Xandria Interview

Napalm Records

Theater Of Dimensions, the latest album from the veteran German symphonic metal band Xandria, was recently released. It’s the band’s second album with vocalist Dianne van Giersbergen. She fills us in on the album, some of her other ventures and more.

Chad Bowar: How did the songwriting and recording process for Theater Of Dimensions compare to Sacrificium, your first album with the band?

Dianne van Giersbergen: Way different! I guess the album totally benefits from a solid writing and production process, but another difference is that I’ve been much more involved in the songwriting part. From a very early stage we focused on where my voice should be in the song, which key fit best and how the arrangement (both band and orchestra) would complement the voice. With doing this, not only my instrument benefited, but everyone’s did. If you put my voice in a key it’s comfortable with, than the band is basically unlimited in what they wish you play.

What was the most important thing you learned in recording the first album that you brought to the table for Theater Of Dimensions?

I think we have a far better understanding of our instruments and what they do best. Next to that I think we’ve also learned that it is important to not want to do everything on your own but trust and engage people like Joost van den Broek, our producer, who do their job very well and give you the chance to shine.

You had guest musicians and narration on the last album, but this time around you brought in several guest vocalists. What led to that decision, and how did you decide on the specific singers?

Some are friends of the band, like Ross Thompson from Van Canto and others we matched because they simply were the perfect voice for the song, like Bjorn “Speed” Strid from Soilwork. We invited the singers onto the album because we wanted an album with as many flavors and dimensions as we could get.

Were they in the studio with you, or was it done via the internet?

All via the magic of the internet! They recorded in the studios they are most comfortable in recording after I sent them a demo version of me singing the intended vocal line.

How has the band’s sound/style evolved on this album?

Of course I would have to say that it is our best album so far, but I honestly think it is! The whole process of writing, pre-production, recording and all that comes with it just went so smoothly! Big applause for our producer and co-writer Joost van den Broek who was able to keep all of our ideas and dreams together and bundle them into a very bold album called Theater of Dimensions.

What has been your most memorable Xandria live show so far?

Hard to say! There have been so many and we’ve met such wonderful people that choosing only one would be unfair to the others.

Tell us about your recent appearance on stage with Anneke Van Giersbergen.

We were on stage together at the 17th of December when she invited me to join the farewell show of The Gentle Storm. It was fun!

Are there plans for a new Ex Libris album?

Not concrete, but we are indeed going into the process of planning on how to approach writing sessions and after that a pre-production period. As you will understand, it is hard to combine this with our busy Xandria schedule, so we decided on Ex Libris becoming a studio project that focuses mostly on releasing music.

What’s new with your Precious Metal jewelry line? 

I’m uploading new designs every week and people from all over the world are now getting acquainted with my work as a music-jewelry-designer! I’m currently working with bass guitar strings, guitar strings (acoustic and electric) but also with drum cymbals. But there is more on the agenda! I also am looking into strings from violin and cellos as well as piano strings. I feel totally blessed with this little business I’ve got going and do invite those who are wondering what it is I do to pay a visit to my page.

Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?

I think the only thing that remains is a word of thanks! To you for your interest, and also to our fans and followers for their loyalty and enthusiasm.

(interview published February 2, 2017)

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