It’s hard to imagine that Cradle of Filth has been terrifying the airwaves for nearly 30 years now, but still, it seems harder to imagine what the metal landscape would look like without them as a part of it. On their most recent UK tour, I was able to sit down with Keyboardist and vocalist Lindsay Schoolcraft to discuss their new album Cryptoriana: The Seductiveness of Decay, touring the UK, the bands lasting appeal, Internet leaks, her thoughts on Kanye West, as well as some other things that she has cooking up outside of Cradle of Filth.
So, the first question I have to ask is the obvious one. How was the tour been?
Lindsay: It’s fine. Really well, we are in a better place these days. We have a really good crew and management, we’re trying a new setlist. The first show was like ripping a band-aid off, it was very difficult because we have Bathory Aria in the set which is 11 minutes long, we call it the 11 minutes of hell, but everyone has taken to it really well and it’s just been a really nice tour, more intimate and the crowds have been great, we’ve been having fun, we’ve been together as this lineup now for almost 4 years, so it’s like a family now, so everything is running smoothly.
This is the first extensive UK tour Cradle of Filth have done in over a decade.
Lindsay: I’ve heard that, yes. (laughs)
So how has it been for you getting to go out and play and see different parts of the UK that you haven’t seen before?
Lindsay: It’s really nice, we were in Oxford yesterday which I thought was absolutely beautiful, I’ve never been to Southampton before, it kind of reminds me of Portsmouth, but I think that’s because we are close to it. It’s really cool, it’s been like this little adventure. I’ve always wanted to see the UK fully which I’ve now had the chance to.
Have you picked up any weird customs or habits from the UK this time around?
Lindsay: I mock Richard’s accent because he is from Derby and it’s like when we have to go to the stage, I’ll say “t’stage” just to make fun of him because I think it’s really funny. I’ve picked up on some new words, but that they would actually have to be in the moment to remember what it is to make use of them.
So nothing too weird then…
Lindsay: No. But as a vegan, I am limited because of my diet when it comes to traditional food from here. I have tea right now, which is something I don’t drink a great deal of in Canada.
You guys are currently touring behind your new album ‘Cryptoriana’ how have people been responding to the new material?
Lindsay: Really well. People are really digging it. When we put out ‘Hammer of the Witches’ we didn’t know what to expect. People loved it, but I think because it was a new lineup people were a bit unsure of how to take it. This time around they are all about ‘Cryptoriana’ which is nice, it’s just nice to see, we are playing a few new songs from the record and right away people are so into it. With Hammer of the Witches, it was a bit harder, it felt a bit like we were playing golf and everybody was spectating and just judging.
I think also Hammer of the Witches is a much more expansive record that is better suited to listening to as a whole, whereas Cryptoriana is a more immediate standalone album, that I think suits the live setting a bit more in terms of playing individual songs from it.
Lindsay: Yeah, that’s something we really pushed ourselves on, on this album. We all pushed ourselves to do better and be better, even though my contribution to this album was very little compared to Hammer of the Witches, still, whatever I was told to do, I tried to bring it up to the next level and I gave some suggestions but the guys put the bulk of the work into it. I’ve heard tales of the guys being in the studio saying ‘This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done’ but we made it out and we did it and that’s all that matters.
You talk about all the hard work that went into the album and what went into it. But the album actually leaked online about 2 months before release date. How does something like that hit you as a band?
Lindsay: I think it was more like 10 weeks before. For me, I was sad, but Hammer of the Witches was more my baby, so if that happened to Hammer of the Witches, which only leaked a week before its release I would have felt it more, but because this one was 10 weeks out there was a lot of upset, and it really hurt the guys. They were getting mad at people messaging them saying how great the album was, but you can’t get mad at these people, they might not know, they may think it’s out already, they are not checking the label’s website or our website to check that it’s out already. It really really hurt them though, but I think it’s something that a bulk of fans online that don’t understand that when that art is out there for free, and you are taking away a lot of people’s livelihood’s, but then there is the 5 percent of fans that won’t listen to the leak and will wait to buy the album.
When things like this happen, is it strange for you now as someone who was a fan of the band and now as a member, do you sit there and think ‘This is my life now, these are things I have to think about’?
Lindsay: Almost every day. I had a moment in Glasgow. My brother moved to Edinburgh, and we were doing soundcheck and he snuck in early, because he’s never seen me with the band before, and he’s been a fan forever. He is the one that actually got me into Cradle, and I always used to jokingly make fun of them, because Dimmu Borgir is my favourite metal band. We were performing up there onstage and I see him and I started welling up, because this band has helped him and saved his life multiple times, and this is a band I used to make fun of, and here we are, he finally made his dream come true came to Scotland and I’m upstage singing in his favourite band, that is something that is just so priceless and so precious, it’s a part of life that you can’t explain. We had a good laugh though, because ‘The Death of Love’ was our carpool karaoke song in a jokingly way, nothing serious, but I had to learn it for this set, and I already knew it for that reason. It’s weird though that I had a moment just before you showed up where I was looking at emails from People in Epica, Kittie, Arch Enemy and Cannibal Corpse, and these were all like artists I thought were untouchable when I was in high school, I never thought I would be a friend and a colleague to these people so that was really rad too.
You talked about performing the Death of Love and that experience. Are there any other songs that come up in the set, where you have to try and not fangirl over while playing them?
Lindsay: Yeah, there are some difficult parts in ‘Dusk and Her Embrace’ because there’s an organ solo with a speech over the top of it, I had to learn that in time to play in Japan, and I just moaned about it. This is clearly when they wrote music, not thinking in the future that their keyboardist would be the female singer. Bathory Aria was definitely one of those, ‘Cruelty and the Beast’ is such a classic album, but then I don’t I’ve enjoyed it live onstage yet because it is just a very technical song from a keyboard and singing standpoint, but everyone is a bit ‘AAARRRRGH’ when it comes up (laughs) usually after Bathory Aria is done I’m pretty chill and can enjoy the rest of the set (laughs)
I know that Cradle of Filth is your full-time job and takes up a lot of your time. But I was hoping we could talk about your side project…is it Antiqva?
Lindsay: it’s Antiqua (stylized as Antiqva) but that is the best pronunciation of it yet, so you are winning.
What is the current status of that project?
Lindsay: This past summer all 7 members got majorly swamped with their main projects, so we all kept in touch and send each other really stupid memes (laughs) but they are all a lovely group of people, really hard working and whenever anything comes up they can all get to it within a few days. We had to put a pause on it and banked it for those two months, but luckily when I get home I’m going to Montreal to see Ne Obliviscaris, we have been friends for almost five years now and this was before we did 2 major tours with them. Justine our drummer and additional composer for orchestra, she is in Montreal, and we have some studio time booked up, so when I get home we are starting that back up, but it’s really exciting because we have about 9 songs and one cover, we more than enough for a full album, it’s just actually sitting down and doing the dirty work an finishing it, so it’s still going. We all said it should be fun, and we should do it on our own time and it’s something we are very passionate about, it’s super dark, it’s church music to die to, its funeral music. I am having an incredible time doing it, that’s the thing there is so much stress with Cradle Of Filth, and with my solo work because that’s my baby and I’m a perfectionist, but when it comes to Antiqva it’s a super dark outlet and it’s super fun and everyone in that band is super fun too,
I think it’s cool that you are still making time for it. A lot of times side-projects get announced and then fall apart because everyone gets busy. It’s good to see that you still care about keeping it alive, it shows that you have a passion for it.
Lindsay: It’s kind of like having kids when you have that third baby, you’re like “Ok, nor I’m getting my tubes tied” and that was literally how I felt about Antiqva, because I’m already in Cradle and I want to be a solo artist, So I’ll have one more project and then that’s it. It’s funny because before we announced Antiqva I got asked to be in quite a few projects, some of them were prestige ones, I don’t want to give away too many names, but I know I can’t, if I start a fourth project then it’ll never get finished, I’m very honest, I know my limits.
If only we could perfect human cloning, then you could be in every band.
Lindsay: I tell my parents that every day, I always say why couldn’t you give me an identical twin or something, I wish I could just clone myself (laughs)
How is the aforementioned solo project coming along? Is it almost done?
Lindsay: It’s good. It’s almost done, I’m really excited about it. I think about it and I get super excited because I haven’t been at it for a few weeks now. We’re literally in the final stages now, the orchestration is getting done while I’m gone right now, and my producer is mixing it, I’ve just got to finish the lead vocals and get in the cellist and then it should be finished with the guest vocalists and done by Christmas hopefully. It’s a lot of songs, at one point it was 17, but we decided to not be idiots and brought it down to 14. The person I collaborated with is such a creative person and they just keep coming up with so many good ideas day after day, they are very efficient. We actually enjoyed creating together with each other so much that we literally had to sit down and stop ourselves because we would have just kept writing songs and never finished any of them.
We have obviously discussed working in a band or with bands, but have you had any other musical aspirations, maybe some score or soundtrack work?
Lindsay: Well there is a lot I want to do, mainly I obviously want to compose for all these existing projects and I want to produce, my producer is teaching me things all the time. I do find production fascinating, but I don’t feel it’s something I’m passionate about. Eventually, I would love to go back to university and become a professor of music, I’m hoping in the next 5-10 years they’ll finally accept heavy metal as something that is put in the same category as classical or jazz or whatever, so if I could be a professor in that I wouldn’t be too upset, that’s a big dream of mine. Film scores are interesting, but I feel like you have to a certain path and a certain mindset to do that, I have a lot of friends that do that and I hear that when the edits come back before the deadline is when you want to rip your hair out (laughs)
One thing I know about you is that you are huge Evanescence fan. They have a new album out called Synthesis where they have stripped everything back and reworked songs with orchestration and electronics. Is that something you would ever want to try with Cradle of Filth?
Lindsay: I did do a stripped down cover just for myself of Nymphetamine, and that was fun but if Cradle was to do anything like that, you still need Dani’s voice and his voice without the heavy band just doesn’t make sense. What I would love to see for this band is a live show with a small string section and a small orchestra, then a grand piano or church organ, I feel like that would be Cradle and that is something I would love to do. I think we are a little while off, but maybe one day.
I think it is something that you could do as a one-off, I don’t know if you could do it for a whole tour.
Lindsay: I think we would have to do it here in the UK as well, we have talked about working towards doing something as a live DVD right now, nothing is set in stone yet though.
So, my next question is something I just really want to get your take on. At the start of the year, a picture emerged of a certain rapper wearing one of your shirts in public. What was that like seeing that?
Lindsay: I think Kanye is a bit cuckoo but I like some of his music, I like a lot of hip-hop and It’s kind of flattering when it’s someone of that size, and I’ve heard that some of the Kardashians really like metal, and I think a Cradle shirt has been popping up on The Walking Dead, Negan is wearing it or something…That is just crazy. At first, we didn’t believe it was real, we had to check to make sure it wasn’t photoshopped, but it was infact real, I mean Dani has his own ideas, he flies his mouth online and I don’t always think that’s a great idea, but I wouldn’t mind having Kanye West out at a show as long as he doesn’t wild out (laughs)
I’d be really interested to see what kind of pit moves he would have.
Lindsay: I feel like he might get his butt kicked, like ‘Kanye, what are you doing here?, get out of here’ (laughs) it would be memorable, But I think the metal culture is very open and welcoming to everyone.
If you could put together three tracks from Cradle’s catalogue to serve as an introduction to the band, Which three do you pick?
Lindsay: Everyone’s answer would be entirely different. I think Her Ghost In The Fog is very important, and Midian to me is a very important album, Born in a Burial Gown. It’s hard to pick a third one, but we will go with Beneath the Howling Stars.
As Cradle of Filth rapidly approaches 30 years as a band, what do you think is the key to their lasting appeal?
Lindsay: I think Dani’s perseverance, I think Martin has been with them about 12 years too. I think it’s just the willingness to still create and hire people around you that still want to be in the same place as you and work towards the same goals as you. Its crazy to think 30 years is coming up, mu 5 years is coming up in January. I think it really is just the willingness to keep going, some bands do it for a few years and then they take a decade off or whatever. I think it’s also a good group of people this time and there is good chemistry there.
For you, if you never became a musician what would you be doing with your life? was there a Plan B?
Lindsay: I think I wanted to be either a zoologist or an artist. I think Artistry would have gone to tattoos and make up eventually.
Lastly, do you have any closing comments for the fans out there?
Lindsay: I just want to say thank you, the support has been amazing. If it wasn’t for you guys, I wouldn’t be where I am and I wouldn’t be able to do this, all of us couldn’t and we appreciate the fans and everything and we will continue to bring art and music to them and we will still be around for a little while yet.
You can read a review of Lindsay and the rest of Cradle Of Filth’s performance in Southampton, the show where this interview took place, right now. Cradle Of Filth’s new album, Cryptoriana: The Seductiveness of Decay, is out now on Nuclear Blast Records.