Cradle of Filth keyboardist and vocalist LINDSAY SCHOOLCRAFT, an accomplished singer, songwriter, harpist, and pianist in her own right has just released here latest solo album. Martyr, co-written by former Evanescence drummer Rocky Gray, offers eleven tracks of entrancing gothic rock, influenced by Schoolcraft’s background in classical music. Fans of Evanescence, Nightwish, and the like will appreciate Martyrs’ lush, piano-driven arrangements, while Cradle of Filth enthusiasts will enjoy hearing this darkly romantic side of Schoolcraft’s music. We’d like to thank Lindsay for her time in this interview.
Could you talk about your background in classical music and perhaps the pieces which had inspired you the most?
“My journey into classical music is quite strange, I went from rock to classical and then that brought me to heavy metal. I studied locally under the watchful eye of my vocal coach and went through many conservatory exams for theory, vocal, and piano over the span of 8 years. To this day “Carmine Burana” by Carl Orff is still by far my favourite piece of classical music.”
The new album is “Martyr.” Does this involve a central theme or concept or are the songs simply stories in and of themselves?
“I noticed after I finished writing most of the lyrics that the common theme was “dying for what you believe in”. Maybe I was being a bit dramatic and looking too far into things, but the title seemed fitting since at the time of writing it I had a close call with cancer. Of course, I’m totally fine now!”
Was everything that you wrote recorded for “Martyr” or were there a number of tracks left of the release? Likewise, was there anything that perhaps came from such an emotional place that you refused to release it to the public?
“Actually, the songs “Dangerous Game” and “Blood From A Stone” are super vulnerable songs that I feel entirely naked with. I played “Dangerous Game” to the person I wrote it about and that moment was a rush of all emotions liberating and awkward. But hey, I got through it. I don’t know if they know it’s about them, but at least I got that out there.
Anything that didn’t make the album didn’t for a few reasons: I didn’t feel it was the song’s time yet, I wasn’t happy with the direction, or it wasn’t cohesive to Martyr’s sound. Some of those songs are from my last band, or were tracks like “Emily” or from my first EP that need major revamping. They will see the light on the next release though. I have some majorly epic plans for that album. I’m really excited about it!”
Some of the tracks on the album seem very much rooted in nostalgia and sorrow both lyrically and perhaps musically. Could you maybe talk about a couple of the tracks like “My Way Without You” and maybe one of your choice?
“This album tells tales of many silent struggles I had gone through while composing it: a close call with cancer, almost losing loved ones and my singing voice due to my issues with drinking, fighting for my life against depression and anxiety, and ultimately learning to love myself first which lead me to learning how to become entirely comfortable in my own skin.
There is a reoccurring person I wrote a lot of these songs about on this album. I felt a love a deep connection for this person like one I’ve never felt before, but unfortunately at the time I was in a terrible place mentally and because of this I pushed them away and almost lost them from my life entirely. And don’t get me wrong, they weren’t perfect themselves which made thing a little more turbulent. But that is what mainly “Blood From A Stone” is about and I’m sure many people can relate to it: being frustrated with this person, but also being extremely frustrated with yourself. And because of this feeling utterly hopeless about everything while drowned in your emotions and that person not being there anymore to help you figure yourself out.
My conclusion to this song is the track “My Way Without You” where I see things for what they truly are, let go of my old habits and this person, and find my own personal liberation. Though a lot of anger comes across in this track towards that person, I did eventually learn how to love someone unconditionally because of them and that is one of the most invaluable lessons you can learn to live harmoniously on this planet with others no matter how messed up or broken they may be.”
“Dawn” is an intensely beautiful track. Though it is lyric-less, what sort of imagery were you trying to paint?
“Oh thank you!! I did try to write lyrics for that song, but I honestly found it stances stronger on its own as an instrumental. I wrote it almost a decade ago and would often just jam it out in the piano. I love what Rocky Gray and Spencer Creaghan added to this one!”
“Savior” is the new video and contains some intriguing cinematography. Can you talk about that a bit?
“I know it’s so stereotypical for a gothic rock band to be performing in a church in front of something stained glass and their be an appearance from Jesus himself. BUT I did this with intention of relating it to the theme of the song. It was filmed by Rouzbeh Heydari and we worked on the direction together. We also had a really great team behind us and they worked so hard to help it come to life! The song is about Celebrity Worship Syndrome and once I explained this to the church coordinators they were entirely on board for it!”
How do you balance time to create your solo work with your other obligations such as with Cradle of Filth?
“I bring my lyric book with my on tour and on days off I’ll have a look over and revise lyrics where I can depending on what I’m feeling. I’ll make voice notes on my phone so I don’t forget any melodies. Sometimes during warm up I’ll sing a few lines to make sure everything is lining up. It’s always a part of me and I can’t escape it. It’s what makes me the happiest in life and is always on my mind… usually driving me a little crazy.”
What other plans do you have for the coming months?
“Well, since I’ve become my own record label I have to get my webstore up and running so people can own a copy of the new album! It’s been an experience and a process, but I have great people helping me! I’m also seriously buckling down on my harp playing by doing an hour a day. I have plans to do some song rearranging in tracking over the holidays for something special too. From there I’ll start looking into working on and writing the second solo album in the spring.”
You’ve said in an interview that you have a background in bio-chemistry. How, if at all, do you find uses for this as an artist?
“I think that appreciation of life really translates into that appreciation of music and how it affects living beings.”
You’ve also said this new album has more influence from the likes of 90s NuMetal whereas the older material is more gothic-metal inspired. To what do you attribute this new interest or direction? Were there specific artists you were blown away by?
“This is all because of bringing Rocky Gray on board. Artists that really influenced this for me are Korn, Kittie, and Chevelle.”
In general, how do you think being involved with other projects helps you (or anyone for that matter) gain perspective for your own composition?
“Everyone knows something you don’t. Everyone has something they can teach you whether it be verbally or none verbally.
Through all my projects and collaborations I’ve always grown and learned so much, mostly efficiency and better communication skills. I honestly urge all artists to be open to more collaboration. It’s always a ton of fun, sometimes hard work, but always worth it in some way once the project is completed.”
Where do you see social media evolving for artists in the coming years?
“Ever seen black mirror? Yeah, hopefully it doesn’t get that bad… BUT I see it turning is favourite for artists and them being able to get paid better!”
Thanks for your time.
“Thanks for having me!”