We have not one but Two FemME festival bands in this issue! I had the pleasure of talking to the lovely frontwoman of Xandria: Dianne van Giersbergen. They have been on my interview-wishlist for some time, so I was very happy they took the time to answer a few of my questions.
Hey Dianne, thank you for taking the time to talk to us! You are one of the bands that will be playing this years FemME festival! Last year you sadly had to cancel. Are you looking forward to the show?
Hey there and thank you very much in your interest for Xandria! Yes we are looking forward to playing this edition of the FemMe festival. Sadly enough we indeed had to cancel last year but therefor let us make it up to you now. Next to performing with Xandria on Sunday you will also find me there performing with my Dutch band 'Ex Libris' on Saturday afternoon ánd I will be there on both days with my 'Precious Metal' jewelry stand.
Is everybody in shape and ready for the concert this year?
I believe so! All of us try hard to keep up our condition and to enter the stage when ever and where ever, but sometimes life just happenes.
We have seen studio pictures appear on your facebook! Are you currently writing new material?
We are, and we will announce shortly that there is a new Xandria album to come! I am very, very excited about this one but for now let's keep the tention a little bit by me not telling anything more than 'this will be sweet!'
What can we expect music wise from the next Xandria release?
It will be in line with our last albums 'Neverworld's End', 'Sacrificium' and the EP 'Fire & Ashes'. Though I believe we've really stepped up our game and have taken the best elements of all albums to make this one the best one yet!
Will you be able to play something new in September at FemME?
Well if by 'new' you mean from the upcoming album then no. Song from the upcoming album we will start performing closer to its releasedate that is yet to be announced.
What would you say, defines Xandria’s sound, and in what way is it different from your previous bands?
Well I've only been in 'Ex Libris' which is also symphonic but most of all progressive. That of course is a big difference. But next to that also the way the music is created differs. Where Xandria is a band that is mostly written in the studio, Ex Libris writes its music during jam session with all or mostly all members present.
You just got off the road with Cradle of Filth! That’s a surprising combination of bands, yet I think it works. How was it touring with them?
Our tour through Belarus and Russia, indeed in support to 'Cradle of Filth' but also with 2 headline shows in Moscow and St. Petersburg has been one for the books. We've met so many wonderful people, heard so many fans screaming for us! Every single night it has just been a party on and off stage.
The members of Cradle of Filth and also their crew are very friendly and nice to work and hang out with. We've had dinners and coffee together wich were highly enjoyable.
How was it to tour Russia? You do seemed to love their flowers.
I did! Last time we went to tour Russia I've also received flowers but this year certainly topped our last tour. Well what can I say but 'thank you!'
Last year you released a seven track EP. That’s almost a full album! Why did you decide on making it an EP instead of a full release?
We wanted to give our fans a little snack in between 2 albums ánd have the opportunity to do something that you normally wouldn't do on an album: remaking 2 of our older songs ('Ravenheart' and 'Now and Forever') and covering 2 songs from other artists ('I Would Do Anything For Love' from Meatloaf and 'Don't Say A Word' from Sonata Arctica, with whom we toured North America and Canada).
You have been the singer in Xandria since 2013. The band had quite a rise to power before you entered the band. How is it to step in as a new frontwoman in an established band?
It's a privilage to be asked to join, as you put it, an established band like Xandria. But I was also sure that I could really give something to the band in return. I've studied classical music for 7 years at the conservatorium, have my bachelor and master degree and researched the vocal cross over between metal and classical music before I joined the band. So you could also say that it was meant to be that our paths would someday cross and then continue together.
As the “new kid” in the band, do you feel you have the creative freedom to do your thing within Xandria? How does the creative process work, and how are the current band dynamics?
Haha well the term 'new kid' does not apply anymore. In other interviews I did together with Marco you can hear him say that 'everything is now as it should be' and I can add to that that for me it also feels like this. Maybe in the first year things were new and took some getting used too (not only for me and the band members but also for the fans of course), but as we went on to the second and are now in the third year it honestly feels like it has never been different.
I can imagine that when you joined the band, a lot of the first album you recorded with them was already done. Will we hear a bigger creative influence on the next Xandria record from you?
Yes! Indeed for "Sacrifium" there was only some room for fine-tuning left. But for the EP as well as for our upcoming release we will make much better use of the instrument that is my voice. But I have also given my few cents and comments during the writing process this time.
How do you describe a Xandria live show, what makes it special?
Our energy. Even if we have a crazy travel schedule we manage to enter the stage and entertain. There is a good flow between us bandmembers (and our crew, which is very important) and I think that shows!
You are a busy woman. Not only are you the frontwoman of Xandria, you also have your own jewelry line, Precious Metal! I read something about how you use guitar strings and such for jewelry? Please tell us more!
I do indeed! But not only do I use guitar strings for my jewelry collection, I also use bass guitar strings and even cymbals! I started my collection because I simply love creating, sharing and giving these beautiful musical materials a second chance to shine. Bands from all over the world and from different genres are happy to donate their strings and cymbals to me, and fans are happy own a piece of jewelry that I've created with these unique materials. I am really proud to tell you that I receive so many happy messages from costomers as well as bands about the jewels I create.
Where can our readers find your work?
My jewelry can be found on: https://www.facebook.com/preciousmetaljewelry
Do you have any last words for our readers?
Thank you for reading up on Xandria and me through this interview. I hope to see of meet you one day at a concert, festival or even at my very own jewelry merch stand.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, we're looking forward to seeing you at FemME! Metal On Loud!