Cradle of Filth, the second most successful British Heavy Metal band behind Iron Maiden (according to Metal Hammer magazine) released their new album ‘Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa’ on 1st November 2010. A concept album based around the mythical Lilith, it sees Cradle of Filth’s trademark heavy guitars laced with orchestration, and a couple of surprises along the way as well. I took this as an opportunity to sit down with their frontman, the very charismatic Dani Filth, to discuss the new album, the current lineup and the controversy that seems to follow Cradle around everywhere, as well as some other things.
The interviewer here is Music-News own Satanic Midget

MN: On the new album, 'Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa':

Dani Filth: "This album was never meant to be a companion to the previous record. It was only once I had done a lot of press that it became one. The plan was never to do two conceptual albums back to back. The previous album, Godpseed on the Devil’s Thunder, an album based around the story of Gilles De Rai (the friend of Joan of Arc who began a life of debauchery following her death) was like a black fairy tale. It was a very masculine album due to the content and the nature of the crimes that he committed. Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa is an album about Lilith, a woman that Jewish mythology sees as perhaps the wife of God. I think that’s a bit farfetched, but she was the first trespasser in the Garden of Eden. She was born of filth, which is probably a good analogy really! She wanted equality with Adam, but hadn’t been made in that way and so fled Eden and hooked up with the Devil, Samael, and became the progenitor of everything that was evil in the world.
The whole creation myth has been dealt with so many times, and I wanted to weave Lilith into a gothic horror story of my own making. We’ve used Samarian Jewish mythology and Greek mythology. There will be a bit of nunsploitation as well, and the Knights Templar will feature. It’s set in the 14th Century but meanders into the modern day. This album, compared to the previous one, is like a sister album; it’s a lot more sinuous and melodic, it’s very fast and elegant in places. It’s more elegant than the previous album as it is free flowing with a bit more orchestration."

The approach to this album, released through Peaceville, compared to the last album released on Roadrunner:
"We didn’t take a different approach. There was a bit more freedom; I’m not bad mouthing Roadrunner as it is very easy to do that after the fact. We found ourselves badgered a bit while on Roadrunner, with the label always looking for the next single, but I think that bands will come up with that generally anyway if they are given the freedom to write. I, and the band, felt that we were just happy being able to get on with what we do best. We didn’t sit down with a checklist before we started writing, ticking the right boxes. Because of the freedom that we were offered, we just found our own way, and made and album that we were happy with because we weren’t being constantly hounded."

The lead single, 'Forgive Me Father (I Have Sinned)':
"It was an obvious choice as the first single. It’s single length, and one of the more ‘commercial’ tracks on the album. The album starts very intense for the first few tracks and then the story kind of takes a meander. The sound is a nice blend between the orchestration and the ‘meat and potatoes’ of the metal side of things. Sometimes it’s very easy just to chuck as much orchestration into an album as possible, but then it kind of loses the point. We wanted to find the perfect equilibrium between the two.
The single is kind of representative of the album, but it really is impossible to actually describe it. Some people ask me to describe the lyrics to my songs and sometimes it can take all day to do as they are full stories in their own right. When people ask me to describe the songs, it’s really difficult because they are all so different! I think that it’s definitely a faster album intensity wise and there’s a lot of melody in it; not just guitar and orchestral melodies but vocal melodies as well. There are a lot of little changes that have been made to alter the bigger picture. "

On being more accessible:
"It’s a case of evolution for the band. To me, the words mature and evolution and concept just equal crap, but it is just a case of the way the band has evolved, especially with the amalgam of musicians that we have had playing with us. It is a faster album than previous albums like ‘Dusk and her Embrace’, but it’s just not as vocally abrasive. We tried to make it very cohesive and cinematic to mirror the ideology and the themes in the lyrics."

On the new members in the band:
"People often ask me which album is my favourite and I always say the new one. That’s not me being pedantic or playing up to the new record. I was listening to the last album constantly up until the point that the band and I sat down to start writing this new one and the same will likely apply to this one too when we come to write the next album. I tend to listen to it less and less. Obviously I will listen to the tracks when I rehearse them, but I think that the same principles apply to it all. I feel the same about the musicianship. Martin (Skaroupka) is a great drummer. Everyone has worked very hard on it. We demoed every track before recording it. There are 11 tracks on the standard release, and another 4 on the special edition. There’s also an ‘ultra’ special edition that has a few more extras for the hardcore fans.
As soon as we demoed the last track, it was back to the beginning and recording again with the first song that we demoed. The union of everyone who worked on the record has helped to shape it, and it is a very profound and cohesive line up."

Special guests:
"We’ve had some guests on the album before, but this time there are no real special guests. Lucy Atkins, who’s married to the producer, does the vocal parts for Lilith. We chose her through a process of elimination. We actually had a French pop act try out, but that ended up sounding a little too Romany with a gypsy vibe, and it wasn’t quite right.
We intended to strip down and avoid doing all the gimmicks like having special guests and cover version, and just focused on getting Cradle of Filth back to doing what we do best. The woman, Natalie Shau, who did the artwork is brilliant in her field. She has clearly married the lyricism with the music by coming out with these great portraitures and them pieces of artwork depicting Lilith in her various guises and states of play."

The approach to writing generally:
"Generally, I don’t have a concept straight away. We have a hub or nucleus of a few tracks, but everyone needs to gel and it takes a few songs to develop that united vision. Once that’s been done, I sketch out the parameters of the new songs. It would be selfish to dictate from the start, and because the band have lived together, played together and bled together, there is an element of trust among us that we will all come out with the goods. I suppose it’s a bit like building a puzzle really."

The controversy that seems to follow the band around:
"I guess you could say that we court it sometimes. For example, the vestal masturbation shirt, which is still causing issues in Australia. It actually still sells really well which I see as a bit ironic. It was done as an anarchic kind of thing; it was designed to take a figure of authority and a bit anti, but of course it also seemed to upset just about everybody!
We did the BBC show ‘Living with the Enemy’ which perhaps exposed us to a wider audience. It was actually quite weird last year when we headlined the Bloodstock Festival. My wife called me over and said that there’s someone you need to meet, and it was the same kid who was 30 now and all grown up, which was a bit weird.
Being friends with Bam (Margera) has led to other weird things like doing his Jackass TV kind of things. The job becomes even more surreal when certain things happen. Everyone assumes that because you are the lead singer of a band you are able to present a TV show and juggle at the same time!
I was in the Ukraine a couple of years ago and was waiting to do a press conference. Our tour manager had said that there were only six people waiting to ask me questions, but when I got out there it was more like 60! He knew that if he had told me how many people were there I wouldn’t have done the press conference. Anyway, while I’m answering questions, I cracked a terrible joke. A female journalist asked a question, to which I replied “oh, that’s a terrible question!” and then moved on to someone else. She obviously didn’t find it so funny!"

Upcoming live shows:
"The only shows that we are doing this year are in South America, where we’re playing 8 or 9 shows, followed by a full American tour for about 8 weeks. We’re hoping to hit a lot of the summer festivals next year, and have just confirmed a Metal Hammer tour with Children of Bodom, supported by Amon Amaarth and Devildriver, which should be really great."

Finally, other bands to check out:
"Triptykon – that’s the guy from Celtic Frost (Thomas Gabriel Fisher)’s new band. It’s a bit like old Anathema, old Mayhem and old Celtic Frost with some really dark keyboards and I think it’s brilliant.
There’s also another band, Melakesh, from Israel, who are signed to Nuclear Blast. That’s about all that I’ve bought recently. I’m sure there ‘s loads of other stuff out there.
Oh, I should also mention a friend of mine from Ipswich and his band Eastern Front."

Interview by Satanic Midget/Russ Snipper