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In Spanje, Portugal en Californië hebben ze te maken met de dodelijkste bosbranden sinds jaren. Onlangs is het debuut album van VUUR uitgekomen. Toeval? Natuurlijk niet. Het nieuws dat de beste zangeres van Europa een nieuwe band heeft gaat als een lopend vuurtje de wereld over. Tijd om Anneke van Giersbergen het vuur aan de schenen te leggen voor een aantal brandende vragen. Een vurige Anneke belde mij daar voor op. Bij haar staat de telefoon echter roodgloeiend waardoor er slechts beperkt tijd was voor dit interview. De tijd was eerder opgebrand dat ik had voorzien.
Ze legt uit dat het heilige metal vuur in haar nog lang niet gedoofd is. OK, klaar met de flauwe grapjes…

Door: Wilco | Archiveer onder prog / sympho metal

You are very hard to get. Time-consuming business?
Yes, extremely. I have done a lot of interview and we are moving to another house as well. Everything comes at the same time. And very soon our album will be released. I will be touring while we are supposed to move again. I move as often as I change the colour of my hair.

Honestly...I have no idea about the colour of your hair.
O well...haha.

You said you had done many interviews already. How many?
I think at least seventy…no more I guess. I have done a sort of small press tour with fifteen to twenty interviews per day, for four days in a row.

Wow, that is a lot indeed. Already fed up with doing all the interviews?
Hah, a bit. Many do ask questions which answers are in the press release. I have spent many evenings just giving interviews in a row.

Could be lazy journalists like me.
Haha. Yes probably.

Do you get requests for interviews from abroad as well?
O yes, absolutely, from all over the world. Our records will be released all over the world as well, so this could be expected. Requests come from all over the world, Australia, Japan, Germany.

Did you expect it to be an instant worldwide release?
Honestly…yes. All my records are released internationally all the time.

And how are the reactions?
They are very very positive. I should say that I am very pleased with the result myself as well. I am unbelievably proud of what we have accomplished. We put a lot of hard, honest work in it. It is played very well and I am glad that it sounds likewise.

No negative reactions until now?
99% really is extremely positive. The others mention things they would have done differently, only slight remarks really. Haven’t heard of a single really negative reaction. On the other hand, the music is quite distinctive, should really be your cup of tea to please you.

But is VUUR a genuine band, or is it Anneke with a back-up band??
It’s a bit of both really. It really is my band. I brought us together, pull the strings, manage our steps and write a lot of our music myself. But, the band are not just some guys in the background playing their instruments. I really want those really important guys to be visible. Whereas it concerns my ideas, their creative mark is absolutely present.

I think you succeeded, during the gig in Leeuwarden VUUR really appeared as a band.
Thank you!

Were you amazed by the crowd?
Well…I was amazed because it was sold out. We were just planning to play some music as a try-out. When I knew it was sold out I knew we had to do better and accelerate. The audience and its response were great. I really was surprised by that because it were all new and relatively long songs.

Then I can conclude this is not a mere project but a band we will here from in the future as well?
Certainly, I want this to continue for a long time.

You just said you write much of the music. I suspect then you’re not the only one?
Well, I wrote much of the album together with Joost van den Broek, who also produced the album. But the guitarists (Jort Otto and Ferry Duijsens) have helped me in the process, just like Marc Holcomb from Periphery, Esa Holopainen from Amorphis and Daniel Cardoso from Anathema. They are all metal artists and friends of mine. I am very proud of their contributions. Sometimes, when they were on tour, they send me some ideas which Joost and I than redefined.

How did you manage to get this band together?
We played with this band in Arjen Lucassen’s The Gentle Storm. Arjan is not fond of touring, but I am, very much. I was in another band at that time, but it wasn’t a metal band. So I created a band out of nothing and quite sudden to perform the music from The Gentle Storm. I asked these guys If they would like to continue with me, and that is just what happened. We know each other quite well and know how to play together.

band image

That is a lot of different people to contribute. How did you manage to make the album sound like a whole, generic one?
That is a good question! It is an important item for me of course. The guys who helped me are from many different metal subgenres. So, I told Joost I wanted the album to sound like a unity, but there should be enough variation as well. But not too much, I don’t want the album to bounce along the subgenres. Joost is very good at this and he did a very good job I guess.

I read that the subject of the album are big cities and the relative freedom they can offer compared to the smothering effect big cities can have. Please tell me that is correct, because I have to rewrite my review of the album of it is not.
Haha, it is correct!

I read that you really wanted to return to metal again. Can you elaborate?
Yes, my solo albums are more gentle, more rock. But I have been busy making metal the last decade. I did such with Arjen Lucassen, Devin Townsend, Within Temptation and Moonspell. I never really left the metalscene, it is my everlasting love. On my solo albums I wanted to create and perform something different. During my Gentle Storm period I realised how good it is to make real heavy music. I really was into it again and with a band like this I decided to give it a try. So I asked them and gave it a name. This will be my heavy outlet.

Why did you choose VUUR as a band name?
I wanted to call it Fire. But there are too many acts with the word ‘fire’ in their names. But I liked the word still because of the heat and passion it represents. One day I thought Vuur is a nice word as well, it looks good and people from abroad will wonder what it means.

What are your plans for the future?
I don’t look ahead much. right now I am focussing on this album and tour. The tour will not end before the end of 2018. We will be touring all over the world with our own headline gig in Utrecht on 10th of December 2018. We will be touring the world with Epica; North and South America and later on Europe. After that we will be touring The Netherlands again. There are some ideas for new songs, but it is just bits and pieces. We will be writing new songs during the tour I think. Anyway, we want to make another VUUR album.

I guess your family is very pleased about that tour as well?
Haha, yes they are pleased. We do work together. Rob, my husband is also my manager and does a lot of work for the tour. Our son accompanies us as well. He is twelve years old and studies graphic sciences. Maybe we can use him to make illustrations haha! He likes the touring and is fond of music. We try to combine as much as possible.

I guess that leaves very little time for a regular job…
Answer: No way. We really make a living from the music. We are doing so for quite a while now, I think about twenty years. Music is really my focus and I am glad that I can make a living out of it.

Can the guys combine their other duties with VUUR?
Yes, that has been no issue at the moment. Some of them are not in an active band for the moment. They should have enough time to do this, but they must also really want to choose for VUUR.

Is VUUR your only concern now?
VUUR really I my priority. It consumes all my time and energy. I am active in some small acoustic things. And I will be performing two classical performances in May of 2018. The The Hague Residential Orchestra asked me to perform with them. Now and then they organise something out of the box. I thought it would be nice to give an overview of all my works. There will be metal, singer song music, VUUR, The Gathering…everything I have ever done. I will be supported be a big orchestra and will be doing two shows. It will be amazing! And I am in the theatre sometimes as well.

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