Devilment - Dani Filth

Devilment - Dani Filth

DEVILMENT is the new band with Dani Filth from CRADLE OF FILTH in the lineup, so METAL KAOZ had a really nice Skype session with him to learn more about the making of “The Great And Secret Show” and then see what’s the progress on the upcoming CRADLE album. Without following the typical interview standards, our chat turned out a quite friendly discussion with Dani having lots of news to reveal, so do not waste any time at all!

Devilment - Dani Filth

Hello Dani, it’s great to have you back at METAL KAOZ!
Thank you, it’s my pleasure.

First of all, how did you decide to join DEVILMENT?
Well, it wasn't actually a band as such when we we met after they had moved close to where I leave. I leave in Ipswich, Suffolk in England which is to the East of London - sort of a countryside area - and this guy Daniel Finch told me that he had a load of riffs and he was trying to form a band. So, he wanted an opinion on the material and maybe some help whenever I had the time. Basically, over the last three years in and between CRADLE OF FILTH doing tours and an album, this band started growing from there. The band assimilated local musicians who are really talented and together we wrote this album. We entered the studio with Scot Atkins who was responsible for the last CRADLE OF FILTH albums and he has also worked with BEHEMOTH, AMON AMARTH, SYLOSIS, DAMNATION ANGELS and bands like that. Because Scot knew us, he did not charge us, even if we worked on this for an entire year, and the idea was to pay him after we had a record deal which we did by our manager who is Paul Ryan who is the guy I put “Total Fucking Darkness” with, earlier in the year, and he used to be a former CRADLE OF FILTH guitar player back in the day. Through our friendship he became the manager and the booking agent for DEVILMENT because this is what he does (he works for the Agency Group here in Europe) and he also became the booking agent for CRADLE OF FILTH which works very well because he stops everybody from stepping on each other’s toes, you know, booking for the same festivals for the two bands at the same time. So, DEVILMENT has been a matter of evolution and now it has progressed from being a project to a fully-fledged band and basically doubled my workload.

Do you feel in DEVILMENT you have more degrees of freedom as compared to CRADLE OF FILTH?
I will be perfectly honest and say yes because with CRADLE OF FILTH there is an expectation after the amount of work we have done all these 20 years. I mean, people are pretty much familiar with the prospect that CRADLE OF FILTH won’t be doing a Reggae song or anything like that, but DEVILMENT is fresh in people’s mind (although I don't see doing a Reggae song either) because they haven’t heard anything prior to this album, so obviously it was a lot easier because there were no set rules or expectations or any parameters either. And this really worked to our advantage and it came as a bit of surprise to people as well. Ok, for the second DEVILMENT album, things will be different but for now yeah, I will agree it has been a fresh outfit for me and it also works pretty well in conjunction with CRADLE OF FILTH because it’s a different band and therefore it doesn't steal any ideology and you can have both bands cross-collaterized; you can have the same theme - which often they do - but it’s written pretty much in a different way. It’s a bit more Sylvia Plath or Roald Dahl than it is, someone will say like Charles Baudelaire or Percy Shelley.

Have you set the priorities when it comes to CRADLE OF FILTH, DEVILMENT and maybe TEMPLE OF THE BLACK MOON?
Well, regarding TEMPLE OF THE BLACK MOON this is still work in progress due to everybody being busy in other things but this will happen at some point; the drums have been recorded in LA and the bass will be soon, but at the moment, CRADLE OF FILTH and DEVILMENT are my priorities. CRADLE OF FILTH obviously is the major one but we’re working around it. CRADLE OF FILTH are about 80% through writing a new album which is fantastic and we are going to tour Russia for the best part of the month in a couple of weeks, then  DEVILMENT are opening up for the co-headlining MOTIONLESS WHITE and LACUNA COIL tour in Europe. When we finish this up at the end of November, literally I will go straight to the studio with CRADLE OF FILTH to record the new album which is due for release in the beginning of June next year whereas the DEVILMENT one will come out this year at the beginning of November. So, these albums don’t step on each other being six months apart.

Of course, and as you said you worked with Scot Atkins for the production of “The Great And Secret Show”, so what was his input? Did he just do what he is doing with CRADLE OF FILTH?
I am not sure how he works, I mean, vocally both bands sound similar but they have different techniques; CRADLE OF FILTH is very fast in places whereas DEVILMENT is all about the big beat, the big crushing riff and about groove. There are a lot of choruses and although I hate to use this term, there are some Pop sensibilities but still, the music is dark and twisted. Probably, this is the kind of music you'll hear in a Metal club more so than CRADLE OF FILTH. So, there are two different entities and for that they were recorded differently; different drum-kits, amps and the tuning is different from CRADLE OF FILTH. There are also differences in the vocals; they are still hard and guttural in places but there is also some singing parts.

Is there a main concept behind the lyrics of the DEVILMENT debut because in the cover artwork we see Jack The Ripper, right?
Yeah, that was mainly as a catalyst for this woman to disappear into this other-world and the nether regions of the mind. The great and secret show talks about the existence behind the curtain and if you want to find it, you can scrap it back and enter this world that is full of dark magic and surprises like the land of the dead - a place of escapism, the night circus. The artist, Drak Mefessta, put these Victorian houses, the moon and the alley with this woman who is like being coerced into this other realm. And literally there was this space that would look really good with a figure very much akin to Jack The Ripper. Almost like she was being pursued and you can also think of this like she is finding a way to escape from the gruesome fate that awaits her.

…or maybe she is running away from reality…
Yes, exactly. I mean “The Great And Secret Show” is in a nutshell an escape from reality.

In the album, you have the guest appearance of Bam Margera with whom you did a duet for the MIDNIGHT OIL cover on “Beds Are Burning” and that was a surprise…
Well yeah, we always love surprises and with CRADLE OF FILTH we did Cliff Richard’s “Devil Woman” with King Diamond and you cannot be stranger than that. You have to find a really good and catchy song to pervert it to our own will. So, with this one we reversed the keyboards making them creepy like in “The Excorcist” and it really sounds like RAMMSTEIN with big fat riffs and pounding drums. In my opinion, Bam owned me a favor because last year at this wedding in Iceland he dragged me onstage to sing a cover of ANATHEMA’s “Sleepless” so I told him he owned me one and he agreed to do this. He went in to the studio in Philadelphia with a big-shot producer and it sounds great; we short of did trade vocals in the pre-choruses and then come together on the big chorus. I’d say that it sounds a lot like Peter Steele; it sounds like a crazy mix, but I really like it. The thing is that we are not making a major deal out of it and we are not turning this into a video or putting it on the main bulk of the album. It will be on the limited edition and digi-pack.

So, it won’t be on the vinyl?
I think it might be on the special edition of the vinyl but not in the regular CD and vinyl. The extra tracks are: a full blown orchestral version of “Even Your Blood Group Rejects Me” and another original track called “Psycho Bubble”. By the way, the video we did for “Even Your Blood Group Rejects Me” is the performance video that we just shot that we sent to the color graders. The video is all performance but it’s done with lots of smoke, strobe lights, exotic dance like Indian Khali’s dancing and lots of fast cuts. It is on black and white and very Vogue-ish like a fashion video but crisp with deep red blood roses and lilies with blood short of dripping over them, and red eyes. It’s very powerful performance and very dark.

You mentioned the Eastern atmosphere and, considering the song “Mother Khali”, should we expect more of those in the rest of the album?
No, each song is different from the next. It was something that we did for “Mother Khali” because after all, this is the subject of the song talking about the Hindu Goddess of death, destruction and rebirth. There is also some Folky violins on “Girl From Mystery Island”, there is some bluesy stuff in “Living With The Fungus”, there’s some almost some piano melodies that wouldn't be far from an Opera in “The Great And Secret Show”, so there is a lot of different material in the album. We have also some cool loops, samples and sound effects and we tried to experiment a little bit but still keep it groovy and very heavy. When I say ‘groovy’, I am referring to the pace that is short of PANTERA / METALLICA / RAMMSTEIN-esque riffs.

Great! So, what are your touring plans; you have some European shows, but is there any chance to see DEVILMENT in the States?
Hopefully we will; the plan for CRADLE OF FILTH and DEVILMENT is to play in European summer festivals year. Regarding the US, the plan is to do an extensive tour next fall because we have to make up a bit for the lost time due to the fuck up with the US immigration last time. If the DEVILMENT album does well in the States - fingers crossed it will because Nuclear Blast is doing such a great work and the album has a big production that is perfect to be played from big speakers - then we can get onboard a tour with another band and do this; this is a prerogative and I love touring the US, I miss this.

And are there thoughts or plans to make another video for the album?
Hopefully there will be and I think our contract states that there should be a second but obviously it won’t be filmed until December mainly due to the fact that CRADLE OF FILTH will be in Russia and then DEVILMENT will be in the European tour. And of course CRADLE OF FILTH will enter the studio at early December to record.

Now that you mentioned again the new CRADLE OF FILTH album, what is its status?
Like I said, the album is 80% finished and we have a lot of material that sounds brilliant. It has a little bit of everything; very cool twin guitar work, very fast Thrash parts almost like Deathcore and I mean stuff like PAP SMEAR the really fast Speed Metal bands, but it’s very dark and symphonic. Everybody has contributed to this from Lindsay the keyboard player, Martin the drummer - everybody has been working very hard. We have to get most of it done by the time we get to Russia, so we have two and a half weeks and I have to finish the lyrics for a few songs but the songs are pretty much there; we just have to move stuff around and put some strange instrumentation.

Should we be expecting a great difference in the guitars?
Not in the scale of things but they are more akin to the guitar work that was on “Dusk… And Her Embrace”, “Cruelty And The Beast” and “Midian”. So, it’s more melodic and if you can imagine a dissection between Death / Thrash / Black Metal /NWOBHM, that’s the comparison: very extreme but very melodic in places and very soundtrack-ish. Like a fast IRON MAIDEN or JUDAS PRIEST.

Do you have a working title?
The working title for the album is “Hammer Of The Witches” but it’s just a working one at present. Some of the songtitles are: “Enshrined In Crematoria”, “Misery Code”, “Yours Immortaly”, “Achingly Beautiful”, “Dantiesque”, “Blackest Magic In Practice”, “Deflowering The Maiden Head/Displeasuring The Goddess”.

Oh my, I like the last one! Ok Dani, it was a pleasure talking to you again, and hope to see CRADLE OF FILTH or DEVILMENT, or both, live in Chicago.
Great Dimitris, the pleasure was all mine! Thank you so much, take care.