Gothic black metallers Cradle Of Filth have been purveying their shock metal act for over two decades. Led by the inimitable Dani Filth, the Suffolk based band have just completed a UK and Ireland tour in support of twelfth album ‘Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay’. We sat down with guitarist Richard Shaw for a chat about life in Cradle 2017, and his own musical journey. Heartbreak and séance; Rob Watkins.
Hi Richard, you’ve recently joined Cradle of Filth; how did that come about?
Oh wow, that seems so long ago now. I basically got a call from Cradle’s sound guy out of the blue asking if I was available for a Euro tour in the February. He didn’t tell me who it was with, but said the manager would ring me the next morning. He rang and of course it was Cradle’s manager. I was like; "Who? Sorry, what?!", and the next thing I knew I got the job.
Was it a sharp learning curve?
I learned the show in three weeks, did a few gigs, and then at the end of the tour I was asked to join the band and write the album. It was all a bit of a whirlwind experience.
Were you a big fan of the band before you joined?
I was more of a casual fan, but my brother was a hard core fan, so I kind of knew the stuff by default as he was playing that stuff in his room when we were growing up. I was playing Queen in my room, so I think he was more excited than me about me joining the band. So through him I was familiar with their music, which naturally helped with learning the songs. It’s been a lot of fun ever since.
How have things been for the band since you joined?
It’s been great. The new album ‘Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay’ is being so well received by the fans, and it feels really, really good in Cradleland at the moment with so much touring on the horizon. The live shows are going down so well, and it just feels so good right now.
How does the song writing process work in Cradle of Filth?
It basically starts with an individual member writing pretty much musically an entire song and then bringing it to the other guys so we can arrange it together as a band. Once we’re happy with it, that’s when Dani gets hold of it. He then disappears into his cave or wherever to write the lyrics and that’s it; we have a song.
You’re in the middle of a huge tour for ‘Cryptoriana’ which is seeing you go all over the world; from Japan to Australia.
It’s fantastic, and we’re going to announce South and North America pretty soon as well. I mean, this is the last date of the UK / Ireland tour, but then in January we get together to do a music video then tour through Europe and Australia. It’s going to be full on, but a lot of fun though!
How have the UK and Ireland shows gone?
It’s gone really well. Every show has been stellar, and I’ve loved each one. It’s been absolutely amazing.
Does that mean that you’re happier on the road than in the studio?
I don’t know; I like both equally, for very different reasons. I like the creative process of being in the studio; I mean, I’m a bit of a music nerd, getting into the nitty gritty of the music with guitar tones and all that kind of stuff. But playing live is so different; it’s all about the energy, and you don’t get that type of energy in the studio. You try and re-create it, but it’s never the same as when it’s in front of say, a thousand people unless you can bring a thousand people into the studio.
What inspired you to follow a career in music?
As far back as I can remember, I was always picking out guitar parts. I used to go around to my grandparents’ house, and the radio was always on and you had Buddy Holly or The Shadows or something on, and I was always picking out the guitar parts. I was told that even as a baby, I’d perk up when guitar parts came on. But for me, it was The Beatles, Queen and Metallica; they made me want to pick up a guitar. I had lessons when I was 11, and then that was it, and I was addicted to guitar playing from that point on.
What ambitions do you have, musically?
In the band, it’s just pushing it as far as it can go; playing to bigger crowds, playing countries we’ve never played before, and having longevity in what we do. We have fans who care about what we do, and for the band to not get forgotten about it’s all we can hope for. Musically, there’s so many things I want to do; I’m such a music nerd, and I play all different types and styles of music. I play guitar for a musical theatre, and I dream of playing guitar in the West End or even on Broadway. Maybe I won’t be playing in Cradle of Filth when I’m 60 or 70 years of age, who knows? *Laughing*
What does the future hold for Cradle Of Filth after this current tour is done?
When we come back from Australia, we have a few festivals planned; some of which have been announced, and others that are getting confirmed at the moment. Once the festival season is over, we’ll start writing the next album then hit the festivals hard in 2019 and tour; Write / record / tour, write / record / tour - that’s what Cradle does.
Finally, which five artists or bands, dead or alive would you like to have play at a festival alongside Cradle Of Filth?
Oh wow, now this is where it could get strange! I’d do completely different styles to cater for everyone. There’d be Cradle for the metal side, and The Beatles and Queen I’d have to put on there. I’d also have Jeff Buckley and probably Metallica, just get my favourite bands on there.
What would be on the rider for that festival?
An ice sculpture of myself! I’ve yet to have it; I don’t know maybe it’s happened and it’s melted by the time we’ve arrived. We shall see - fingers crossed. Maybe an ice sculpture of the whole band, who knows?
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Cradle Of Filth’s ‘Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay’ is out now, via Nuclear Blast.