Having performed on the Roni James Dio stage the previous day with his other band Devilment, Dani is in good spirits and clearly excited about the new album ‘Cryptoriana – The Seductivness of Decay‘ due for release on September 22nd via Nuclear Blast.
OD – Let’s talk about the new album ‘Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness Of Decay‘ and in particular the wireframe that you worked on during the creative process, as you had mentioned in previous interviews that you were particularly concentrating on victorian gothic horror element.
DANI – Well, I couldn’t really see the wood through the trees at the time when I was writing the album but I remember going to Brno in the Czech Republic to finish it which I didn’t even know we were actually going to finish it. We were collating the information for the album and we actually finished it during the two weeks that we happen to be there. Last year I was thinking “I have no idea what I’m gonna do with this album” and I remember talking to my wife and asking her “what am I going to do?” and she said “well, your reading loads of Victorian stuff, so how about that as a subject matter?” and I thought that wasn’t such a bad idea.
I had been reading lots of E.F Benson, Rider Haggard, Robert Stevenson and random other authors and writers from that era and that’s literally where the concept of ‘Cryptoriana..‘ came from.
OD – So it was just a combination of all of those writers that inspired the concept or was there one very particular aspect?
DANI – Obviously, I had to get a collation of songs together before I could get an idea of what I was doing. For instance, I could have had a collection of songs that I felt could have a nautical feel to them and say to myself, “I’m going to write an album about pirates!” (laughing) which would be interesting, to say the least! (laughing) I’m not that selfish that I am willing to dictate to people what I want.
This album came very quickly off the back of the last one (2015’s ‘Hammer of the Witches‘) and on top of that, we got new management who wanted to ‘re-boot’ the band. Our previous manager had been with us for twenty years and had to retire. So, we found ourselves with a new manager and couldn’t really do anything because we hadn’t an album out so, you can imagine everything became a little bit sudden with regards to putting this album together.
OD – With the new management coming into the situation, did you find yourself a little cautious about things going forward, seeing as you were with your previous manager for twenty years?
DANI – Yes, of course! It’s kind of like marrying someone else. (Laughs)
OD – So, it looks like from your response that everything is going well with the new arrangement?
DANI – Yes, it’s all going very well indeed. It’s amazing actually. People keep asking me “why do you keep doing it?” and the reason is that I fucking love it! I really love everyone in the band. I think that this line-up just works so well and there is a really good energy with us all. I’m delighted with the new album also, as I am with ‘Hammer of the Witch‘.
We are all very passionate about what’s going on in Cradle of Filth and to be honest, life is really good right now and it shouldn’t be this good! Every day I feel grateful for what I get to do, as I’m now 44 years old.
When I get to play festivals like Bloodstock or whatever it’s a great feeling. I’m not really a sociable person at all, but when I come to events like Bloodstock and there are loads of people coming up to me saying things like “I really love what you do” or “that last album was fantastic“, I’m not massively keen on the attention but there is a good feeling attached to it that makes me feel that I’m doing the right thing with the music.
OD – Do you not find it a little weird when people that you don’t know are coming up to you and striking up conversations about your life? It has to feel a little strange for you at times?
DANI – I suppose that in some kind of way it does feel strange, but in another way, it validates what Cradle of Filth means to people and I’m okay with that. One of the aspects I really like about this business is the festivals and in particular Bloodstock, where you can find a huge and very varied selection of people and bands with one common interest, all mixing together and just having a good time.
Also, I want to point out that I’m also all about supporting Sophie Lancaster Foundation and I think it’s amazing that Bloodstock has that stage there to remember her.
I had similar experiences when I was growing up, not to the same extent of what happened to Sophie, but I saw it. We were considered to be the “weird kids” in the town where I grew up and I saw and heard of some things happen to other kids at the time. We were all so young.
OD – So, you’re saying that you can identify with others that have experienced similar abuse or negative behaviour because of the way they look etc?
DANI – Absolutely! It needs to be addressed as much as possible to highlight the damage that this sort of stuff can do to people. I recently was away in Germany and when I came home, I had received a letter from a guy representing teenage suicide and he must have thought that I was still in the country as he had asked me to take part in a charity event which I wasn’t sure at the time if I could commit to.
Anyway, I put the letter on my desk and within a day of that happening, my daughter came home in tears with the news that one of her close friends had taken his own life. It just got me thinking of how much things have changed in the last few decades, especially for young people.
When I was young I was into things like BMX bikes and climbing trees etc. I grew up in a very different environment as opposed to the social media-driven obsession of today. So many people are affected by things they are seeing and reading via their social media sites. I would just rather get rid of it all, to be honest.
OD – There is a lot of new pressures for people today than there was twenty years ago and depressing and anxiety can be very hard to see in some people.
DANI – I made a point of talking about Chester Bennington (Linkin Park vocalist who recently committed suicide) in the press and I was saying that he was selfish for leaving behind six children but maybe I was a little bit too forward with the statement because I didn’t know how he was feeling and obviously when you think about the fact that money was most likely not an issue, he had a great wife and six children and for him to take his own life, he must have really been in a bad fucking way to forsake all of that.
OD – People that have experienced, or are living with depression/anxiety say that it’s a living hell in its own right and it would seem that Bennington was an example of that.
DANI – I could never do that because every day is another day and little things like the smell of vanilla would make me happy and most importantly, I have a lot of respect for the people that are around me in my life and I wouldn’t want to make anyone unhappy. It would probably make a lot of people happy, but not the people that I care about.
OD – The forthcoming tour this October will see Cradle of Filth perform in Dublin on Haloween. Do you have any plans for that show that you can disclose with us?
DANI – Can you imagine that? Yes, it’s going to be my wedding anniversary that night also! So, my wife might be there to celebrate with us in Dublin. We have been talking about a couple of ideas for the show, but of course, I can’t tell you! (laughing) What we would like is for everybody to actually dress up for the show and really make an effort and all I can say for now is that it’s going to go beyond the gig itself.
We have been talking about a possible venue for after the show, so we have some plans in mind but all I can say is that it’s most likely going to be going on right into the small hours the next morning.
OD – With the forthcoming tour will you be concentrating on the new album or do you have an idea as of yet on the setlist?
DANI – We were talking about this recently and we really want to look at all COF material across the board. We just want to pack it with loads of new stuff as well as some old stuff like ‘Bathory Aria‘ for example (‘Cruelty and the Beast’)as we’ve never done that before as well as ‘Saffron’s Curse’ (‘Midian) and stuff like that.
OD – With the recent video for ‘Heartbreak and Seance‘ you have gone for the full blackface makeup, a few people have been asking if that will be the case during the live shows?
DANI – Do you know how long it took for that stuff to come off? (laughs) A few people actually took offence to that, saying “oh, so you’re doing blackface?” which couldn’t be further from the actual reality of the situation. My brother’s girlfriend, whose almost like my sister is black and I showed her the video without any reference to anything and she was totally fine with it.
OD – Were some people suggesting that it was a racial thing?
DANI – It’s like if I painted myself yellow would people think that it’s about Brexit or North Korea? No, it’s not!! We actually finished that photoshoot at about 3.30am and some of us had to be up at 5.30 am and I had to be up at 8 am and at 7.30 am I was still trying to get that stuff off of me. It was awful! I guess we could colour ourselves in with black marker for the whole tour to keep in tandem with the video. (laughing)
OD – The artwork is fantastic on the album, as per usual. Do you have a hand in the overall finished design?
DANI – Yes, I do to an extent. I can’t take any credit for the album artwork as I’m not the artist but in this case, we went with Arthur Berzinsh who did the last album also.
OD – Did you give Arthur the music for inspiration as he was creating the cover?
DANI – Yes, we did for this album because this time around I discovered that apparently, Arthur was an even better video director than he was an artist, so we collated all the budget and got him to do it all. Obviously, I had a hand in it but really it’s mostly all of his work. The overall artwork throughout the album is just stunning, so make sure to check that out when you get it.
OD – Are there any further bonus tracks on the album or anything like that?
DANI – Yes, actually there are three bonus tracks. One of which is an original track called ‘The Night At Catafalque Manor‘ which a lot of people are saying sounds like a track from ‘Cruelty and the Beast‘ and we also did a cover of Annihilators “Alice in Hell“, which I think sounds great.
Cradle of Filth will embark on a UK/Ireland tour next month taking in a special Haloween show in Dublin’s Academy on October 31st. Tickets are on sale now via Ticketmaster and Sound Cellar priced at €25 (inc booking fees). Please contact DME Promotions for updates, should you need any more information. Click here for the official event link.
‘Cryptoriana – The Seductivness of Decay’ is out on Friday, September 22nd via Nuclear Blast. Order your copy on this link.
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