Cradle Of Filth - Dave Pybus

Cradle Of Filth - Dave Pybus

It is not that quite often to have such an interesting discussion with a musician. Sometimes the discussion follows a pre-defined path with multi-used questions and predictable answers. But not this time. We had the privilege to talk to CRADLE OF FILTH’s Dave Pybus for almost everything. In fact, the interview got very long and turned into a witty discussion that lasted more than it is written below. Many things were said that would not be appropriate to be included here...

Let’s start by asking a rather ‘usual’ question; CRADLE OF FILTH have changed their sound through the years and some fans have lost their interest…
Yeah, a lot of people are complaining that the band sounds different... but, it is not my fault...

What do you mean it is not your fault?
Well, I joined the band 10 years ago and all the other members left for their own reasons but the fans seems to have the impression that it was Dani who kicked them out.

So, what do you think about the fans’ reaction?
You know something, there are bands that I used to like and now they do not have the same sound or even lineup; so, I agree with the fans. But, what do you want me to do? Go home and not come to Chicago because the fans have a different opinion? They ask me to do a job and I just do it.

You’ve been with the band for 10 years so, do you feel CRADLE OF FILTH like a family or should I say you feel more like a session, although this is a ‘hard’ word to use?
Hmmm, that is a difficult question; it is difficult to describe the situation in words because people who are going to read what you have written might get the wrong impression. Obviously, people want music to be about emotion and something to come from the heart and nothing else. But, that will not pay my rent; unfortunately, music is business (also) and if I wasn’t earning money, I would not be here. When I was young, I wanted to just do music from the heart and I did not mind sleeping on the floor and eat shitty food; I’d do anything to be in a band, but now I am forty and I am not desperate.

You know something, people have to learn this stuff because they are bands out there you say to the fans that is all about music. Fans should always have the realistic side of things…
Let me tell you something that is a little bit embarrassing; until I was about 28 years old, I was living with my parents, so if Heavy Metal or Rock ‘n’ Roll is based on the good will of your mom, is not that Metal... If Kerry King or James Hetfield were still living with their parents just to make music from the heart, would it be cool? No, you want to have some pride and be independent. I do not want to live with my parents, so you can think I am pure, this is a stupid concept.

I think if the bands would be more honest and say things like that then the fans would have a different point of view of things.
Maybe this is why people like me don’t do that many interviews; because I speak honestly. This might hurt some people from Black Metal, but I am sorry, this is the truth. When CRADLE OF FILTH is onstage it is a band. But, when we were off stage we do not hang out. And being on the road is kind of difficult; 12 people leaving in a place that is smaller than this room all undressed in the morning, with no food and shower... Would you do that with 12 people from work? No! We are doing this for 8 years and people think this is funny. I am sick of it and I am sick of looking at Paul’s ass…(laughs). You are seeing my face and you do understand that I m joking about it. Because people who are going to read this may think that I am a miserable guy; I am not, I am just being honest. Don’t forget that I am British and our sense of humor is kind of bizarre...

I know what you are saying… So, let’s get more serious and let me ask you how is the tour going so far?
It has been great. Obviously with the economic crisis we had a lot of warnings for low ticket sales and that it would be bad. Of course the pre-sales are weak and the promoters are getting anxious, but on the day of the concert things turn to be very good.

So, does the promoters’ anxiety reach you?
Of course it does. We are worried for how many people are we going to play for. It is not good to play in a venue with people only in the front rows. It is bad for the energy and for the band.

But, in some countries the ticket prices are very high.
Yeah, nowadays you cannot go to more than one concert per month. So, if a promoter sees the low ticket sales he will think it twice to bring the same band next year. I do not know who is to blame, the downloading or maybe they are just too many bands playing the same riffs. Not that the music is bad; on the contrary, the music is brilliant but how can a fan follow that many bands?

Yeah, things have really changed it the music industry. Let’s move on to the new album; what was your contribution since Paul have told me that he wanted to have some input from the rest of the band.
Paul did most of the song writing but he asked for ideas and opinions. It is very simple you know, this process. But, it takes a lot of time to demo the material and especially when you are dealing with 15 songs. It is a lot of work but everyone is contributing to the music.

I have another kind of difficult question for you if you don’t mind; Heavy Metal is mainly based on the guitars, so what is the bassist’s contribution to a band like CRADLE OF FILTH?
Not a lot, since there is not much room.

You are using a five string bass?
Yes, mostly because the old bassist wrote a lot of five string parts and since we are playing live some old material I have to use it. Usually, I use just the four strings. But, if you think that the drumming, the guitars, the keyboards, the orchestration and also Dani’s lyrics are intense you can understand why there is no room. I don’t have an ego to want to play faster and better than everyone else; I just want to play the song, you know? But, I can drink more… (laughs)

What about the stage show; what will the Chicago fans experience tonight?
Actually, nothing! Due to the situation with the previous show (in the noon) in House Of Blues and the early start there is not time to get everything out of the trucks. And that is a shame for Chicago. We also have to play a shorter setlist due to the early curfew.

So, you are going to play live after GOSPEL BRUNCH (a noon show held weekly at House Of Blues), a Christian band?
It is kind of an interesting opening band (laughs). I watched them for a while and, I am not a religious person, but it was interesting to see the effect this music has onto people’s minds. It is crazy, it is like a drug.

Religion is such a big topic and definitely not for an interview.
Yeah, and sometimes you want to say stuff that many people won’t like to hear.

Nevertheless, you said before that is hard to be on the road, so how much time do you need to recover when you are back home?
First of all, I have to tell you that I am always drunk on tour. And that is good you know, because I am not getting sick (laughs). The last two days the rest of the band has some stomach problems and maybe it was something we ate. But, not me. Maybe the germs lost their way due to the alcohol (laughs)... so, I need about a week to get the adrenaline out of my system. When you are on the road you build a wall to protect yourself emotionally and switch everything off. And when you return home this wall stays for a while and people around you do not understand it. You are not that talkative and drink too much and that looks a little bit strange since people think that being on the road is just cool and easy going. Now that I am older things are easier; when I was young I was feeling depressed after a tour without all the excitement.

The European tour comes next; so, will they be any changes on the setlist and the show?
We are going to do the summer festivals, so the setlist has to be shorter. This is difficult for the band that has a long back catalogue. And the fans are always displeased with your choices, but sometimes there is nothing you can do. Just like today, we have to even play a shorter setlist due to the early curfew. We have to get off stage by 22:30. The fans do not know this kind of stuff and some of them might start complaining in the internet. But, it is not our fault since we do not have control on this. The situation with the internet has gone a little bit out of hand nowadays. There are posting on the Facebook whatever it comes to mind without thinking. They can film a song from a show and the next minutes post it on YouTube. It’s crazy...

Indeed, the young kids have everything in their grasp and want everything the moment they ask for it…
They are so anxious to get something from you that they do not get ‘no’ for an answer. Sometimes you need some time to just get to the toilet after being on the tour bus for so long but if you say 'hold on a minute' they are going to be mad at you. They have such a short patient compared to us when we were young.

Indeed, we had to wait for our computer to get the game running through a cassette player…
After waiting 20 minutes you got an error message and you had to reload it again! (laughs) But, we did and never smashed the thing. Nowadays, the kids just get online and play games with people all over the globe.

Now we sound way too old…
No, they just have to feel some empathy with the band and that’s all. We are traveling away from home, we have to deal with the time change, we have weather issues... and here in the US the weather gets from hot to freezing...

Did you have a rough time during the blizzards that hit the US?
We were traveling from Calgary to Denver through the mountains and I tell you it was scary. Bad things cross your mind and sometimes you cannot even sleep and drink more to forget about it and then you get ill...

It is like a cycle…
Yeah it is. And people have to understand it is just a band playing music, it is not the end of the world. There are more important thins in the world than an album. Sometimes this is also a problem with the musicians who think that the world owes them a favor just because they wrote 10 songs. Come on, we are just musicians, it is not such a big deal. Musicians have big egos sometimes...

This is a big discussion, you know and it cannot be covered in an interview…
Yeah it is. At least, you understand this stuff because there are many who don’t. They expect to be something like John Lennon like a god and what you are saying is the truth. Who cares what you say... (laughs)

This was build back in the old days without the internet, when stories were being passed around mouth to mouth, getting bigger and bigger and more exotic each time.
Of course, and bands could play with that; like THE ROLLING STONES when they decided not to do interviews for 5 years. That made them look more mysterious and cool whereas if we’d do that then they would say ‘Fuck ‘em we are going to interview ARCH ENEMYor someone else.

One more question for you; do you have the summer festival date scheduled?
Actually, it is slowly taking shape. We have a show in Greece, but you won’t be there (laughs). We are going to play only one show but we would like to play to Thessaloniki.

Yeah, things are pretty rough in Greece and I think the promoters are dealing the situation as they should. I mean the ticket prices are very high and they should lower them and get more people in the venue. That could give them a bigger profit.
Of course, but they do not understand this. I do not know it seems like a lose-lose situation.

Ok, Dave it is time to end this very interesting interview.  Thank you so much for your time!
You have to know guys this is the first face-to-face interview I have done for maybe two or three years. I do not them anymore, so I was kind of surprised when someone asked for me. But it is nice to talk even though people normally do not listen to my opinion. So, I have to thank you for the opportunity to talk for anything but the album. Maybe this is why I am not doing that many interviews (laughs).