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Dianne Van Giersbergen. Vocalist for Xandria and Ex Libris.

xandria1   THE METAL PIT: What is it like to record two albums in one year with two different bands. I've noticed you are in Ex Libris as well as Xandria, which both by the way both albums are killer. Dianne:  Thank you so much for that compliment! And to answer your question: I think the only right answer here is: hectic! I began talking to Xandria when I was in the studio for Ex Libris, my Dutch band, to record the vocal lines to our album ‘Medea’. At that moment also the first notes to Xandria’s ‘Sacrificium’ were recorded (though not at the same studio). It was quite a challenge to get to know and study the Sacrificium songs and the songs to the first live shows that took place even before the vocal recordings. But here my experiences from studying classical music came to play, after all learning an opera by heart also isn’t done in an hour.

  What do you most look forward to/worry about on Xandria's first US tour with Sonata Arctica and Delain this year? For me this will be the first experience with traveling with a nightliner so I am really curious to find out what that will be like. The guys already asked me if I’m okay with a sort of ‘camping setting’ haha, no problem at all! Next to that I really like Sonata Arctica’s music so of course I’m looking forward to seeing them on stage.

    xandria2Are there any troubles to living in a different country from the rest of your band? I've noticed you are from the Netherlands while the rest of the band is from Germany. Yes we live in different countries but we all talk English, I even talk a bit of German and in matter of traveling: getting to the rehearsal room takes me as long as our bass player Steven, only difference is I cross ‘the border’. I write it like this because in Europe we have open borders so it’s nothing more than going from one town to the other.

      Xandria has had 3 different vocalists on the last three albums as well as other lineup changes since the beginning and still manage to keep their signature sound. How do you think the band manages to do so? Your voice is quite powerful by the way and hopefully you can stick with these guys for the long run. Of course I am planning on sticking around. I love the music and the guys are all a bunch of sweethearts, they have stolen my heart and I am not about to leave them. Talking about Xandria keeping their signature sound: this is of course the honourable work of our main songwriter Marco Heubaum.  He has a clear vision in mind what Xandria should sound like and composes to this view. We all have a chance to weigh in but it is him who guards the sound.

  You guys play much bigger shows in Europe and bands often struggle playing in North America, especially power metal bands? Why do you think that may be? Oh I must say that I do not have a direct answer to this. I know that in Europe we have way more (female fronted) metal bands, the music is more accepted and sometimes even intertwined within the popular music scene (Xandria for example entered the German album top 100 on #25) and of course another thing is that traveling distances in Europe from ‘fan’ to ‘venue’ might be way shorter then in America.

  xandria3       I've also noticed you've done live vocals for Pathfinder in the past. How does working with a band that often takes a more humorous approach compare to working with bands that have darker more gothic approaches to their music? There is humor to be found in every band I join, otherwise it’s no fun making music together. Laughter is such an amazing part of our lives and having this connection with each other (weather this is with Ex Libris, Pathfinder or Xandria) is a very important thing to cherish.

    I've noticed the drums for Sacrificium were recorded in the Netherlands, while the vocals were recorded in Germany. Was there any particular reason for that? No but we’ve noticed too that we kind of exchanged country’s here!

  xandria4 Xandria has been known to make some pretty intense videos. How did you prepare for the video shoot for Nightfall? Were you remotely nervous about it? Not so much nervous, I think ‘excited’ would be a better word to describe my feeling. We shot the video at the ‘Nikolai Kirche’, an abandoned church that had fallen to ruin just outside of Leipzig, Germany. The whole day was marvellous, I really enjoyed the acting, working together with the Xandria guys and our video crew and director.

    xandria5 The band was featured in the last edition of the Progpower USA festival, do you think that influenced the decision for Xandria to tour the United States and what is your opinion on the festival? This concert was one of that last once Manuela sang if I’m correct so I haven’t been at the festival myself, but the guys told me many great things about it so we must return there one day! I don’t know if Xandria playing there was a direct reason for us to tour the US, all I know is that we cannot wait to bring our music overseas and introduce you to our songs!

    xandria6 There is a pretty significant amount of people involved in the newest album, including Amanda Somerville as the narrator and Sascha Paeth as a co-producer and engineer. How does this compare to the recording of an album that has fewer people working on it? Does it make your job any harder as a vocalist to be part of such an elaborate production? Hmm I don’t think I’ve ever recorded an album  where there were not many people involved. Some of the people Xandria has worked with are more known and their names stand out because of that. But believe me it takes a full devoted team to deliver an album and in both cases, Ex Libris and Xandria, I have been very proud to be one of them.

  Best of luck on the upcoming tour.. Thank you for your time and interest, see you on the road!

Dianne van Giersbergen.




***All photos used with permission from Napalm Records***