DATE OF INTERVIEW:
CRADLE OF FILTH
28th April 2007
Paul onstage at Birmingham Academy, 18th December 2006
(Paul Allender on his forthcoming PRS SE signature model guitar)
"I don’t think I’m that good on guitar, and...to actually have a guitar which is named after me because of the guitar playing – it just doesn’t gel up as far as I’m concerned...and I’m thinking something’s gonna go tits up eventually!"
PART 6 BELOW
PART 6 ABOVE
MD: You play some guitar solos on ‘Thornography’ tracks, which is kind of a progression for Cradle – is that something you intend to continue with?
PA: Yeah, we’ll stick some bits and bobs in there, you know. Yeah, we’ll see what turns out, see what they like. Personally, I prefer not to put solos in, because I prefer to actually let the music breathe a bit more with sound effects and ambience, and even just like all out chugging you can make stuff…even single-line melodies, if you get the harmonies right, it doesn’t matter if it’s picked fast or picked whatever, nine times out of ten there’s no need for solos.
MD: One of the best harmonies I’ve heard, ever, is ‘Malice Through the Looking Glass’ – a very simple, slow harmony, but it works…
PA: ...a treat, yeah it does, totally…
MD: A very simple song structure – you don’t need a hundred notes a second…
PA: You know, I’m more into that sort of stuff…more into pulling up melody lines, whether it’s scrubbed or it’s single notes, I’m more into melody lines with harmonies, and rhythm tracks with cool hooks and…
MD: Do you and Charles do that together, or do you come up with the harmonies yourself?
PA: With this album, I pretty much came up with the majority of it, and I said to Charles, I said look, because I don’t want this stuff to sound like one guitar player, I’m just gonna give it to you, and you come up with the harmonies. You know, I don’t want to do all of it because a band’s meant to sound like a band and not an individual person.
MD: Well, it worked very well, it’s a great album. And finally, what do you think lies ahead for Cradle, or do you not think about the future at all?
PA: I take each day as it comes to be fair. [laughs] If I think ahead what’s the future for Cradle, I’m like thinking oh my god, and my head goes in my hands! [laughs] No, I don’t know…I tend to take each day as it comes because I’ve got deadlines. I’ve got tons of deadlines looming over me for stuff I need to get done for the band – not just music, but everything else. So I haven’t even got time to think that far ahead, I just think to my next deadline. That’s what basically my days consist of…my life revolves around deadlines! [laughs]
MD: And now with Vomitorium as well…
PA: Yeah, exactly.
MD: Right, thank you very much indeed.
PA: That was brilliant. Thank you very much.
MD: It’s been a pleasure talking to you.
PA: Yeah, you too.
MD: That was very insightful! Thank you very much.
PA: Thank you.
Photograph copyright © 2006 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Official Cradle of Filth Website:
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CRADLE OF FILTH DISCOGRAPHY
The Principle of Evil Made Flesh (1994)
V Empire or Dark Faerytales in Phallustein (1996)
Dusk and Her Embrace (1996)
Albums & EPs
Videos & DVDs
From The Cradle To Enslave (EP) (1999)
Cruelty And The Beast (1998)
Bitter Suites To Succubi (2001)
Live Bait For The Dead (2002)
Damnation And A Day (2003)
Lovecraft & Witch Hearts (2002)
METAL DISCOVERY: Do you practice guitar much?
PAUL ALLENDER: Not really. To be honest, if I know I have to…I’m a bit rusty on something, I will practice until my fingers drop off. Or if we’re coming up for a tour, I’ll sit and spend about a week practicing solidly. But because I’ve got so much other work on, and trying to run the band and stuff, you know, and other stuff, I don’t really get time to do it unfortunately.
MD: What or who inspired you to play guitar originally?
PA: Er, Maiden.
MD: Any particular album?
PA: Er…just Maiden actually! [laughs] I first got into Maiden when ‘The Trooper’ came out…I remember buying ‘The Trooper’ single, and I remember walking past a record shop when record shops used to have all the picture discs and stuff on racks hanging outside the shops before people got into nicking them. [laughs] So I bought ‘The Trooper’, just a normal vinyl single, and just ‘cause I liked the cover – I thought that’s pretty cool. Got it home, put it on the stereo, played it and – holy shit, this is amazing! You know, and that’s the turning point for me. Then, I was…12 or something like that.
MD: Do you write music to traditional scales, and beyond those, because you seem to write almost chromatic style riffs?
PA: It’s just my style…
MD: A lot of it’s almost like discordant single string picking as well, rather than chords – you seem to have your own unique style…
PA: Yeah. I haven’t got a clue about theory. Absolutely none whatsoever. When I left Cradle, what I’d done, I’d actually sat there and got a whole stack of books out, out of the library, on theory, and I just spent two years solidly learning it…which was good for when I was doing The Blood Divine stuff – that works well for that. And it worked well for the Primary Slave stuff. But since coming back into Cradle, that shit don’t mean anything. You know, Cradle’s a weird band ‘cause you try and put that sort of stuff into it, it starts sounding like every-bloody-body else.
MD: Yeah, I guess theory is prescribed ways of playing, so…
PA: Totally, so I tried doing it and thought isn’t working, so I completely forgot all of the theory stuff and just play what I like; just what I think sounds good to me.
MD: Cool. So, my next question, which I think you’ve kinda answered, is do you have your own unique style of playing, ‘cause I’d say yeah.
PA: Personally, I don’t think so. You know, because to be brutally honest I don’t rate myself as a guitar player at all in the slightest.
MD: I disagree, there’s some great playing like the mid lead break in ‘Scorched Earth Erotica’ and the very fast lead harmonies near the beginning of ‘Cthulu Dawn’.
PA: Yeah, I don’t actually class myself like that though. I suppose you set your own goals, don’t you, for yourself, but I’ve had people come up to me and say you’ve definitely got a style of your own, it’s completely different to what everyone else is doing. But…I don’t know…I just sit there and do it. [laughs] It just happens…and I suppose when I was growing up playing guitar, I could never play covers. I could…I still can’t work covers out from records now. I’ve never ever managed to get that particular skill together. I sit there and try and do it, and if it doesn’t happen, I get so bored so quickly – it’s like, I can’t be arsed with this. So I just write my own stuff in the vein of what I’m listening to. But ‘cause I’ve never been able to do that, and I had all the kids around me at the time pulling off all the new Vai licks and all that stuff, and I’m thinking, I was the only person into Slayer and all this sort of stuff, so it was like, well I’ll just go and do…I was pretty much pushed to one side, so I thought I’d just wrote riffs, wrote my own stuff, in the vein of the bands I was listening to at the time. And I suppose that’s the way I’ve managed to develop my own style.
MD: Well, I guess having your own signature series PRS has got to be testament to your abilities as a guitar player and not just your popularity of being in Cradle.
PA: Yeah, I suppose. But I still haven’t got used to that because I’m thinking…’cause at the moment I still think, a – I don’t think I’m that good on guitar, and b – to actually have a guitar which is named after me because of the guitar playing – it just doesn’t gel up as far as I’m concerned! [laughs] It just doesn’t link together, and I’m thinking something’s gonna go tits up eventually! [laughs]
Babalon A.D. (So Glad For The Madness) (2003)
PanDaemonAeon (Video) (1999)
(Re-released on DVD)
Heavy, Left-Handed & Candid (DVD) (2002)
Peace Through Superior Firepower (DVD) (2005)
Official Roadrunner Records UK Website:
Thanks to Michelle Kerr at Roadrunner Records for offering, and arranging, the interview.
Thanks to my ever supportive girlfriend, Hannah, for recording the interview and suffering arm-ache from holding a microphone for over an hour.
And, of course, a big thanks to Paul Allender for taking time out to be interviewed.