Devilment

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AN INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST DANI FILTH 

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“It’s easy to stay there, it’s just whether you can make enough money to do it!” laughed Dani Filth when asked how difficult it is for a band to stay relevant in the modern music climate.

“This is what people don’t understand when they download and get everything for free from a band – the fact that it’s their livelihood. If someone came into your workplace and said ‘right, I’m having this and doing this and you’re not doing fuck all about it’, you would  be angry because you’ve worked for that and it’s the same premise here. A band, without people paying for records or paying for their music, effectively just go bust and when they go bust they can’t make music anymore, and that’s the be all and end all of it. I’ve worked and been self-sufficient for 22 years, and I can’t grumble, but it is hard work.”

Dani Filth is better known for his work as front man for Cradle of Filth, but on this occasion, he is talking about his “other” band Devilment, who have just released their second album ‘Devilment II: The Mephisto Waltzes’. While Filth is under no illusions Cradle of Filth will always be his first, and foremost, he is hopeful this album can solidify Devilment as a standalone project.

“Obviously when I first started with Devilment, it was just a bit of a laugh that grew into being a proper band and that grew into a debut album. I guess I was just pig-headed and wanted to keep making it work. We went through a few pitfalls and whatever but I’m balancing it quite well at the moment. Cradle of Filth is in the midst of writing a new album which is due for release next year so, currently, they seem to be orbiting one another like the seasons and fingers crossed, it stays that way. It’s a privilege to be able to get to a second album because that’s when people start taking the band a lot more seriously because they realise it’s a proper band and not just a vanity project.”

Despite having released more than a dozen albums between the two outfits, Filth admits there is still a degree of trepidation when a new album comes out.

“I guess so,” he said, about feeling the pressure. “I don’t think of it too much nowadays because with record sales, it doesn’t make a huge amount of difference. It’s people reactions more than anything. By the time the album comes out, people would hopefully have seen ‘Under the Thunder’ which is the lyric video released about two weeks ago. We also have a full blown band performance video called ‘Hitchcock Blonde’ which was out on October 24 that was shot in a deserted, definitely haunted hotel and shortly before the album is released there’s going to be a short, animated track released called ‘Full Dark, No Stars’. By then people, if they were oblivious to the band and hadn’t heard of us before or fancy a precursor of what the album tastes like, they will have a good representation from those. I couldn’t isolate one song and say this is Devilment in a nutshell because it veers quite a bit. There’s quite a lot of different material contained therein.”

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With the second album from a band often treated as one that consolidated their sound and style, Filth says Devilment’s main aim when entering the studio was to do just that but also expand on the material in places that fans might not expect.

“Obviously we wanted to make something that built on the strength of the first record,” he offered, “and didn’t steer too far away from that sound but at the same time built on, expanded and played on the strengths of that record. We wanted to utilise everyone’s musicianship a lot better and explore songs in different directions and places. We have a new drummer, so we wanted to improve on that. We wanted to expand more on the vocal contribution with my stuff; the gutturals and narrative as well as Lauren’s (Francis, vocals and keyboards) sweet voice. It was like Beauty and the Beast, but it worked well (laughs).  Bigger, better, blacker, darker and more intricate music but at the same time you don’t want to lose sight of what the band is about. You don’t want people to say ‘great record, but it sounds nothing like the first one’ so you can have one eye on that as well.”

As well as building on the sound from debut ‘The Great and Secret Show’, Filth is on record as saying ‘Devilment II: The Mephisto Waltzes’ is more experimental and mature in nature, a claim which he vindicates here.

“It is experimental in that it explores unchartered waters for us in places,” he explained. “For instance, Shine on Sophie Moone is very bold and has a punk vibe with a heavy chorus then it just dissipates to this strange, eerie dropdown that would be like something from Tomahawk or a Mike Patton record. There’s stuff on there with which we took quite a few chances. DEA Della Morte is another song that’s just really fucked up (laughs) and experimental – experimental in the sense that we were trying to tread new water. We wanted to be a better and more creative band without losing sight of our sound and keeping a big production, while at the same time having songs that people can sing to and remember, which is also important.”
Aside from both band commitments, Filth also uses his spare time in film and television roles, which begs the question, is he a workaholic?

“Either that or an idiot,” he laughed. “I didn’t realise. Well, I did actually, I knew exactly what I was getting into but it just blossomed, and I’m quite headstrong like that. I’m pigheaded. I didn’t want to say ‘I can’t do this because it’s too much work’ (laughs). It’s like a snow globe. The bits fall to the bottom, and you turn it over and they all start sprinkling back again, and that’s what it feels like. Before this album even comes out, I’m going to be in the studio for the Cradle album, so it’s continuous work, but it’s good. It’s what I like to do. Plus it’s a saying in England to make hay while the sun shines and all that. It won’t last forever so what the hell!”

Written by Kris Peters

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listen to devilment

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