DATE OF INTERVIEW:
7th December 2016
METAL DISCOVERY: Vocally, there are some Cradle idioms in the Devilment songs, but there are a lot more of the Martin Walkyier kind of half-sung, half-rasped style of vocals. I know Sabbat were an influence on Cradle, but would you say Martin’s singing style has been an influence in how you’ve approached the vocals for Devilment?
DANI: I wouldn’t say, no. Devilment play in a different key so I’ve had to go lower and, if I go higher, I’ve had to go super high to make it really work… that’s few and far between on Devilment, but I think that works, anyway. But, no, I think Martin Walkyier is just part and parcel of me growing up and the people I took influence from. Martin, I loved because of his vocal delivery and the snarling.
(Dani Filth on his favourite Hitchcock blonde)
"...there’s something about Tippi Hedren I like."
Dani Filth backstage at Rock City, Nottingham, UK, 7th December 2016
Photograph copyright © 2016 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
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Thanks to Claire Harris for arranging the interview
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Review/photos of Devilment @ Rock City, Nottingham, 7th Dec 2016:
MD: And his lyrics, as well.
DANI: His lyrics, well, obviously, yeah. You sort of penny-pinch and it was that and King Diamond, Tom Araya, Stace McLaren from Razor… that sort of thing.
MD: I presume you’re all big Hitchcock fans… or at least yourself?
DANI: Yeah, yeah.
MD: And Bernard Herrmann, as you cheekily incorporated part of his Psycho score on ‘Hitchcock Blonde’?
DANI: Yeah, you can’t do a song about Hitchcock and mention ‘Psycho’ without having a cheeky wink, and that’s the obvious one, isn’t it.
MD: Have you read Tippi Hedren’s autobiography yet? It was released the day before your album, coincidentally…
DANI: It was. I’ve read snippets of it in The Observer…
MD: I read that article, yeah. She apparently goes into more depth about how she was victimised by Hitchcock.
DANI: Yeah, exactly, but then went and did another film with him, anyway.
MD: But then he killed her career.
DANI: Yeah, she was always my favourite Hitchcock blonde, strangely enough.
MD: Who was in ‘North By Northwest’? It was Eva Marie Saint, wasn’t it?
MD: She was my favourite Hitchcock blonde. The perfect femme fatale, for me.
DANI: Yeah, I guess so. I feel the same about… there’s something about Tippi Hedren I like. And what was the other one she was in?
MD: ‘Marnie’, with Sean Connery.
DANI: Yeah, ‘Marnie’ and ‘The Birds’.
MD: What’s your favourite Hitchcock movie then? Would you have to say ‘Psycho’?
DANI: No, I wouldn’t, actually… shit… erm… ‘Frenzy’ I really like.
MD: Oh, really? Controversial! [Laughs] I love the film.
DANI: I really like the film, there’s something about it.
MD: It’s very British.
DANI: Totally British. And it’s a bit tongue-in-cheek and a bit ghastly at the same time… like when he gets into the back of the van.
MD: Yeah, I was thinking of that scene, when he tries to break off…
DANI: …her finger and stuff, and then it all goes spiralling out of control, and that other guy keeps getting the blame for it all the time. There’s actually no Hitchcock blonde in that at all, is there…
MD: No, no.
DANI: There’s a barmaid, but she’s…
MD: …more of a cameo part.
DANI: Well, she’s a bit sort of rough around the edges, as well!
MD: [Laughs] Not a classic Hitchcock blonde.
DANI: Not quintessentially. So, I don’t know, probably ‘Psycho’ but ‘Rear Window’ is great as well. But I’ve seen ‘Frenzy’ probably as much as I’ve seen ‘Psycho’… I’ll go with that one, anyway.
MD: A controversial choice… but a great film. What can people currently expect from a Devilment live show, and do you have plans to make the shows a more expansive experience in the future? Based on the music, it strikes me that a more theatrical aspect in your live show could work well?
DANI: Yeah, well, we have the dancers from the video for ‘Sanity Hits a (Perfect) Zero’ and they’re doing all this stuff with flames and… they do stuff with Cirque du Soleil and stuff like that. Yeah, I mean, we’ve got plenty of ideas… unfortunately, you can’t really, at this size… I mean, this is probably the smallest stage we’ve ever played on, bar one. As I was saying to Les [Smith; ex-Cradle of Filth keyboardist] earlier, when Les was in Cradle, we did one up the side of a mountain once and it was literally about this size for the stage [Dani gestures a very small area], at someone’s house. Fifty people turned up.
MD: Where was that?
DANI: Switzerland, near Bern, and we sold more merch that night than we did at any other show, because they were just stinking rich!
MD: Wow… [Laughs]
DANI: Everyone bought eight shirts each! I was standing on a milk box or whatever, because the stage was literally so small, the drum kit took it all up. When we got to the encore, we went out to the side through some patio doors, stood there with the whole audience looking at us, waiting to go back in again! Freezing cold because it was the side of a fucking mountain!
DANI: But yeah, bar that, this is probably the smallest stage I’ve played.
MD: Proper Spinal Tap then.
DANI: That was, yeah, definitely.
MD: It’s an okay little venue here in the basement, though. Very good acoustics.
DANI: Probably good acoustics but... yesterday, we were in an old church so that was most of the background, but we had scrims and a backdrop and other little bits and pieces going on. But, today, yeah, forget that.
MD: No room.
DANI: Absolutely no room, no.
MD: So, your focus after this tour will switch to the new Cradle album for recording and then touring, but what lies in store for Devilment after this tour? Will there be any more activity next year?
DANI: Well, we’ve got hives because, obviously, I’m going to be busy with Cradle in the studio although there’ll hopefully be a couple of shows in-between. We’ve got a four month window… I mean, I’ve got press to do, but generally a four month window where Cradle are doing very little because we’re embarking on a world tour. We’ve got new management and we’ve got these round the world tickets, so we’re doing every continent, so that’s going to be really extensive; like, the first time we’ve done that, full stop; that intensive. That begins late September, so from the delivery of the Cradle album until then, Devilment… and the booking agent knows it as we share the same booking agent with Cradle, as well, so we don’t step on each other’s toes. So, yeah, announcements can’t be made for that yet because, literally, people haven’t started taking the bookings.
MD: Would you ever double shift and do Cradle and Devilment at the same gig or fest?
DANI: Well, we have. Not on the same bill like this but we did it a couple of times last year at festivals. At Graspop, there was about five hours between the bands.
MD: So you try and not drink too much beer between sets!
DANI: Well, I wouldn’t go that far! Chance would’ve been a fine thing! I did interviews and whatnot and then had to get ready again.
MD: The final thing then… this is the lamest of lame final questions, but as it’s the festive season, what Christmas song would you want to give the Devilment treatment to if you had to cover one?
DANI: If we had to cover one? I don’t know… would ‘Nellie the Elephant’ count as a Christmas track? [Laughs]
MD: If you put some bells on there, maybe.
DANI: The Shaky one.
MD: ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’. You could put some Shakespeare in there so it’s proper Shaky!
DANI: Yeah, yeah!
MD: ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ but with your style of lyrics, with a load of metaphors.
DANI: Yeah… [Laughs] I don’t know why I’m actually thinking about this, but I am… I heard it the other day and thought, I really like this song… ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ by Chris Rea.
MD: Yeah, I get where you’re coming from. It’d maybe make a good doom metal song.
DANI: What about the one with Kim Wilde in it and Mel Smith…
MD: Yeah, ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’.
DANI: Well, it’s a shit song, but Kim Wilde was super-hot in the video!
MD: And, sadly, Mel Smith is no more.
DANI: Too many mince pies.
MD: And whisky, apparently. And cigars. Right, cheers, thank you so much for your time.
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