Joe Matera of Ultimate-Guitar.com recently conducted an interview with guitarist Paul Allender of British extreme metallers CRADLE OF FILTH. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: "Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa" is the ninth studio album by the group. Is the process getting easier when it comes to making albums?
Paul Allender: Even though this is our ninth album, the process is actually getting harder each time. That is because we like to change, not in everything we do, but in trying to do something different with each album to keep it interesting. And I think that is why we have lasted so long to be honest. Recently I read some comments from people that saw the first video that we released from this album, and most of the comments were like, "Oh, I wish CRADLE OF FILTH went back to the old CRADLE, blah blah blah…" Well, I know for a fact, that if we just stayed exactly the same as our first album — "The Principle of Evil Made Flesh" — we would not have lasted near as long.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: When it came to the writing and recording process, did it differ much from previous efforts?
Paul Allender: There was a lot more of us involved this time. This time, instead of me doing it, I got everybody else involved. I didn't want it to sound like a one-man band. The last album, it was just me and the keyboard player, we did it all ourselves. And I thought if I was to do it again with this one, it was going to sound like the last album. So I got everybody involved because I didn't want it to sound like the last one. The recording process was different rather than on previous albums where drums would be recorded first then the bass, then the guitars, but this time, I put the guitars down first and then the drums because the bass player wanted to come up with something different. So he just jammed over it and came up with whatever he wanted to on top of it.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: CRADLE OF FILTH have always been embroiled in much controversy regarding its T-shirts, what's your view on this whole matter?
Paul Allender: It is only a T-shirt, for Christ's sake. It is stupid. You know, at the end of the day if people just stopped paying attention to it… the only reason why it got so big is because so many people paid attention to it. At the end of the day if people get pissed off about it and don't want to see it, don't pay attention to it! It'll eventually die down and disappear. It is not rocket science, you know what I mean?
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Yeah, I think banning anything only makes it more exciting and desirable…
Paul Allender: Yeah we purposely released that particular shirt because we knew that everybody would go, "Oh my God, that's offending" in order to give us publicity. And it totally worked!
Ultimate-Guitar.com: The band keeps evolving and is hard to pin down with any specific label. I mean, CRADLE OF FILTH have even gone outside of the metal genre and dabbled with dance remixes.
Paul Allender: It is part of being a band. Just because you play in a metal band doesn't mean to say you have to specifically stick to that genre of music or have less respect for other genres. That is the whole point of being a musician that you try your hand at anything and you're not tied down to one genre. I have had some kids come up to me over the years who want to be in these true black metal bands, and they'll go, "Oh, no, we're not going to play this, we want to be in band like so and so." And fair enough, you've got your idols or the favorite band or type of music, but if all you're going to do is play one part or style of music and not take your blinkers off, how the hell are you going to evolve and get signed?
Ultimate-Guitar.com: When it comes to the group's satanic imagery, is that all part of a "public image" or is it something the band are serious about and adhere to in their personal lives?
Paul Allender: We're nothing like that [satanic] at all. We're not part of any form of religion whatsoever because at the end of the day, if you're part of the Christian faith or whichever faith you follow, even if it is the satanic side of things, at the end of the day, you're still following something which means, you're just sheep. We're just putting on an image that goes with the music. You have to have an image nowadays anyway, because there are so many bands out there. You have to almost create a sort of dreamscape for people. When I was a kid I massively into IRON MAIDEN and every time I used to get one of their albums, I used to constantly look at the album cover, back and front, read all the lyrics and would play the album like thirty times in row. I got completely lost in a fantasy world. And that is what we do, too. We create a fantasy world where people can escape into. Which is why our artwork is like that, and our image is like that and our music is like that. When we were in Europe recently doing interviews, somebody asked, "Oh, so you don't actually wear your makeup walking around and stuff like that?" Of course not! I mean, we'll get made up for signings and stuff like that because you've got to look like what you look like on the album for record signings, but to walk around like that with makeup on and go shopping? Come on…
Ultimate-Guitar.com: How does it feel to be the most successful British band after IRON MAIDEN?
Paul Allender: It still hasn't sunk in. We've always been likened to MAIDEN. A few people have described us as IRON MAIDEN on crack. The whole band was totally into MAIDEN when we started and we thought we could do the same thing but we didn't want to because there was a death metal scene happening right around then. So we decided to get into that and mix it up with the MAIDEN stuff we liked and put lots of horror like keys and stuff on top of it and that's how we started.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Do you think extreme metal has suffered a lot in the wake of the attention it garnered from the Norwegian church burnings?
Paul Allender: I must admit, because of all that, we and everybody else all got tainted with the same brush. But at the end of the day, if it wasn't for that, the whole scene wouldn't have been recognized, I mean, it would have but it would have been slower. But because of that whole thing that went on, they even make films about it now and books are released on it, too. Obviously, it was bad when it was happening, but obviously for the scene now, it's been good because it got really commercialized. I never thought in '94 and '95, when we were touring off the first album, how big it would get. We were hearing about it, we knew half the people that were burning the churches anyway, but we didn't agree with it, but we didn't know then that it would escalate as big as it is now into the whole scene that we're part of now which is massive.
Read the entire interview from Ultimate-Guitar.com.