Interview by Miriam C.
Three years later the release of “Manticore and Other Horrors”, Cradle of Filth comes back with a brand new effort that, music-wise, brought us to the golden age of the band and it introduces us this “Hammer of the Witches”. For the occasion, Femme Metal wants to offer you an exclusive interview with Lindsay Schoolcraft, the brand new keyboardist of the English combo and she reveals us something about the genesis of this new, dark record.
Hi Lindsay and welcome (back) to Femme Metal. It’s a great pleasure for us to host you here today. How are you doing?
Hey! Thanks so much for having me. I’m ok thanks. Just getting ready for our dates.
Let’s talk about the brand new Cradle of Filth album, called “Hammer of the Witches”. Would you mind giving us a little, short description of this record?
Well, we started working on it early 2014 just before the European tour with did with Behemoth. It took us about 14 months between tours and we did it mostly over the internet, but we made it work. We wanted to go back to our roots in sound, image, and themes. Dani took his lyrical inspiration from the old guide of how to persecute witches known as “Malleus Maleficarum” and the current line up took a lot of influence from older Cradle records. We also got a very talented Latvian artist by the name of Arthur Berzinsh who gave us a very dark twist on post modernism. Of course we also had the make the album ours with our own modern twist to it with the new lineup. I was also fortunate enough to add some harp parts. But overall it turned out really great and we’re proud of it and happy to see that fans are liking it.
Would you also mind to tell our readers how did you get in touch with Dani Filth and, later, how did you end up in joining the band as well?
I was lucky enough to be found over the lovely social norm known as Facebook by the guitarist at the time. It happened at the end of 2012 when they were looking for someone to join the live line up. I actually didn’t really talk to Dani or meet him until the first show I did with them in Mexico City in the spring of 2013. But we hit it off as good friends and then it turned into a creative partnership by the end of that world tour. We weren’t writing music together just yet, but we bounced a lot of ideas off of each other when it came to clothes and visuals.
If I’m not mistaken, you’ve also worked with Dani for a duet of yours. Would you like to tell us something more about it?
Yes! We did a song together called “Fading Star” and it was for my solo act known as Schoolcraft. I wrote the song the summer I started working for the band and Dani was going through some hard times in his personal life so I wrote the song for him. Once I completed it I realized it pretty much be a good song to have a duet on. He was all for it once I asked him to join me on singing on the track. It’s not often he collaborates with other acts so I was really honored he wanted to work on this song with me.
You’re not only the new member of the band, indeed we also have two new guys here. How would you describe the alchemy that has been created in the band?
With the addition of Ashok and Richard Shaw it’s really completed our line up on so many levels. I feel like we’ve been able to accomplish so much more in the studio and live and they are great people that I consider close friends. We only hired them on as live members and once we made the decision to keep them on full time I think everyone was really happy about it. They are good people to be around, hardworking and passionate. I can’t imagine a tour or anything in the future without them.
Talking about this record, we know that Dani likes reading and doing researches for what it concerns the lyrics. I don’t know if it’s right but I was under the impression that Dani has been inspired by the book “Malleus Maleficarum”. What are the other main topics of this brand new record?
Yes, that was his main focus of inspiration for this album and I think he did a wonderful job of it. When he sent me the first draft up of lyrics I was instantly addicted to his writings and short stories. He’s always been like a lyrical master of the occult. I think once he heard our demos of the new music that he felt this theme fit our growing atmosphere. The themes really focus on witchcraft and, of course, the corruption of religion. Same old, same old laughs.
The main topic is indeed the one concerning the hunting of the witches and this topic is also connected to the artwork of the record. What could you tell us about the artwork?
When the topic came up among us of who would do the album artwork we looked around for a few weeks, but I believe it was Martin who told us to look up Arthur again and contact him. From what I understand Arthur gave the band a CD of his works at a show many years ago. He did such a wonderful job and I don’t think anyone else’s works would have fit our theme and image so perfectly. I’m a big fan of his art with all the Nymphs and forest settings. It’s very much how I picture old pagan folklore in my mind.
How much have you been involved in the creation of this record?
I would say I have a good little chunk. One thing I think many people are confused about is that Martin was the soul performer and composer for the keyboards on this album. He has been doing this for the band for the last few albums and he is very efficient and experienced with it. He taught me quite a bit actually. I had only contributed a few ideas here and there and had more of a say on the composition in such songs as “Hammer of the Witches”, “Enshrined in Crematoria” and “Yours Immortally”. But I was the soul provide for female vocals and choir over lays. Martin and Dani did play a big role in helping me compose these vocal parts. They had a very specific direction in mind and it turned out brilliant. We had great chemistry in the studio and while writing. It’s all about sacrifice to make the album and band the best it can be. I think it’s better to have an overflow of ideas to work from then just a small select few options. I do give Martin a ton of credit for having the patience to listen to everything each member submitted and sifting through our parts to find the best one. I don’t think it was taxing on him at all, I think he rather enjoyed it.
I know that you had the chance to play some of the brand new tracks at Graspop and Hellfest. How did the audience react to the new songs?
They took it really well. I was actually in somewhat of an awe when I saw people singing along to “Right Wing of The Garden Triptych” for the first time. I think the awe totally killed me being nervous about performing it for the first time.
Cradle of Filth is surely one of the most successful and symbolic, representative bands of the metal scene of these latest decades. In your opinion, what’s the key of this great success?
Being the most controversial? Having a history of consistent drama? HAHA I’m only joking laughs. I think it’s just always having really forward thinking musicians around who are willing to experiment and go beyond what metal is doing at that time. Same goes for Dani and the bands over all image. We want to do big things in a big way and create art that no one else has done yet. I think that’s the main ingredient. And then of course we have our quirky front man who always keeps things interesting.
You will embark on a new EU tour in November, you’ll also play in Italy for three shows. What are your own expectations? What should fans expect from you?
I have never been to Italy yet and I am SO excited to come play there. I have heard nothing but great things about your country. I have met the guys and girl in Lacuna Coil in passing at shows so many times and they are such lovely people. I expect a really great time with really good people. I also love Italian food and vegan food goes over really well with pizza and pasta. I’ll be sure to enjoy some with one of your famous red wines. I’m also excited to see the cities and their beautiful architectures.
I know that you joined the band less than two years ago, but what is your most beautiful memory related to this new music experience?
I would have to say I have a lot of my favorite memories the first year of being in the band and seeing the world. Taiwan was my favorite place to visit. My first show in Mexico was so stressful for me, but now that I look back quite comical and enjoyable. Playing in Indonesia to 10,000 people for the first time is something you never forget, especially when Cannibal Corpse watched our set and we got to party with them after that night. I think that was probably the worst hang over I ever had the next morning. Our short Euro Tour last year was so much fun as well and exploring Paris with the boys was an unforgettable experience. And then there are the little special moments with fans and amongst ourselves as a band. They really become your family away from home.
Hoping to hear from you soon, I wish you all the best and I give you the chance to share the final words with our readers and your fans as well. See you soon darling!
Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me and thank you to all the fans who’ve gotten their copy of “Hammer of the Witches” so far. Can’t wait to see you on the road this year.
Lindsday’s solo photo by Alexis BC