You have a new album out that you are promoting now. How “scary” is it to release a new album not knowing how the fans will react? What do you do as a band if the fans turn against you collectively and think you’ve released a stinker of an album?
-Well first off thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us! To answer your question: I am a true believer that if you do what you love do, compose what is true yourself, to what you yourself love to listen to and live through on stage time after time, that an album will turn out in a way that fans can only love it as well. We’ve build up such a large group of followers and with our new album we’ve continued in the same line of music we’ve started with ever since ‘Neverworld’s End’. ‘Sacrificium’ topped that and now with ‘Theater of Dimensions’ we’re only sure that this will even please more people. Apart from our compositions also the production and writing process has been much smoother, more in harmony and it totally shows on the album. It’s a big step up for us and we’re really proud to show the world our ‘new baby’!
I often wonder how people discover that they can do what they do. How did you discover that you can sing and play instruments?
-In my case it was actually my parents who at an very early age discovered that I have a natural connection with music. As a toddler they only had to turn on the radio (mostly classic music) and they could just put me in a corner and I would stay there: sitting, listening to the music, being mesmerised by the sensation.
For my 4rth birthday I received my first singing lessons and it has been the best birthday gift ever. In the 25 years that followed I’ve had many singing teachers and made my way to the conservatorium to get my Bachelor and Master degree in singing. Singing has always been my shelter, my outlet, my first love.. but it has been from such an early age on that I can’t really remember how it evolved. It is as much a part of me as the ability to breathe.
When did it become a revelation that you can do this and maybe get paid for having fun, instead of just putting out all the money?
-Well ‘get paid’ is something that doesn’t happen too often, even not in the status we’ve reached now. We’re still heavily investing in our band and use all that we earn to do so and to travel with a crew that make our life on the road manageable.
We do have fun! That’s for sure! But we all have (and need to have) our jobs next to Xandria to pay our bills. I for example am a vocal coach and have my very own jewelry line called ‘Precious Metal’. For this line I create jewelry out of (bass) guitar strings and cymbals from Xandria but also from other wellknown bands from the genre. My creations can be purchased via my Precious Metal Facebookpage: www.facebook.com/preciousmetaljewelry
When you spend an amount of your life on a band does it ever feel like you have wasted time, that you have fought one too many windmills?
-Well I guess this is something that can be said for every business so also for the music business. But is that a reason to just give up?
No matter how small or big you were as a band you will leave a legacy behind you. How do you want people to treat this legacy?
-I am not someone who likes to say ‘people have to do this or that’, ‘treat it like this or that’. In my opinion that is not the way the world should work. Demanding won’t get you anywhere: we should focus on giving and those who do get so much more in return than those who demand. This also goes for our music: I do not believe that we create music that people should see as a pillar of the music scene and therefore respect it. No, I think music is there to comfort the soul and if people find that our music soothes their soul then they will automatically treat it with respect and cherish it.
Is digital taking away the mystery of waiting for a new album now that you can upload as soon as you have written a song?
-Maybe, but we live in a digital age and have to embrace it rather than avoid dealing with it. A beautiful thing about this age is how we as a band can be in contact with so many fans all across the world, instantly see their reactions to our music ánd (very importantly) spread our newest songs with a simple click! We’ve been to Asia for the first time last year and on our very first shows there people could sing along to the songs! How great is that!
How important is image in separating you from all the million different styles of metal there is out there?
-Of course with so many bands around in the same genre it is very important to be recognisable, but if we have done a good job in branding ourselves is up to our fans and reviewers to judge.
Do you deal in different topics lyrically or do you keep to one, just using different variations?
-For our newest album ‘Theater of Dimensions’ Marco and me wrote the lyrics. We divided it 50/50 and then worked together on the long piece at the end of the album called ‘A Theater of Dimensions’. For this work we had a story line in mind that we would follow and basically turn into a mini metal music. We’re different lyric writers him and me. Marco gets his ideas by humanitarian topics while I love to ready poetry from for example Edgar Allen Poe and Oscar Wilde to be inspired by. As you will understand this leads to us writing about very different things. Marco maybe writes more on world topics (this world but also very much about fantasy worlds) while I love to write about situations closer to home, things everyone can relate to and make our songs intimate, heartfelt and pure.
Do you consider yourself a live artist or do you like to spend most of the time secluded in a studio?
-With Xandria we do both. We write in the studio together with our producer and co-writer Joost van den Broek. And we tour. But I also have another band which is called ‘Ex Libris’, a Dutch progressive metal band that I’ve founded in 2004. Though this has been a live band before I joined Xandria we will now start to focus more on being a studio project and when we have the chance to a few exclusive shows to present our new material.
What does the future hold?
-No-one knows right? I like to take one step at a time and with that be able to enjoy the moment I’m in rather than look forward so much that you cannot appreciate what you’ve already achieved.
We do have plans though! First off we’re very much looking forward to traveling the world again and bring our songs to as many places as we can. After that we will head back to the studio and see what we can come up with for a new album, which we after that will again promote worldwide .