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DANI FILTH On CRADLE OF FILTH’s Collaboration With ED SHEERAN: ‘It’s Very Catchy, But It’s Very Heavy At The Same Time’

Vocalist Dani Filth of British extreme metal titans CRADLE OF FILTH spoke to Australia’s Metal Roos about the band’s long-awaited collaboration with British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran. Regarding how the pairing came about, Dani said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “What happened was, see, he released a record with [the single] ‘Bad Habits’ on [it], and he was a vampire in [the song’s accompanying music video]. And he was on a big, big — I can’t remember what it was, some huge interview he did, and they asked him about his growing up, and he said he was into CRADLE and SLIPKNOT. And somehow our managers got in contact and put me in contact with him, ’cause he was an old fan. And then we decided it’d be fun to do a collaboration, which actually got off the ground — a year later, we actually did it. And that was done like a year and a half ago.”

On the topic of when CRADLE OF FILTH‘s collaboration with Sheeran will finally see the light of day, Dani said: “It was going on this [upcoming CRADLE OF FILTH] record, but chances are, because we don’t wanna delay our record any longer than it can, it’ll probably go on a special edition. And that is because Ed‘s taking a blackout this year — totally no musical output. And, of course, you can’t release it at the same time… His management were just, like, ‘You’ve gotta appreciate, you can’t release your single at the same time as one of Ed‘s singles, because it kind of defeats the purpose of it.’ So there’s a reasoning behind that, but it’s not gonna delay the inevitable. It’s a great song anyway. And it just keeps people guessing a little bit longer. But it also shows that we’re not using it as a vehicle for the record, which I was very keen to stress that, yeah, he’s one of the biggest artists in the world, and yes, we’ve done a thing with him, [and] yes, everybody’s very curious about it, but at the same time, I don’t want it to overshadow what we’re doing. ‘Cause it’s not a novelty song, although the ideology behind it is very novelty, and I love the juxtaposition of the marriage of extremes — you know, like, who the hell would do this? Well, us, for a start. So I’m happy with that. And I’m happy with the fact that it gets released under its own stream. I mean, obviously everybody will make a big meal of it because it is what it is, but it kind of takes the onus of us making a meal of it.”

Asked if he thinks Ed Sheeran fans are going to be “a little bit in for a shock” when they hear the song, Dani said: “I think so. I think they’re gonna be in for a shock because it’s still an extreme song. There’s still a blast beat on it. But it does sound like Ed Sheeran; it really does. It sounds like Ed Sheeran singing with us. And he’s got some breakdowns in it. He plays acoustic guitar. It’s very catchy, but it’s very heavy at the same time.”

This past January, Dani told Poland’s Pełna Kulturka about CRADLE OF FILTH‘s next studio album: “It’s a very heavy record. We just upped the game as a band. We moved one step further toward the future from our previous record. We see everything as an evolution, everything as an evolutionary step, everything as a necessary link in the chain. And this album’s gonna be an important record for us — our first for Napalm Records, if you discount, obviously, the live record… But expect the first single probably about September, October time.”

Asked if he had heard Sheeran‘s collaboration with BRING ME THE HORIZON on a new version of the former’s “Bad Habits” song, Dani said: “I did hear it, yeah. They decided to do that after we started working [with Ed]. ‘Cause we actually did the song with Ed over a year ago now. And before then, the idea happened off the back of ‘Bad Habits’, the album. So, it’s been about two and a half years, and it’s probably gonna be three and a half years before anybody actually hears the song. But it is what it is. Obviously, he’s one of the biggest artists in the world, and we have to kind of abide by his rules because… He’s a lovely guy — don’t get me wrong — but his management, obviously, have his vested interest at heart. And I think this year he’s taking a complete year off. And obviously we want him in the video, so if that’s gonna happen, we have to release that single with him on next year. But that’s not gonna affect the rest of the album.”

Filth originally broke the news about potentially working with the 33-year-old singer/songwriter, who is one of the most successful musicians on the planet, during an interview with Kerrang! Radio“Breakfast Show” at the 2021 Bloodstock Open Air festival in the U.K. At the time, Dani said: “I’ve actually been e-mailing with [Ed]… He actually touched base with me. I’ve been invited up to his place. Well, he said he could come down to mine, but I pointed out to him that I don’t own my own bar or village, and it’d be better if I went there.

“He said he’d do anything,” he added. “Quite literally. He said he’s a massive fan. He seems like a genuinely very nice guy actually.”

Filth went on to say the prospect of collaborating with someone like Sheeran is not as far fetched as one might think. “We’ve always been like that,” he explained. ‘If someone tells us not to do something, then we’ll do it. That’s been our prerogative the whole time. I did this rap song with this band called TWIZTID in America. It’s actually turned out more like RAMMSTEIN and BEASTIE BOYS than full-on rap. So, in that respect, I think it the Ed Sheeran collaboration would be great fun. I think it’d be great if we did it for charity, because at least it would bring a bit of credibility to it. Because obviously to his public, it’d be, like, Oh my god, he’s got this weird comical guy,’ and to my public it’d be, like, ‘Oh my god, this is a bit weird, isn’t it? But I think that sort of thing nowadays works.”

In July 2021, Sheeran floated the possibility of exploring a more extreme musical path while speaking to The Sun. He said: “I was really into death metal as a kid. I listened to CRADLE OF FILTH and SLIPKNOT and all that stuff. I’m not saying I could ever step into that world. I learnt all those riffs on guitar as a kid. That’s something I’ve never thought about doing — but something I would not be opposed to creating.”

Sheeran had previously dabbled in a variety of genres, including rock, dance, rap and reggae.

After The Sun published Sheeran‘s comments, Filth posted a screenshot of an article headlined “Ed Sheeran is open to recording a death metal album after spending his youth listening to CRADLE OF FILTH” and wrote in an accompanying caption, “I’ll believe it when I see it. Fellow Suffolk lad could come good in the end. ‘Dracula’s Castle On The Hill’ anyone?”

Last May, Dani was asked by BLABBERMOUTH.NET if he envisions the next CRADLE OF FILTH studio album staying in the same vein as “Cryptoriana” or “Existence Is Futile”. He responded: “It’s not going to be a million miles away from that. I’ve been working on some of the material today. We’re putting the finishing touches on the songs we’re going to record, whether all of them make the grade or not. It has a ‘Dusk… And Her Embrace’ vibe to them. Musically, it plays across ‘Dusk’ and ‘Midian’, but lyrically, and the vibe of it, it has a ‘Dusk… And Her Embrace’ feel to it. I don’t know why. History repeats itself. Maybe it’s because we wrote ‘Dusk’ around this particular time of year, but it has that vibe. It sounds great, but I would say that, wouldn’t I?”

In April 2023, CRADLE OF FILTH released its first live album in over 20 years, “Trouble And Their Double Lives”, via Napalm Records. The LP was recorded between 2014 and 2019 at different performances in the USA, Europe, Australia and beyond during the band’s “Cryptoriana” world tour and dates following. Produced, mixed and mastered by Scott Atkins at Grindstone Studios, with recording captured by Danny B, the effort not only features a slew of fan favorites encompassing the band’s discography but also two bonus tracks and two entirely brand new songs, “She Is A Fire” and “Demon Prince Regent”.

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