November 28, 2017

Rocker.sk spoke with VUUR singer Anneke Van Giersbergen (ex-THE GATHERING) prior to the group's November 10 performance alongside EPICA and MYRATH in Zlin, Czech Republic. The full chat can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):

On VUUR's origins:

Anneke: "I did THE GENTLE STORM with Arjen Lucassen [AYREON]. We made an album together and we needed a live band for it, and we put together a live band just to tour for a year for the album. They were so great, and great guys to play with. I wanted to make a solo album after that, and more and more I got the urge to form a more heavy band, and also working with Arjen and also with Devin [Townsend], people like that inspired me to make my own heavy album, my own songs. I had a lot of ideas, so I asked the guys, like, 'Will you join me for a new band?' They all said, 'Yeah.' Here we are — it took us two years to write songs, to form the band, to do everything, and it's quite exciting. At the same time, it's also nerve-racking, because I did a lot of things over the last 25 years or so, but every time I start something new, you have to kind of start over. People know you, but it's not like people will then just take everything you do into their hearts. You have to build again.

"I believe so much in this band, but to start over again, to persuade people — 'Listen to this; this is good; this is my new thing' — it's hard. In a good way, because it keeps me focused and it's never boring, because we have to work hard all the time for it, but sometimes I think, 'I need to stick to one thing, build something in fuckin' five years or so,' but I have so many different ideas. Having said all this, I do think this band is something that can grow, really. I'm already thinking about the new album, writing a little bit already. I want a second album to come out of this band. The guys in the band are fantastic, we have such good players, I think we have a good group — so I'm not going to let them go. I'm building again."

On what she considers to be her greatest accomplishment:

Anneke: "I would say in general, because I did so many different things, I think the accomplishment is that I tried, and I think I grew as a singer, as a performer, as a songwriter. And I'm still not done. I think that's the biggest thing for me. Of course, working with Arjen and Devin is big for me, and in this day and age, forming a band like [VUUR] is something I'm already proud of."

VUUR will embark on a European headlining tour in February 2018. The group will be supporting its debut album, "In This Moment We Are Free – Cities", which was released on October 20 via InsideOut Music. The disc was produced by Joost Van Den Broek, who was also involved in the writing process. Other co-writing partners are Mark Holcomb (PERIPHERY),Esa Holopainen (AMORPHIS),Daniel Cardoso (ANATHEMA),and both of VUUR's guitar players wrote a song as well. Anneke co-wrote "Freedom - Rio" with Holcomb and Joost Van Den Broek.

In early 2016, Anneke decided for the sake of clarity to narrow her musical focus, choosing to go in a folk acoustic direction as a solo artist and in a heavy progressive metal direction as a band vocalist. The name VUUR — translated from Dutch as "fire", which can also be interpreted to mean "passion" or "drive" — was chosen as a moniker to represent Anneke's metal side, with the idea that when fans buy a ticket with the VUUR name on it they will be getting her heavy progressive music, while an Anneke Van Giersbergen show will be entirely different.

VUUR lineup:

* Anneke Van Giersbergen (ex-THE GATHERING) - lead vocals
* Jord Otto (MY PROPANE, ex-REVAMP) - Guitar
* Ferry Duijsens - Guitar
* Johan Van Stratum (STREAM OF PASSION) - Bass