Cradle Of Filth frontman Dani Filth seems to have more on his creative agenda right now than ever before: now that the band has released the CD/DVD set Evermore Darkly, a companion to the band's excellent new album Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa (check out our review here), they're already in the final phase of recording their first fully symphonic release Midnight in the Labyrinth – which is slated for release in early April – and in the demo stage (and beyond) on several songs for their next album, which is scheduled for a Halloween 2012 release. Aside from a few track titles, much of the new record has remained shrouded in mystery, but Dani did share some interesting details with us about both projects... as well as some of the latest horror flicks he's been digging lately. Read on for the full interview!
FEARnet: Hey Dani, how's everything?
DANI: Cool, thanks! I've been keeping quite busy, really.
What's top priority at the moment?
I've actually been spending a lot of my time finishing the orchestral album, doing the sort of "sweet stuff" on the top... and it's all sounding really amazing. It's coming out in April, and we've just got some little bits left to tinker with. That, and demoing the new Cradle album stuff.
I really loved that orchestral preview of "Summer Dying Fast" on Evermore Darkly. Is that the final version?
Actually no, in fact... when we mixed it, I found the really low bass parts, bass drums and some other stuff were missing. I had to reach a deadline to get that on there for the Halloween release, so we figured we'd just go with one that people have heard in our set over the course of the various summer festivals we did in Europe. So we called it a "breadcrumb trail," an example of what's to follow.
What was the genesis of Labyrinth?
Well, as you know, we've always had cinematic parts in our records; it's just part of the character of Cradle Of Filth... and then there was the opportunity to re-record some of our earlier material, and we thought, "yeah, that's cool, but what's the point?" So we came up with the idea of building upon various tracks – tracks that the band and the fans had decided upon – to create a montage, a kind of soundtrack for these labyrinthine, cinematic dreamscapes. It's huge... it sounds really big, really eerie and very dark. There was one week around Halloween, as we really got into working on it, when we came up with some really good samples and weird noises, recording things that rattle and go bump. There's also an extra track at the end that we almost didn't include on there... it's a thirteen-minute-long séance-type piece that's just really mad. It's got lots of those brown notes, so it kind of punctures people's lungs just to listen to it.
I'm imagining the visual possibilities of that... have you considered working the songs into a multi-media project, or a short film?
Actually there is talk about taking one of the tracks off Midnight in the Labyrinth and making a short film around it, but that's only talk at the moment. Ever since we did Cradle of Fear back in the day, we've always been thinking about doing something along those lines. I do know someone who has a film company, but going through all the work of finding backers and everything... it's basically doing another job on top of the job you're already doing. But that doesn't rule out the possibility in the future.
How have the fans been responding to Evermore Darkly?
It's been really cool. It was done primarily for fans, and originally it was just going to be a DVD, but eventually it began assimilating other tracks that people really wanted to hear – much like a special edition, where they could hear demo versions and other material that was very different... and a little bit darker, I suppose. Also we had another track ["Thank Your Lucky Scars"] that we were itching to get out, but we didn't want to keep it until the next album; we wanted to started that page fresh.
A couple of months back I did a "Werewolf Playlist" for FEARnet and I wish I'd heard "Scars" before then, because it would have totally made that list.
It does have that kind of brutality, doesn't it?
Yes! It's a werewolf fight song, I think.
Yes, like the lyric says, a "werewolf blitzkrieg!" [laughs]
Last I heard, you were about three or four tracks into the new album. How far along has it come at this point?
Now it's progressed to five, with six in the pipeline. We're taking a little bit more time on this one, and I'm going about a different way of demoing. I'm sort of going though very different versions of singing it, without any words. It's very odd, but this way I've been able to find something a little bit more liquid, and more natural... "lycanthropic" would be a good word for it. It's not a concept album this time, so it doesn't need to be looked at as such a huge puzzle, but all the same it is hard to pigeonhole.
Is it liberating to be freed from the whole story arc of a concept album?
Yes it is... at the moment it's all very apocalypse-based, full of strange monsters and behemoths, things like that, and there's also a vampiric kind of slant to some of the tracks as well... but from album to album we like to twist and turn a bit, be a bit more serpentine and surprise people with what's coming next, so they can't predict what it's going be like. But then again, we don't want to make people think we're gonna go off on some big departure, like the "hair days" of Celtic Frost or anything [laughs]. Nobody wants that.
It's great to hear Doug Bradley's voice again at the intro of the EP... is he going to be involved in the new album?
I can't really say, but I doubt it... he's become such a personage behind the band, and in many ways he's become synonymous with Cradle, so that's why I thought he'd be such a great opener for that track – you know, the way he says "Very, very disturbing indeed!" and we just kick right into it. We had that piece sitting around for a bit, but obviously it was out of place in a concept album about Lilith... so it wound up here.
I'm betting he's not too impressed with the Hellraiser remake going on.
No, and strangely enough, he was actually telling us about that back when we were doing Midian together... when they were doing Pinhead vs. Jaws or something like that. I've got a t-shirt that he gave me that says, "No More Remakes, Please. It's a Waste of Good Celluloid."
Oh, I know several people who would pay good money for that.
Oh yeah! That reminds me, did you see the new version of The Thing yet?
I'm actually still reluctant to see it, after hearing all the negative feedback.
Yeah, I heard the same thing... I was going to see it, but I think I'm going to go see Sherlock Holmes instead. I know at least I'll have a better chance of enjoying myself, instead of coming out going "Aauugghh! Why did they have to do that again?" [laughs] And the ads gave away too much anyway, showing the CGI heads, so you basically know who's been taken over already.
Seen any horror movies recently that you did enjoy?
There have been a few... I Saw the Devil was an awesome movie; Signal I really liked... it felt very epic, I thought, and it was very clever. The Awakening was really good, a good period film in the vein of The Others; I thought it was really creepy. I'm really looking forward to seeing The Woman in Black. I also saw some low-budget stuff like Territories and Header... oh, and I did get to see A Serbian Film.
I'm curious, what did you think of that one?
Well... that was pretty sick. I can't honestly say I enjoyed it... strangely enough, it actually left me quite cold!
Did you watch any of the classics on Halloween?
Oh yeah. I caught up on a lot of old stuff. Loads of old John Carpenter films, and stuff from my collection that I haven't seen in like, eight years.
Awesome, I do the same thing. How about this holiday season, any special plans?
Get drunk. I'll be with my whole family round my mother's, and we're quite thick as thieves... it's gonna be cool! But yeah, probably an alcoholic coma at some point or another. It'll be nice to slip back into one, like a warm, cozy bath.
Well, that's another tradition we have in common.
It's always a pleasure talking to you, Dani... have a Happy New Year!
Cool, thanks man! You too!