She’s a brilliant musician who’s trained at the Royal Conservatory of Music, she excels at arranging luscious choir and string sections, she has a haunting yet beautifully pristine voice, she plays the harp which is one of the most difficult instruments in the world to learn, she releases her own solo material under the name Schoolcraft, and she lends her amazing keyboard and vocal talents to legendary extreme metal band Cradle of Filth. Lindsay Schoolcraft is the real deal folks, and I challenge any and all of you find someone in the metal community who has as much unique talent and ability as she does. I can assure you the list would be quite short.
Heavy metal musicians should possess a certain sense of intimidation towards not only an audience, but other musicians as well. Unfortunately today’s metal genre is saturated with those more concerned with imitation, rather than putting in the hard work and creating something unique. When you lower yourself to such pathetic standards you lose any chance of intimidating anyone, and fail at translating the power and darkness which this type of music should convey. Not only has Lindsay put in the work, but she continues to breathe life into her work which clearly reflects how passionate she is about her craft.
Before we get started on our interview, let’s take a moment to get everyone familiar with her work, in case you haven’t already.
How did your journey into music begin?
At the very young age of 7 years old is where it all started. I think it began with the Disney movies like most children of my generation. I’d find myself jumping around and singing to the soundtracks of The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Beauty and The Beast and so on. At that age I also took up the guitar under the patient teachings of my Dad. In my tweens I lost some interest, but at the age of 15 I took up music again full force with the bass guitar and music lessons. It all escalated from there.
Was Schoolcraft your first foray into creating music on a professional level?
I would have to say my first professional attempt at songwriting was with my old band and our last and only album. Being in a band is a whole different musical experience with so many creative heads in the game and sometimes having to sacrifice your creative vision slightly. I’ve personally found it so much easier to be a solo artist.
How did you come about the gig with Cradle of Filth?
It was literally out of the blue. I was contacted by Melissa Ferlaak (ex. Visions of Atlantis current: My Eternal) about the gig. At first I thought it was a joke, well just for the first few seconds, but then when it clicked that this was for real I started to shake. It was scary, writing the cover letter and doing the audition tape, but now I stressed for nothing because apparently I was the only one applying for the position at the time. I’m really lucky to have been able to take on this opportunity. It’s not every day that something like this happens to a small town musician.
Are there any differences or similarities in how you approach music with Schoolcraft and Cradle of Filth?
I find Cradle’s music was more technical and tedious, while my solo work is much easier and has a radio friendly structure and flow. I enjoy many genres of music so it’s always easy for me to switch between the two. My top two favorite genres are metal and pop ballads so it only makes seen I balance between the two daily.
What instrument do you find helps communicate your creativity best when trying to convey raw emotion?
I think it would be my voice and the strings. If I had an entire string section at my disposal I would just sing with them all day. But I really do also like to include the piano and harp as an accompaniment. When it’s just me and cellist Nathen Morrison working on the Schoolcraft songs I get chills and can’t concentrate at times because the cello really pulls at my heart strings.
How has your training at the Royal Conservatory of Music been applicable to a gothic environment, or even that of an extreme metal band?
The Conservatory is a finicky learning system. It opened me up to not just classical, but a lot of folk and jazz as part of my exam pieces. While the basis of all the technique for voice and piano is classically driven it’s just not limited to classical music. That was something I really enjoyed about the exams and my training.
Plus I also have an excellent vocal coach by the name of Jackie McIntyre. She was able to teach me so many styles of singing. It was challenging but a lot of fun. While classical opera is the foundation of all healthy singing it’s nice to be so fully rounded with other genres. It really helped me find my own voice and be able to mimic other styles when the songs have called for it.
All that ear training and technique really helped me pick up on Cradle’s repertoire, especially when it came to Martin Powell and Les’s keyboard parts. Well written keyboard parts, but very tricky indeed! Since my voice and singing have always been easiest for me I had no problem learning any backing vocals.
As for Schoolcraft, it makes songwriting go a lot faster during the process. Plus with the harp you really need to know your theory to be able to move around on those levers. It was a long, tedious journey with the conservatory, but totally worth it when I reflect back on it today.
Where do you draw inspiration from when it’s time to let the creativity flow?
I really don’t know because it just comes and goes. I find to be in the mood to write a song is most prominent when someone I care about is going through something seriously upsetting, but that also goes for myself with such situations. Yes, I am one of those dark types who broods over the piano with all the gloom and doom present. Surprisingly though, once I get a song out about what is upsetting me I feel I have healed from it and then have a good story to go with it. Not a bad trade off really.
What are some key pieces of gear that you reach for when writing Schoolcraft music?
Just my Yamaha portable grand piano and my Dusty Strings harp. After that I get down some rough ideas on the synth strings pad and send it off to Spencer Creaghan where he does his magic with East West Quantum leap orchestra samples.
While on the technical side, what is your go-to gear while working with Cradle of Filth?
For live I have my NuMotion Revo 1 Keyboard and my Sennheiser in ear monitors as well as microphone. My in ear plugs are also by Shure and really do the trick!
Can you give us a peek into your future and what we can expect to see or hear from you next?
Well, Schoolcraft will have a single coming out within the next month. Then I will be launching a fan funding campaign to help me complete my first ever full length album for Schoolcraft. I am currently working on the next Cradle of Filth album with the guys in the band. And I will be a character on the first ever rock opera video game Karmaflow! I am VERY excited about that!
Lindsay’s Top 6 Heavy Tracks
I’ve been a musician and a fan of heavy music for over twenty years now, and I’ve met an abundance of musicians over the years. People like Lindsay are few and far between, and I sincerely believe that such people deserve a bigger spotlight than many of the pop stars dominating the air waves today. Unfortunately we will always have a music industry which is a slave to the all mighty dollar, and quantity with always reign over quality. Thankfully, with the advent and uprising of underground bands and musicians online, we can now give artists like Lindsay a platform to share music with those who care and respect true talent.
She deserves every ounce of success that is headed her way, and I cannot stress how important it is for all of you who love what you saw and heard here, to share it with everyone you know. The only way we can help the artists we love, is to keep word of mouth going and give them the sustained momentum they need in order to continue sharing their true passion with the rest of the world. Lindsay Schoolcraft’s legacy is one that is just getting started, and I for one cannot wait to see what she will do next.