INTERVIEW WITH
ADRIAN ERLANDSSON
CRADLE OF FILTH




Drummers are quite often living in the shadow of the lead guitarist, or the frontman in any number of bands, and yet the difference between a good drummer and a bad drummer can mean the difference between a good band and a bad one.
Adrian Erlandsson has abused the kit in both At the Gates and Cradle of Filth, and is proof that being a drummer doesn't mean being a bit-part player in your band. His contribution to extreme music is of the highest order, and the story of his journey from Swedish thrasher to part of the biggest black metal phenomenon in the scene is, we hope, an interesting one........
Adrian Erlandsson



-Lets face it - drummers get a pretty bad wrap, the butt of all jokes Yet the fact is that a good drummer is the difference between a good band a poor one especially in Metal bands Why did you focus on drums in the first place and was it your first choice of instrument?
-I guess i´ve always thought that drumkits looked really cool and since i first got one i´ve been hooked playing drums, some 20 years ago, damn i´m getting on a bit here. I have a got a guitar now, that i´m finally am making some progress with. Drums will always be no 1 for me though..
-Who were your drumming idols? Where you self taught or did you take lessons?
-I will always look up to anyone that plays with enthusiasm and passion be it that they have just started out or are really technically accomplished... Some more known drummers i really like is Dave Holland, Nigel Glocker, Scott Travis, Dave Lombardo, Cozy Powell......

Dave Holland Nigel Glocker
-What about the fact that your bro also drums - did that make for healthy or unhealthy competition? Who started first?
-There is not really a competition going but i started first.. he was into tennis when i started drumming he slowly came around to drums.......He is one of my biggest influences. We used to play on the same kit trading beats with each other it was really
cool.

-How much of drumming is down to memory skills? - live playing the same set must turn into a physical routine that loses all impulse?
-When you have been playing the same songs for a long time it turns into a bit of a routine but that can be turned around easily with a bit of improvising. It really depends what kind of mood i am in when the gig starts.

-Physically drumming is demanding, is it enough to play to keep fit or do you do extra stuff to keep physically fit? How often do you play drums?
-Normally i play about five-six times a week. I think that you need some other forms of exercise I go running about 3 times a week when we´re not rehearsing just to keep fit, but when rehearsing there is really no need to.

-What can you actually hear on stage, how clearly can you see/hear what the others are doing?
-A lot of times just a really muddy or shreiky mess, but when the monitors are working fine i hear the kickdrums, snare abit of guitar n keyboards. It hardly ever comes out the way you want it too, especially at festivals like at Tattoo the planet and the Ozzfest, which was laughable as far as monitors goes.....hahaha

-Do you ever suffer from stagefright or nerves, describe the drummers-eye view of the biggest gig you've played (recently at Donington perhaps?) Do you have a pre-gig ritual?
-I don´t really suffer from any stage fright I get the adrenaline pumping really hard like before you get into a fight. As soon as I hit the first beat that all goes though. When playing Donington I was really excited n calm feeling like "Bring it on !!"
it was really weird playing infront of all those people, but not more frightening than a 300 person gig. All I do before the gig is have cup of coffee and workout on my practise pad n stretch my legs.

-Have you heard the Iron Maiden '2 Minutes to Midnight' b-side were Nicko McBrain is recorded going nuts after a roadie screwed up during a gig? Have you ever lost your temper in that way - when the drummer screws up everyone notices so it must be a drummers worse nightmare?
-Yeah too many times unfortunately, afterwards i tend to laugh about it though. When we played the last gig on tattoo the planet i used a hired kit.... As it turned out, loads of other bands had used the same kit that night so the kick heads were REALLY worn down.We didnt have any of those kick pads that extend the life of the kick heads so my drumtech Mike used Gaffa tape instead at the point of impact... Of course the beater wears down the tape and gets down to the sticky bit causing the beater to stick to the head..... no rebound = no next hit ... Not very nice.....

Spinal Tap drummers had more then their fair share of misfortune - ever had a Spinal Tap moment on stage?
-When i played in the states with ATG promoting Slaughter of the soul, we just got on stage in front of a raving crowd, opening with Blinded by fear. We were just a few bars into the song when my shoelace got entangled with the kickdrum beater, on my main kick, resulting in no sound just a hard pull at my foot each time i tried to strike the drum...we had to stop.... which was really embarrasing...


Screaming for Vengeance
Can you remember getting your first metal record? What was it about what you heard that had such an effect on your musical taste and later career?
-Still one of my favourites today Judas priest "Screaming for vengeance".... Dave Holland is a absolute hero on that album !!!

What was the first band you hooked up with and how did you find each other? Tell me about the early days of Penance and the sideburns band, ha ha
-Well Berit´s polisonger was formed as soon as i got my drumkit, really, in ´82. We mainly played cover´s by Twisted sister, Thin Lizzy, Dokken etc...It sort of continued on and off until ´88. When i met up with some other thrash heads ´n formed Penance.
The first lineup had bass drums n guitar.. The guitarplayer tuned his strings up rather than down in order to pick ultrafast hahaha....We had some classic songs like The edge of damnation, Visions of insanity etc.. We also tried to play Angel of death but i can´t remember us actually doing the original any justice....It was through these guys i met Tomas Lindberg just before Grotesque morphed into At the gates in ´90.

Can you describe your feelings and experience during that first rehearsal?
-Well the first few ones aint worth mentioning. With At the gates the first rehearsal, with me on drums, was basically us playing a Autopsy cover Charred remains. I remember beeing a little intimidated by Tomas´s beard. And the silence of the twins.... hahaha.

I guess drummings not cheap - how did you manage to get together a kit in the early days?
-My dad got my first kit for me. It was a 5- piece Maxitone kit !! Cheers dad !

Adrian's Kit

When and how was At the Gates put together - how did you all meet - it was unusual for a Swedish band not to follow in the footsteps of Nihilist, Grave, Carnage etc but adopt a more technical approach....
-The other ones already knew each other from Grotesque and Infestation...I met Tomas at this legendary festival in sweden called Bergslagsrocken in the summer of ´90. That was the best Morbid angel gig i had ever seen....everyone in that crowd did probably end up forming bands... truly a legendary night. When we started playing we were really into King crimson, Yes , Rush etc but also trad metal bands like Priest Maiden etc... Mix that with abit of Atheist and Malevolent Creation and you get what I was into at the time...I guess we tried really hard to be different in the beginning.

I guess the early influences for At the Gates were equal parts basic Death Metal like Autopsy but mixed with the more complex arrangements of Atheist etc - what were the main influences in those early days and how did the band come to the more stripped down, melodic song based formula used on Terminal Spirit Disease?
-When Alf left the band after With fear.. we decided that we wanted to go for a more straight forward approach, make the songs shorter and more to the point. I think that we had matured as songwriters.

What the early days like around the 'Gardens of Grief' era - was the *Swedish scene* really as exciting as it looks now to people who still idolise those days? Bands like Therion and Tiamat certainly changed over the years but back then would have been your contemporaries, is it strange looking back to see how all the band developed? Any band from that period that you consider should have made it, but didn't?
-In a way it was, yeah. We did loads of gigs in sweden and everyone was really into the scene there was always really cool bands and people around especially in Gothenburg.
I think its cool that the bands that are still going have developed into unique outfits...
I mean look at Tiamat & Therion are hardly the same bands as they were back then but that´s only cool.
It´s a definite sign of that people are getting old when they are talking about the good old days, eh? Damn shame what happened to Merciless, Seance, Ceremonial Oath.

'Gardens of Grief' would have been the first official pro release you appeared on? - can you describe your feelings on holding that EP Iin your hands for the first time and then your feelings today when you see Cradle of Filth shirts and CD's everywhere you look?
-Man I was so proud!!! That was literally all that I listened to for the next month. Reading the booklet to peices. The same thing goes for anything that I do including Cradle of filth. I feel really priveleged to be able to do what I do. I never take anything for granted.

How did the Peaceville thing hook up because you signed originally to Jonny's Deaf label right? How was that contact made and what expectations did you have signing to a well known UK label?
-I think that Jonny got hold of Gardens of Grief and got in contact with Tomas.We were sooo excited that we were offered a deal and were gonna make a album, on the sublabel to Peaceville that also had Autopsy and the "PROPER" Paradise lost, we were
really honoured.
The first two records 'The Red in The Sky Is Ours' and especially 'With Fear I kiss the Burning Darkness' were by no means straightforward albums, almost progressive in a way - was that the bands intention, to be as complex as possible?
Was it also a concious decision therefore to drop the complexity and go for a more straightforward and direct approach starting with the 'Terminal Spirit Disease' tracks?
-We wanted to push ourselves as musicians and create something different yet brutal merging all the different influences that i mentioned before. It was very much a concious effort to loose the weirdness from the early releases.

When did At the Gates in your opinion really start to mean something, when did you notice the band becoming 'name' on people's lips? When did you first play abroad with the band?
-We played abroad the first time in the summer of ´92 @ a squathouse in Leipzig with Therion, actually. I think that people started to talk about us about the time when Terminal came out but I could be wrong... The main difference we noticed was when we went touring for Slaughter of the soul... the support was really overwhelming. Thanks to everyone that came out to any of our shows..
What about the 'Slaughter of the Soul' era - can you explain how the band gelled so well on that one album? What were the thought processes behind the songwriting and did you have any idea that you were creating a landmark album?
-We had just recovered from a really disastrous tour that went tits up ´cause of the tour manager Frank Snijdelar who basically tricked us out on the road.
Bottomline was that we lost thousands of pounds, and we were just released from the
Deaf/Peaceville deal. We were really close to actually split up at this point.
I reckon that getting signed to earache was the real spark for us. It really filled us with a feeling of revenge.. The album came together really fast, all of a sudden it was just there......

At the Gates covered Legion by Slaughterlord? What other covers did the band perform either in rehearsal or live and why was Legion the only one recorded? Whose choince was it and if it wasn't yours, what would have been your chosen cover version you'd like to have recorded and why?
- We did quite a few covers with the band infact we did a gig just after Alf left the band
and before Martin joined playing mainly coversongs by Minor threat, Discharge and some other hardcore bands that i can´t remember at the moment.. I think it was Tomas
that had a demo tape with Slaughterlord playing the song and that´s how that cover came about, it wasn´t really my choice. I always wanted us to do a Sisters of mercy cover....´cause
they translate so well into a metalmood...

The band photos on Slaughter were taken at your place? Is that your record collection on display there or....? that was pretty bold statement, to align your band with such legendary names, was that the aim of the shoot, to stake your claim?
-The pictures wasn´t taken at my place but at a friends. We wanted to capture the same feeling as one of our multitude of drinking sessions... but also to hint at the greatness of the albums on display in the pictures...I guess it was a good alternative to everyone stood up against a wall kinda pics that are oh so boring...

There was a always a crust element to the At the Gates audience, you really bridged the divide between punk and metal - you covered both No Security and Discharge - who brought that element into the band and did it lead to your involvement with Skitsystem or where you always a crust/punk fan as well?
- I really like the aggressive rawness of some hardcore acts but i can´t say that i was ever a fan of that scene in the same way as the metal scene where I actually still today track new bands down and very much involve myself in the scene.
I always brought the metal element to the At the Gates table...as well as all the other guys did !!!

Any regrets looking back with hindsight that the band broke up - when did it stop being fun for you?
-I don´t really have any regrets other than we should have worked harder on promotion etc
obviously knowing alot of things today that i wasn´t aware of at the time i´d have done a few things completely different..but it always easy to clever in hindsight. It never actually stop being funny for me I enjoyed it all the way to the end !! We were all really tired at the end of the Slaughter of the Soul world tour....but I think we definately went out on a high !

Everyone has heard the story but did you really jump straight away from ATG to the Haunted - no mourning period?
-It is true Jensen was the first one that i phoned after i came off the phone to Anders when he told me about him and Jonas leaving the band ! The next day me and Jensen rehearsed in the At the gates rehearsal room playing parts of what later became "Three times" Very exciting times !!!

It must have been strange to have gone from wanting to tour the world to being so sick of the whole thing that it broke the band up.... What exactly are the good and bad things of being on the road?
-The hardest thing for me is definately beeing away from the one you love. I find that even today when i am touring with Cradle that is obviously a nicer way of travelling etc than during the At the Gates days. It can be a bit hard to deal with all the excess time that you have on your hands, given that you play for 1.5 hours you have 22.5 hours to find something to do!! It´s really easy to loose track... I miss just being home listening to cds hanging out with my wife eating the food that you choose and not rice with peanut sauce that we got at this venue with ATG.. But given all the bad things it´s priceless to be on that stage and play to a crowd that really likes your stuff !!!

How long had you known Jensen before The Haunted appeared - and describe the thought process behind the formation of that band Did you play any thrash covers in those early days of formation?
-I met Jensen when Seance toured with At the Gates on the now legendary 2 date european Terminal spirit disease tour. In the beginning it was really exciting to form a new band and write new songs... later that year i got a bit downtrodden because we didnt know at all what was gonna happen with the band as far as reception went... Also i was doing the most depressing and physically hard job that i have ever done to this date. Beein a lumberjack, it really sucked !!!

That first Haunted album was a real shot in the arm because it took old thrash and modernized it somehow - were Peter vocals really what the band was looking for, as they caused some controversy at the time? Did you never try out any other vocalists?
-We tried out some other guys but we couldnt decide what we wanted until Peter came in and we were all in total awe of his performance we had to have him in !!!

What was the last thrash album you played or one you'd recommend to someone, a curiosity or obscurity
-Always the first Defiance "Product of Society" Totally dry and crisp Bay Area thrash !!! I love it !!Beware it´s a required taste!!! Recently i discovered a act called Damien storm (www.damienstorm.com) fucking classic on man act !!!

Honestly what did you think when you got the call from Cradle of Filth? Those guys were always big ATG fans right?
-I did not expect it as they'd just got a new drummer at the time... i was a bit worried about
relocating to England though but now its all fine !! I think that Nick and Dani were into At the Gates anyway!!

Describe the differences in playing for Cradle then The Haunted. I hate to use the word professional as it sounds insulting to The Haunted but you must have been aware of the potential for Cradle of Filth's development. Does it ever feel like a day job or can you still retain that enthusiasm you had when first starting out?

-It has both ups and downs as any band has but overall its really exciting creating new music, something that i have always enjoyed in all the bands that i have been in.
We are very fortunate in Cradle to be able to do it fulltime which really helps for concentrating on what the music needs. It is very much like a job but that doesnt mean that we dont enjoy it!!! I am still really enthusiastic about everything that we bring out and all the gigs that we do... at the end of the day i just love to play drums !!!


Dani has bit of a reputation as a tyrant but really how much of the band is a democracy versus a tyranny? Did you ever fear that you might not last that long - replacing Nick, who was a good friend, must have been a bit weird too?
-I feared it a lot ´cause Nick was a really amazing drummer and still is today really big shoes to fill....However if i felt compleltely inadequate i would not have accepted the offer to join. I think that it felt more weird for Nick than for me, a bit like your old mate going out with your ex.. Then again i don´t know... thats the way i felt when Per Joined The Haunted....
Everything in the band is a democracy decision.. Dani has just been painted black in the press.

Talk us through a songwriting session for Cradle and your part in it - who decides tempos, double bass patterns, breakdowns etc - are you given free reign? Are you much of a songwriter?
-The new album "Damnation and a Day" has been written in a completely new way for the band.
Paul Martin or Dave would come up with riff/section/song ideas. record them at home with a clicktrack i would then record drumparts n suggest changes accents what have you.
Then they would revise the demo and it would go back and forth like that a few times before we took it down to the practise room. Everyone has been involved with the making of it.
I see myself as a songwriter in the sense that i work in the team that is Cradle of Filth, though id most probably suck as a solo artist hahaha.

Ever worried about the future - presumably Cradle wont turn into a circus like Black Sabbath, 50 year olds doddering around try to act like they were 25 - do you have visions of life outside of music
-I do but that will have to wait i live for the moment and at this moment Cradle is the right thing for me..

What do you say to people who say that Cradle are not an extreme band but simply dumbing down black metal When you started out in Penance etc you must never imagined that you would end up in the biggest BM band in the world - can you evaluate how and why you've found yourself in this position
-The people that say we are not an extreme band well what can i say to them ?
Sure alot of bands are more extreme in a sence that they are faster, more brutal, but whats really extreme ? If you look at it, all metal bands today are really doing, is a bastardized version of what bands like The Beatles were doing!
How rebellious or extreme is that ? I am not really interrested in what is extreme by other peoples standards, all i am interrested in, is making good music...
And playing fast, brutal and worshipping satan has nothing to do with that it´s just not extreme. Extreme would be to do what is not expected of you...
shoot your self on stage or in fact dont do any gigs infact dont ever form a band just sit at home and be extreme on your own... sad fucks people need to get a grip!!!
Most people that moan do a fucking 9-5 job anyhow, now how extreme is that?
I feel really fortunate to be in this situation but never take it for granted and always work really hard towards it!

Do you feel any responsibility to or pressure from the metal scene in general now Cradle are on a major label?
-No only to the pressure that we create for ourselves.

I guess Cradle of Filth must be worried about the new stuff getting loose on the Net?
-Somewhat but personally i dont really care... thats up to Sony to worry about !

What bands interest you these days - do you find it easy to retain as much enthusiasm as you did when you first got into music

-Yeah i am!!! Though there is not that much new stuff that really catches my interrest anymore which explains why i am still listening to "screaming for vengeance" or "killers" "Strong arm of the law" Dallas 1pm by Saxon, has the best chorus ever or is it maybe "strangers in the night" Go on Biff !!!! Metal in the night !

Still a Beavis and Butthead freak?
-Hu hu hu....yeah thats cool


Interview by Dan Tobin
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