About Me

Interview with Anneke Van Giersbergen

Anneke Van Giersbergen is a well-known name for metal fans of the underground scene two decades ago as she was one of the few metal vocalists around. Her voice is enchanting and she still delights fans all over the world. Her latest album “Symphonized” was a great excuse for Metal Imperium to have a chat with her…

M.I. - “Symphonized” is a live album of 2 concerts you performed with orchestral arrangements together with Residentie Orkest The Hague. Were the concerts planned in order to be recorded and released later on or did the idea of releasing them come up later? How special is it playing with an orchestra? How different is it when compared to a normal band?

Indeed, the idea to record these shows came to mind later. We realized how special this was becoming and figured we should record it to create a great memory and to let more people enjoy this creative celebration of my 25-year career span. Of course, it is very different to playing with a band but the impact and intensity of such a big orchestra is equal I would say, though in a different way. But I felt very much at home, singing with the Residentie Orkest.

M.I. - “Symphonized” is a collection of songs originally performed by The Gathering, Vuur, The Gentle Storm, amongst others… how was this selection made? What criteria did you base it on? Who did the arrangements for the songs? 

Yes, the most wonderful and time consuming thing about this whole operation was indeed the arranging of these songs. Two fantastic arrangers: Marijn van Prooijen and Gijs Kramers worked on the songs for months with a lot of love and dedication. They gave these older songs completely new life.

M.I. - Are you planning to tour (or do some shows) with this album in order to promote it? If you are, will you take the orchestra with you? 

That is quite difficult to do. Travelling with an orchestra is costly and requires a big production. I will work with them next year on something new and do a few more shows in Holland so maybe we can build up to some more shows in the future. I would love to!

M.I. - In your Facebook page you mentioned that “This collaboration with the wonderful Kamerata Zuid, conducted by Frank Adams, was meant to be a one-off, but it will definitely be continued!!” Does your heart get filled with joy when things turn out so beautifully? What’s so special about this collaboration that you want it to be continued? 

Yes, The Kamerata Zuid orchestra is a different type of orchestra and it was wonderful to work with them on this one occasion. We will also work together again in 2019. I feel very comfortable in this genre and atmosphere. The songs get such a special dimension and it is all about the melody and intensity of the music. Sometimes you just hold your breath listening to it. I love it.

M.I. - Having been around for so many years… what have you learned? Would you do anything differently now?

I learned a lot, how to be a better singer, performer, composer etc. But also how to be a better human being. Getting to know yourself through music, working with both wonderful and difficult people, going through good and bad times, that is the most important thing in my opinion. 

M.I. - You were a pioneer in the female fronted metal bands. What impact did you and all the other metal musicians/vocalists have in the metal scene when you first come up in the 90’s? Do you think women may have helped change the minds of metalheads? 

I think women added colour and light to the scene, which is great! Though, I have to say, I like being in a male dominated environment. I like the masculine energy and the heaviness of our scene and I think the balance is perfect like this. Enough beauty and enough beast! 

M.I. - Of all the albums you’ve been a part, is there one that changed you forever? One that you think is the best and still listen to it often?

Oh, such a difficult question to answer. Because every album has a certain importance within a certain time in your life. However, my favourite Gathering album is “How To measure A Planet”. It was a great time in which we could experiment a lot in the studio. And, in my solo career, I love my first solo album “Air”, actually for the same reason and also because I had written these songs on my very own terms and creativity, it was wonderful to express myself through this album. And I feel this live album with the Residentie Orkest is a milestone for me. Celebrating all the former musical expressions.

M.I. - How does the process of writing happen with you? When writing songs how do you know what goes into each project?

Every time it is a little bit different. Usually music and lyrics come together at the same time, but these past few months I am writing a lot of lyrics, not a lot of music yet, but that will come in time. It will all come together when it needs to, I am sure. 

M.I. - What does Anneke have in store for the near future? What can fans expect of you? When will the Portuguese fans have the chance to see you play here again? 

Please leave a message for the fans and readers of Metal Imperium.
Well, I will write and record an album the coming year, I think it will be a solo acoustic album. Tour some more with VUUR, do some projects with the orchestras and do a tour on my own, solo acoustic, throughout the Netherlands. And I am planning something really special for the end of 2019! :) I hope to tour Europe a little more too and come visit your beautiful country as well!
Thanks so much for your support, it means a lot to me! 

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Sónia Fonseca