Interview by Miriam C.
I don’t want to sound always repetitive because we’re really aware (I hope hehehe) of what Anneke van Giersbergen represents for the global metal scene and how she has forged her musical career throughtout the years with her several artistic collaborations (which I won’t list here) and different projects but now, the time has to come to introduce you her new creature: VUUR (from the Dutch: fire). And as the band name suggests, the band brings her back to the origins in some ways: what you’ll find in the debut “In This Moment We Are Free – Cities”, out now via InsideOut Music, is crackling and rustling progressive metal at its best. Without further ado, let’s Anneke herself speak it about it.
Goedemorgen Anneke, welcome back to Femme Metal Webzine, how are you?
Today, we’re here to speak about your new project VUUR. What you had triggered in create this new musical creature?
Well, I made an album with Arjen Lucassen for The Gentle Storm and it was one of the most heavy things I did for myself and I really liked this, you know, I really love creating more heavy music and I have never really had a band or a producer around me that can do the sound more metal or a prog oriented album and so, with Arjen was really nice, you know, and I thought: “I want my next album to what I want and also to be more metal, more heavy” and I worked with this band for The Gentle Storm which is really good and I asked them to participate in the new album and they said: “Yes!”. So, I have this fantastic band: Joost van der Broek who’s also producing the album. So, 2 years ago we started writing and recording and now, we are here with VUUR.
On the 20th October VUUR’s debut album “In This Moment We Are Free – Cities” will be released, would you like to tell us more about its genesis?
Actually me and Joost, we started writing 2 years ago and we wrote all the songs together and I went to the studio every week and we wrote a lot of stuff and also asked some friends to write us and also the 2 guitar players. I didn’t have any boundaries, I didn’t want to think about anything else: just make the music that I really wanted and love and so, we have no limits as we can do though it felt really free and we wrote for an year I think and then the band came in, they rehearse the songs. When they did record the songs, there was so much attitude to the songs and the studio from the band members as well. The album, which I’m super happy with it, it came with such rage and heavy sounds, you know…
Yes, exactly. I really love that because it’s quite the difference between your acoustic sound and VUUR. You managed really well to separate both musical compartments…..
Yeah, I love both, I love the heavy side and I love the acoustic, quiet stuff that I do, so, I’m really happy that I can do both.
If we consider that you’re active since the early 90s and you’re quite the experienced artist, I was wondering to know, which was the challenge that you faced while composing VUUR’s debut?
The challenge? I never seen making music as a challenge because I always make exactly what my heart tells me to, so, we have just arrived and I work hard you know? It’s a lot of work and you have to try to get everybody to get where you want to go and all that but it’s not a challenge to me.
During your long career, you showed to your fans and audience many differents aspects of your musical texture and recently you have candidly stated that VUUR will be your metal outlet and you’ll gonna use your name for your solo albums. How much hard will be to keep all this separated and not get influenced by each other? I mean, at the end of the day, we’re talking about the same person…
True and I like listening to different styles of music and I also like creating and playing different styles of music, so for me, it’s a very natural thing and I don’t have to make sure that one doesn’t influence the other. In fact, I think they both really influenced each other, you know, it’s music and it’s bound to get inspired by both side.
I was generally struck by the album itself and in particular I love the titles songs. Being a touring musician, I think that every city that you have toured (and mentioned in “In This Moment We Are Free – Cities”), they did offered you some special experiences, do you have any nice stories to share? And also concerning you being a Dutch citizen, what represents for you Rotterdam?
Well, in general I really love travelling so much and I’ve been travelling for 25 years a lot with the music and every city gives me a new inspiration and I write a lot in hotel rooms, in airplanes, in airports because there’s a lot of time which you can spend while you wait and everything, so I write a lot, so I create a lot when I’m moving around which is lovely and I like travelling a lot and it has just to be a new place and different places. I like meeting new people, so in general it’s my biggest pleasure to move around and for your second part of the question, Rotterdam is one of the biggest city in Holland and I really like Rotterdam because it’s a harbour city so it’s more heavy and there are a lot of cultures in one place and but there’s also the airport, a lot of music, a lot of arts, a lot of different things that you can discover, so I like Rotterdam very much and on the album “Rotterdam”, the lyrics are about the Second World war.
Although the cover looks quite modern and in a way, quite evil, you stated that it portrays a duality: how about explain us more about it?
Yes, indeed, the whole album is about duality, you know, light and darkness, war and peace – we are dual by nature. The artwork is all about….. You see this dark man made out of stone, it’s heavy and it has this big city on its head but it’s also nature, green and the whole thing is gray and dark but there’s also light in the fire so, I wanted to make this duality in the artwork.
A few years ago, you were involved with the trio The Sirens together with Liv Kristine and Kari Rueslatten: do you have new updates to offers us about this project?
Not really, no, I guess we closed our project and that it has a beginning and an end. It was merely a live thing, so, we’re not gonna make an album or something like that so, itwas just a project for a certain time.
Personally, I’m just recovering from the Ayreon Universe show in Tilburg on Sunday- I didn’t want to come for many reasons: one of these was that I had to start early to work in the morning but at the end of the day, I’ve realized that if I didn’t go I’ll for sure regret miss it out. So, now that everything, unfortunately, is finished, what are you feelings?
I loved it, of course, it was fantastic to play with amazing singers but also the band you know, more half of the band is my band VUUR [laughs] which is great and they are so good and all these singers were so great. You know Arjen makes wonderful music and for him it was fantastic creating this show and you were a part of it and we felt happy.
So Anneke, we’re at end of our interview. Please be free our readers and your fans. Thanks again!
Thank you so much for this amazing interview, enjoy your day!