Blistering.com: Paul’s (Allender, guitars) writing style has come to define the modern Cradle of Filth sound. How’s the working relationship between the two of you?
Filth: Paul’s the core writer. You’ll be surprised to know that the back of the album - the artwork you’re going to love. It’s the best artwork we’ve ever had. It’s very deranged and symbolic. Imagine Cathedral’s and the artwork we’re famous for. It’s really, really cool. On the back cover, there are four of us. There’s only four people on this record. The keyboardist (Rosie Smith) is a live member since she has her own career. Charles (Hedger, live guitars) has his own band now, so we wrote as four-piece: drums, bass, and an outside keyboardist who we call “Captain Keyboardist” who we’ve worked before and is fucking awesome and obviously, me and Paul. We’re slightly stripped down, but it doesn’t sound like it.
Blistering.com: What made you go back to the high-profile Andy Sneap?
Filth: Well, he is, but you know what I like about him? He’s from a part of England that is very beautiful and we were glad to be isolated in the studio because it’s a converted farm. It’s all stone buildings and perched in this beautiful valley, but those people in that part of England are known for being very stubborn. When they get something into their heads, he either likes it or won’t do it. He won’t do anything he doesn’t like – he knows which side to spread his butter.
When we did Thornography with Rob Caggiano (Anthrax), when we finished that record, we planned the next one. We didn’t know what we’re doing or when it was going to be done, but we said, “Yes, we want to do our next record with you” and he had a game plan on how he wanted to record it. It really simplified things and made it this swift and simplified strike as opposed to being drawn-out, bored and unfocused. He can have a test tube full of my love-juice anyday. [laughs]
Blistering.com: Between the title and the album artwork, how do you plan on tying things together?
Filth:Godspeed On the Devil’s Thunder is...I once signed a letter with it, so it’s a little tagline, like a well-wishing. I didn’t want to do something goofy, I didn’t want to get bogged down with repeating ourselves and it is an “apt” album title. It sums up perfectly the two extremes of the record: his pious life as a defender of the holy order of France and then when he went completely to the dark side and took clemency for his sins and atrocious crimes. When you consider, the story and the lyrics and you’ll come back to the title. It’s one of those things that crawls up your skin after a while.
Blistering.com: Switching gears, I’m of the opinion that Damnation And A Day is the forgotten album in the Cradle pantheon. Do you feel that way?
Filth: I do and you know, up until this record, it was my favorite Cradle album. It’s an outsider record because there’s a lot to digest with it and it’s a conceptual record that’s not written in the same story-fashion. It takes a lot to get into. Plus, it was a one-off album with Sony and we took a huge amount out of their bank and instead of blowing it on Porsche’s and stuff, we blew it on working with a massive orchestra and just living in the studio for six months and shooting each other.
Blistering.com: Cradle of Filth is something of a brand, so to speak. Did Sony just not get it?
Filth: I think we were warned because everyone’s gone the dark side by entertaining majors always is forced out of them because major’s do not understand bands that come from independent label backgrounds unless they’re a part of a trend and they thought we were part of a trend. We were out on our own with it and they were expecting us to do a trendy record and we didn’t.
They didn’t mind that. There was one guy there who just loved us. He didn’t care for the music; he just cared for the attitude. He loved the fact he couldn’t understand it and it was a really odd relationship. We were rubbing shoulders with people like Charlotte Church and Jamiroquai and people like that. Of course, as with most things, they moved him to a completely different job in a completely different part of the world. From then on in, nobody else could fit into his shoes.
We did the Ozzfest, for example. We’re playing to as many delighted fans as Slipknot had or Disturbed. While they’re out on the Ozzfest, those bands sell 10,000 copies a week. We weren’t because the record company didn’t know what to do with it. They turned out once and they didn’t even recognize us and the funny thing is, we told them when they turned up and came to our bus and they asked, “Have you seen where Cradle of Filth were?” And the joke went, “Oh yeah, they’re over there to that tall black guy, [his real name was Derrick], that’s Dani.” So they went “Alright, fine,” and that’s last we saw of them for the whole tour, all ten fucking weeks.
The thing was, the split was like splitting up nicely with the wife, no throwing divorce papers at each other, if you know what I mean. We were able to walk away, which is unheard of. In the end, I think we won, although we still owe them a huge amount of money, but it enabled us to fulfill that desire to do that convoluted of a record.
Blistering.com: Along those lines, you’re no stranger to bad luck…
Filth: [interrupting] No, no, that’s a misconception! There’s no such thing. You have what appears to be bad luck, but it’s only there to make what we call, a thousand lucky escapes. A thousand lucky escapes doesn’t equal bad luck, does it?
Blistering.com: I suppose not. Even with all the stuff in the early portion of your career with Cacophonous bumbling things up or Mayhem/Fierce going belly up along with some of the member changes.
Filth: We wouldn’t be here today if we didn’t streamline every now and then. I can name at least five or six I do see on regular basis who people think are enemies of the band. They’re not because they walked away because it was too hard or they didn’t feel enough of a part of it or they wanted to do their own thing. Maybe sometimes people focus too much on me or Paul, but it’s immune to me. One thing is that the band is still here.