Meet Dianne van Giersbergen, the new vocalist for the mighty Xandria! Also the singer for Ex Libris, one could certainly feel the passion and conviction Ms. van Giersbergen has for her craft when encounter the stunning refrains of Xandria’s latest and greatest masterwork. Entitled Sacrificium and now available for Napalm Records, the stunning collection of songs will surely exhilarate all music connoisseurs looking to be swept away into a sonic adventure. Here is an interview we conducted with the charismatic Xandria front woman to find out more about her joining up with the noted symphonic metal collective, her thoughts on the previous Xandria singer Manuela Kraller, their upcoming tour here in the States, and many other epic topics of intrigue. Read on!!!
Prior to joining Xandria, were you familiar with their music at all?
For me Xandria came into my perpective when they started to promote their ‘Neverworld’s End’ album. When I heard the album for the first time I was really impressed and had the feeling that a band finally dared to return to the roots of the genre.
Did you know Manuela Kraller and has she heard or commented on the new album?
I have met her when Xandria started touring with Kamelot and we’ve talked online with each other, we both were members of the ‘Eve’s Apple community’. She is a very nice person with an amazing voice!
After I joined Xandria (and Eve’s Apple split up, though both happenings are not related) we didn’t speak again. Of course I would love to hear what she thinks of the new album. But I also know that starting up a (new) career like she is doing costs a lot of energy and I too am very busy, but who knows maybe in the future.
Is Ex Libris still in existence and what is going on with the band at the moment?
Yes it is! In a few weeks we (Ex Libris) will be travelling to England to play a few shows as support to ‘Imperia’. Our album ‘Medea’ has been released on the 18th of January and both fans as critics have been very positive about our album! I too am very proud.
Of course now that I am also front woman to Xandria, Ex Libris has to be more flexible. But the whole band supports me in this new adventure and all said ‘go for it’ when the offer came to the table.
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title Sacrificium?
The word ‘Sacrificium’ stands for sacrificing yourself, your love, life, etc for the greater good. At first all the songs were to be about this topic but during the whole process we also included some more story telling songs, like ‘The Undiscovered Land’. I wasn’t that much part of this process because when I joined all of the songs were nearly finished and the band was even already recording the first notes to the album.
Select two songs from Sacrificium and what inspired the lyrics?
For the ‘Sacrificium’ album I had the honour to write two of the lyrics: ‘Little Red Relish’ and ‘Sweet Atonement’.
‘Little Red Relish’ is the story of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ but then told in a different way. The original story, so not the Disney one, is about a girl losing her virginity and so I decided to give ours a little spin: in ‘Little Red Relish’ the girl sets out to find grandmother but is abducted by the wolf and taken to his wolfs lair. She falls in love with her abductor, decides to stay with him and therefore sort of says ‘to hell with grandmother’. In other words: she chooses not to obey her orders and walk her own path.
‘Sweet Atonement’ is a way more serious song. In this battle I wrote in sing about losing a loved one to fatal disease, about building memories with this person in what you later discover to be’ borrowed time’.
Who did the cover art for Sacrificium and how much input did you have on it?
The artwork is done by Stefan Heilemann, a real wizard when it comes to artwork and photography. The coming together of the cover has been a process of going back and forth between him and us, brainstorming and after the idea of the phoenix was born fine-tuning what it should look like.
We are very happy with the end result and have already receive many compliments from fans who too seem to like this artwork.
Describe your first performance with Xandria and what was going through your mind at the time?
Haha I think what was going through my mind was ‘this is really happening!’. My first shows were four headline shows in Spain and I really enjoyed it! I think everyone would expect me to be very nervous but the only thing I felt was pure excitement. I’ve studied music for seven years, know my voice, know how to quickly study new material and I have many years of experience on performing on stage. Because of this I knew how to prepare myself for my first concerts so that I knew the material and what to expect well enough to also enjoy what was going on.
Next to that, the four Xandria guys have been real supports and admirers of how I dealt with the workload. They have answered all of my questions and given me the best advice. When we came off stage after the first concert all five of us had a really big smile on our faces and knew that this was something we could build a future upon.
What are you looking forward to the most about your upcoming tour here in the States?
Ooh difficult question! I of course really look forward to meeting all of our fans, seeing the beautiful landscape, hopefully do some sightseeing ánd eat as many pancakes for breakfast as I can!
Would Xandria and Ex Libris ever want to tour or do a show together?
A show may be more realistic than a full tour but even then I would want to hold off on this. When I enter a stage I am there for the full 100%, having to perform twice a day would mean I would have to cut back on that. Both bands have really challenging vocal lines so a concert is a real work out!
If Xandria could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Hmm I must admit that I do not really have an answer to this question. I feel really happy about the chances we get as we go along rather than to hope for something and be disappointed.
What would you like a listener to remember the most after hearing Sacrificium for the first time?
How they truly felt after hearing the album. I think a spoken opinion can only be formed after hearing it for a few times, but the first pure emotions that you feel when hearing the music for the first time is much more valuable then words and must be cherished.
Any final words of wisdom?
I would like to thank everyone for their support and faith in Xandria ànd for welcoming me into this wonderful band! See you all on the road!
Vocals: Dianne van Giersbergen
Guitar & keys: Marco Heubaum
Guitar: Philip Restemeier
Bass: Steven Wussow
Drums: Gerit Lamm
(Interview by Ken Morton – Xandria Photos by Stefan Heilemann)
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