“GODSPEED ON THE DEVIL’S THUNDER” COMES OUT RIGHT IN TIME FOR HALLOWEEN. COMPARED TO THE LAST ALBUMS IT DOESN’T SOUND AS ROCKY, YOU “FASTENED” UP THE SONGS A BIT. DID THAT GRADUALLY HAPPEN OR DID YOU DECIDE THAT IT WAS TIME TO BLAST THE EARS OF THE LISTENERS AGAIN? Paul: It was a bit more of a natural progression. We obviously wanted to just speed things up a little bit, you know. Hence the reason the album came out like it did. I think “Thornography”, for the last album it is different. I think the last album was one of those albums we needed to almost like get out of the system, you know. Not that it’s a bad album, it was obviously a great album, I love it. But this time around, you know, we just wanted to speed things up a bit. Got a bit more aggressive, a bit more vicious and tightened things up about another ten notches as such, you know. A LOT OF FANS COMPARE THE NEW SONG YOU PUT OUT ON THE INTERNET TO SOME OF YOUR OLDER OUTPUTS. AT WHICH POINT DID ANY OF THESE RESEMBLANCES COME INTO YOUR HEAD? DO YOU SEE THAT AT ALL? Dani: Well, I think people compared it to – some of the journos – compared it to early releases because we compared it to early releases. I think maybe there might be a press release leaked from Roadrunner America that stated as much and people take that on board. But the reason the subject matter was approached was because I personally thought that the material was sounding very akin to “Cruelty And The Beast”. I would say it’s a modern production, I’d say you can’t rip your own band off. And I’d just say “hints” of certain albums. But then on the last record I remember people were saying that certain songs on that hinted at previous works. People were saying that “Under Huntress Moon” sounded a bit like “Dusk”, and “Dirge Inferno” reminded them a bit of a track of this album and that, “Midian” I think it was. They do it all the time but it’s reference, cross reference, isn’t it. But I do think the atmosphere on this album particularly relates to earlier of our works. Mainly because the last two records were a little bit more simplified and more guitar-based rather than atmosphere-based. ONE OF THE REASONS PEOPLE COMPARE IT TO “CRUELTY AND THE BEAST” IS THE SUBJECT MATTER. BOTH ALBUMS THEMATICALLY DEAL WITH FAMOUS HISTORIC SERIAL KILLERS. “GODSPEED ON THE DEVIL’S THUNDER” TELLS THE STORY OF GILLES DE RAIS. COULD YOU PLEASE TELL US SOME SHORT FACTS ABOUT HIM? Dani: He was a 15th century warlord comrade in arms to Joan of Arc who after her death resorted to alchemy and trafficking with demons, by which means he sacrificed and buggered lots of children though we don’t actually center too much on that. He eventually found redemption after he was brought to trial, excommunicated but sought the church’s clemency and died a – well, I wouldn’t say a martyr – he was died forgiven by the church as it were before he was hung and burnt. His life was one of a… like a rollercoaster ride of being pious, close to God and then going completely the other way, almost ending up as close to the gates of hell as possible. WHY ARE YOU SO FASCINATED WITH SERIAL KILLERS? Dani: Well, it’s not so much the serial killer aspect of it, I’ve been fascinated by the story, of the age in which it was set, his relationship with people like Joan of Arc and the notorious characters he sort of finds the philosophers stone for his alchemists, especially the carriage of Pilati. The serial killer things are kind of a by-product I guess. I don’t look upon it about the serial killers, I’ve always been detacked (?) with something modern. I think it’s the whole medieval feel to it. And of that, we do as a band indulge ourselves in writing about dark fairy tales. And this is probably one of the greatest ones of them all. I mean both – Gilles de Rais and Elizabeth Bathory – are templates or archetypes for almost Disney villains. IN HOW FAR DID YOU DEVIATE FROM THE ACTUAL STORY IN ORDER TO FIT IT INTO YOUR ALBUM CONCEPT? Dani: Well, it’s only deviated in the fact that rather than set it in many of his castles we set it in one to avoid confusion. And obviously it’s an album – a musical album – foremost and so in that respect we had to fit it into the confinements of thrirteen tracks. So there is no relationship with his wife or his history growing up or anything like that. It starts with his relationship with Joan of Arc basically, who was a catalyst for, in my opinion, the future of his crimes. PAUL, YOU’RE RESPONSIBLE FOR MOST OF THE SONGWRITING. IN WHAT WAYS DID THE SONGWRITING HAVE TO BE ADJUSTED TO THE CONCEPT? Paul: To be honest, it didn’t really. It was just a case of writing the music and giving it to Dan, so he can come up with the lyrics and the concept and ideas. And then once like the concept and ideas and (you) start writing lyrics and then things got extended and various passages, sort of like atmospheres changed slightly to match the concept and what the lyrics were about and stuff like that. But originally to start off with, there is no concept in mind, there is no ideas of what’s going on with lyric-wise or anything. The music is done first, and then all evolves from then. PAUL, YOU’RE RESPONSIBLE FOR 99% OF THE WRITING. AS FAR AS I UNDERSTOOD IT THE OTHER ONE PERCENT WAS FILLED OUT BY THE KEYBOARDIST MARK NEWBY ROBSON? Paul: There abouts. It’s, eventually once the writing had been finished, then obviously it was bounced backwards and forwards. Obviously in sections that would suit lyrics didn’t stay exactly the same because once the lyrics started going down, and because some sections had to be extended or even shortened, you know, to fit lyrics. And it just goes back and forth like that, you know. But it is pretty much true for the fact that I’ve worked close with like Mark Newby Robson, the guy that writes the orchestration, the symphonies and all that sort of stuff. But yeah, for this album, yeah definitely. AND WHEN DOES THE REST OF THE BAND COME INARE Paul: They, they, I mean, they’re busy. Dani: There are four people working on the album apart from Mark, the man in the shadows, 2nd live guitarist and the keyboardist who plays live, they both tutor. They spend half the year working for themselves and half the year working with us. But it’s easy. I think it’s easier that way. And it’s just something that’s come about as a process. With, you know, it’s like shaking contents and they settle and everything works out right. Paul: It’s a lot easier doing it this way, a lot, lot easier, you know. Time in the studio was a lot quicker. We actually got stuff finished on time this time. You know, we found a formula now which actually works best for us. ONE MORE THING ABOUT THE NARRATIVE PARTS IN BETWEEN SONGS: WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO PUT THOSE IN? Dani: it seemed like a perfect thing to do because it’s all from third party. It’s written about something. You’re not in character, the narrative isn’t Gilles… well, the narrative of the lyrics isn’t Gilles de Rais. So I thought it was a good idea then to bring in a narrative that was based from real life, from the trial transcripts, something that was actually from a historical source. And they serve as a kind of glue to remind people, I guess, that this is what the subject matter is. And also it’s quiet eerie to have this guy popping up from time to time. It’s Doug Bradley once again. It was going to be a different character but that’s another story in itself. But I think he portrays Gilles de Rais quiet well. I mean, we could have had him with a French accent which would have been ridiculous. But what we did do was treat him as Doug Bradley as in the past we have used him as Pinhead, you know, the character from “Hellraiser”. And so he was pitched down to semioctave,- semitone, sorry, and effected as it would have been done to him on the films. But in this context we thought it was creepier with just, you know, a normal voice. YOU DECIDED TO GO ON AS A FOURPIECE, YOUR FORMER GUITARPLAYER CHARLES LEDGER ISN’T PART OF THE BAND ANYMORE… Dani: We recorded this – or we started writing this – just straight after a tour. So he went back to work, we went back to work in our own capacity. His contribution to the previous album wasn’t massive anyway. But this time, you know, we took a stance in the fact that the album had to be written and… For example, we had six weeks basically since coming back from headlining the “Viva la bands” festival in America which was Bam McGarris, Concoction of us, Gwar, CKY and some other band, dreadful band. We came back and we had basically six weeks we set ourselves, prior to everybody going to different ways for christmas. We wanted to get – basically I wouldn’t say “set ourselves” – it wasn’t even like that. We just wanted to get as much written as possible from ideas that we developed on the road. And it just so happened that we had written quiet a bit and got straight into it. And he was away and it was going back to the fact with the lyrics. I didn’t actually come up with the lyrics until the end of those six weeks when I suddenly realized I should be writing something, too, because so much had been written musically. And we had the skeletal structure of like half the record before I sort of got the idea that, you know, this was sounding quiet epic in vein of “Cruelty and the beast”. So I revisitied notes I had written back then, about Elizabeth Bathory, and Gilles de Rais’ name came up. So over the christmas period I contacted Gavin Baddeley who co-wrote “The Gospel Of Filth” with us and decided to… well, I mean: he – sorry – he had done extensive research and he visited his castles and addressed Eva Rocks from Cambridge (? ) on the subect. So he just steered us in the right direction. But again, you know, a lot of people have been asking us on the press trip about: when was this/ when that? And it sounds ridiculous when we say: “Well, we can’t really remember!” But it’s a fluid thing being in a band. It’s not, you know, if it was a case of being as decisive as that, it would be a nine to five job, and you could say: “Well, I’ll see you tomorrow morning at 9 o’ clock and we’ll work on plan B!”, or something. But it’s not that, you know. Ideas come to you in all kinds of times. Mine usually come to me in the middle of the night or while I’m up writing or something. I could have a great idea tonight, I might have a shit idea tonight and just go to bed. DO YOU SOMETIMES FEEL THE PRESSURE TO COME UP WITH SOMETHING MORE EDGY, MORE BRUTAL OR MORE EXTREME WHEN YOU’RE WRITING? Dani: Well, no, it’s not that. It’s the edgy thing. People have said: “Oh, this is very controversial!” We don’t even look at it in that light. We didn’t set out to do anything controversial. It’s just in our nature to do something that’s like this. And it’s about escapism, it’s about exorcising demons and I suppose, you know, a psychologist would say: “Oh, you’ve had a bad childhood!” or, you know: “You’re this way inclined. It’s because of this. And you haven’t got enough, you know, chlorine in your diet!” And that’s fuckin’ rubbish! It’s because we like this stuff, we’re just morbidly minded. And we’re actually happy as individuals. So I think this is our pressure valve. And I don’t see any controversy in it. The guy actually lived, it’s historical. Ok, so he was a pedophile, he was a child killer, but he was the origins of many fairy tales. And it is a dark fairy tale. That’s how we treated it. And many fairy tales – I mean, look at the “Hänsel und Gretel” – if you would break that down into context, you have a family who would leave their children to the – you know, they’re so poor – so they leave ‘em to the whims of the forest. They ended up finding basically, you know, another child killer who puts one of them into an oven to cook them. And if you would have described that in the words of Clive Barker or Stephen King or someone, or even Anne Rice – unless she would dress it up a little bit more – you would think: “Fuck me! That’s really disturbing!” But the kids see it at face value. And much the same with Gilles de Rais. Face value: yes, it’s a very gory, medieval fairy tale fancy, but we’ve explored it a little bit more. And I think we’ve done it, addressed it a little bit more poetically, we weren’t just saying, you know: these kids were buggered and abused and blablabla. THE “BEAUTY AND THE BEAST”-DUET “THE DEATH OF LOVE” – DO YOU FEEL THAT HAS BECOME A TRADEMARK OF THE BAND AND THAT THERE HAS TO BE A DUET ON EACH AND EVERY ALBUM, HAVING AN ANGELIC VOICE PAIRED WITH YOUR VOICE WRAPPED IN A QUIET DANCEABLE BEAT? Dani: No, I don’t. I mean, the subject matter called for it. The situation in that song is: this is the death of Joan of Arc and it’s a catalyst for, I guess, an excuse for the horrors to come. It’s like tha calm before the storm. It’s not the first song on the record. The first song “Shat out of hell” is more like an overview, an overture, introducing you to the story and just liberally covering the whole subject matter. So the story doesn’t really begin anew until “The death of love”. And I just thought it was the best time to trying to understand it by putting it in the first perspective – at that point of the story, Yeah, I guess It’s a bit of a trademark for us but, you know, we invented it. So why not flaunt it? Other people have, you know. I noticed, and no disrespect, but the new Moonspell album, they’ve done something similar and I, you know, I often suspect that sometimes people do that because they think: Well, I’ve seen the success of something like “Nymphetamine” for example, which was Grammy-nominated, and they probably thought: Well, this is a good idea!” But, you know, the same could be, they would probably turn around to me and say: “Yes, but we did that on “Wolfheart” or-, So it’s, you know, it’s a double-edged sword. And again, there wasn’t a tickerbox to say: “Hey, we know what would work!” Because if that was the case we’d do it about three or four times on the record. It is just there because that’s how the story is working. Later on, you know, we have “Omen”-esque choirs, we have children. We have, you know, depends what’s happening in the story. ON THE SONG “DARKNESS INCARNATE” YOUR DAUGHTER LUNA IS RECITING THIS LITTLE POEM. DID SHE COME UP WITH THE WORDS FOR THAT OR DID YOU HAND IT IN TO HER? Dani: No, it’s a poem that the children, apparently children in the vicinity of ruin or – sorry, not ruin – in the vicinity of his castles of Mashcole and Tiffauges used to sing. There was a woman Gilles de Rais employed called – they called her – “L’ame Merfraid” which was “bird of prey” who after obviously a few years when people sort of got used to the fact that the children weren’t disappearing because they were being sold to the English or bartered with the English for people who had been kidnapped from the French side. He used to employ this sort of woman who would go around offering them sweatmeats and YoYos and things like that – not YoYos, you’ve seen those things with the green covers, that’s not an English thing – but, you know, things to lure them back to the castle. And I guess they grew wise to her eventually. And maybe, in fact it’s probably something that happened after her death, but this is a poem that they used to sing. A bit like “Ring-a-ring-of-roses”, really. WHAT DOES THE ALBUM TITLE “GODSPEED ON THE DEVIL’S THUNDER” MEAN? IT SEEMS A BIT ABSTRACT… Dani: Not really! “Godspeed” is something that is like a farewell that people used to attribute to like a wishing you. Like a, something like “fare thee well”, “may flights of angels wing you to your grave”, you know, medieval quote. But it’s basically saying: I wish you well but with the devil in your rearview mirror, basically. It’s like to mention the devil and God in the same sentence. It’s like the irony of it and also the two extremes that are reflected in – the extremes reflected in the life of Gilles de Rais moving from one to the other. If he couldn’t find solace in God he found it in the arms of the devil. YOUR DRUMMER ADRIAN ERLANDSSON LEFT THE BAND AFTER THE LAST ALBUM. WHERE DID YOU FIND YOUR NEW DRUMMER MARTIN? Paul: He’s from Czech Republic. And we found him through Charles. He was after a new drummer at the time and Charles knew of Martin so we basically got him over to England for an audition. And lo and behold it turned out that he was a huge fan of the band and he practically knows every single song we’ve ever done. Dani: He was almost… It was close he never actually became in the band because the first audition… Paul: It was on a really crap drumset. Dani: Yeah. We had to sweep-, We weren’t in our normal rehearsal room. We had to hire one so even though we had a spare drumkit in our rehearsal studio we, this guy, this other studio lent us one, but unbeknownst to us it was just a complete crap kit, you know, with an old bass pedal and one bass drum and the higgle-de-biggle-dy. You know, it was like the worst thing to play on ever. And he was obviously very nervous. And Paul wasn’t impressed by him and I just thought: “Well, we should give him another chance!” And we agreed. And I think he’s – and I would say this, I mean I wouldn’t bring it to everybody’s attention if I didn’t believe it – but I think he’s the best drummer we’ve ever had. And that’s no mean feat considering the people we’ve had in the past with Nicolas Barker and obviously Adrian Erlandsson who, you know, and that’s no disrespect to them, because they are two of the best drummers in the world. But I think, in my opinion, he surpasses them just in… I think, he’s younger for a start which necessarily doesn’t mean a lot but in, you know, disciplined and more disciplined and… I mean, I think the album speaks for itself. I don’t actually like sitting and talking about what the album sounds like so I prefer people to hear it for themselves, because short of vocabulary as I am, I don’t think either of us can do justice to, you know, whether whatever people think of it, whether it’s good or bad. We can’t do justice to how it sounds by talking about it. Because there is so much going on. You couldn’t say: “Well, this song…!” You’d have to… I think it’s like the lyrics. Somebody, you know, a couple of days said: “Can you describe every song?” And I said: “I can’t do that because every song – even every line – continues on in the story. So the only way I can do that is to read you the lyrics. And if I’m reading them to you, then you’ll know what they’re about, don’t you?” And the same with the music. IT’S OBVIOUS THAT IT’S YOU TWO WHO ARE CALLING THE SHOTS IN CRADLE OF FILTH. HOW HARD IT IT FOR SOMEONE NEW TO BECOME AN ACCEPTED MEMBER OF THE BAND HAVING THAT IN MIND? Paul: As long as they work hard and pretty much they’re like half-decent at what they do it’s relatively easy, you know. It’s, I wouldn’t say it’s a mega chore to try and overcome to actually be in the band. It’s, whoever is in the band has got a voice as well, you know. Dani: That’s what we ask for, really. It’s just the… Paul: Just be dedicated to it, you know. Dani: Yeah! Dedication and a love for it. (Paul agrees in the background) That’s all! I think we prefer to have someone that wasn’t, you know… Ok, in respect to the drummer: the drummer is probably the driving force behind any band – well, he is the driving force, he underpins it. But if anybody else, I’d rather have a creative person than a mega-talented person. I know talented people who are just shit at creativity. And I know bands that play in pubs and probably will never escape the confines of a pub like my friend Chris in Colchester. He plays all the time. He’s mega-talented. But he knows and I know that they won’t be the next AC(DC just because they just not… They just… Well, (interrupts), he’s not gonna read this, what am I on about? He’s not going to be those people because, you know, the personality and the way they are. You know, he has a job and he likes his job, doesn’t commit himself. He’s quiet happy doing a show at the weekend and what-have-you, but blows the shit out of the water for loads of bands I’ve seen. And it’s true with a lot of people. I’d go for creativity over talent so many times, and dedication and hard work is worth more than… We used to have a guitarist in the band, his name was Stuart. And mega-talented but just a lazy fucker. YOU CHOSE ANDY SNEAP AS THE PRODUCER FOR “GODSPEED ON THE DEVIL’S THUNDER” AFTER HE MIXED THE LAST ALBUM “THORNOGRAPHY” FOR YOU. WHY DIDN’T YOU STICK WITH ROV CAGGIANO, THE PRODUCER FOR THE LAST TWO ALBUMS? Dani: Now, Andy Sneap, we decided last time whilst we were mixing, we were talking to him. We loved his studio, we loved his work, we’re good friends with him. We battled him constantly about him reforming his band Sabbat – which he did. For a little while at least, they came out on tour with us. But we kind of fell in love with the work he did and we were discussing even then what we would do for the next record. He would say for example: “Oh, if I get the gig next time I want to, you know, use Crank amps, and I wanna do the drums this way, and I think it’d be great if you set up a little vocal booth in there while the guitars are done!” And we liked the idea. And I think because we had all that forward planning, when it came to the album we were one step ahead already. And his studio is amazing. Anyway, just you know. Although it’s isolated you don’t feel hemmed in because it’s in such a beautiful, you know, scenario, surroundings. LIKE WE DISCUSSED, YOUR NINE-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER LUNA IS ALSO ON THE ALBUM. IN HOW FAR IS SHE CONFIRMED WITH WHAT HER DADDY IS DOING FOR A LIVING? DO YOU KEEP SOME OF THE EXTREME BITS AWAY FROM HER, LIKE HORROR MOVIES, ETC.? Dani: Of course, yeah, it’s like horror films. So I mean, I think I’ve got about 1.500 DVDs. Nothing is kept from her apart from obviously like sex manuals and things like that, you know. But she is quiet welcome, but she doesn’t. She doesn’t drink fizzy drinks. She just, she is quiet good at doing, you know, being a child. She could quiet easily climb up on a chair and bring down a copy of “Say-Lo” (?) or some other horrible film but she knows not to. And, yeah, she’s got favourite horror films, we allow her to watch things as long as they’re not too sweary or to graphic, you know. But she’s a child, isn’t she? And children grow up so quickly nowadays. I think I’d blame the sort of internet and Paris Hilton and glossy crap that goes on nowadays. But no, it’s fine. I mean, she’s mature enough as a child, if that makes any sense, to know what’s wrong and what’s right. AT THE SAME TIME THE ALBUM COMES OUT YOU WILL RELEASE A SPECIAL EDITION WITH AN EXTRA DISC AND BONUS MATERIAL. WHY WOULD ANYBODY WANT TO BUY THE ORIGINAL CD WHEN THEY CAN HAVE A COPY WITH ALL THESE EXTRAS? Dani: I don’t know. I mean, it’s a record dompany idea. But this time they want to do it at the same time because I guess the complaints in the past have been that people have to re-buy the album. This one has got ten extra tracks on it: two that were emitted from the actual album, but they still work in context with the story line. And they actually appear in order. If you buy the gatefold-thing, which nobody is enforcing upon anybody, it’s just a collector’s thing – two tracks from the “Thornography deluxe”, because – again – that was a limited thing, two demos, a cover of “Into The Crypts Of Rais” by Celtic Frost because of the obvious comparison to subject matter, a Skinny Puppy remix of “The Death Of Love” called “The Love Of Death” and finally two live songs. But, you know, if that doesn’t sell, I think I’m gonna give away my mortgage, my car and all my bank details in order that people buy the album. Cause I think that’s what you have to do nowadays to sell anything,l don’t you? YOU SOUND VERY DISILLUSIONED ABOUT THAT… Dani: Well no, it’s just a case of, I just find it’s pathetic really that nowadays people have to pile so much on just to make somebody say: “Oh, I’ll buy that record!” Why don’t people buy records because they love the band? And in England you put a DVD on and you cannot even skip it. It has a warning about being a “knock-off-Nigel”, that’s what they call it. It’s like a funny way to address a serious issue of people downloading, you know, fake DVDs. But the same never applies to records. And it’s almost as if like musicians are just swept under the carpet. And the thing is, when people do download stuff and… It’s ok for cunts like Radiohead and that to like say: “Oh, we’re so charitable, we’re gonna put a record free on the internet!” It’s cause everybody sold ten million copies and they’ve probably been paid. Prince: “Oh, I’m gonna give it away to a newspaper!” We can’t fuckin’ give it away with a newspaper. He got paid thirty million quid to do so. You know, that’s not peanuts, that’s probably insuring he gets what he earns per album anyway. But without the risk of people not buying it because they’re going to download it. And I think the only thing that is doing is ruining all the bands that are not big enough… Well, some bands don’t get big just like us, they tackle stuff that isn’t mainstream. And we will never be a mainstream band cause of our subject matter and we’re happy with that. We’re cool. The thing is, bands smaller than ourselves end up just dying and falling apart because they’re not earning any money. So they have to get real jobs, they haven’t got time to record. It’s the obvious, you know, makes complete sense. But the government doesn’t see that. I know, I mean, I’m ranting here. But, you know, it’s just something that does bother me cause I see other bands fall apart all the time because of it. I don’t see why the video industry is, you know, gets huge government funds to try and stop, you know, people interfer with their work. But the music industry is just ignored. Apart from obviously those people who are on Universal. And you go into a website and they say: “Well, it’s ok. There is plenty of adverts for stuff!” Yes, there is adverts for all the top bands. You’ll get Britney Spears-bar, Madonna-bar, Nickelback-bar. It’s bullshit! WHEN ARE YOU GOING ON TOUR FOR THE ALBUM? Paul: Yeah, we’re touring December with Gorgoroth, Moonspell, Septic Flesh and Azaray, or Azaray as you say it. That’s, I think it’s like seven days in Germany. The whole tour is only for like 17 dates anyhow. We’ve got, we’re touring America from January through to March, hopefully coming back to Europe to play the territories we didn’t play beforehand. And then we’ve got a lot of various others like Japan, Australia, India hopefully, you know, like China is now opened up to like a touring market. You know, and like just basically we’ll gig, we’re touring all next year, you know. And that’s what we will be doing.