Interview: Lindsay Schoolcraft (CRADLE OF FILTH)
Levi: You’ve only been in the band 2 years, can you tell us how you got the gig?
Lindsay: Well it’s actually been two and a half years now, I was hired in January of 2013. It feels like yesterday but it’s not. I actually got very lucky, my predecessor had left the band, she’d moved onto some other gigs. She did kind of leave Cradle of Filth in a tight spot, they had a world tour coming up. They found me on Facebook through a friend, I fit the description, they were looking for a female who could sing and play keyboards and I guess I kind of fit into the genre and had the look. They found me and they offered me the gig. At the time it was just a temporary spot but here I am two and half years later and I’ve had a chance to record and be on the new album.
Levi: Were you recording and gigging much before you got the offer?
Lindsay: It was kind of like Christmas morning when I got the gig, actually it was a week before Christmas. I’ve always been a musician I made the decision when I was 15 years old in high-school that music was going to be my life. I’ve made very many transitions since then. I started with punk music I played bass and sang in an all-girl punk band in my high-school years. We played Warped Tour in North America. We went our separate ways and I decided to go for classical singing and piano and I started a band in Canada and I did that for a few years. Right before the Cradle of Filth gig came along I was actually in University for opera singing and orchestral compositions. I quit university to join the band.
Levi: There’s clips of you doing Evanescence and Cradle of Filth covers on YouTube, was that from before you joined the band?
Lindsay: Yeah that was before, right before Cradle of Filth I also decided to go solo. I was doing that kind of stuff on my own in my bedroom. I didn’t see Cradle of Filth coming and I know if you use YouTube you can do a cover from beginning to end, it goes out there and goes viral. It’s a good way to promote yourself and I thought at the time I was solo and I didn’t have a live band yet that I might as well give it a shot.
Levi: You’re from Canada, Did you have to move to England? It sounds quite complicated…
Lindsay: Yeah it is complicated, I’ve been lucky because Cradle of Filth is okay with me living in Canada, meanwhile Dani and Richard Shaw are in England and Daniel Firth is in Scotland. Ashok and Martin are in the Czech Republic, so we are an international band. We’ve all been fortunate enough to be part of this band.
Levi: Do you get much say on the recordings? Or Does Dani just send you the compositions and you come in and play?
Lindsay: It was more of a collaborative effort, the person that actually kept it together and made most the big decisions was our drummer Martin… He was conducting the whole thing from the beginning, we all had our input but martin really had a vision for what he wanted from the album. We all did, but he was the one that organised everything, and made sure it stayed coherent and organised and together. We all had a big say, I was very lucky I was able to do so many female vocals on the album harp, I don’t think we’ve had harp since the Principle of Evil Made Flesh days, there is some Harp that shows up here and there but its programmed while I actually got to play harp for Cradle of Filth. It was a huge thing. I would say it was a very equal collective of ideas that was put into the new album.
Levi: It does feel like there are some throwback moments on the album, some of it reminded me of Midian, it is very old school sounding…
Lindsay: I think the reason that happened is because we’re all fans of the old stuff. My favourite album is Midian, the guys are all fans of the old stuff too. We’re all fans first. We took our inspiration from Midian, Principle and Cruelty and the Beast. We went back to the old sound because that’s what got us into Cradle of Filth.
Levi: You’re quite involved in PETA and you’re a vegan I found this quite strange because Cradle of Filth wear quite a lot of leather. Did it bother you at all?
Lindsay: It’s strange, I’m not wearing it so it doesn’t bother me. I do wear antlers and feathers but they come from natural shed so nothing was hurt or died. Dani, it’s strange because he was a vegetarian for many years but he sort of just gave up and went back to it. We’ve had long conversations about it, he respects me and I respect his opinion. I kind of keep to myself, we’re a sassy bunch on the road and we get on each other’s nerves. If someone makes fun of me for just eating plants then I start telling them exactly how that piece of meat got on their plate. I can be nasty about it in a snarky way, it’s their decision and this is my decision. I’ll never try to force my opinion on them because I believe that you either have compassion or you don’t. My compassion extends to; I don’t like being ignorant. Anything I wear, put on my body or in my body I like to be aware of where it came from. I view animals as equals, where others view animals as a commodity. If you are always going to view something as a commodity then I can’t change your view on it. So I won’t push it on people, but if you’re interested I’ll tell you everything I know. But I won’t force it on you, that’s like being Christian and saying “oh you need Jesus” and I’m not doing that with veganism.
Levi: You’ve probably has this conversation before when you show someone a heavy song and they say “screaming isn’t singing”. I think Dani has a great voice he hits baritones and falsetto notes, you are a trained singer so I’d like to know if you think “screaming” is a legitimate skill?
Lindsay: It is, I have to tell you I find it ironic because in High School I actually didn’t like Cradle of Filth. I thought it was a gimmick and silly but when I joined the band and forced myself to learn the keyboards I was like “wow”, this really takes a lot of time and patience to really respect and appreciate his music. Going to Dani’s voice, I am trained, I have been for 8 years classically and but I’ve also looked into musical theatre, jazz, pop, rock and folk. I tried to get fully rounded as a singer because it’s important to me to really know yourself and if I didn’t know all the styles I wouldn’t have found my voice. Dani’s voice, there’s a part of his technique, it’s a rare technique which makes his voice so unique and original. He has ‘whistle-tone’ range. It’s something my voice has which is a very high range, if you listen to something like Mozart’s ‘the magical flute’/’the queen of the night’ all that high stuff. He does all that but he growls through it, that’s what’s made him so original and unique. I’ve actually helped him on the road do stuff to help preserve his voice, as a singer you have to do healthy supportive talking. Dani’s voice is a whole monster of its own, he is his own instrument. He is so dedicated and passionate about what he does, he’s forced himself on stage with the flu without telling anyone he had the flu that night. There’s a lot of talent in Cradle of Filth, everyone can play a second instrument, I’m sure Martin can play quite a few.
Levi: Have you been to Australia before? And can we expect you back?
Lindsay: Yes we are in talks and yes I’ve been to Australia before, I miss it dearly. I spent a week in Brisbane. It’s so gorgeous there I want to go back right now. You’re all such happy people, reminds me a lot of Canada except you have really nice weather, all the time. My clothing sponsorship Black Milk is actually based in Brisbane, they make all the funky nylons I wear. Some of the best crowds we have played to have been in Australia. It might be because you guys are all adamant drinkers and all passionate about your metal.