New album, new meeting with the always so beautiful Sharon Den Adel who talks to us about the manufacturing secrets of this "Hydra" with a few crispy anecdotes as a bonus...
STRUCK - 18.02.2014 -
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The last time we met, you were pregnant with your third child. A private question to start with, isn't life with three children under the same roof too hard?

Sharon Den Adel: (Laughs) Sometimes, yes! It's not that different to have two or three children, it's just that there's one more who comes to get involved in the arguments (Laughs).

How do you manage to reconcile your professional life as an artist on the road with your life as a mother of three children?

You have to be able to make a distinction between your work, which in my case is also my passion and your family life. As far as we're concerned, since Robert stopped touring with us and only does studio albums anymore, it's made things a lot easier. It was much easier because I know that the children are in good hands.

Within Temptation's news is the new album "Hydra" which follows in the footsteps of the ambitious "The Unforgiving". About the latter, are you satisfied with the results of such an album that combined a comic strip and a film about music? 

It was indeed an ambitious project and we did it well in the end. We have toured a lot and many people consider this album to be our best. Certainly, some have been frustrated, but overall the result is rather positive.

Are you satisfied with the return on investment knowing that such a project required time and a lot of work?

I would say that I am pleasantly surprised by the number of sales (Laughs)! Our fans are used to buying albums despite the fact that some of them are very young and come from different countries.

Can we imagine that you would do it again later?

Not at the moment but we think it is likely that one day we will make a "The Unforgiving II", especially to make the film that has not been finalized. The person who wrote the script with us and who made the video clip for "Paradise" is very talented and therefore very much in demand, especially in the United States. But when the time is more appropriate, when our respective schedules allow it, we will work on this film again.

Wasn't it complicated to find the inspiration for "Hydra" which finally comes out soon enough after "The Unforgiving"? In other words, have you found a way of working that allows you to release albums quickly?

The fact is that "Hydra" is the album that was the easiest to write in our entire discography. The reason is that we all know each other very well, we have in advance a certain vision of how the album should sound, not set limits... And this last element also explains why we will surprise many people with the presence of a hip-hop artist (Laughs). 

We also used old elements that we hadn't used for a very long time, such as the guttural voices that hadn't been used since 2003. We wanted to do certain things on certain songs and not on the whole album and all this for a very specific purpose, like the choice to sing with a classical voice or a normal voice.

The success of "The Unforgiving" was not a burden when you came to write "Hydra"?

No, on the contrary, it was very simple because we had no borders. Today, we have a different and much simpler approach to write music: we can do what we want, we don't feel like we have to prove something. We are much more relaxed at the moment of the composition (Laughts), on the other hand, of a "The Silent Force" which was the worst album in terms of writing process.

With "The Unforgiving", Within Temptation confirmed that it was one of the major metal bands that has climbed the ladder of notoriety step by step and proved with the single "Sinead", a true potential hit, that you could seduce as many people as possible. Under these conditions, the next step is to get to the top of the top album rankings?

No, because rankings have never been our goal. But we know that radios are important for all groups because they are still a privileged way to reach the public. The fact is that we have set ourselves certain objectives to achieve with our music and we are seeing that we are leading the way in more and more festivals.

And do you think that Within Temptation has reached the peak of its popularity to date?

I don't know. I don't know. It depends a little bit on what's going to happen with this album. To our great surprise, we have continued to grow ever since then, even though we never thought that the group would have lived so long in the first place (Laughs). As long as people continue to love our music, we will be happy (Smile)!

This new album "Hydra" refers to mythology and this monster has several heads. The cover presents 2 of them: can we say that these 2 heads represent the 2 aspects of Within Temptation's art: one heavy and the other more accessible?

Indeed, on the visual of the album, the monster has two heads but in fact, he must have seven or eight... It didn't look good to put eight on the cover. What I mean is that each of the heads symbolizes one of the personalities of Within Temptation: the symphonic aspect, the metal aspect, the rock, the gothic influences but also dance and today, hip-hop... We can say that we are a musical monster with several heads and every time you cut one off, he pushes back two (Laughs)!

In this album, you mix the heavy aspect with the terrible "Let Us Burn", the calmer one with "Edge of the World" or "The Whole World is Watching" in duo with Dave Pirner... Has Within Temptation become a heavy pop music band?

Concerning this album, I don't agree but the previous one, yes because it was more accessible...

I think we excel at composing heavy music with catchy melodies... but Iron Maiden did it very well too. We are one of those bands that love and focus their music on melodies which is much easier for the audience to understand than some death metal bands that only do guttural voices... Despite everything, we like the combination of all these elements and I think it's one of the things the audience appreciates in Within Temptation, namely a heavy band but also a catchy one.

Your voice is at a level never before reached: pure and powerful without being too symphonic or soft. How did you find this balance?

It's something you evaluate after the fact. "The Silent Force" is a good album but I'm not very proud of some parts, some of the things we did on this album and especially the way I sing in particular. We had a certain vision at the time and with hindsight, very quickly, I was not satisfied with the result.

You talk about your dissatisfaction with "The Silent Force" when it is probably the most popular album in the eyes of your fans...

I know that, but I think some people will consider this album their favorite because it's the first time they've heard us. We may have given them some emotion. And maybe this album brings back some memories that don't necessarily have any connection with the band... Maybe it's for all the reasons I just mentioned or just a question of musical taste, I don't know.

The only track that can remind you of your symphonic metal roots is 'Paradise (What about us?)' in duet with Tarja Turunen. Is it important for you to keep a part like that ?

No, no... We were really more in a process of knowing what the song needed, what emotions came out of it and what best fits the song. If the classical singing comes back, it's just a coincidence... Of course, we chose Tarja for her classical voice even if she is more "normal" on this track. It's not a step back from a vocal point of view on my part, it's just that we built something around it. 

Another track 'Silver Moonlight' could have been sung like this but by singing it normally, it became original even if it is a typical Within Temptation epic song... we have approached it more like an Iron Maiden epic song let's say with a female voice...

Are you aware that the duo exercise will make people talk and especially those who will say that it is a commercial exercise...

Whether they talk, I don't care what they think because what we did was what we wanted, I mean meeting new people and giving our music a different color. Clearly, we are only guided by artistic choices. In the case of "Hydra", we thought it might be nice to work with the invited people while hoping that it would work musically. We hope that people will also appreciate it and if so, perhaps this approach will be successful.

"Hydra" has a limited version with covers of Lana del Rey, Enrique Iglesias... confirming your accessible aspect. Why did you decide to do these covers: a way to become even more accessible or just because you liked these songs?

These covers are only available on limited editions of the album sold in Holland, Belgium or on our website. We started this project to cover pop songs in a more metal or rock version. The purpose was to make them our own so that they would become Within Temptation songs.

Some people who were initially afraid to see an Enrique Iglesias cover were surprised by the result... To come back to what I said earlier, before giving an opinion without really knowing, it is better to listen. It's exactly the same with the duet with Xzibit, people complain in advance of a duet with a hip-hop artist before they've even heard a single note of the track. I would say it's quite exhausting... But it's also quite logical, there are very traditional fans and others more open who will certainly be enthusiastic...

To get back to the limited edition of the cover album, there are 10 songs out of the 15 we covered. A lot of work has been done on these covers which are not just copies of the originals with acoustic guitar or piano/voice... We wanted to give a heavy aspect to these covers and afterwards, some sounded so good that we regretted not being the original authors. I really like Enrique Iglesias' one because we were able to put an aggressive riff on it (Smile) a little like Alien Ant Farm did when he took over Michael Jackson. I'm not afraid to try new things, new styles... The most important thing is the emotion you transmit.

Was it complicated to cover Lana del Rey with such a special song?

No, on the contrary, it was very simple! I just had to raise my voice because she sings very low, too low for me and we have very different voices. And then we made it a double tempo track... If you transform a ballad into a double tempo track, it immediately becomes very heavy with very melodic lines. It works very well!

Last time we met, I asked you to find the question you would like me to ask you: Did you find it since?

No (Laughs)! But I can tell you the very funny story of our meeting with Dave Pirner. He is the person I really wanted to meet because he is a very special person to me because I grew up with him. I was a grunge fan before I was a metal fan: Nirvana, Soul Asylum but also Alice In Chains at the same time... In this respect, you can hear Alice In Chains in 'Tell me Why' (she hums)...

Anyway, when we wrote 'The Whole World is Watching' we knew we were really on the edge of what an Within Temptation song should be. We thought if Dave Pirner was present, it might pass. Our record company totally supported us in this idea and after months of research to find it - because it is not present on social networks - we finally found someone who knew it. When we started working together, he was a little scared to work with us, like "what the hell is this band?" (Laughs)! Moreover  we wanted him to wear a suit on the clip. He wasn't at all keen to do it but despite everything, he tried it and it looked great on him! 

We really had a great time together, he came to Amsterdam and with Robert, we showed him all the tourist places in the city... We went to the biggest museum in Holland, he stayed all day with his wife. It's the same with Tarja who is the nicest woman I've ever met in the business....

Before you leave, would you like to say a last word to the readers of Music Waves and maybe in French?

(Laughs) It's hard what you're asking me... I should have prepared this interview (Smile)! I can order from the restaurant in French but doing an interview is something that is too complicated for me. I studied French for a year when I was 14 years old and I haven't practiced for a very long time.

I couldn't say it in French but I would like to see the French audience during our seven concerts, we will have fun.... 


"De rien. Merci beaucoup et à bientôt" (Laughs) !

And thank you to Noise for her contribution...

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Belle interview d'une chanteuse talentueuse et sympathique
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With their catchy and immediate pop/metal melodies, all the tracks of this "Resist" are potential hits.
Taking advantage of Within Temptation's great European tour, we met Sharon Den Adel who confided without restraint in her life as an artist, a woman, a mother, a daughter,... A plunge into the intimacy of this entire artist.

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