The Unforgiving, Within Temptation’s last album, was released a year ago and showed that the band’s new ambition is to go further than the actual music framework. We interviewed Sharon del Adel, WT’s lead singer, when the band played at the Main Square Festival in Arras, France. She answered our questions about both the future of the band and The Unforgiving’s concept.
Given the answers, the latest news on the band are very hot, because Robert Westerholt, Sharon’s husband who stepped down from touring for family reasons, might already have composed songs for the next album. Within Temptation is also preparing a full-length movie related to The Unforgiving and a special anniversary show in November.
Radio Metal : A few months ago, you played for the first time in Peru. How was it ?
Sharon Den Adel (vocals) : It was amazing. When you play in countries you've never been to before, when you meet different cultures, it's like the icing on the cake. It was a completely new experience for everyone in the band. Moreover, the audience was great.
How would you describe the metal fans there ? Is there a big audience for this kind of music ?
I’m not sure because the metal scene over there is quite underground, even if the audience is very intense and active : you don't need 10 000 people to have a great show. The metal community is small, but if it gets a good exposure, it will be better.
You did a theater tour at the beginning of the year. It's not the first time you play acoustic or semi acoustic shows. Is it a way of playing that inspires the band ? Is this how you first compose your songs ?
We use sometimes acoustic guitars when we start writing songs, sometimes the piano and from there we develop them. Regarding our theater tour, our music is usually seen as "bombastic", « heavy » and "big", and by doing this tour, we showed that we could play our songs in more intimate shows.
It is often said that when a song is written acoustically, it is the best way to see if it's good or not : do you agree with that ?
Yes, I totally agree with this. If you have trouble putting a song out like that, then it won’t work : there is something wrong with it.
Is it possible that one day, you'll record an acoustic album ?
As we have done so many different things in the past, never say never (laughs), but as we like electric guitars and the heavy metal sound, it’s not a thing that we first stand for, and our fans like the way we are on stage. But it is an option.
How is Robert (Robert Westerholt, guitar, co-founder of Within Temptation) dealing with the fact that he has stopped touring ? Does he miss being on stage ?
Yes, he misses it a bit, but it is still the best way to combine two separate worlds and for Within Temptation to continue. Moreover, he is always involved in everything that concerns the band behind the scenes, and especially the creative process.
Will he play again live in a few years, when your kids are older ?
Yes, maybe. But talking about Robert, we have a big show in Belgium, on November the 13, and we’ll celebrate 15 years of Within Temptation. Robert will be there, obviously ! (laughs) Older members will come too. We’ll show some movies we’ve made, some parts of the show will be symphonic : we’ve been around for such a long time, thanks to the fans of course, so we’ll remember with the them all the highlights of these past 15 years.
A lot of bands are starting to celebrate their old days by playing an old album in its entirety. Have you thought of doing that with one of your first albums like Enter or Mother Earth ?
No, because we play our favorite songs during a show. We’ve always have done so in the past too, so an entire album, I don’t know, maybe ! (laughs)
Do you think that as Robert writes music at home, this situation can have an impact on the way he writes music ?
No, because he has always been involved in writing songs since the beginning. After the festivals we’re doing now, I’ll have some time for writing songs for the new album,. The same people who have been working on the previous albums will be involved too, like Martijn (Martijn Spierenburg, keyboards). I must say that we’ve already written six songs, so we’re working fast : these six songs will be on the album and are very good. It surprises me, because sometimes it’s a real struggle to write new songs, but apparently, The Unforgiving album is quite inspiring and we’ll continue in that direction.
By stepping down from touring, Robert showed that the most important thing in life is family. Do you think that some musicians tend to forget that and focus maybe too much on music ?
Eveybody’s different. We found it important to do it, other people will may find important to do it too : everyone has to make choices and I can’t judge what other people do in their own lives.
The Unforgiving is a concept album that develops a story based on a comic book. The video clips and your live show is linked to that story. Do you intend to go further in that way of writing albums ? For example, have you thought of making a movie, like Nightwish did for Imaginaerum for example ?
We’ve already made three short movies for our last album and a year ago, we started to write a script for a full-length movie, but we’re not sure when we’ll release it, because we do not want our album to suffer from this project. Once ready, everybody will know.
Since you have this very special live show linked to the story, can we expect a live DVD at the end of the tour ?
I’m not sure. We have some backstage and live stuff but we do not know if it’s usable. We also don’t know how the show will be good, how it will sound and if things will be recorded the right way : when you make a DVD it has to be a magical show.
At the beginning, Within Temptation was a symphonic gothic metal band and since, the band has moved towards a more pop oriented music. Have you experienced some aggressive reactions from pure metal fans ?
No, we’ve never have actually because we’ve always been a band with « catchy » songs : we’re not Slayer (rires) ! Within Temptation has always been very melodic : I think that people who liked us at the start will like the new songs. Of course, people come and go, but we’re a band that changes with every album, because our tastes change too: it’s a natural thing for us. Some excellent bands have the ability to stay the same and on top like Iron Maiden for example, which is amazing, but we’re not capable of doing that.
A lot of well known female fronted symphonic metal bands come from The Netherlands. How could you explain that ? What so special about the Netherlands and female fronted bands ?
Maybe because this style has proven to be succesful and people get inspired by it. Bands also have the opportunity to get signed and record an album. Record companies also see that there is a market for that kind of music : that’s how it works I think ! (laughs) If you live in a country where there are no bands to compare yourself to, where bands haven’t been successful, then it is harder for you.
Interview conducted on june, 30th, 2012 by phone
Transcription : Jean Martinez – Traduction(s) Net
Within Temptation's website : www.within-temptation.com
This post is also available in: French