Reflections Of Darkness recently conducted an interview with vocalist Dani "Filth" Davey of British extreme metallers Cradle Of Filth. A couple of Blabbermouth excerpts from the chat follow below.
Reflections Of Darkness: Your new album, "The Manticore And Other Horrors", has a lot of punk-orientated riffs as has been announced, I only got it yesterday, but from what I've heard I gather there are some thrash influences, too, not to mention it seems to be pretty diverse in terms of mixture of style. What's led you to go into this direction?
Dani: I think was a natural progression. Paul [Allender], our guitarist, when we arrived to record, looked toward our back catalogue and he saw something that was a little amiss - that we haven't done that kind of feel for some while. I think he was missing the lot principle of "The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh" and "Midian" and he thought we'll use that as a springboard, as an inspiration to come up with a lot of stuff on this record. So, like I said, it was a natural progression, it wasn't particularly planned. It's just that the core elements of this band on this record has been three people, myself, Paul Allender and the drummer Marthus [Martin] Skaroupka, and Marthus did some of the orchestrations as well as played drums, so we've kept it very close to our chest, very sort of like a core unit of the band and it's just bought out this vibe in the music. Not only has it got a sort of punk element, but it's got a very traditional metal feel to it as well, which is extreme, but I think we've just pushed the envelope a little bit on certain aspects of our sound.
What are your personal favourites from this album and why at this moment in time?
My personal favorite, I think, is probably "Manticore", and that's why it's become the title track. Obviously, the album is a full-blown concept album as we've done with previous two releases and that's represented by the album title "The Manticore And Other Horrors"; it's almost like Edgar Allan Poe would have "The Raven And Other Stories". It encapsulates what's going on, it's like a lots of little stories orbiting the main theme, I suppose, much like "Midian". So yeah, I really like this track, just because I like how it was presented when Paul and Martin came up with the original skeletal structure of the song and it just caught my imagination because it had this sort of slightly Eastern, slightly ethnic vibe about it, but really heavy. It reminded me of the track that we've written before and is vibe-wise if not a bit similar to a track called "Doberman Pharaoh" [from 2003's "Damnation And A Day"], which in itself had an Egyptian feel to it, so it's slightly outside our scope of writing and that attracted me to it. I think it has all the elements of Cradle Of Filth in it, but all in one song.
Considering the problems Sex Pistols had with EMI, or say Iron Maiden back in the day when they were asked to cut their hair and play punk, have you had any interventions from the labels you've been on regarding your music, style, and public image and so on?
No, we were quite fortunate, really. We've been on so many record labels in the past. We've been on Roadrunner. Now we're on the big independent label, which is Peaceville, and we're very happy with it because we're in a good place. With Roadrunner, that's gone, it's disappeared soon after we left the label, we could see it was getting a bit tense as they've been bought out [by Warner Music Group]. There were people involved in that whole business that didn't understand what Roadrunner stood for. But where we are now is good because we have a lot, massive control over what we do. Some people think that ignorance is a big part of a record company, and it's not. I think they're wise enough to know that we have our own path and our own direction and we're very good at that, at knowing what we want to do, so they're quite happy to sit back and just let us get on with it, but they're big enough label to also have a bit of clout as well, especially during these difficult financial times. I think having been on big labels like Sony and Roadrunner that it's not the end-all being on something like that; it doesn't necessarily keep you from the wall, as it were, because the Roadrunner has gone under, and Sony when we signed with them, the person that signed us to was really into the band and had some great ideas for us, but instantly as we signed, he moved into another country and another job and we never saw him again. So I think now we're in a good place and Peaceville has a good roster of bands, there are some great bands on the label, so we're in a good company.
As you mentioned the difficult financial times, I would like to ask what do you think about the fact that the age of downloads has pushed musicians more towards the business side as they have to come up with more and more ideas for merchandise, work for their visibility and recognizability harder in the promotion, etc.? Do you think that this is negative or positive development? How you deal with it?
Well, it depends on which way you look at it. You can look at it negatively and say that there are too many bands and people haven't got enough money to spend on them as they had done in the past and so musicians are losing money and bands are splitting up, record labels are going under, etc. Or you can look at it on a positive note, and think "Well, it's like with the back against the wall and it's not easy, but let's conquer this mountain and let's really fight back and come up with something that's unique and imaginative and overcome the problem". I mean, that's easy thing to say, obviously, because we're in a position when we've just done a great record, or so we're led to believe, but it was a lot of hard work doing it. I think sometimes you do have to look at the good things rather than the bad things. And it's not just affecting musicians, it's affecting everybody.