ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN: 'I'm Blessed With An Audience That Is Open To Everything I Do'

November 11, 2018

Jorge Fretes of Spain's Goetia Media recently conducted an interview with former THE GATHERING and current VUUR frontwoman Anneke Van Giersbergen about her forthcoming "Symphonized" orchestral album. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On the idea behind "Symphonized", which features material across her career from VUUR, THE GENTLE STORM, THE GATHERING and her solo albums:

Anneke: "If you leave out the band, like you don't have electric guitar or guitar solos or drums, for instance, then you have a whole different atmosphere. Like you said, it's just really totally different when you make arrangements for those songs to let them be played by an orchestra. It's very different from when you still hear the band and then the orchestra always gets kind of into the background, like you hear some strings and it all becomes really more beautiful, but now there is the emphasis on the orchestra and the arrangements in the songs."

On whether she would do a tour commemorating her 25 years in music with an orchestra:

Anneke: "Yeah, it is a logical step, isn't it? To have a diminished orchestra and to tour. Even though with half an orchestra or a chamber orchestra, it's very expensive to tour. Touring is already quite expensive, so therefore, it doesn't happen so much unless you're a really big artist and there's a lot of money involved. Then it's very much doable. Obviously, I would love to tour, but however, we came up with the idea [for] next year, so maybe end of 2019, to do this again with new songs, with more shows and we might do more shows in Holland, but maybe some German [shows] or whatever, so we will continue working together, but like a proper tour, man, only the bus with all those orchestra members, is so expensive to tour."

On whether she would do orchestral versions of songs in which she was a guest, such as AMORPHIS and ANATHEMA:

Anneke: "Actually, I'm doing something a little bit different, but because to celebrate my 25 years of professional musicianship a little bit more, I'm doing 43 acoustic shows in Holland, actually. It's like a theatre tour and so I'm doing that in Holland and I'm doing a lot of shows with Punto [Ferry Duijsens], our guitar player, and I'm doing a lot more songs from the 25 years, so then, I will include songs with Devin Townsend and ANATHEMA and THE GENTLE STORM and [AYREON leader] Arjen [Anthony Lucassen], THE GATHERING, whatever. So, I will record that as well. Next year, I will release an album with all the acoustic versions of these older songs."

On the future of VUUR, who released their debut album last year:

Anneke: "I really formed the band because I wanted to also sometimes just release more heavy music just by myself. Like you said, I'm doing a lot with AMORPHIS, with Devin, with Arjen. It's all heavy, but it's not my own. Whatever I do heavy now, I have a platform for it. So, VUUR, we'll just stick around and do some heavy stuff every now and then. But that feels good. Under my own name, I can do all these classical and acoustic stuff, then it's more clear. People sometimes, they get confused, like AGUA DE ANNIQUE, like, what should we focus on? Now, it's focused. You have VUUR, which is heavy, or my own, which is less heavy, it's more acoustic stuff."

On whether she's happy she launched VUUR:

Anneke: "Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I kind of want to do both so that the heavy stuff and the more acoustic stuff — I'll probably switch every now and then to VUUR, then to an acoustic album."

On whether her fans are open-minded enough to enjoy VUUR and her acoustic work:

Anneke: "I suppose so. A lot of people, they follow whatever I'm doing. I think, to be honest, people who love metal and who are very much metal and into VUUR and into the old THE GATHERING and Devin, they are really open-minded. They listen to prog, they listen to metal and they also listen to the acoustic stuff. A lot of the acoustic stuff I'm doing is also like a version of the metal songs I always do. So it's kind of easy for metal audiences to switch to the classical shows or to the acoustic shows. The other way around, sometimes people just follow my acoustic stuff. I do a lot more in Holland. I'm a little bit more on television and I have a little bit of a mainstream following here. They are kind of going for the more quiet stuff, a lot of those guys. Of course, we have a good metal scene here in Holland and they follow everything. I'm blessed with an audience that is open to everything [I do]. I can really express myself and sing my heart out. That's just so nice. I'm one of the few, I think Devin and those guys, one of the few artists that are blessed with such an audience."

Due November 16, "Symphonized" features 11 tracks and is taken from Van Giersbergen's two career-spanning concerts with Residentie Orkest The Hague.