AUGUST 10th 2015

Welcome to Metaltitans, Guardians of Metal Entertainment Worldwide, we are here with ‘THE GENTLE STORMS' Anneke van Giersbergen (The Gathering, Devin Townsend Project). Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us.

1. The Gentle Storm, how did you come up with this name for the band ?

We really wanted this to be a band and not a one-off project. The music already had two different sides, so we loved the contradiction in the name as well.

2. Can you tell us how you both came together for this project ?

Just when Arjen started thinking about new album ideas, I got in touch with him regarding something completely different. He told me he as looking for inspiration and before we knew it we both committed ourselves to doing this album together.

3. You are both in different bands as well, does that make it hard to get together to work on things for The Gentle Storm ?

No, because Arjen is basically the man behind Ayreon and I am in charge at my solo band as well of course, so we can easily decide to free up a year for The Gentle Storm.

4. This album ‘The Diary’ is a concept one, a story of 2 fictional 17th century lovers, what made you decide to write songs about the letters that were written ?
We wanted to focus on the 17th Century since that era was extremely important for The Netherlands. Our whole country came to blossom in many aspects (trade, art, science etc.), so it was a interesting time to use as a background for the story. I wanted it to be a love story, so we came up with this seaman and his wife. At that time the only way to communicate was through so called sailing-letters.

5. In your history in the Netherlands, was there a lot of sailors that left home on long voyages ?

Oh yes, we are a very much connected to the sea. There are still a lot of fishermen working offshore. Even my brother travelled the word as a seaman, but after a couple of voyages he was done with it.

6. What can people expect to hear musically on the album ?

It was actually Arjen’s idea to record every song in two versions. We call the heavy versions “storm” and the folky versions “gentle”. Initially we thought that it would be interesting to add the songs in a different arrangement as a sort of bonus tracks, but while working on the album the “gentle”-versions came out so well that we now see it as one song in two equal versions.

7. Who wrote the lyrics ?
I did, but Arjen worked with me on the story as well and there was a maritime historian involved by the name of Perry Moree, he is specialised in those sailing-letters and he has been a tremendous help.

8. When it was time to take your music to record where did you go to do this ?
Both me and Arjen have our own home studios, but I think 99% has been recorded at Arjen’s place. Arjen does his own mixing as well.

9. Who did the artwork for the album ?

The album cover was made by a French artist, Alexandra V Bach. She was also responsible for the beautiful most recent Stream of Passion album artwork and that’s why Arjen wanted to work with her. The booklet and art book were designed by Thomas Ewerhard.

10. Will you be touring to support 'The Diary' ?
Arjen doesn’t like to leave his beloved studio, but I will go on the road with an amazing live band with some of the best “heavy” musicians Holland has to offer: Merel Bechtold (Purest of Pain, MaYaN) - guitars / Ferry Duijsens (Anneke van Giersbergen, ex-Dreadlock Pussy) - guitars / Ed Warby (Hail of Bullets, Ayreon, ex-Gorefest) - drums / Johan van Stratum (Stream of Passion) - bass / Joost van den Broek (Epica-producer, ex-After Forever) – keyboards / Marcela Bovio (Stream of Passion) - background vocals.

11. Where do you think you might be in 5 years ?
Doing what I do now! I feel really blessed to be able to make a living as a musician for many years already and I plan on continuing to do so for a very long time.

12. When you were growing up, was creating music something you always dreamed of doing ?

In fact I knew I was going to be a singer very early in my life. I just had the feeling I would be able to support myself as an artist and immediately lost interest in school. Don’t tell this to kids! ;-)

13. Anneke, you have such a wonderful voice, did you take any lessons growing up ?

I did, I started in the school choir.

14. In your spare time, (if you have any), what do you enjoy doing the most ?
I love to dance, but my schedule has been so busy these last years, I had to quit taking weekly dance classes.

15. Tell us something that would surprise people to know about The Gentle Storm.

The big choir that you hear in some parts of the album actually sings in Dutch, they use some Dutch nautical terms!

Thank you so much (dankuwel) for doing this interview with us here at Metaltitans, and we wish you all the success with 'The Diary'.   

Thank you as well! Anneke XxX