Although Cradle Of Filth are currently beavering away in the studio. Frontman Dani has taken some time out of their scheadule to post this studio report. Dear outsiders (by that i mean those who are not held within the confines of this accursed session!), Once again i bring you news from the entity commonly referred to as ‘mud’ but whom we know, cherish and love as Cradle Of Filth. Mud is not a bad analogy seeing as much of the time it has been raining, sleeting or snowing in this part of the country, aside from the few days i had off to visit home on Luna’s birthday (February the eighth), when miraculously the sun appeared as thought the home visit brought with it some form of clemency from the weather. Well, where to begin on this rampage through the recent annals of time? Firstly the British tour was a roaring success, most of the shows were sold out and those that weren’t were close to dammit anyway. All the gigs were great from the band’s perspective, i personally loved every minute of it and so, i believe, did Rosie, our new touring female keyboardist. We also managed to squeeze a home visit in there as well as a brief sojourn in the Scottish highlands just before our Glaswegian show. All in all a fantastic time was had by everyone involved, especially Edwina Filth our machinated stage puppet who proclaimed that she’d had an absolute ball. So many thanks go out to the ‘Crewdle Of Filth’ for all their exceptional work in making the tour run seemingly like clockwork and to the thousands of British fans that came to see us on our home soil. It was a fantastic end to the year and we hope to see you again at this year’s Download festival. Then it was a month in India for me at my Mum’s Portuguese villa in Goa, which was also pretty eventful, though obviously too much went on to really scrape the surface of it here… lets just say that between the bouts of eating (a different restaurant twice a day), drinking (two dollars a bottle of Vodka!) and beaching it (i practically became a professional frisbee thrower whilst i was out there), there were plenty of incidents to incur the wrath of Vishnu. Our hired car broke down in the jungle, we had a giant shrew pay nocturnal visits to our bedroom (amid other creatures), I narrowly avoided being arrested for punching through someone’s windscreen when they almost ran Luna over, I had to drug the neighbour’s dog with valium sandwiches to keep the bloody thing from howling all night, being the only western passengers on an twelve hour Arabian flight (Toni walked in on the male prayer lounge whilst they were praying… oops!), Luna going all grown up and having mocktails, pedicures and practising Tai Chi on the beach and a News Years Eve restaurant party that the family forced our way into and practically took over, culminating in me demanding they put Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ on because i wanted to boogie. Shish! Apart from that we had a very relaxing time indeed, though the travelling was that gruelling (especially when our duty-free was confiscated-no alcohol on Arabian Airlines), we practically needed another holiday just to get over it! Anyway, the matter at hand, the studio… Six weeks into the second bout finds us near completion aside from four or five songs worth of vocals, which is due to an illness that has been developing in me for the past month or two. Such was the seriousness of the ailment ( I couldn’t sing, so no difference there then!), that a referral was made to Rob’s homeopathic doctor back in the States which immediately proved the worst. I was, and still am, suffering from serious digestive allergies. Now I’m on the same insane amount of pills that Rob was and is still on, plus a yeast-free diet that eliminates all booze (noooo!!!!), sugar, vinegar and bread amongst other life-giving foodstuffs. What a fucking nightmare! Aside from untreated meat, the only thing I can actually eat for two months it seems is the packaging that other food comes in! Still, we soldier on as there are many other loose ends to tie together, not least of all the keyboards, which are being handled by three different players on this album as opposed to two on our recent outings. Dan Presley is once again scoring the orchestral parts whilst other more conventional, but no less interesting parts are being played in by a previous stand-in keyboardist for us, a certain Mark Newby-Robson (AKA ‘Captain Keyboards’) with samples and weird effects/loops manipulated by a certain Christopher Jon of American dark-wavers ‘I, Parasite’. Ville Valor of HIM has contributed vocals to ‘The Byronic Man’ whilst (Dirty) Harry has completed ‘Temptation’. Both contributions are exemplary and really bring something really new to the table. Sarah Jezebel Deva, in a brief spell away from completing her own ‘Angtoria” project has also sung and narrated on several tracks and we have had visits from select members of the Lincoln Cathedral choir to add some ethereal gloss. Then there is still the main guest narration slot, which, at time of going to press, is still being addressed with the actor in question. Of course i will endeavour to keep you informed on this, when and where it happens. A few tracks are in the mixing stages to further our studio output whilst i regain my health (with this amount of homeopathic remedies rattling around my system, hopefully it won’t be too far away..) and these are sounding already far bigger than ‘Nymphetamine’… this time choosing to stay with the production team rather than bringing in an independent mixer for the sake of continuity. Aside from the music, we have already undertaken a photo shoot for future album press shots at a secret location actually not too far from the studio itself, where we spent most of the day freezing our nuts off subject to the bleak late February elements (not too great when you’re tied to a crucifix with the wind howling off the Lincolnshire Wolds i can testify!). As for encounters of the ghostly kind, i can honestly admit with all sincerity that I have never experienced anything like it, before, ever. Well, not on this scale. On returning to the studio Rob and myself had the good fortune to be allocated rooms in The Dower House, an exceptional old building with commanding views of sculptured gardens, the local graveyard and accompanying scrub woodland where rooks caw and owls hoot like the choir of the damned themselves, breaking the silence in what is a completely quiet rural hamlet, aside from the odd report of shotgun fire in the distant fields and the few cars that pass. From the offset we knew something weird was afoot when things appeared as from nowhere (vintage mirrors, glasses, even old gramophone records…) and disappeared, seemingly without trace. There have also been strange noises… Rob heard a trombone being played right outside his room at four in the morning only to find no-one there when he ventured the window… Dan and Sarah were plagued with the sounds of a child’s wind-up toy on separate occasions and in different buildings…. i was spotted peering in form the vocal booth late one evening, only for Rob to find me tucked up in bed not five minutes later in the house down the lane (well, that was his excuse!)… the list goes on. Lights flicker, sounds bump… i even felt a hand on my shoulder as i was drifting off to sleep late one evening as if Toni were sleeping beside me. Still, it’s better company than none at all i guess! I think a seance is in order before we leave to get to the bottom of these creepy going-ons once and for all, if only to set our minds at rest that it isn’t our over-stretched imaginations at play. Over the last six weeks bands have come and gone from the other studio (we are only utilising the one at the present) as has the local pub landlord, (though that place is a sullen house of ill-repute to me now that I cannot drink), leaving myself and Paul as the only band members here. The effect is literally quite lonesome and one that can leave you feeling as if you have been extricated from the entire human race! Thank god then for reruns of ‘Top Gear’ on the entertainment channel over a hearty breakfast of garlic spinach and yeast-free toast. Another amusing thing to befall me was the box crammed full of goodies sent from Hustler magazine in conjunction with some reviews i have written for their May issue (along with Rob Zombie and John Carpenter), on the subject of ‘horror porn’. One of these, the incredible ‘Murder-Set-Pieces’, i have since got in contact with the director of, seeing as the film is absolutely amazing stuff, if not a tad disturbing. It is only available by mail order as it was refused classification in the States, despite it’s 2.2 million dollar budget. Anyway, i won’t ruin the surprise but instead will run the contact address…. but be warned! This is exceptional strong stuff indeed, ‘Film Threat’ describes it as the ‘most graphic film ever seen’, whilst ‘LA Weekly’ rates it as a ‘glitzy, simulated snuff movie with a supporting cast of real-life Las Vegas showgirls and prostitutes…’. It is definitely not one for the faint of heart or those who are easily offended. For those of you sick little puppies out there who fall under neither category, the web site address is ‘frightflix.com’. Anyway, my amusing tale is thus. Said delivery from Hustler came containing all manner of fruity goodies.. for example, aside from the films i had to review, there was a full Japanese Anime blow-up doll (which since has been put to good use, what with me falling asleep in the same room as it and our comical production duo- Fuckwit and Dobbin) as well as various Hustler memorabilia and wife restraining devices. Obviously something from the box just had to fall into my laundry basket, for when i went to retrieve my clothes from the washing machine, i was pleasantly surprised to find that the cleaner had not only done it for me, but she had hung everything out on racks to air. It was only at this point that i noticed that she’d put a tub of Eros masturbation jelly (unopened i hasten to add) on the tumble dryer for me to collect in full view of all and sundry. What a literal wanker i must have appeared… Gliding swiftly on then… last but not least, the album artwork. Well, considering we still haven’t fully decided on an album title (there are three or four strong contenders, ‘Shriek Of The Pterodactyl’ unfortunately not being one of them…), the cover isn’t finished as yet, but the majority of the inside booklet is. Sam Araya has done such a great job thus far that he will be also doing the colour plates illustrations for the ‘Gospel Of Filth’ which is, in itself, reaching the final stages of it’s completion, (yes i know, i will be putting some of it up for your appraisal shortly… ). The artwork can only be described as an eclectic mix of photomontage and painting, giving the pictures (and portraits) an ethereal colour quality quite different to that of our previous albums. I think that is all i can muster for now, there is so much more to be immersed in, including sneaking into Rob’s suite and ‘borrowing’ his collection of ‘art’ magazines. Thank you for all your support during these strangest of days, I give you my word that this album will emerge the best yet, despite the influx of illness and ghostly goings on. You know we fucking love it (the spectral visitations, not the pox). All the best, Your fiend, Count Backwerdz, aka Dani Filth. P.S. Since writing this i have been subject to more eerie manifestations. Last night, i’d just had my delicious cup of rain forest herbal tea (for the ailment) and taken my pills and then as normal settled down to sleep with half a valium, the Frankenstein soundtrack floating somewhere in the background and teddy to keep me warm, when all of a sudden there it was… the same child’s wind up toy that both Sarah and Dan had experienced earlier in the week, but this time tinkling away in my room. I leapt out of bed and ran to Rob’s room to try and catch him out (after all, i suspected all along that it was him planting the bloody thing somewhere in the numerable cupboards, as he alone hasn’t heard it), but low and behold, he’s on the phone and looks even more startled than me, especially as i’m in the nude. I have to admit, i was a little freaked out and having explored every conceivable cubby hole available, conceded the inevitable… we were being haunted. Rob is now eagerly awaiting his ‘turn’ on the phantom, as am I, just to have someone else experience the oddity and the sensation of having all the hairs on your arm standing to frigid, rigid attention. Ghost-watch here we come!