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Touring Live with Cradle of Filth Interview

Touring Live with Cradle of Filth Interview
August 19, 2013 (via Skype)

What a difference a year makes! When Sonic Cathedral last chatted with Canadian solo artist, Lindsay Schoolcraft, she had just released her Schoolcraft EP,Rushing Through The Sky, and performed for the first time in Europe as part of the special Eve’s Apple show at the tenth-anniversary edition of Metal Female Voices Fest. All good stuff, indeed. But Lindsay’s musical journey swerved in a decidedly unexpected and wonderful direction, when she was selected to be the live female vocalist and keyboardist for Cradle of Filth’s massive, worldwide tour.

Cradle of Filth


Sonic Cathedral’s Robin Stryker sat down with Lindsay Schoolcraft for a giggle-fueled glimpse at life on the road with Cradle of Filth. Want to know who the biggest prankster is, what secrets lurk on Dani Filth’s iPod, and how a tour-newbie reacted to the inevitable onstage disasters? Then dive in, and satisfy your curiosity!

Sonic Cathedral:  Sonic Cathedral is so happy to welcome back, Lindsay Schoolcraft! Lindz, you have had an insane week. For those people who are jealous of the über-SEXY life of a metal singer, tell what your week has been like.

Lindsay:  <laughs> Yeah, I don’t think anyone should be jealous because I’m thoroughly exhausted … well, okay maybe a little jealous in some parts. In the last seven days, I have been to three Inertia Entertainment concerts. I went to see Wintersun; I went to see Finntroll; and I went to see Seven Kingdoms (to see my Eve’s Apple sister, Sabrina) this past Saturday. But in between, I drove out to Chicago to host and sing at Dame-Nation with the girls in Eve’s Apple, so I’m pretty tired right now. But it was fun regardless!

Sonic Cathedral:  Tell us about the Dame-Nation festival. I understand that this was actually the first North American get-together for the women of Eve’s Apple.

Lindsay:  It went swimmingly! We had a set where we played a few covers, and I know there were a few originals in there, between VK Lynne and Mary Zimmer for Glittermortis. It was really good. We had a really great set, and it went as well as it did at Metal Female Voices Fest last October. It’s really cool to sing with a bunch of other chicks and to do all the harmonies. I really dig it.

Sonic Cathedral:  What I really want to get into with you, Lindz, is a behind-the-scenes look at your first world tour with Cradle of Filth. First off, what is the one thing that you wish you packed?

Lindsay:  That is a good question. I don’t remember now, but I remember being soooo mad because I forgot some minute toiletry. Oh wait, the one thing that I know I was definitely pissed that I didn’t pack was runners (or gym shoes) because I got so out-of-shape on the road. All I had were sandals and boots. <laughs> You can’t really work out in either of those, so I was pretty mad about not bringing runners. That was my biggest regret ... and again, the minute toiletry that doesn’t come to mind right now. I guess it wasn’t that important, but it was a pissy moment every time I needed it.


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Sonic Cathedral:  With airline baggage limits being rather small, how do you pack for a worldwide tour, where the weather may be hot in South America and chilly in Scandinavia?

Lindsay:  That’s so funny that you mention that because I actually had to steal a sweater out of merch in South America. In some places, you go from hot to cold because of the A/C. At one point … I think we were the first few days into the tour, and we didn’t sleep much … I turned to James [McIlroy, our guitarist], and I’m like: “Can I buy a sweater off of you? I’m so cold, and I’m gonna get sick.” <laughs>

In South Korea actually, we had just come from Taiwan (which is pretty heated), and it was like 5 degrees [41 degrees Fahrenheit]. It is not really a frigid temperature. But when you go from 30 degrees [86 degrees Fahrenheit] to 5, you’re FREEZING. We got out, and I froze the whole car trip to the hotel. You just kind of have to find a way to adapt, but you have got to be careful to not get sick.

Sonic Cathedral:  How do you amuse yourself on the road? Obviously, you’re going to all these cool places, but I dare say that you spend a lot more time on night-liners than frolicking around exotic cities.

Lindsay:  Well, yes and no. Granted, the whole tour, I didn’t get the tour bus experience because it was all planes. It was all fly in, fly out. It was pretty crazy and ridiculous. Honestly, for amusing myself, I was so tired all the time (from the early mornings and the flights) that I didn’t think about much, other than where I could curl up in a ball and sleep. But there were times that we did get to see cities. We saw Columbia, Argentina, Singapore, Taiwan, Brisbane -- we did get to see those places. But as far as amusing myself, one really cool thing that I got to do on tour is Dani let me borrow his iPod, and he opened me up to a bunch of new music that I’ve never heard before. That was really cool, and it kind of kept me sane for the second part of the tour. <laughs>

Sonic Cathedral:  Okay, so what is Dani’s iPod like? Please tell me he listens to something unexpected like show tunes!

Lindsay:  What kind of show tunes are we talking about?

Sonic Cathedral:  You know, Gilbert & Sullivan … something like that.

Lindsay:  Yeah and no. He has got good taste. There were a lot of movie soundtracks for some of his favorite movies, because he’s a big movie guy. There was a lot of really cool metal -- a lot of death metal, punk, and such. The only guilty pleasure that really was hilarious was Rihanna’s song, “Diamonds.” <laughs> That’s about it. We did have a lot of songs and tunes in common, which was really great. But the new stuff that expanded my mind is that Dani is really into soundtracks, and I listened to A LOT of that. It actually helped me sleep through some of those plane rides.

Sonic Cathedral:  Would you share with us some of your most treasured tour memories?

Lindsay:  Well, you never forget your first show! I will never forget how SCARED I was. The whole day, I was just nervous because I met Vortex, who used to be in Dimmu Borgir, the night before. His band Arcturus was opening for us, and meeting him was sooooo cool. The next day was the long day of the first show, and I’ll never forget pulling out my Black Milk leggings (the Cathedral ones) and going up to Dani like: “Dani, is it okay if I wear these on stage?” And he knew they were Black Milk, which was so FUNNY. <laughs> Yeah, I was just so scared. But after I sang “Nymphetamine,” the crowd was yelling my name. I was like “OH. MY. GOD.” That’s when I felt like I belonged. I will never forget that memory.

Columbia was beautiful. We had a full day in Columbia, and it was so nice there. Hmmmm, other things that I remember … the Brazil show was really good -- the crowd was great, and it was a good set. Oh man, there are so many good memories! So many … like South Korea was just a blast! Australia was amazing because we had three days off in Brisbane, so we got to see the koala sanctuary. The whole stretch of Australia was WILD. Australians definitely know how to party and know how to appreciate their metal.

I had so many good memories on tour, but I think one of my favorite memories is the day that me and Dan had a screaming lesson. He taught me a little bit about how he screams, and he taught me a little bit more about how to scream, which is kind of like he got the ball rolling on the itch for me to be a metal screamer. But I’m not going to risk my years of opera singing. <all laugh> But there were a lot of good moments when we had some hilarious laughs. There was this thing that Paul Allender did where he would imitate a German character, and I would just laugh so hard that I couldn’t even breathe. Those were great memories!


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Sonic Cathedral:  Did you have a prankster on the crew?

Lindsay:  Yeah, Dan, CLEARLY. Dani was the one pulling all the pranks.

Sonic Cathedral:  <laughs> What is his best prank from the tour? I hope you weren’t the victim of too many pranks.

Lindsay:  I never was the victim until Bulgaria when, one day, they thought it would be funny to corner me in a room, and throw peanuts at me for fun. That sucked, but it wasn’t that terrible. The biggest prank on tour …. hmmmm … I know Dani tried to pull a few pranks on Big Martin, our tour manager, but it didn’t really happen.

The one that Dan did do is, in Indonesia, he stole some cardboard cut-outs. There are actually pictures of him with cardboard cut-outs of Cannibal Corpse, and we got to party with them that night. But anyway, he stole the cardboard cut-outs from the lobby and put them up in front of people’s doors. Then he’d knock, and run away. <Robin laughs>

He did that one night -- it was the night we had to get back early from Epica because we had to get up early the next morning for sound check. So, we watched Epica, and then we left before Obituary hit the stage. (I really wanted to see Obituary.) I’m supposed to go to bed, but Dani was like <English accent>: “Oh my god, I have the greatest idea ever!” So, we’re running through the halls with these stupid cardboard cut-outs. Finally, I got to bed, and fell asleep to the sound of Obituary rattling the windows in my hotel because we had the hotel next to the festival grounds. He made me laugh so hard! He is telling me not to laugh because I’ll blow the prank, and I’m like: “Dude, I can’t NOT laugh.” Yeah, he’s a real joker. He has got too much time on his hands sometimes, I’ll tell you.

Sonic Cathedral:  Cradle of Filth is obviously a band that is well-known for its stage look. As the sole girl in the touring band, did you find yourself breaking out your make-up kit to get the guys ready for the show?

Lindsay:  Yup, but they all pretty much took care of themselves. Some days, Dani was in rough shape, and I might have helped him out. But it was pretty much a normal day for me because I’ve always been on the darker side, and everybody knew the routine <scratchy voice>: “Okay, I’ve gotta get dressed up now and put on my big boots.” Everybody had their routine, and knew what had to be done. I mean, it was easy for me.

In the beginning, I was like “oh shit, I don’t know what to do; I don’t know how to look.” And then I started googling old pictures of the band -- “oh, I need to look like THAT.” It just came together. I mean, I won’t go out on a normal night now to a local bar here in Oshawa or a Toronto concert, and actually look like I did on stage. I might wear some of the stage clothes because it’s part of what I like to wear, but I won’t actually go full-out with the crazy eyeliner like we used to.

But for the stage look, I was like “oh god, how do I look?!” After a while, I just went with it. It was fun; it was really fun for me. It was kind of like being in the black metal circus. I don’t know. It was RAD.


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Sonic Cathedral:  Inevitably in any tour, there is at least one on-stage disaster. Did you have any, and if so, how did you play it off?

Lindsay:  <laughs> There were a few! The first terrible on-stage disaster was my second show in Guatemala. My keyboard stand broke, and the keyboard hit the floor. Surprisingly, the sustain pedal and the power bar still stuck in the keyboard. I am on my knees still playing the keys for “Tragic Kingdom”. It was the FIRST song of the set, and it scared the living bejeezus out of me. It was my second show ever, and there I am down on the floor playing “Tragic Kingdom”. Luckily Big Martin came up, and he lifted it up for me to my height, and then they fixed the stand and everything.

After that, Dan caught wind of what happened … I think at that show, he actually flew into the crowd, and he said he regrets doing that because he got his in-ear [monitor] ripped out ... but he also pranked me that night too because he knew how scared I was after that happened. He kept doing this thing where, every time it was my part to sing, he’d point at me and stare at me. I was like: “Dude, STOP. You are not making this any easier on me.”

The second disaster was in Argentina. My water bottle fell into the extension cord where all the plugs go in, and it turned off my keyboard. We had no keyboard, so I actually had to sing “Her Ghost in the Fog” completely a cappella, and sing some of the keyboard parts. <laughs> It was almost like a “Her Ghost in the Fog” acoustic version. The funny thing is, I think James and Paul didn’t even notice. After I got off stage, I was just head-in-the-corner of the room, so upset and apologizing like the Canadian that I am <exaggerated Canadian accent>: “Oh, I’m soooo sorry, ay.” Just being so apologetic, and they’re just laughing at me because they’re like: “It happens all the time. Everybody has those moments on the stage where shit gets fucked.” Right? That was the WORST.

The only other time a really bad stage incident was our first show in Australia. There wasn’t a lot of room on the stage, so I was right up against the backdrop. Every time I went to flip my hair back, it would hit the backdrop, and go right back in my face. That was really obnoxious. I was like: “Aaaaaah, I can’t see my keyboard!” It was really kind of strange.

Sonic Cathedral:  <laughs> We’ve talked about the trials by fire on tour. Now for the opposite … for you, what was the show where lightning struck, and the show was just magic?

Lindsay:  I want to say Brazil because it was the last show of the first leg of the world tour before we had a bit of a break. It felt RIGHT. I started really getting into it, but I think, after that is when every show became pretty magical. Granted, every time I was up on stage, it was magical regardless. But I really got into my own skin and what I felt needed to be done to be part of the live act with Cradle of Filth at that point. That was kind of when it clicked. I was new, and everybody had to get used to each other.

But after that, the guys would make faces at me. There were a few times when me and the bassist, Daniel Firth, I had to rely on him for cues. But by that time, I didn’t need him anymore; I didn’t even look at him. “I don’t need you anymore, buddy. It’s cool.” <laughs> Then we all just started making faces at each other. It was great! It was just so funny because every time the riser I was on, it would be a different height, especially at Hellfest. I was higher than the drummer! “Oh, this isn’t good.” I almost had a bit of vertigo at Hellfest. But yeah, it was kind of from that point [in Brazil] on. South America was great regardless. It helped me get into my own skin.


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Sonic Cathedral:  Speaking of getting into your own skin, there have been a number of female vocalists who have sung and toured with Cradle of Filth. When you were on stage, were you trying to stay faithful to the songs as they were first performed, or put your own spin on them? Second, what do you think of your predecessors?

Lindsay:  To answer the first part of your question, I did do my best to magnify what was done in the past. There are so many different styles (and I like singing in different styles), and I just tried my best to fit what happened in that part of Cradle’s discography over the years -- what happened in the studio, but just bringing it live. There were a lot of speeches, there was musical theater style a little bit, there was more classical style for “Her Ghost in the Fog” and the stuff on Midian with Sarah [Jezebel Deva]. As far as “Nymphetamine”, I know “Nymphetamine” was a big track, and it was sung by Liv Kristine. But I CAN’T sing like Liv Kristine; I just can’t. She has got a very unique voice, so I just did it in my own interpretation. I truly do love that song, so it was really scary for me, like: “Oh crap, I have to put my own take on this song. This is intense.” But I did my best.

As far as the second part of the question goes, when I was hired, I was truly intimidated because all these women who have contributed to Cradle of Filth over the years are all very talented, and I felt like I had really big shoes to fill. Even the past keyboardist and any past singer, they all did a wonderful job; they were all BRILLIANT. I was very nervous at first, but I have absolutely high respect for these women and what they’ve done and what they’ve created. I know Sarah was the longest-running female member, and she did a great job. She is a fantastic singer! Yeah, so I think they are all great, and I think they all had something really unique to add. I just wanted to be the best me I could be, but at the same time, almost pay tribute to whatever female voice was in that point of the set, because I didn’t want to take away from it. I also wanted to give Cradle their sound.

Sonic Cathedral:  It seems that despite the pranking, you and Dani got on like a house on fire! Is it true that we may be hearing his voice on your next Schoolcraft album.

Lindsay:  Yes! I actually was just talking with him today. He is absolutely hilarious; he makes me laugh! We are really, really good friends. You know, we see eye to eye … and I’m not just saying that because we’re almost the same height. <laughs>

Sonic Cathedral:  <laughs> I was thinking that, but didn’t dare say it out loud.

Lindsay:  No no, I get it. Me and Dan-Dan see eye to eye on a lot of things in life, in music, in culture, in goth culture, in pop culture, in philosophy, in spirituality. You name it, we get each other. It is really nice. I have said this before to other people in other interviews, but we obviously are not the same age -- he just turned 41, and I’m many years younger than him. But if we did go high school together, we would be the best friends in high school who hung out. The two rejects in high school, if you want to put it that way.

Dani is doing “Fading Star” with me now. As far as “Fading Star” goes, I don’t believe it will be on the next Schoolcraft album, but it will be a free download that is (hopefully) scheduled to come out within the next month. It has taken a bit of a delay because my producer is moving his studio, so it’s understandable. I also have been a busy bee, so I haven’t exactly always been able to be on top of things as much as I’d like to be. Scott just did the drums last night, and I just did all the backing vocals last night. So, it’s done, but it still needs to be mixed, mastered, and then we’re going to release it as a free track.

I am so excited to release it! It is the new sound and direction for Schoolcraft, and it’s just such an honor to work with Dan. He was so easy to work with, and I think his voice is the best it’s ever been. He has done a lot to really get it to where he wants it to be, I do believe. So yeah, it would be cool to do more songs with him in the future. Only time will tell that, but I’m just so honored and happy that I was able to do a song with him. Truly.

Sonic Cathedral:  If “Fading Star” is not slated for the next Schoolcraft album, where in the process is the next Schoolcraft release?

Lindsay:  I am not too sure. Uhm, I’ve been playing with things here and there. I am not 100%, but sometime next year for sure. It HAS to happen next year; there is no getting away from that. <laughs>

Sonic Cathedral:  Have you noodled around at all with doing a little bit of growling on the new Schoolcraft to try out your new skills?

Lindsay:  Not yet. I can’t really growl. I do a wicked Dani Filth impression (I’ve been told), especially when I’m drunk.


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Sonic Cathedral:  I will test that out at Metal Female Voices Fest, Lindz.

Lindsay:  Oh yes, you will! Seriously, I dare ya. He taught me all the great things about Dani Filth, and he was actually kind of pissy that I picked them up so easily. <laughs> He used to go: “It took me years to be able to figure that out.” And I’m just getting it right away, like his high howls and his low grunts. He was like: “I don’t get it, how you’re picking it up so fast!” And I’m like: “Dude, I’ve been doing this for eight years. Opera singers -- we got it down. We know what’s up.”

The only growl I actually did with Cradle of Filth’s live set was at the end of “Lilith Immaculate”, kind of by accident. The last word in the speech after the main vocal line -- “[t]he cursed twin serpents mine” -- I just growled “mine”. But that never was supposed to be growled. That was just me, so in the moment, because Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa is my FAVORITE Cradle of Filth album. And the fact that we played that song live … <laughs> if we had played the whole album live, I would have been like: “Oh my god!” But obviously, that doesn’t happen in the real time. So the fact that we just did one song (and the strongest song on the album), I just got sooooo into it, and it was completely by accident.

Sonic Cathedral:  Lindsay, how long did it take you before you stopped feeling like: “Oh my god, I’m on stage with CRADLE OF FILTH”?

Lindsay:  It still hasn’t stopped. Some nights I will be back in Canada, playing my piano or whatever … doing the dishes, doing laundry, you name it … and I’ll think: “What the fuck?! I’m part of Cradle of Filth!” <all laugh> Then I’ll get an email or iMessage from Dani, and be like: “Yeah, I am.” But sometimes it just psyches me out because Cradle has been such a big band. There is such a history there, and I can’t think of anybody around my age range who didn’t know who Cradle of Filth was, especially in my area. EVERYBODY knows who Cradle of Filth is. It is strange. Still to this day, I’ll go back and watch some live videos, and I’ll get chills. I was just so honored to be part of that.

Sonic Cathedral:  You recently participated in your first music video. What was that like?

Lindsay:  My other band, Daedalean Complex (which is very symphonic black metal), they are from Quebec City. I have done some stuff with them on the side for years now. They have toured with my old band, and they’re still going. (They had a few line-up changes, but they’re still going.) They recently did a music video for their new album, and it turned out fantastic! It was my first time acting and being in a music video, so I was kind of nervous. But it went pretty okay. It was really cool!

Sonic Cathedral:  Folks who want to get the Lindsay Schoolcraft live experience in the very near future can catch you and your Eve’s Apple sister at Metal Female Voices Fest in October. Can you give us any hints about what is in store for us without spoiling the surprise?

Lindsay:  It is going to be even bigger than last year. Apples who couldn’t make it last year will be coming this year, so that is pretty big. I know that MFVF this year is gonna be probably one of their best years, from what I’m seeing of the line-up. I mean, TARJA is going to be there!

Sonic Cathedral:  And Liv Kristine, so that will be fabulous and fun.

Lindsay:  I can’t wait to go up to her and meet her! I don’t know, I am kind of star-struck: “Uhm, that song you did with the band I play for … it’s AMAZING.” <laughs> It is so weird, because I am going to be totally star-struck to meet her. And I’m really looking forward to Leaves’ Eyes. They are fantastic! Floor is going to be there with ReVamp, so it’s just going to be brilliant.

Sonic Cathedral:  My friend, do you have any final words for your fans out in Sonic Cathedral-land?

Lindsay:  The fans have been fantastic through everything. I want to thank the people who have been there from Day 1, who showed up when I released my first set of music, to the fans who came through with Cradle of Filth to now. You all are fantastic, and you’ve been so supportive and humble and sweet! I couldn’t be more grateful for the fans, the readers, you guys at Sonic Cathedral, my sisters at Eve’s Apple, and my musical family. There are so many people who have been so good to me, and I couldn’t be more grateful for them.

Sonic Cathedral:  Well, we are grateful for you blocking out time to chat with Sonic Cathedral tonight. Thank you so much, Lindsay!

Lindsay:  Any time!

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Photo credit (promo shots): Angela Infernale

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