, whom he can’t hate, but loves. It’s hard to describe it. In fact I should point you in the direction of our website...”
I’ve read the song descriptions, it’s very interesting. Can we define the philosophy behind the album, the way you wrote the lyrics, with Cradle Of Filth at the moment?
“The whole thing about this record was that it followed so swiftly on the heels of ‘Damnation And A Day’, that there was no planning. Unlike ‘Damnation...’, there is no chronological storyline; it’s a collection of songs that all orbit like satellites around the main title. It’s unfortunate you haven’t got a whole package to this sort of knowledge; how it all works together. Obviously, you can see that at some point. We should’ve stooped on Sony, but they were having a merging with BMG. Which enabled us really, because they were to extend our initial contract with like, six months before we could even go into the studio. But there was a clause in the agreement, which allowed us to walk off them and we went straight to Roadrunner because they had expressed interest in us in the past. Obviously, it was a great move and probably a better one for us, because these people know the market for band like us rather than a conglomorate like Sony. But that aside, we did a hundred and nine shows last year, we did Russia, we did Europe, we headlined the B-stage on the american Ozzfest for ten weeks and then we took Type O Negative and Moonspell out, again in America at the end of the year. I think it was all that drive, that creativity, that fueled the songs for this record. Because there were no criteria, like ‘we’ve got to do this album now and it’s gonna be about this’, I think everybody went away, wrote their parts and then we pulled them together, made more songs and I think that’s what’s given it not only it’s ‘vibe’, but it’s individuality, too.
You chose to write a non-concept album this time. Would ‘Nymphetamine’ have turned out to less good than if you would have made it a concept album?
“Well, it’s hard to say...”
Can you give us a general impression?
“Well, it’s a different record and the music is different. I think we did ‘push the envelope’ as far as we could with the orchestral stuff. And so, to keep things fresh with our audience, I think it’s important that things are different and not two albums exactly the same. It’s the same with the concept, as well. That took everything out of the system. ‘A Swansong for a Raven’ is actually the second part to ‘Midian’s ‘A Ghost in the Fog’ and ‘Mother of Abominations’ is, almost, like a second part to ‘Cthulhu Dawn’ and has a big ‘Cthulhu’ charm out by giving it the full choir and stuff. People have actually commented on the artwork, as well. It’s very similar in context to the way it has come after a concept album, to ‘Midian’. So there you have it, really. It was fresh for me, as well: not to have to be working under the contraints of ‘Oh, it’s going to be chronological and this song is gonna be like this and this one is gonna be like that’, because it’s a lot of hard work.”
What’s the biggest difference of last year’s ‘Damnation And A Day’ and ‘Nymphetamine’, according to you?
“They’re two different beasts, but they are linked. We haven’t completely shunned the orchestration as the interest that arises, which is basically translated as an addiction to sex, anyway. Hence towards Satyr. You know, we’ve always had that classical influence and indeed the cover is representative for that as well, because it looks like a classical painting as if Egoja or Bosch could’ve painted it. So you’ve got Nymph and Satyr, which were mythological characters. So, with that and the ‘Painting Flowers White Never Suited My Palatte’ part, you’ve got big horror instrumentation with Doug Bradley’s parts in between. I think this is where ‘Damnation...’ was obviously more biblical of a concept. This is more like a dark fairytale.”
“Kind of. But it’s a bit more of a horror story. Although it has got orchestration and we did utilize a choir and Liv’s vocals, the majority of it is relatively more guitarbased. And that was just, I guess, the fact that we did those one hundred and nine shows to produce an album that is more live-sounding, more back to traditional roots. And the fact that we had James, or Germs, as we call him, on the album. He joined because he was a part of the whole, of the entourage that toured the world. He became integrated into the band and so his integration pulled us back to some more traditional ‘Jaw’ guitarharmonies and ‘Maiden’-esque parts and more British Heavy Metal.”
Women as a lyrical subject frequently emerge in your lyrics. When I look at the tracklist of ‘Nymphetamine’, songs like ‘Gabrielle’, ‘Gilded Cunt’, ‘Mother of Abominations’ and ‘Medusa and Hemlock’ are songtitles which I link directly to the title of the new album. Isn’t this some sort of concept, or am I wrong here?
“You’re wrong”. *Laughs*
Hehehe... Please, explain.
“’Mother of abominations’, as you’ve obviously read the synopsis on the website, is about Cthulhu, who wasn’t quite the most beautiful woman of all times and by saying that, I’m expressing myself in a nice way. ‘Gabrielle’, is obviously completed in the subject matter, altogether. ‘Guilded Cunt’ is...”
...A hate song towards really rich women.
“No, not nessecarily. It’s towards one person in particular. It’s not supposed to be demogrity towards feminimity at all. It’s about a person in particular. Almost as if it were a different opinion about the character in the track ‘Nymphetamine’. As if it’s that the way he sometimes sees her, it’s a love-hate relationship. And obviously, when she’s on the scene, he’s a completely different ace. The first hand opinion about her changes; he’s completely under her spell. It’s the addiction. You could say that ‘Swansong for a Raven’, ‘cause it’s the second part to ‘Her Ghost in the Fog’, sort of follows in the same manner. I guess you could say that there’s a loose concept about it, but then it’s broken up with tracks like ‘Absinthe With Faust’, or ‘Nemesis’, which is my favourite track, it’s awesome. It’s got the best mosh-part of anything for ages on it. We really did point to this mosh-part: we took real influences from Rob’s involvement and Anthrax and stuff like that. It’s very fast picking. And ‘English Fire’ of course breaks things up.”
I have to say, I’m an admirer of the Cradle Of Filth lyrics, I really am. As a novel-writer, they inspire me to write of different emotions and subjects. Can you tell me what inspiration you need to write the Cradle Of Filth lyrics as you do?
“I suppose it’s the era in which we live, experiences we go through or films and books I read, or watch, obviously. And more importantly, it’s how the songs shape up. If it’s got a certain feeling to it, you know... Bumping it down on this record, with which we’ve endeavoured to do loads of records, is be very emotive. And when I say ‘emotive’, I don’t mean emo, ‘cause I hate emo.”
Who doesn’t? *Laughs*
“There’s a band called ‘Trey’ and they’ve got this big vampire-like concept record. Somebody send it to me and said ‘you’re going to love this’. I never got round to hearing it and then I saw them on television. I was horrified to see that they were just an emoband. And I was ‘oohhh...’ I don’t know what to say. *Laughs* But anyway, the fact on the matter is, because the track is kind of emotional, like ‘Gabrielle’...”
It’s got this romantic, gothic feel over it.
“Yeah, exactly! That inspired the way the lyrics to shape as do most of the songs. ‘Swansong...’, originally, was an endeavour to be the second part to ‘Her Ghost...’, but there was something about it that was so reminiscant of the pianoparts in ‘Her Ghost...’ I just recently have been doing a voice-over for a manga (Japanese animationfilm) called ‘Dominator’ and Doug Bradley was one of the characters in there. He actually voiced two characters. I got in contact with him and I was ‘oh great! Let’s make this second part of ‘Her Ghost...’, let’s get Doug Bradley back and inject some continuïty’. Because our fans turn up at his conventions, he’s like, a New Jersey comic-fan, there’ll be fans to get videosamples, which he’s really cool about. So, that’s like another little story of one’s paralell with Cradle Of Filth for the benefit of continiouation.”
Well, we’ve talked about the lyrics... but another thing I noticed, was that the melodies are very emotional, by my judgings. Can you tell me something about this emotion put into ‘Nymphetamine’?
“As I said earlier, it’s inspired by how the songs come to be and...”
Just like that? *snaps fingers* Or is there a thinking process behind it all?
“Well, there’s obviously a process, but I can’t hammer it down to be one thing or the other... It’s just something that happens. When you’re inspired by the the music that’s written and the way that we all take a... perhaps somebody will write one song, I work quite closely with Paul, and we’d write another one like ‘Filthy Little Secret’. It wasn’t even going to be on the album, let alone the special edition that’s gonna follow. But Rob, the producer, heard it by chance when we were picking free some ideas and he was like, ‘fucking hell, I really like this song, we should do something with it’. It was sort of like a revelation, so that was never gonna be. In fact, I re-mixed that again last friday, with Colin Richardson, because they fucked up in masterings. So it gave us the oppertunity to re-mix it and it sounds so much better now. But yeah, really, it kind of derives from the direction from which is undo by emotive songs. For example, ‘Gilded Cunt’ demanded that title because it’s an angry song. ‘Nemesis’ demanded that subject matter, because it’s emotional but in a different way. It’s got a part where it has this really sort of Metallica-type riff that is of reminiscense of let’s say ‘Master Of Puppets’. Then it breaks into something that’s very ‘Maiden’-esque, Scandinavian, very melodic. The lyrics then take a turn to be reflective, then they go back into the main riff and give some sort of justification of what this man said. The chorus in there is huge. As it moves up on the second chorus, the whole thing moves up a key and a dang of children start singing it. That’s powerful.”
Indeed it does trigger some sort of emotion towards the listener.
“Yes, obviously, the thing... you’ve got the six-track sampler-thingie... I’ve been trying to put bad slants on it through the entire interview...*Laughs* For example, ‘Gilded..’ comes beautifully out of the intro of the record. Doug Bradley did this spoken passage after which it kicks in and yet, on there I think it might be track two, so it’s not representative how the whole story, yet not concept, fits together.”
The track ‘English Fire’ is about Cradle Of Filth’s country of origin, England. The music sounds very different than I’m used of Cradle, uhm...
“Hehe, the actual working title for that song, as we have the most ridiculous working titles, just ran by. That was ‘Man Of War’. ‘Medusa And Hemlock’ was called ‘The Great Stone Goat Goddess’.”
*Smirks* The Great Stone Goat Goddess! How do you come up with that?
“That’s how we work before we have a title. Then, we’re all like ‘that song’s called...’ ‘Gilded Cunt’ was actually called ‘Violent Buggery’ *Laughs* Which is quite funny, because when we do an interview that’s prior to all the songs being formulated, that’s how we refer to ‘em in an interview. Then they’re all ‘what the fuck was that song called ‘Brownarse for? Hell, I’m not sure I like the direction Cradle Of Filth are going. Violent Buggery, Brownarse, Black, Man Of War, what is this?’ The title track, ‘Nymphetamine’, was actually called ‘Airwolf’. I really like the themesong of ‘Airwolf’...”
I don’t quite link that with Cradle Of Filth, hahaha! But what inspired you to write the track about England? I mean, it’s something totally different than we’re used of Cradle. Only dark romance and then suddenly something like this: ‘England’. Whoah! Cool! “Yeah, like I said, the working title was ‘Man Of War’ *Laughs* It just sounded fitting at the time.”
On the website, you describe the essence of every song on the new album. I read about influences such as Metallica in the ‘Master Of Puppets’ era...
“Well, they weren’t so much influences but what I was trying to do, was put the songs in perspective for people who hadn’t heard the songs before. Of course you’re not going to describe them by using big bands. You use classic bands to try and perhaps give people the impression that these could be classic songs, eventually.”
But obviously, it’s a very different sound than we’re used of Cradle Of Filth. Was it different to create that sound, I mean... Like I said, it’s very different...
“I know. When you’ve got six people that all work together as Cradle Of Filth, obviously that’s how the music is gonna sound; like Cradle Of Filth. It can have the guitarists from ‘Cradle’, the drive from ‘Cradle’, the vocals from ‘Cradle’... Henceforth, it sounds like turd.” *Laughs* ‘
Swansong For A Raven’ is the second part to ‘Her Ghost In The Fog’ on 2000’s ‘Midian’. I liked both songs very much, lyrically and musically. The story carries a beautiful dark, but also romantic feel with it. Have you ever thought of writing one big epic story in the way Rhapsody does that, for example? And then I mean something different than ‘Midian’, which also follows a concept story.
“Well, it’s actually gonna take, for example, a third part of ‘Her Ghost In The Fog’ and then write a story from the lyrics. Then ‘Cruelty And The Beast’. It was about the life of Elizabeth Bathory (bloodthirsty countess who bathed in the blood of young, virgin women to keep her youth). There was a lot of fiction in there as well, to add a juicy side to it.”
I really think out of the ‘Her Ghost...’ story a great epic tale could be written...
“Yeah, maybe ‘Revenge Of The Sith’ in the end.” *Laughs*
Sith Lords Battle Cradle Of Filth.
“Actually, ‘Nemesis’ working title was ‘The Bombing Of Endorr’”
Kill all of those nasty little Ewoks, hehehe... Cradle Of Filth released three albums short after one another. Do you just have a lot of inspiration, or...
“Yeah, obviously, yeah. We just put in a lot of hard work and... ehh... what was the album before ‘Damnation...’? Oh, right! ‘Bitter Suites to Succubi’. Yeah, I guess so, yeah... you know what they say: if you’re on a roll, you’re on a roll. You usually find if you’ve got nothing to do goes slow. But all the shows we did last year kind of moved our blood with inspiration. Also, I’ve never been the guy to sit around on my fat arse. *laughs* I’ve never understood bands like Guns n’ Roses and Prodigy, despite the fact I’ve always been fan of both of these bands, who were waiting around for seven years before... you know, I’m really looking forward to the Prodigy album, but I think they’re expecting that if you leave it longer and longer that the record will sell better. But it will have lost its momentum, then. I was always fan of bands like this band called Razor from Canada who just had an album ready every year. Although they’re not absolute classics, there’s no reason why you cannot make a classic record once every eighteen months. It does prove particularly difficult when you have to pick a tracklist for shows.”
At the concerts I went to, Sarah (vocals) was always present on stage and yet I don’t see her listed as being a part of Cradle Of Filth on the website...
“That’s because Sarah isn’t really a member of the band as such. It’s probably a sore point with her, as well. On this album, it’s less and less. She works with Mortiis and Kovenant, she’s got her own project... She’s got her own career she’s carved out for herself. Obviously, we’ve got Liv on the record because Liv’s voice was suited to that track. So, Sara is on the album, but in less and less varying degrees. But as I said, she’s got her own career.”
Do you have any other side-projects?
“At this moment, no. I might have one someday, but I’m too busy with Cradle Of Filth to tell you the truth. Apart from the possibility of releasing a few bands on Abracadaver shortly and the voice-over for the second ‘Dominator’ movie, no.”
Are there any plans for a new movie like Cradle Of Fear?
“It was a fun thing to do. The first one was done because there were a lot of people in the music industry we knew and we pulled a lot of favours. I mean, the whole film costed seventy-thousand pounds. People worked for free, a lot of the girls were friends and girlfriends. So, it was all a fun thing and now it’s been done and it was quite succesful in this underground way. If we were to do a second one, we would be talking about approximately a million pounds. I don’t even have a million pounds to throw away.” *Laughs*
The videoclips that are going to be featured by ‘Nymphetamine’ songs, are they going to be just as... how should I put it, just as cool as the ‘From The Cradle To Enslave’ video?
“Unfortunately, it didn’t garner the airplay it should have done, because of the nature of the video. That was the whole reason ‘Cradle Of Fear’ came about, because we realized after that happened that there was no way in the future that we, unless we got a load of money that we could use just to pry a wall because we don’t get a play, weren’t going to do that anymore. It doesn’t justify the money spent. That’s when we realized that, in the future, if we’re gonna be doing stuff like ‘Her Ghost...’ and ‘Babylon A.D.’ we had to get that out of our system and do a full-length film.”
Well, this concludes our interview. Have you got any last words for the readers of Metalrage?
“Yes, bollocks!” *Laughs*
Dani, thank you very much for your time!
“It was a pleasure.”
The sun was still shining bright when we got back outside. “Wanna go for a beer at the Irish?” I asked. “Sure”, Dinges answered. “We sure deserved one”. A couple of beers later we already were on our way home. Home. The place our families were waiting for us. Waiting to hear our story. The story we would call: The Nymphetamine Story
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