May 12 2017
Interview with Lindsay Schoolcraft of Cradle of Filth and Antiqva
May 12 2017
Photos by Melissa Matheson Photography.
Headdress: Hysteria Machine
Makeup: Kat Von D Beauty
Dress: Rohmy Couture
Resident Rock Star Magazine: So, tell me about the new Cradle album...
LS: The thing is that Dani is being super mysterious at this point. I don’t even know the name. I know some of the song titles. But it is done and it’s being delivered to our label in a few days. And it came together quite well. The guys did such a good job. I only appeared on half of the album, so that is only what was presented to me. I haven’t even actually heard the other half of it yet. It went well, it was very quick, but I know what the guys had in mind. They had a vision for this album and they just went for it. My say in the album wasn’t as big as Hammer of the Witches, but that doesn’t bother me because if you have a collective and these people are just making magic, sometimes there is no point in trying to intervene when it’s just turning out great anyway. So, I just trusted the guys and let them do their own thing on this album. We did have a bunch of guest musicians on this album. There were obviously some speeches I did again and I did some singing. A lot along the lines of what we did with “Right Wing of The Garden Triptych.” There are some operatic parts. It was really cool. It was like what has been done before. I didn’t get pushed in a direction to do anything differently. Dani was very on point. Like his vocals, they came out great. He just focused on that for like two months and he came out and did a great performance. I think the guitarists pushed themselves a little bit more than they did on the last album. I think the last album they felt like they had to prove themselves which we all felt collectively, but on this new album I think they are like, ‘ok yeah, I know what I’m doing now and Hammer of the Witches went over really well. So, they kind of pushed themselves a little bit further to really put people in awe. I listen to the guitar parts and I’m like ‘wow’, they really pushed themselves, and it sounds cool.
RRS: Tell us about your current lineup and how the band has changed over the years.
LS: What I like about our current lineup- and it’s been going on for over three years now- is that you can distinctively tell the difference between Rich and Ashok and that’s what’s cool about our current lineup. I understand the fans anxiety about new members coming in but I’m here to stay. I’m not leaving any time soon; I want to stay in Cradle as long as I can. It’s a big part of my life. So, it’s nice with the current lineup we are like, just a family. I tell everyone I have three brothers and we all get along and it’s really laid back. And I think that’s what this lineup really needed was just laid back people that are hardworking and have a vision. That’s what we needed going forward.
RRS: Do you know when the album is going to come out?
LS: We are looking for a September release but I don’t believe that is concrete yet. So, I’m not sure what’s going on. I know Dani is discussing everything with our label right now and we are trying to get a solid plan of when it comes out. But it’s going to be a new chapter. We were in the Czech Republic writing this album together for a week, and the entire time Dani was reading certain books, I was watching Penny Dreadful and the whole theme that came about was Victorian horror. We went to Latvia recently and did our music video, and I think it’s going to be the most visually stunning music video that we’ve ever had. I was looking at the play back and it was looking better than our Nymphetamine music video. This is insane, because of that the imagery has tied into the whole thing. I feel like we did our best on our budget for Hammer of the Witches visually and artistically. I’m very proud of that album, but I think this time, visual wise, sound wise, and theme wise, we’ve been very cohesive and moving forward it’s going to make a lot of sense. So, I thought it was funny, all this weird literature and film and TV shows influenced us to bring it to the final stages. I won’t even lie, like Vanessa Ives, the character in Penny Dreadful, I’ve taken a lot of my style and my character from her and it’s just this made up fictional character that ties into Victorian horror but I think I related a lot. I’m on season three now and you can’t watch it in North America so it’s a treat for me when I travel to Europe because it’s available on Netflix there. But I relate so much to her because she’s, you know, other than Satan wanting to possess her--that’s not one of my problems, thankfully--she’s this character that’s so dark and misunderstood and she has a good heart, and at the end of the day she just wants to be accepted for who she is, and I can just relate so much to her on that level. Kind of like being a black sheep, so I just kept relating so much to her and then I was like oh shit like I’m taking from her style, like I’m taking from her way of talking and it’s just hilarious. Even Dani started to notice it and started calling me Miss Ives, and I’m just like whatever it’s a cool character to be based upon for the character in this new album.
RRS: Isn’t that what is so great about fiction?
LS: I think so, and I think in a way everyone can relate to other characters. Like everyone can relate to Dorian Gray, I mean nobody wants to grow old. And like Frankenstein, pushing the boundaries of your dreams and science and death. I think everyone in that show is so applicable. When I think of Ethan being a werewolf, I think that a lot of people struggle with drugs and alcohol addiction, they can relate to Ethan because it’s just like all the sudden he steps over the edge and turns into this monster that he can’t control and he’s so ashamed of it. Penny Dreadful is a very relatable show and I look at the stories and the new Cradle album and what Dani was writing, and I don’t want to give too much away because it is very beautiful, and you read these stories, and he always puts these stories in his songs, and you’re just like WOW, these people are going through some serious shit in a very magical and elegantly tragic way. So, it’s a big part of us for this next album.
RRS: Can you tell me anything about the video you mentioned?
LS: I can’t say song titles yet. I know it hasn’t been released to the public, but it is visually stunning and I think our best one to date. We worked with Arturs Berzins from Latvia and he’s an incredible artist and he was nervous to do it but I told him “listen, you got this”, and the final product is coming out great so it was a nice experience but we didn’t get to see Latvia, it was like four long days and we barley slept.
RRS: It must be terribly torturous to not be able to share what’s going on!
LS: Yeah everyone’s up on toes because we are under new management now and the guy is doing a great job and everything is very secretive and I want to respect Cradle’s plans and Dani’s plans. And I’m just thinking of what I can talk about because it’s already been public and giving my perspective on that. I won’t lie this August, the press wheel starts rolling for the new album, so you are kind of helping me gather my thoughts and get prepared for that, so I appreciate it.
RRS: So, tell me about your new side project?
LS: Ok So the new side project... I’m so excited to finally talk about it. When I was on tour back in 2015, I became close friends with Xen from Ne Obliviscaris and we had kind of talked about, well I wouldn’t say woes, but about what we wanted to do differently, and for some reason during our grim adventures, everything kept lining up. It’s like, well if I had a band, or if I had a project this is what I’d want, and he’s like, that’s exactly what I want too! So finally, we went out for a night in Rome and we had a great time. We missed the last train out of Rome and we had to walk back for three hours, which completely busted up my shoes, but during that time we decided, we are going to start a project together because it just makes sense. Now, the thing with Xen, is he comes from a black metal background which I’m a huge fan of. The thing with me is, as a composer and what I do, I am fascinated by the things that I can’t do. Which is a lot of electronic music and guitar and drum heavy music, and black metal seems to have become a super guilty pleasure for me lately. But it shouldn’t be a guilty pleasure it’s just my new obsession and I’m loving it. You know my background is classical with a bit of main stream rock but I’m all about a side of me that a lot of people don’t know about. I pitched it to Cradle of Filth and they didn’t feel it was right for Cradle. So, I said that’s ok. I like to write for Gregorian Chant and Orthodox Chant. I love writing choral arrangements, I like writing this dark, heavy, classical music inspired by Vagner and Carl Orff, and I felt that some of the stuff I was composing especially with the church organ and stuff, it wasn’t meant for Cradle of Filth and I felt like it would go much better in a black metal outfit. So, that’s it we are starting a project, and I went home and wrote two compositions, and at the time they were just horrible because I was just learning how to program strings and it was a learning process for me. Stepping away from what I could contribute to Cradle of Filth, and you know I got to a point where I think it was just before Christmas that year, and I told Xen I’d written two songs, they are good length but the problem is I can’t go any further, we need a guitarist. So, we did a search, it took us forever… we had to go through some emails, we started the process of finding some people when we toured North America together with Ne Obliviscaris and the Butcher Babies. We decided on Urzorn from the band Negator as our guitarist and he has fit like a glove. I told him, I just want to fly to Germany and compose with him because it lines up so well, and then during that tour we also decided to recruit Justine Ethier from Blackguard as our drummer and collaborator with me, because she also has a classical background. She used to conduct the percussion end of orchestras. So, as you can see, this project turned into a super group. At that point we decided to name the project Antiqva with a V because we have to keep it kult. The reason for that is because the concept of the music is we want to bring back the live symphonic sound in a retro way, so it’s like old-school black metal sounds meeting a very old-school approach to classical music but not programmed. Everything recorded in a church with small string sections and small choirs and it seemed at the time like an impossible dream because this was just what me and Xen wanted. We’re like we need this, and this is what is missing in music today, and this is what black metal is missing, and this is what classical is missing, and this is what symphonic metal is missing. At the time, we were like ‘this is an impossible dream’, but then we found out that Justine had some connections and could help us, so we’ve decided to make Montreal kind of our hub for the symphonic end and Urzorn is from Germany so we think that is going to be our hub for the band setup end but also I think we are going to do better in Europe than in North America, but we’ll see, only time will tell. So, then the four of us got together and we’ve composed more than about half an hour of music now. But the thing is, this is everyone’s fun side project so there is no pressure, we work at it at our own leisure. There is no money, there is no ego. Everyone in this project is super sweet and easy to work with and funny and we all love the same music and we all love the vision. It’s been interesting because in the past five months we’ve completed the lineup. We’ve recruited Andy Thomas from Black Crown Initiate, to do atmospheric guitars and clean vocals but he also does growls, so live that is great. Then we got in Memnock who I do believe had some role in Mayhem back in the day. But he has his own project called Abyssic and he’s also part of Susperia. He’s from Norway and he plays the standup bass which is something that we want because it’s classically driven and he plays it with a bow, and we are just like ‘oh my god you are meant to be in this project’. Our other addition was Dalai. She’s the cellist of Dirty Granny Tales but she also plays cello for the Ocean Live and we wanted a cellist in there because there is a lot of cello sections and solos and live I think it would complete it. It’s turned into this super group and it’s grown bigger than we ever expected and its more obtainable than we thought. And I think me and Xen are sitting here now thinking ‘oh shit, this snowballed fast’, and it’s happening and we’re at the point now where we do have about 30 minutes of music and we are just trying to attain 45 and then we can move forward with pre-production. It’s just crazy.
RRS: When can we hear it?
LS: Soon! Well I mean, I don’t think we are going to release anything until it’s like DONE done, but I think once we make the public announcement there’s going to be sneak peeks released on our social media.
I’m excited about it. It’s just been something I can freely contribute to on my own time and I’ve had a blast collaborating with Urzorn and Justine. They are both very talented musicians and being a guitarist and drummer they kind of just share a brain which is cool too because even though they have never met before I would have to say that in the project they connect. They both just have this connection they both know exactly what they want to do compositionally wise. It’s cool and interesting for an international project for two people who have never met. Because we have members from Norway, Germany, America, Canada and Australia so it takes it to the next level of organization and I kind of have become kind of the organizer and delegator of tasks but it flows so easily because I enjoy it and the people are great to work with. And it’s been a fun learning process and I mean having like that international band but I’ve already had that experience dealing with Cradle of Filth and I think that’s why it’s becoming so easy.
RRS: Have you guys gotten as far as artwork yet?
LS: No, that will be Xen’s department because he’s a graphic designer, and he’s our front guy and our lyricist and I know he’s had ideas. I know he’s obviously finishing up stuff for Ne Obliviscaris because their album is due out soon. He said he is going to start working on vocals and lyrics. I know he has started on lyrics and ideas but he’s so secretive. He’s like I am not showing you anything until it’s like the final presentation and I’m like that’s fine, whatever. But it’s going to be nice because I am going to get to sing along with him and then we have Andy in the mix for like clean guy vocals and he has a beautiful voice. Interesting human being with a great voice, he’s just a character, so it’s going to be something special. I feel good about it and I’m excited. I’m just kind of stuck. I have one more composition and Urzorn has one more composition and we have about 45 minutes of music there, but I am struggling with this last piece because it’s very choir oriented. They are singing lyrics and there are choral arrangements and it’s a new challenge that I’ve never tackled it before. It’s kind of discouraging, but I know once I feel like if I just chip away at it every day it’s going to come to fruition. I’m so glad I have Justine around and her knowledge of classical music because she just knows what to do where, and when, and how, and she’s been a great mentor through this process. I feel grateful; Justine and Xen are two of my best friends and to be able to be in a musical project with two people you are so close to is something special.
RRS: Tell me about Karmageddon?
LS: Yeah, I was asked to come out and be a guest vocalist with Evig Natt performing their song Silence Falls which they have never played live before and I kind of rushed into it. It was part of my vacation and I just needed to get away; the Cradle album was done and because it was so much work I was just so tired and it was refreshing. But yeah we got to the festival and my approach to it was pretty laid back and the band was very grateful and they were so sweet. We just performed it with no rehearsal on stage. It went over well and then I just hung out at the festival the rest of the weekend and got to see a bunch of bands I’ve never actually seen live before.
RRS: Are you doing anything with your solo project, Lindsay Schoolcraft right now?
LS: Yeah I’ve got three months now until it’s due and my collaborator owes me about half of the material but he’ll get to it. I have faith in him, he’s a pro. He’s a Grammy award winning artist so he knows what he is doing. It’s just he is also doing my logo for me and my album art work, but you know, you can’t get to the image until the music is done, so that is something we are keeping in mind. It has been a long journey, I just completed lyrics for the last song this week. So now I am doing final touches on my end but it’s up to my collaborator until we can finish, but it’s coming along well. I’m proud of it. I think people will be excited about it but I don’t think it is something they expected, but maybe they did… who knows? It’s going to be out later this year. We will be announcing it June 2nd… I’m excited about it.
RRS: Do you have any other news you want to share with us?
LS: So, something that happened recently is, the original drummer for Evanescence, Rocky Gray, he has a movie coming out later this year called 103116 and it’s like a horror anthology. Very old school, I guess it would be a sort of ‘B horror’ thing. He’s been doing this kind of horror film stuff for a while now. He’s done music videos and he’s a very talented dude. He’s the one who gave Evanescence their sound on Fallen, he’s won Grammys, and he’s a fantastic dude, and he invited me to be on the soundtrack to do a song with him, which I am just over the moon about because this guy is one of my teen idols and he’s become like a mentor in a way. I call him Uncle Rocky as kind of a joke. It’s funny… Cool guy, really chill, really easy to work with. So, we are working on a song together and it’s turning out great. The other thing is that on this album, John LeCompt, the original guitarist alongside Ben Moody in Evanescence is on there doing a song with Carly Smithson who is the singer for We Are the Fallen, so it’s kind of like ‘wow’, I am taken aback, it’s kind of the biggest thing to do with my career right now.
We would like to thank Lindsay Schoolcraft for her time and take this opportunity to remind you to support music, support art and most of all support each other!
This has been an interview for www.residentrockstar.com and you can read part of this interview in the Summer issue #13 coming out late June early July 2017 and find out more about Lindsay Schoolcraft and her many projects at www.residentrockstar.com/schoolcraft