Xandria: On Their First Headlining All Across North America
Xandria’s headlining North American tour in support of their latest magnun opus Theater of Dimensions would bring the acclaimed symphonic metal band to the City of Angels. Along with tour mates Kobra and the Lotus, Xandria would perform an epic show at The Regent in Downtown LA, clearly captivating the L.A. metal masses with their dynamic sonic entreaties. Once Human was also on the tour, but unable to play that night – but those who were able to see all three bands on this trek across the States and Canada clearly witnessed three female fronted metal bands – all unique in the approach to their art – coming together to unveil a show for the ages. Prior to their inspiring set an The Regent, we caught up with Xandria’s lead vocalist Dianne van Giersbergen backstage to discuss their current Theater of Dimensions album on Napalm Records, touring across North America with this exhilarating trio of bands, her other project Ex-Libris, and other topics of supreme interest. Read on…
How has the tour been going and what have been some of the highlights?
I think it has been going very very great. It’s our first headline tour and we didn’t follow the golden rule of 5 times the support tour and then look and maybe you can headline. We are very stubborn. We did one support tours with Sonata Arctica. And now we’re here headlining. I’m just very very happy with all of those people that came to our shows, who have brought such good spirits because they all have been willing to party. Every evening at the end of the set, we ask people, “will you also jump with us?” Because we’ve heard their cheers and seen their metal fist up in there. It’s at that point really where we ask them to engage with us in jumping in the final song which is Cursed. And so far, all of our audiences did. That says a lot more than saying, “we’ve had 500-800, ah 100, I don’t know.” I just see the faces that smile up at me and engage with us.
Is there any overall story or concept behind the album title Theater of Dimensions?
No there’s not. Though in the meantime, I would like to say that since we have so many colors on the album, you can see those as the different dimensions that we bundled together into one theater, which is the album.
Select any two songs, what inspired the lyrics?
Well, the first song on the album is called “Where the Heart is Home” and the topic now is very much alive because we’re on tour. This song is about feeling homesick, and missing home. It’s about the other side of touring that Social Media doesn’t display or the part that we don’t throw out there too much. It’s about not only missing your loved ones but also that you have to go away sometimes when things aren’t in the best position back home. For example, someone might be really ill or people might be going through a divorce and a tour doesn’t simply wait for the issue to be resolved or dealt with or handled. Sometimes you have to get up and leave and that’s a really hard thing to do and I am a really honest person. I wanted to be honest with the audience and say, “this side is also there.”
Any other song?
Let me then speak a little bit about our single which is “Call of Destiny.” This is my answer to a lot of fans, mostly girls who ask me, “how did you do it, how did you get to the point where you are?” Most ask about the vocal approach. And the answer is, not sitting around waiting for things to happen but it is work as hard as you can and never give up. The song is called “Call of Destiny” and I’d like to say if you have a talent, you can see as being called but it’s up to you if you choose to answer your call.
How did Bjorn from Soilwork get involved in the song “We Are Murderers” and have you performed it live with him?
We haven’t performed live with him. That would be really awesome! We wanted a more heavier song on the album and for a topic like this, and a title like this, we needed something stronger and more brutal than my voice – because can you imagine me singing, “WE ARE MURDERERS!” It makes a different statement, right? Like “oh how nice it is to be a murderer!” So we searched for a male vocalist who can do the grunts as well as the really good clean part. So we ended up with Bjorn and I think it’s been a wonderful decision because he really did his best. It’s an awesome song live by the way.
Need to get him out here.
Lauren from Once Human has been doing his part on tour. But I don’t know if she will do it tonight because she is feeling a little bit ill, but on this tour we have Lauren doing it. That’s just so massively cool because we have this tiny little girl who screams like hell. She frightens me in a good way.
There are girls on this tour which is kind of unusual. Has there been a camaraderie or bond between the three of you?
Oh, definitely. I think though vocal wise we are very different. I think as girls and as our point of the view to the business, being a woman in a man’s world dealing with things on tour and sharing a passion and a devotion. I think we are very much alike and it has been a lot of fun touring with – well with the bands, obviously because the three bands together form a real nice package – everyone is very nice and willing to work together, very open. But of course, especially the girls. They are both sweethearts.
Has Meatloaf heard or commented on your cover of I’ll Do Anything For Love?
I don’t know. I did hear someone saying who is friends with the daughter of Meatloaf, that she heard it and she loved it. So maybe she can run up to her father and say “hey – take a look at this.” You never know. It only takes six people, right?
Would Xandria and your other band Ex-Libris ever want to do a show or tour together, or has that already happened?
No, it hasn’t and I’ve had the question from promoters willing to do that, but I just wont. No. It’s too hard. Then I have to shave off on both shows, which means I can only perform half a show with Ex-Libris and half a show with Xandria and both bands don’t deserve that.
What is going on withEx-Libris? You have an album out in 2014 called Medea.
Well, they needed some time to reinvent themselves as Xandria is really busy and takes up my full calendar. We needed to come up with a way to keep it alive but work in harmony with the existence of Xandria. So we now decided that we’re going to be a studio project with some exclusive shows, but not focus on being a touring band. We’ll see wherever it leads. But we’ve been together recently just a few days before I left for this tour and we have some awesome ideas for our next album. It’s going to be a concept album.
What goes through your mind when a tour like this is suddenly coming to an end?
Yay, I’m gonna go home! Because, obviously it’s very nice touring. And I like it very much – I love the fans that come out. I love being on stage, but I also love to go home. Home is where the heart is. That’s what the whole song is about.
What is up for Xandria after this tour?
Oh, the summer festivals are coming. I’m really looking forward to that. We have some awesome festivals we’re going to play. Summer Breeze, for example. Metal Days in Slovenia, I think. Very special, we’re playing a festival at the Lorelei Stage – it’s very famous in, I don’t know if it’s famous here but it’s – have you heard of the Lorelei story? This woman is singing on a rock and every ship that comes by and listens to her and they sink all day. Something horrible happens. So I’m very honored that I’m going to be one of those Lorelis – let’s see how many boats I can rock!
(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)
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