INTERVIEW: Lindsay Schoolcraft (CRADLE OF FILTH)
Monstrously iconic; ostensibly timeless; brutally talented - the list of accolades and praise for extreme English leviathans Cradle of Filth could ramble on for a generation, a fact quite fitting for a group who have carved and transformed the state of various metal genres for over two decades.
For the unfamiliar, Cradle of Filth are essentially what happens when a steamy Gothic novel comes to life armed with a flame-thrower covered in blood; a theatrical guilty delight that demands attention with its symphonic beauty and searing instrumentation. And despite ongoing lineup changes and some sonic shape-shifting over the years, Cradle of Filth have resolutely stood firm on one fact: that beneath the ornate stagecraft and occasional shock-factor, deep down this is a band truly dedicated to delivering a multi-faceted experience that defies traditional genres and expectations
Now for the first time in five years this incisive sextet are bringing their brand of devilishly destructive metal back to our shores, and with two albums under their belts since the last time they visited we are guaranteed an explosive night of elegant frenzy. And just before they touch down in Australia in May, keyboardist/vocalist Lindsay Schoolcraft had a chat with The Soundcheck about collaboration, favourite tunes and how a classically trained young girl who used to sing along to Disney songs grew up to become an absolute slayer in the metal world. Interview below.
TIANA SPETER: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat! 2018 is shaping up to be yet another extraordinary year for Cradle Of Filth, with some huge tours happening right now and in the very near future, and of course continued hype around last year’s unveiling of ‘Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness Of Decay’. Overall, have you had any time to catch your breath in the past few months? How is life currently for Lindsay Schoolcraft and Cradle of Filth?
LINDSAY SCHOOLCRAFT: I really wish I have had more down time, but I really haven’t either than a few days off here and there. This world tour has been extensive and demanding. It’s the longest I’ve been away from home and I’m determined to get to the end of it.
TIANA: On the topic of the album, ‘Cryptoriana’ is a pretty blisteringly seductive outing and also marks an eye-watering twelfth album overall for the group. And it seems while there’s been a definite injection and expansion of the melodic and orchestral adventures, there’s a very significant return to some of the classic Cradle of Filth vibes from earlier days – what was the driving force behind this album, both conceptually and musically?
LINDSAY: With the current line up we take a lot of inspiration from the older Cradle catalogue because we are fans of the band ourselves. It a pleasure to work with this line up and we do our best to communicate our direction and vision.
TIANA: A few months on from the release, and having had the chance to also tour some of the tracks live now, have you got a particular favourite track on the album? There seems to have been a lot of noise in reviews about ‘Achingly Beautiful’ and the ‘Alison Hell’ cover, but is there a personal favourite for yourself?
LINDSAY: I really enjoy 'Heartbreak and Seance'. It’s really grown on me as a live song too.
'HEARTBREAK AND SEANCE' (CRADLE OF FILTH)
TIANA: You are renowned for your incredible musical prowess and transcendent live presence, and I believe this musical lust started at an extremely young age, and surprisingly by singing along to Disney soundtracks?! But in terms of bands or artists that shaped you when you started to seriously pursue music in your teens – what music did you listen to in those years?
LINDSAY: Aw well thank you for the kind words. In my teens I got really into the rock music of that era like Korn, Kittie, Chevelle, Linkin Park and Evanescence. I never thought I’d end up in metal, I was being classically trained at the time Cradle contacted me.
TIANA: You’ve worked as a solo artist, but also in various bands – in terms of the collaborative process that comes from a band environment versus driving it all yourself, do you feel like you thrive creatively better in a team or alone?
LINDSAY: It’s less of a headache to work on my solo work. It’s a bit more tedious working with a group of people. There is more pressure as a solo artist to be a decent composer and arranger and you can conduct everyone. I do prefer it, but I always grow and learn more with working in a band environment.
TIANA: And while it seems to be less of an anomaly day by day, being a female in such a (usually) male-dominated genre for so many years have you noticed a significant shift in the opportunities for and perception of women in metal and other heavy genres?
LINDSAY: There is still a lot of attention around women in metal because they are a rarity. But I’m starting to see that in all genres and sub genres of music whether it be hip-hop to electronic music. I think it’s very inspiring and liberating for women and young girls to see female role models in bands and musical acts. I know that’s how I felt when I saw a women in music in my teens. As for opportunities I haven’t really seen any shift or movement the last few years because we are slowly becoming less of a rarity in metal.
TIANA: What advice would you give to younger girls looking to dip their toes into the heavy metal world, or into the music industry in general?
LINDSAY: Don’t let your gender define you. Go into it with a great work ethic and business intelligence. It’s sad for me to say, but also don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. And when you meet people who respect and see you as an equal cherish them and keep them close. Also, be humble and genuine. If you’re a fame chaser no one will take you seriously. What you put out is what you’ll get back. Love what you do and it will love you back. Always be open to learning something new because you will never stop learning in this industry.
TIANA: And, of course, the especially exciting news for us fans over on the other side of the world - it’s been approximately 5 years since Cradle Of Filth has hit up Australia for a tour, and we are extremely excited to have you back! What are you most looking forward to about heading back here?
LINDSAY: I think having some time off there again will be lovely! I’m also excited to see our friends there again. Most of the people I met there 5 years ago I’ve kept in touch with. Very excited to perform there again too!
LINDSAY: The fans are always so enthusiastic. Very friendly and welcoming. I always love chatting up the Australian fans.
TIANA: Cradle of Filth are seemingly from another time and universe with your devastatingly beautiful tunes – but us Aussies do love our heavy music, and there are definitely a heap of amazing heavy bands around the place at the moment. Are there any Australian bands you are familiar with or are keen to get into? I know you’ve had a link to Ne Oblivisacris, particularly Xenoyr with your Antiqva project – are there any others on your radar?
LINDSAY: I’m a really big fan of Virgin Black. But I’m open to finding out about more recent metal bands emerging from there. Hopefully I get to discover a few when we visit.
TIANA: You’re a rare breed ultimately – heavy metal icon, vegan, fan-girled over by Kanye West and you seemingly can play any instrument you touch. Are there any other secret endeavours you’d love to take up if you had all the time in the world?
LINDSAY: I drive myself nuts with perfection, but I also have to be realistic. I love doing makeup as a lot of our fans know. I want to get better at the harp and keep up on my voice. There is so much I want to do. I have a list!!! But right now my solo project and Antiqva are taking top priority.
TIANA: And finally – it may be a greedy question to ask, but after the on-stage face melting and the tours have subsided after the next few months – what’s next for Cradle of Filth? Any secrets you can give away?
LINDSAY: After this world tour we are all going to take a well deserved break and then get onto writing the next album. That’s all I know for now. New projects could come up before the end of the year though
TIANA: Thank you so much for your time Lindsay, and we are all so excited to have you back out here in a few weeks!
LINDSAY: Thank you so much! I can’t wait to come back!
LINDSAY SCHOOLCRAFT WILL BE TEARING UP STAGES WITH CRADLE OF FILTH ALL OVER THE COUNTRY IN A FEW WEEKS.
FOR TICKET INFO HEAD TO: www.destroyalllines.com/tour/cradle-of-filth
CRADLE OF FILTH:
BY TIANA SPETER