FEAR, EMPTINESS, DECIBEL: BONUS Q&A FROM CRADLE OF FILTH/THE PRINCIPLE OF EVIL MADE FLESH HALL OF FAME ENTRY!
Before there were blogs there were these things called magazines, and the only metal magazine we still get excited about reading every month is Decibel. Here’s managing editor Andrew Bonazelli…
Say what you will about Cradle of Filth — and I’m sure there will be plenty in the comments below — but they’re responsible for one of the greatest t-shirts of all time. You know the one: topless nun fingering herself on front, massive all-caps “JESUS IS A CUNT” unmistakably stamped on the back. I have fond memories of goth kids shuffling around the mall in the mid-’90s wearing that thing, about to get thrown out by security, and thinking, “Hmmm… not quite as thought-provoking as my ‘9 out of 10 kids prefer crayons to guns’ Pearl Jam shirt, but intriguing nonetheless!”
The accompanying record, of course, was The Principle of Evil Made Flesh, and this month it’s a Decibel Hall of Fame inductee. Other than seeing them live at Download four years ago and laughing for like an hour straight, I don’t have anything productive to add about this band. So, I’ll leave you with not only some outtake action, courtesy of scribe Chris Dick, but a trivia question that will not result in you winning a shirt or subscription: What current Decibel writer is a former member of Cradle of Filth?
And here’s your bonus footage:
Do you recall who your primary influences were at the time? Even now, The Principle of Evil Made Flesh is more than the sum of its parts.
Robin Eaglestone: I remember I was heavily into Venom, Bathory, Celtic Frost, but I personally was never much of a “muso” player. My technique was quite bad. Even if I was trying to sound like another band, by the time I was finished, it sounded completely different anyway. I remember every one in the band coming from a totally different musical background. They once accused me of living in an ’80s thrash time warp.
Benjamin Ryan: I think there was too much going on to say anyone was a primary influence—we had absolutely loads of influences from all sorts of genres of music. For example, I was into a lot of synth-based music, Jean Michel Jarre, Tomita and the Orb, to name three of many. A big influence on myself and Dani was the Musical Version of The War of the Worlds—I think that album was played in part or in full every day of the recording of Principle, and we had long conversations about how epic and grand it is on many occasions before, during and after.
What were your rehearsals like back then?
Dani Filth: They used to be all over the place. Towards the beginning of the writing, they were based in Ipswich, which is the town I live in at the present. Most of the pubs that had function rooms, which we used as rehearsal spaces, have been demolished now. But we moved to Colchester eventually. I remember the rehearsals being quite fun. We were young. I distinctly remember being at rehearsal when Kurt Cobain blew his head off.
Paul Allender: They pretty cool, actually. Loads of fun. We had some proper shitholes too. We really did. There was one place called the Rising Sun in Colchester. It was like a function hall. It was pretty derelict. I remember the backyard was full of dog crap. Everywhere! You had to tiptoe around it to get out of the backyard. [Laughs] We wrote a lot of Dusk and Her Embrace there, too.
Robin Eaglestone: We used to write and rehearse in some awful places that had horrible acoustics, hard floors, cold, dirty, loads of reverb. Always on the cheap. Once, or if we were lucky twice, a week. Progress was swift, though. It wasn’t unusual to write the best part of a track in a single session. Apart from the actual recording of Principle and the tour we did in Germany with Anathema, the writing sessions in Colchester, Ipswich and Hadleigh were the some of the best experiences of all. One of the factors contributing to that was the way that the group as a whole could transform raw ideas into material that was album-ready in a matter of moments. I felt encouraged by people like Paul Ryan, Ben Ryan and Dani enough to present as many ideas as I could no matter how insignificant I thought they were. By the time the bigger machine had munched over it, it was no longer someone’s idea. It was more like six totally different strands of DNA being spliced together.
Interview by Chris Dick
Decibel’s August 2011 issue features Anthrax, Arch Enemy, Tombs, Origin, Weekend Nachos, and an awesome Wormrot flexi disc . That issue is available here, but why not get a full subscription to ensure you never miss an issue?