Cradle Of Filth Interview

Nuclear Blast

2021 is a landmark year for Cradle Of Filth. The group have achieved a milestone. This year marks the band’s 30th anniversary. In their 30 years, Cradle Of Filth have expanded their musical palate to the point where genre labels become difficult, but have maintained elements that fans have come to expect and love such as gothic atmospheres, poetic lyrics and extreme metal.

Cradle of Filth are set to release their 13th album, Existence Is Futile. Before the album release, the band will take to the road on the Lustmord and Tourgasm North American tour, where they will perform the entire Cruelty And The Beast album along with other choice cuts. The said album is their third release and considered a classic Cradle of Filth album. Performing this album in its entirety denotes a special set, which is made even more special considering tours are just starting to take flight again during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bassist Daniel Firth fills us in on making Existence Is Futile, his thoughts on the tour and how he feels about playing in a band that started when he was five-years-old!

Darren Cowan: How do you feel about Existence Is Futile now that it’s done and ready for public consumption?
Daniel Firth: I’m really happy with how the album turned out. We put a whole lot of work into it, making the most of all the extra time we suddenly had when the pandemic made touring impossible. It allowed us to really mull over the songs, make tweaks and sculpt everything just how we wanted. I’d describe it as dynamic, bold and immediate. It’s actually been completed and untouched for about a year now, so it’s a strange feeling to know it’s finally about to be released for everyone to hear. I hope the fans like it as much as I do!

Does it being your 13th album mean anything to you? Is there any superstition attached to the record?
I’m not a superstitious man, so I have no concerns about it being album number thirteen. I guess that means if goes down really badly, we’ve only got ourselves to blame!

How does this album compare to the last one, Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay? Where does it fit in your discography?
I think the most obvious difference from Cryptoriana is that the songs are a bit more concise and direct. That was definitely something I had in mind when I was writing, as a way of taking a different approach from the last album. Overall, the writing process was very collaborative, with everyone making their voice heard. I think the result is a very interesting and varied collection of songs, with each having its own distinct identity.

The album was recorded in isolation at Grindstone Studios in Suffolk with Scott Atkins (Devilment/Benediction/Vader). What was the recording process like, especially considering the pandemic?
Apart from giving us more time, the actual recording process wasn’t greatly affected. We’ve been working with Scott for quite a long time now, and have a good relationship. He always holds us to a high standard of playing, but with each passing album has offered more feedback on the songs as we’ve been putting them together. It’s great to have an outside opinion from someone like Scott, who we all respect and know will be impartial.

You made videos for “Crawling King Chaos” and “Necromantic Fantasies.” Why did you decide to use those tracks as videos? What was it like recording those videos?
As a pair, they contrast very nicely. One is fast and heavy, the other has more of a menacing groove, so that gives a taste of the variety on the album. They’ve both got the hooks, and I would say are lyrically evocative, which is great for telling a story with a video. That’s probably true of any song you might pick from the album, but these ones seemed to stand out in that regard. The video recordings were done back to back with Vicente Cordero directing, who is a very dedicated and talented man. We were only present for the performance sections of the recording, so it was really exciting for us to see how well the additional footage turned out, and how it was woven in. I think Vicente, and everyone involved, did a great job of capturing the spirit of the music in both videos.

Early Cradle of Filth albums were more in line with symphonic black metal. Then, you created something much more vast and progressive, while still maintaining aspects of black metal and an extreme scope. How do you view the band’s progression of style up to Existence Is Futile?
It’s difficult to sum up the band’s stylistic progression without getting a bit long-winded, because there have been a lot of twists and turns over the years, often from one album to the next. It’s good that we’re difficult to pin a label on though, and pretty much always have been.

Richard Shaw and Ashok have been with the band since 2014. They really seemed to have gelled on this album. There is a lot of chemistry. How do you feel about their longevity in the band and their progress playing together?
They’re both incredible guitarists, and complement each other really well. They’re one of those duos where you can really differentiate one’s playing from the other’s, especially when they’re soloing. It’s great to hear their personalities coming through like that. The whole lineup is solid at the moment, and we all get on very well, so long may it continue.

Anabelle Iratni makes her first appearance with Cradle of Filth. She plays the keys, Lyre, provides orchestrations and lends her vocals. How did you discover her and know she was the right person for the job?
We all knew Anabelle to some degree, because she was previously in Devilment with Dani (Filth). Based on what we’d heard of her singing and playing, there wasn’t really any doubt over her abilities. As soon as she came on board, we got her involved with the writing for the new album too. She worked really hard on it and made a valuable contribution.

Cradle Of Filth turned 30 years old this year. How do you feel about your band’s longevity?
As someone who was five years old when the band first started, I think I can say it’s a nice achievement without sounding too big-headed! It’s great to be a part of such a tenacious and enduring band.

You embark on the Lustmord and Tourgasm tour in October. Was this tour pushed back due to the pandemic? Borders have been closed and it’s been almost impossible for bands from other countries to tour the U.S. Was it difficult getting clearance to come over to the States?
I don’t think this tour was pushed back. We noticed a lot of American fans commenting that they’d love to see the Lustmord and Tourgasm show back when we were first doing it in Europe, South America and Australia. Giving them what they wanted also allowed us to get back performing right away, now that restrictions are lifting, so everyone’s a winner! Getting clearance seemed to go really smoothly for us this time, although I’m usually quite insulated from all the admin involved, thankfully.

Cruelty And The Beast will be performed in its entirety. Why do this album now? What makes this album so crucial in your discography?
I’ve already touched on why we’re doing it now, but more aesthetically speaking, it’s an album that lends itself very well to a full live performance. There’s a great narrative flow to it, being written as a concept album. It’s dynamic and emotional, but also brutally heavy at times. I love performing it, but more importantly, it seems a special album to a lot of our fans. I’m really glad we’re getting the chance to do it again.

Do you have anything you would like to add?
To everyone who’s coming to see us on this tour, or intends to check out the new album, thank you. I hope you have a hellacious time listening!

Watch Cradle Of Filth – “Necromatinc Fantasies” Video

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