In April, British dark metal misfits Cradle of Filth released an orchestral album, “Midnight in the Labyrinth” to coincide with Record Store Day to little fanfare and without a media onslaught. Confused and intrigued, we tracked down the band’s magnanimous front-man, Dani Filth to discuss the record, which actually sold quite well, despite the lack of a press presence.
Read on as we mince words with Cradle of Filth!
How did the “Midnight in the Labyrinth” project come together?
Cradle of Filth has always been known to dabble into other mediums, like the “Cradle of Fear” movie and “The Gospel of Filth” book, and I guess this is the next thing. We’ve used orchestral arrangements in the past, had the Budapest Film Orchestra on one of our records [2003’s “Damnation and a Day”], and we just wanted to take it one step further and do something along the lines of a horror film score. I have always been really into soundtracks, but after Claudio Simonetti sent me the soundtrack to the Dario Argento film “The Third Mother,” for which I recorded vocals for the end credits song ‘(She's) The Mother of Tears (Mater Lacrimarum)’, I just really got into that world and wanted to crossover.
And coincidentally enough, around that same time the rights for our first four records had fallen back into our clutches, and we discussed what we should do with it. A lot of bands have been re-recording their older material, but we wanted to do something a bit different. We spoke to Mark Newby-Robson, the composer/arranger who worked with us on the “Thornography” and “Godspeed On the Devil's Thunder” records. And it’s taken three years, because it’s not like a main album; we’ve had proper albums and tours along the way. We’d been nibbling away at it during all that time, and eventually, it has come to fruition with a gap that was long enough to release it.
Was there any hesitancy at all to release it at this particular point, coming on the heels of the “Evermore Darkly” EP? From an uninformed music fan perspective, it really looks like the band is milking its fans with a lot of “in-between” product that isn’t really a full-band effort.
Well, that’s not particularly true. “Midnight in the Labyrinth” is a strictly limited affair, so it’s not like everyone can actually go out and get it. Of course, if it becomes wildly successful, then I’m sure the label will re-release it at some point. It really wasn’t planned to release it now; like I said, the gestation period had been three years, and this ended up being the moment we had a bit of breathing room to release it. The EP also had a ton of work put into it; sure it wasn’t totally original stuff, but it was very laborious! The last track on the orchestral album, ‘Goetia’ was also a labor of love – the engineer and I holed ourselves up in the studio really late at night trying to put together something akin to a musical ritual. And, of course, this was all going on while we were writing for the new record!
One aspect about the “Midnight in the Labyrinth” album I found amazing was how you managed to reconcile the really fast tempo stuff, like ‘Summer Dying Fast,’ with opposite-minded orchestral movements. How are you able to reinvent something like that after having performed it for so many years in one way?
It’s really just the way it is translated from beats to orchestration; it’s basically tempo-mapping with a lot of legato and swing. I guess it’s really a matter of finding the right instrumentation to represent the stuff. I think the best example of that is the intro to ‘The Rape and Ruin of Angels,’ which was a really, really fast blast-beat on the original “Vempire” recording. And for some reason, it just sounds faster played with an orchestra. It’s pretty bizarre.