It's always a pleasure to speak to my friend Dave Pybus, bassist of Cradle of Filth. In part, because Cradle is my favourite band. But aside from that, the amicable Mr. Pybus is a funny guy whose interviews are always entertaining. Early this year, Dave left Cradle and helped start up SixSixSix Records, a British label for extreme metal acts, based out of Ipswich. Spring-time found Dave back with Cradle in time to start sessions for the new record and also for the appearance on the Viva la Bam show where the band was a special guest. Dave also invited to play on the RoadRunner All-Star sessions this spring, along with Cradle vocalist Dani Filth.
Though Cradle is currently in the studio both recording a new record (the follow-up to the brilliant 2004 release Nymphetamine) and putting the finishing touches on their new DVD, Peace Through Superior Firepower, Dave took some time to answer some questions.
antiMusic: Is SixSixSix Records fulfilling your expectations of having your own label?
Dave Pybus: We now have a saying here at SixSixSix: Life's a bitch, then you start a record label --- hahaha. It's proved to be a lot of fun but we've had to fight for everything. We've been given nothing for free. At first impressions you think no one gives a s--- about you... but I guess in this day and age with hundreds of labels putting out hundreds of bands, it's hard to weed through the whole lot. I guess its now down to survival of the fittest. We have had a good healthy first year building the bands... next year will continue.
antiMusic: How did the label come to be and what is your involvement? Who else owns it and what is their background?
Dave Pybus: The label was started by two friend in Ipswich, Tim and Paul. Both have worked with bands and labels before and wanted to try it themselves. I got involved earlier this year and do a lot of PR for the label and working with the bands on a personal front. I also do all the design and web stuff. Like I said, its a lot of fun. I get a kick out of everything we do there. It's very rewarding.
antiMusic: You've been a musician for a long time. What made you want to be on the other side of the desk?
Dave Pybus: I've been there before, years ago, when I worked with Peaceville Records in the early 1990's... so I was interested in trying that again. Seeing how the music biz has changed, etc. It's also building a healthy future for us at the label.
antiMusic: Do you feel you would make a better exec than most because you have an understanding of actually being on the road, going through the recording process, etc.?
Dave Pybus: I'd say I might have a more realistic approach to budgets and the realities of the road. Any young band should know... there's a lot of miles out there in front of your van that need driving over before you make anything like a living at being in a band. A lot of beer to be drunk and a lot of people to meet. Not much in the line of showers, food, money or fame haha.
antiMusic: Tell us about some of the bands on the label.
Dave Pybus: So far we have 3-4 signed bands and 2-3 bands working with us that are what we refer to as 'development' acts. There's nothing to sign, but we help them get some profile and they get some advice and support and if they are still together playing gigs in 6 months then maybe we will be interested in signing them. There's a lot of 'bedroom' bands out there with no more ambition than to get laid in their local rock pub. We are not interested in them.
antiMusic: Who do you feel has the most chance of breaking through?
Dave Pybus: Right now... we believe in all our bands equally. If we didn't then that would be unfair to them. But the band has to have product out and be active to have any kind of attention from us. We all work (me with COF as you know) so we don't have much time to be wasting on bands with no self-drive.
antiMusic: Has your opinion or optimism of your bands changed since they were signed? (I don't expect you to slam any bands but are there some that have exceeded your expectations more than others, shall we say?)
Dave Pybus: We will be evaluating the first signings early next year before they begin recording anything new. I'm encouraging new demo's, etc. and I'm open minded to keeping all our acts.
antiMusic: What is the label's plan or philosophy on trying to break these bands?
Dave Pybus: Hard work. It's a real challenge starting out with 'unknown' acts and we all find that better than working with name bands. Its way more exciting.
antiMusic: Any other bands that you're planning on signing?
Dave Pybus: There is a young black metal band in the UK called KORVUS. They are next :)
antiMusic: So you're back in Cradle. Why did you leave earlier this year and why have you returned?
Dave Pybus: I left in January 2005
on the eve of the European tour. I just needed a
break. I'd become less tolerant of people around me and it wasn't healthy for me to be in a situation where, say, I was gonna walk off a tour. I returned about 6 months later when the band asked me to come up to the studio and listen to the new material they had written and see if I could join in with that. I loved the new stuff and had some ideas... so it just went from there really. It's great to be playing with them again. We all have a great deal of respect for each other and it's turning out to be fun writing this new record together.
antiMusic: If you had grown a bit weary of the pace, what has changed during your brief sojourn away? You're presently writing the new record. The DVD is just about done. You did the Bam thing this summer. On top of that, Dani recently got married. You've signed on to continue your role as webmaster. It doesn't sound like the schedule has gotten easier.
Dave Pybus: We no... Cradle is a wild horse and you just have to try ride it as long as possible before you get bucked off. But I'd say what I do bring back to the line-up is dependability and my playing is pretty consistent and that's what you need from a bass player. He, along with the drums, are the backbone of the band. We are there to be built upon and I'd say I'm quite reliable in that sense. The webmaster work has opened me up to a lot of learning new things which can be quit daunting at first. Pretty time consuming stuff but I enjoy that too.
antiMusic: Can you give us a sneak peek at the songs for the new record? Any titles yet and does the material continue in the same vein as the stellar Nymphetamine?
Dave Pybus: It's a progression from Nymphetamine in regards to catchy songs with some hooks and lots of good ideas. We have most of the material written now... near on 15-16 tracks... with a few more still to be completed with arrangements. We are also trying out a few new ideas. All good.
antiMusic: Is Rob Caggiano producing once again? What is it about him that agrees with Cradle of Filth?
Dave Pybus: I think Rob is still doing the new record yes. I hope so... I love working with Rob. He's got a youth and understanding for Cradle and I can trust him (to re-record all my parts when I'm away haha... )... with the sound. It's gonna be great to work with Rob for the 3rd record in a row. He must be crazy haha. Well, without a doubt, he is crazy.
antiMusic: Nymphetamine seemed to launch the band into a whole new level. Is the band as happy with the success of the record or are you regretting the whole chick-singer/more melody direction?
Dave Pybus: No regrets haha. In fact we have more s--- like that planned! It's been a lot of work touring but it's all been worthwhile.
antiMusic: What can you tell us about the DVD? Is there a release date yet and what will be on there?
Dave Pybus: The DVD is just now completed and should be out real soon. It's a full live show filmed on the last European tour in Paris. I wasn't on that as it was filmed while I was away. Charles Hedger was playing bass on there. There's lots of Videos and behind the scenes footage too... tons of horrid s--- of me kissing the crew.
antiMusic: Is it comparable to Heavy Left-Handed and Candid (Cradle's 2003 DVD)?
Dave Pybus: I think the show is better. And the footage is funnier and faster from the behind the scenes look. I've not yet seen all of it so... I'm kinda curious myself.
antiMusic: Tell us about being a part of the Viva la Bam show. How were you involved and what are some of the many stories (I'm sure) from that weekend?
Dave Pybus: Bam is a fan of the band and wanted us to be on his show. Dani flew out for a week of filming and we joined him for a few days to do the live songs. Was a lot of fun. We went out a few times and were joined by Rob Caggiano too. Was good to get out of the UK for a bit.
antiMusic: What have the departures of James and Martin meant for the band (besides, obviously, having to fill the spots)?
Dave Pybus: Well I now have 2 friends missing in the band. And obviously, brilliant musicians. But I was still on break when they both parted and I was very sad to hear they had gone. My liver might actually survive past 35 now though, looking on the positive side haha. Plus the band seems to have got a lot thinner over night hahaha.
antiMusic: Who is taking their spots on the record? Is Paul doing all the guitars?
Dave Pybus: Charles Hedger, who stood in for me on bass, has filled James' spot on guitar and is doing good. He and Paul work together well. We are still looking at keyboard players.
antiMusic: You've started a member's only section on the website. What do subscribers get for their money?
Dave Pybus: Haha... f--- all!!! Haha... just kidding. It's something that we will build on as time goes on, but initially there will be a chance to chat to the band, a private message board where the band are active, webcam sessions from Charles's bedroom, I mean the studio sorry, and exclusive gig invites and competitions, etc. Plus we have the new Cradle of Filth TV thing where we will be putting updates on the site as often as possible to replace static written news. So you get to see tons of behind the scenes stuff. Great for a fan of the band.
antiMusic: So what's the game plan for Cradle for the next little while?
Dave Pybus: Get in the studio... recording the new album... there's a 10 date UK tour and then break for xmas and then finish the record. Touring starts in May/June next year all over the place.
antiMusic: Is your relationship with RoadRunner still a good one?
Dave Pybus: Depends which department you are talking to haha. I love everyone there that I've had the chance to meet or work with so far. I was flattered to be asked to appear on the All Stars CD with Joey and Peter Steele and Josh and Steve from 36 Crazyfists. Like a highlight of my career there. Thanks to my friends at RR, they made it possible for me to fly out to Iowa and do that at such short notice.
antiMusic: Please list your Top 5 all-time favourite albums and a line or so why.
Dave Pybus: Not difficult...
Acid Bath - (Both albums) totally love them. Lyrics are awesome haha. Way before their time.
AC/DC - Back in Black... one of the best rock albums EVER!!! From the best rock band EVER!!!
Metallica - Kill 'em All changed my life, along with a lot of other people. The next 2 records also blew me away.
Misfits - Walk among us... had a big effect on me... opened up my eyes to a new scene and a new musical outlook. Very influential.
Hellraiser soundtrack - Great scary classical music. I wanna be buried to this!!!
antiMusic and Morley Seaver thank Dave
Pybus for this interview. We also thank him for the DVD that he'll be sending
soon. ? We wish his Washington Redskins better luck this year.