"That church burned down before we got there": Dani Filth on the next Cradle Of Filth album, collaborating with Ed Sheeran and the sexiest member of Slayer

Dani Filth, Cradle Of Filth 2023
(Image credit: James Sharrock)

Over 30 years and 13 studio albums, Cradle Of Filth have established themselves as an institution, blending gothic theatricality with all-out extremity and horror sensibilities that has made them a beloved - if at times controversial - fixture of the metal scene. Whether you consider them a true black metal band or not, there's no denying that Dani Filth is one of - if not the - most recognisable faces in British extreme metal.

So Hammer caught up with Dani to talk stomach-turning movies, the next Cradle album and whether we'll ever get to hear the long-awaited collaboration with pop megastar Ed Sheeran... 

Metal Hammer line break

On St Patrick’s Day, you posted a photo of you and Ed Sheeran in the pub. What’s it like being BFFs with a pop star? 

“Weird. I’ve spoken to him very regularly over the last two years. Like me, he’s a real Suffolk boy. When he came to the studio that day [for our collaboration], he didn’t come down with a cavalcade of reporters; he turned up on his own, guitar on his back, Cradle Of Filth hoodie on, and got on with it. It was fucking great.” 

Sounds good! Can you update us on the collaboration? 

“Ed’s done all his parts. It’s just bass and vocals for me to do. It’s exactly how you can imagine it’ll sound, if you can imagine Ed Sheeran with Cradle Of Filth. He plays acoustic guitar on it, but it’s heavy: it’s got a blastbeat in there. It’s a bit of everything. The plan is to do it as a charity single, because, first off, everybody jumped to the conclusion that we were doing this for the money and we wanted to knock that on the head. We’re hoping for it to be out this summer.” 

It’s an odd collab, especially for a band who once got blamed for trying to set fire to a church in Colchester… 

“That was a long time ago! That church got burned down a long time before we got there. When we did a photoshoot there, we got harassed by a pitchforkwielding mob. They were there because the church had been targeted [by arsonists] in the past. It was roofless because it had been burned down, allegedly by a witch cult.” 

Does your mum still have a crush on Tom Araya? 

“She certainly does!” 

What’s the appeal? 

“I don’t know! I don’t see it myself. I just know she does because I see Instagram accounts like ‘Tom Araya lovers’ and the first name I see is my mum’s. But, speaking of these weird familial juxtapositions, yesterday our guitar tech Anthony’s family came down to a show and brought us a copy of [controversial 1975 Italian horror film] Salò, Or The 120 Days Of Sodom.” 

Is that a film you enjoy? It’s a hard one to get through. 

“It’s a very hard film! I actually have a copy of it because one of our music videos [Babalon A.D. (So Glad For The Madness)] was based on it – loosely, thankfully. I’ve watched it once and the threat is that we’ll watch it again on a day off, but we’re trying to finish writing our current album while we’re touring, so I think we’ll put Salò on the backburner for now.” 

Tell us about the next Cradle album. 

“We started recording the new album in May. We’ve got a few summer festivals but this year, at least until mid-September, is about the new album. We’re just polishing off a few bits, but it’s exciting! It’s very modern, but it’s also very Dusk… And Her Embrace. Our fans are gonna love it!” 

Do you think your new single, She Is A Fire, is a good indication of how the next Cradle album will sound? 

“It’s not a million miles off by any means. We’re not planning a total genre departure into ska or gabber [a type of EDM] any time soon!” 

Are there any other horror films you’re aching to pay tribute to in a Cradle clip? 

“Evil Dead, Hellraiser, The Wicker Man, The Masque Of The Red Death, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Possession, Martyrs, The Witch, Häxan, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, Cannibal Holocaust, Dagon… The list is pretty exhaustive, though it was the director’s [Andrew ‘WIZ’ Whiston] idea for the Babalon A.D. video to honour Salò. He even wanted to fill dog bowls with the same mash of ingredients to emulate poo as in the movie, but we convinced him that that might be pushing boundaries a little too far.”

Has there ever been a film that’s too scary for you? 

“There was a movie not so long ago which had a scene where people’s eyes were getting burned out with red-hot pokers. I think it was a remake of Wrong Turn. That touched a nerve.

Cradle Of Filth's latest release Trouble And Their Double Lives is out now via Napalm

Matt Mills

Louder’s resident Cult Of Luna obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.