Sharon den Adel: 'You Can't Make the Same Kind of Music Every Time'

artist: within temptation date: 01/03/2014 category: interviews
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Sharon den Adel: 'You Can't Make the Same Kind of Music Every Time'
Within Temptation built their following on a pretty steady diet of symphonic metal. The Dutch band - fronted by the charismatic and operatic Sharon den Adel - felt at home churning out big guitar riffs surrounded by lush string arrangements for the better part of four albums. But they felt like there was more to say musically and on 2011's "The Unforgiving," they broke down the walls to produce a truly breakthrough record. Drawing from the metal bands of the 1980s - Iron Maiden and Metallica were specifically channeled - Within Temptation shed the sometimes pretentious armor of symphonic metallists to create a sound that truly - and simply - rocked. Den Adel threw out the high and pristine vocals that were trademarks of earlier albums like "Enter" and "Mother Earth" and got dirty with a bluesier and more organic way of singing.

Now on "Hydra," the band's new album, they've built on that foundation. As the record title implies - a hydra was an ancient Greek monster of myth that grew two new heads every time one was cut off - "Hydra" is full of new and unexpected sounds and textures. There are songs that reach back to the past and are reminiscent of the twin guitars featured on "Mother Earth" while other tracks feature bits of electronica. There is a bit of growling on the vocals - though it is layered in carefully and not brought out front - and moments where Sharon does sing in that pure, crystalline voice fans will instantly recognize.

Most notably, there are four collaborations with a quartet of very distinct artists. X-Zibit, Howard Jones (former singer with Killswitch Engage), Dave Pimer (Soul Asylum) and Tarja Turunen (ex-singer with Nightwish) each bring their unique vocal talents to the album.

In a transatlantic call to her home in the Netherlands, Sharon den Adel talked about the new album and how the band recorded and conceived the previous five releases. Thankfully the connection was absent of bleeps and burps and virtually every word the singer spoke has been related here. Some grammar has been cleaned up to make things a bit clearer but many of her words and descriptions are captured here faithfully.

UG: The music on "Hydra" sounds so much more organic. The sound is so much more rawer than on earlier albums. Has it matured in a certain way by letting go?SdA: Well the case is more is the fact we let go of a certain way of songwriting how we used it in the past. Like in the past we had a certain idea about how we wanted to sound and what we were allowed to be within our genre. Nowadays we feel like with "The Heart of Everything" we felt like we finalized this symphonic kind of sound we were searching for all those years.

"The Heart of Everything" was as far as you wanted to take that symphonic rock style?

We couldn't add anything to that anymore. So we just let all boundaries go musically where we were not allowed to go. We are allowed to go now and we can write whatever we want. In the end we'll see what will fit on the album and what doesn't.

Now you're just writing and seeing where the music takes you?

Before we'd start there would already be boundaries and that would limit you in your freedom to explore different things. It's like being in a box where you can only sound this way or that way. You really have real boundaries. Now it's like anything can come out.

Which explains the album's title - "Hydra" - and all the different kinds of music on the record.

It's become more adventurous in a way. So I do understand in a way what you mean. It's because it has become - I wouldn't say mature - but I would say more variated (Sharon means variegated) and I think a little more special in a way.

If these boundaries you talk about hadn't been placed on you back in the day, do you think you would have experimented more on those earlier albums?

I'm not sure if we were ready before that and I also don't know if our fans were ready for it. You see that every record we have brought out, we have changed more or less. But I think the last two albums, the changes have been the biggest.

Absolutely.

With every change also, people had some difficulties. I do think our audiences are used to us changing constantly but I think we're asking pretty much from them on the last two records. In the past it was also always based really on fear to change too much along the way.

You weren't afraid to change on "Hydra" and "The Unforgiving?"

Now it's more like based on embracing the changes because we need it. We also understand that's where our challenges lie. So it's not based on fear - it's based on knowing your strength is there also. People like you because every time it's a bit different from the last time you brought out a record.

Change has worked for Within Temptation.

We're not like AC/DC bringing out the same record. You can't make the same kind of music every time. Although I do respect that they can, it's something that even if we would like to we can't. That's what it's about.

Did you ever think you could take it too far musically? And maybe create something the fans wouldn't embrace?

It's more like it's something you learn while you're doing it. On "The Unforgiving" we had new boundaries again because we had like this concept album also in a way. But this is really the first time we literally have no boundaries at all.

And that accounts for the addition of artists like X-Zibit, Tarja Turunen, Howard Jones and Dave Pimer?

You have special combinations with X-Zibit and Dave Pimer and still doing it within a certain reach of who you are. I think it still sounds very much Within Temptation. But it's just taking combinations that people don't expect from you and invite people on your album people might not expect. Of course Tarja and Howard Jones are people they would expect I think more or less and more than X-Zibit or Dave Pimer in a way.

Before we get to the new record, would you mind if we talked about some of the earlier stuff?

Yeah, no problem.

The Circle was a very early band and that became Voyage?

Yeah, exactly.

You sang on an album called "Embrace" and a track called "Frozen."

That's a coincidence. The two "Frozens" are different songs actually.

Of course. I just meant the titles.

Oh, I see. Of course.

You were working with Robert Westerhold in Voyage. Did you have an idea that far back of where you eventually wanted to go with your own music?

Yeah, I think so. At that time we came from the death metal period in Europe. What happened was we got inspired by a band called Paradise Lost because they were one of the first who actually used melody and also they had this song with this opera singer while doing these grunt vocals. They only had one song and they never made a whole concept out of it. Just one song (probably referring to "Breeding Fear" from the Lost Pardise album) and it opened our eyes.

You dug the sound of that harsh growled vocal with the clean opera vocals?

Also because we were very much into Condemned who were from England of course (actually from Ireland) and so it was those kinds of bands and Clannad where we made a mixture out of it. Those bands influenced us when we were forming the Circle. Voyage became actually the Circle and I think the Circle was really the foundation of everything. Voyage - they kicked out Robert after that because he was too bossy - and Martijn (Westerholt, Robert's younger brother and future keyboardist for Within Temptation) just continued with the voyage actually. But I think the Circle was really the basics for Within Temptation. When we started Within Temptation we asked those people back again. But I really think that was already setting the ground for where we still now are.

So you really did have a vision from the very earliest days of what you wanted Within Temptation to sound like?

Even then I think we had this sense of melancholy and darkness but in kind of a dreamy way. Very more doom metal than exactly what we're now doing, which is more uptempo of course. But still we had the melancholy there and we still had the sometimes dreamy kind of psychedelic kind of songs but in a different way again.

Were you listening at all to the straight-up prog bands like Genesis and King Crimson?

Yes, especially when I was growing up my parents were really into those kinds of bands. Jeroen (van Veen), the bass player, he is still in that kind of thing and he listens to lots of jazz, to Yes and also to Genesis. Marillion. Robert really loves Marillion and that was his first love.

Excellent band.

Yeah, exactly. But also after came Iron Maiden and those kind of bands for us. I must say myself I was more a grunge girl actually and listened to Tori Amos and Clannad. I was more into atmospherical kind of stuff.

Were you listening to metal at all?

The heavy stuff for me, my first love was actually Nirvana. Though you can't hear it in our kind of music but what I liked so much about that band and also Tori Amos was there was so much emotion there - it was raw emotion and I loved that so much. Because it was so honest and so pure and in your face and angry in a way also. So it really, really appealed to me a lot. It was my first encounter with heavier music and Tori Amos was more the poetic version of that though in a different kind of way. Because she was also with her lyrics, it touched me immediately when I heard it. When I met Robert, I got into contact with Paradise Lost and so in love with that kind of music.

There were different kinds of music that you were becoming aware of.

Yeah, it just grew gradually. Everybody takes their own influences into Within Temptation because everybody in the band is very different if I must say.

How are they different?

Jeroen is really the symphonic guy and he's the bass player. Martijn (Spierenburg, keyboards) is really the Celtic guy.

What is Robert?

Robert is really the metal and Celtic guy - he's like everything. He likes reggae, hip hop, he likes everything. But from origin he's really a metal guy and his first love of Marillion then became Iron Maiden. Everybody had similar kinds of bands but everybody came from a different corner. Robert grew up with his parents who had only really traditional classical music on. Heavy classical music. My parents were hippies is what they were (laughs). They listened to all kinds of music: the Big Bands from the '50s, Deep Purple, but also Pink Floyd, Chris Rea, ELO. You name it - they were playing it at home and I just grew up with that.

You really had a diverse palette.

When I was four years old, I got pocket money. I had a brother who was six years older and I was only allowed to spend my money on music because I was still a little baby and they didn't want me to spend it on candy or toys. They said, "You're gonna get that from us but now you're only gonna get to spend your money on music." So every Saturday I went with my mom and my brother to the record store and we bought several cassettes at the time.

What did you buy?

I came home with Moody Blues and Jeff Wayne's "The War of the Worlds" and those were the first tapes I ever when I was four years old. So that really was the basis for me for music. I knew a lot of music already from a very early age.

When you went in to record the first album - "Enter" - many of those songs had appeared on earlier demos?

Yeah. It was difficult for us because we made our demos for the first time ourselves and there was a certain atmospheres, which we found difficult to bring back on certain songs again for the real CD. And there was also time limitations and also because the people who were recording us didn't have the same ... how do you say it?

Vision?

Not the same vision but didn't understand our music maybe also. Because we had been of course constantly busy and trying to build a certain kind of sound and was difficult to bring that across or tell them what we wanted also because we were so inexperienced. I think actually the demos of "Enter" is still better than the real CD actually of certain songs anyway. The extra songs (tracks that weren't on the original demos) still turned out very well but I think. But the original ones for instance "Grace" or "Candles," it's really better on the demo actually than on the CD. It's not perfect but because it's not perfect it has more ambience somehow.

Lots of bands suffer from demoitis - chasing that vibe on the demo.

It's something that we're still struggling with every time we make demos. We have this demo syndrome - you fall in love with the demos and have to recapture that moment for the CD. That's something that was always very difficult.

You didn't have much time to lay down your vocals on the "Enter" album?

I had to sing the whole CD I think in one or two days. If you see how much time I have nowadays, it's like one day a song. It's still very short because I have to do all the ad libs and everything myself and that's a lot of work also of course. But I take my time to warm up and stuff and I didn't have that when I was doing "Enter."

There were problems with the engineers on that record?

What it also felt like was, I was more critical on how I did my takes than the one who was recording me. He said, "That was great" and I said, "No, it's not great. I was out of tune here and there." And he goes, "Oh, really?" I said, "Really. Let's do it again." They'd say, "Yeah, but I really thought it was great." And I'm like, "I don't think it was great. Let's do it again." If that's the standard then it's like, "Oh god" because you really have to pay attention on what's being recorded. Of course it was a budget thing and although there were really nice people who were helping us out at the time, it was something we had to learn.

In 1999, you built your own studio. Did this impact on the creativity of the band?

No, it was more like we had a place without our neighbors getting angry. We could make as much noise as we wanted to and also we could rehearse as much as we wanted to and whenever we wanted to. There was this drummer and he had this big shed and he said, "You know? You want to build a studio? It's fine. This is the rent."You actually built the studio yourselves?

We just made sure we paid the rent every time and we were allowed to build a studio within the shed. But that took a lot of money and we always invested before with something. Although for us it was a hobby, for us it was a challenge to make this hobby the ultimate hobby (laughs). We put so much money into this although you could have also bought a car or something else. Every penny we earned, we always put back in the music and it was for years like this. It was fun because we just did our education and we were still studying and we were fine. But at the same time you also have to of course get realistic and say, "OK, there's a point where we have to have a real career or something."You're talking about making a living?

The music is great but Holland is not the right country for us to have a career in music because people don't take it seriously. You say, "I'm a musician" and they say, "OK, what's your real job?" Because we don't have a tradition of going outside of Holland because Holland is such a small country and you can't be from Holland only to be successful. You need to go outside of Holland to make a really serious career.

How did you break out of Holland?

Knowing that we also started touring. But it was more like, "OK, we just do everything as long as we can and as much as we can besides our education. And when we have our degrees then we have to see how far we want to take it."You were going to decide whether to keep the band going or break it up when you finished school?

We had our jobs and when we graduated, we were still doing this besides our jobs and we had all good jobs actually. The problem was I must say as I'm looking back now, I feel a bit guilty with the companies I was working for and Robert as well I think in a way. Because still we put so much effort into the band and I think that we should have put maybe also in our jobs. It was more like, "OK."You were giving everything you had to Within Temptation and only kind of going through the motions when you were at work?

We took the jobs seriously until we went home. If you're trying to make a career you go on when you're at home and you study extra to get to know the branch in order to - do you know what I'm saying when I say branch?

A specialized field?

In some kind of jobs, you have to also get extra education to know even your work more.

Did you pursue additional schooling?

We didn't do anything extra. It was just like once the job was done we went home and we made music and every weekend we were performing everywhere. Then it came a Monday and we're totally exhausted again and doing our job again (laughs) for the rest of the week. For two years, yeah. We got this hit and it was like the starting point of everything else but it came so unexpected.

What was the song that really did it for the band?

I think the whole album was special in a way because it had a certain sound and everybody who heard it in the metal scene, which was pretty big still in Holland at the time, we went number one everywhere. In all the rock charts in Belgium and it was mind blowing to everybody because you could feel there was something in the air. Also when we played somewhere, it was sold out in no time. Our fanbase became bigger and bigger and we saw something was growing.

That must have felt amazing for all that hard work you put into it.

All of a sudden we said, "We really need to bring out the video now." We had this video company that our record company had hired and we just threw it up. So we felt, "OK, then we make our own video. Let's just make our own video and see what happens." Even then everything didn't go the way we thought it was gonna be. We played on these really big festivals - Pinkpop - and we wanted to release our single and the record company forgot all the singles so there were no singles to be sold and those kinds of things.

There were still bumps in the road?

After that there was this thing called the Box - I don't know if you know it? You could call your video and all the videos had a number and then you come home and you could watch it on television and then you could call the number and say, "I want to see this video." Videos on request.

You put your video on a show like that?

We said, "OK, we make this video but nobody wants to show it" because we made it ourselves in the end. We were one of the few bands who had a website because a lot of guys in the band were like these whiz kids and all had this Internet knowledge. They make the sites and they were like programmers. Our guitar player and his brother. Anyway we had this very sophisticated site already in those days and we had put up a thing on the message site, like, "We have this video but nobody wants to show it. If you want to help us out just send an email to the the Box." Without exaggerating, within a few hours we got this call, "You really need to get this from the site because we're going crazy and everybody's calling us."You had hardcore fans.

We didn't think it was gonna be picked up that seriously but our friends were really trying to help out and those kinds of things. So we said, "OK, sorry for the message that we made such trouble but we'll take it off the site." Then a month later they put the video still on their video requesting site called the Box. Then there was no stopping it because when people saw this song and everybody was talking about it, we were like, "Wow, again on the video on TV? Again with television." And we got requests to play on certain programs and stuff like that. Then in January we were like number two - we came in number 85 and then all of a sudden we were number two. The only one who was above us was Shakira with "Whenever Wherever."

What song was that?

"Ice Queen."

There is a little bit of Anne Wilson in your vocal on that song?

Yeah well, I did listen to her a little bit in the past because I did have music when I was growing up from the band (Heart). I really liked the music and I must say I did get that remark a lot but also people said, "Hey, you sound a little bit like Kate Bush but then different in a way." Because I had this really high-pitched voice so they felt like I was like Kate Bush with heavy guitars (laughs).

On "The Silent Force" album in 2004, you bring in some new players: Ruud Jolie on guitar, Martijn Spierenburg on keyboards and drummer Stephen Van Haestregt. Did they impact the sound of this third album?

Yeah, Martijn was also in the Voyage and the Circle. When they came the record was already written so it was more like they came after when the album was already released. The thing was more like there was also a little bit of change in the songwriting. With "Enter" and "Mother Earth," Robert and I wrote all the songs except for "Restless," which Martijn Westerhold - Robert's younger brother - wrote and it was the three of us.

The approach to writing changed on "The Silent Force?"

Robert and I always had a difficulty writing together. For the first two records it was like he gave me the music and I just did my vocal lines on it. He gave me music without any vocal lines and I just make something on it and that's how the first and second record was written actually. With the other albums it was like Robert writing on his own or with Daniel Gibson the producer or it was me and Martijn or me on my own writing songs. That's how from that moment on all the records were written and that's how it's always been.

That change in the approach to writing the songs certainly impacted the music of the band.

In a way it did. Yeah, of course. But I think because also we had to learn in a different way to write again. I must say "The Silent Force" was the worst album ever for us to write because we had so many locations (recorded at three different studios) it was really difficult for us. It was difficult because we I think we still had to learn so much. Also because we had a certain way of writing music and all of a sudden we changed it. So we had to find a new way of writing songs again also.

Why did you change the songwriting process from the "Enter" and "Mother Earth" albums?

When I was making vocal lines for the first two albums and lyrics it worked for me. I know for Robert, we never could work in one space because we were partners as well and we had a relationship together. Somehow it was too close or something to write that way anymore. It was also very heavy always. In making lyrics and coming up with vocal lines, it was coming naturally to me so it wasn't very difficult. But for Robert to do the music comfortably on his own, it was nice to work with someone probably to write the music and to get together and to inspire each other.

Which is why relationships in bands - and you think of everybody from Heart to Fleetwood Mac - rarely work out.

Somehow when you're having a relationship it's very difficult. With the music I was writing with Martijn, I could do that with him. I could tell him, "OK, I'm gonna have this kind of rhythm and I want you to play this kind of piano" and then together with the jamming something came out of it.

It would have been difficult - or impossible - to work that way with Robert?

With Robert it wasn't possible because we're both leading kind of people. So it's always like two captains on the ship and they fight. I think everyone's more flexible in where it goes. It's like, "OK, you wanna try that? OK, fine." But with Robert, trying to get it in a certain way and we're always going opposite ends. That's a problem we have.

You can only have one chief and everybody else has to be Indians.

Yes, exactly. I think it's very good if somebody can be flexible because I find it's very difficult to be that flexible. So we both found somebody that fitted our personality and also because you don't have a real relationship with person. You have a relationship of course but more a working relationship than a romantic relationship with each other. It's so much easier to work because you still like each other no matter what happens (laughs).

That is totally understandable because songwriting is such a...

Personal thing.

Exactly. A very fragile thing.

Yeah, it’s too much.

Following the release of "The Heart of Everything," you do your first tour of America.

Yes, exactly. Yeah, it was like a big adventure. It also almost broke the band up I must say in the end.

Too much pressure?

We had been touring so much and we had postponed the tour in Europe and we came back from America - we had like six weeks there - we still had to do a few weeks more in Germany because that part of the tour got postponed for some reason. I can't remember even what it was. Maybe because we had to make a video or something and we had to postpone it. It was way too much. I don't think we had ever toured so much as in that year and of course I had a baby girl at home and we were away so much.

At the end of 2007, Within Temptation took a year off?

At the end of that year, everything blew up for everybody. So afterwards we really had to get everybody together again and see what was left still to continue. It almost broke up the band up actually. It was a little bit too much - too much touring and everything.

You needed to get away from the band for a while?

Yeah, we needed a sabbatical and get a distance from everything. Also because Robert and I were separated for a certain time at that period. It was a bit too much strain on everything.

This was after you had the baby with Robert?

Yeah, it was after we had the baby. She was two-and-a-half at the time.

That's very sad.

Yeah, yeah. It was really too much. But in the end we both realized we can't be without each other. We fit very well together and after a few months - I think four months or something - we came back together again. After that everything went OK again. Also because we realized where the bottlenecks were. It was wrong how we did certain things. Touring is great but you need to have certain moments of rest and be in your own space again also if you're always in each other's space. It wasn't just Robert and me but the whole band. At the end of the tour if you hate each other almost then it's like, "OK, we did something wrong" (laughs).

When you came back together you recorded "The Unforgiving" album, which was like a new first step for the band.

We had written one song and it was already in a different sound. Actually the idea came from one song and the whole "The Unforgiving" concept was really based on the '80s. We felt it would be very cool if there would be this comic attached to it and we had a basic idea of what it should be about more or less. Then we tried to find somebody who could write a story for us. At the same time while we were developing this story together with the writer ("The Chronicles of Spellborn" creator, Steven O'Connell), we were developing the songs also at the same time. It became really this '80s sound but of course we were teenagers more or less in the '80s and we always loved comics.

It made sense to you to try and combine these two elements to create the main concept?

It really fits how we grew up with the comics and with the heroes we had because it's a little bit Iron Maiden, a little bit Metallica and a little bit of the other bands we grew up with. It was just a wink to them, an ode to them and a little bit here and there and little touches there of putting their music into our music in our own way. That was "The Unforgiving" for us.

How would you characterize the "Hydra" album?

With this album it was more like letting that go. A lot of bands were inspired by the '80s at the time we were writing "The Unforgiving" album. There was a lot of music based on the '80s coming out and it had a lot of '80s flavors. With this new album even though we're only a few years further up the road, you can feel that music has changed again. Music is not inspired on the '80s but more like there are different influences in the music again. Music's always organic and you feel things are changing comfortably.

The influence of '80s music on "The Unforgiving" album worked so well - did you think you wanted to try another album based on the same sounds?

When people asked us after "The Unforgiving," "Are you gonna make another "Unforgiving" album?" we said, "Of course." Because we were really full of it in a positive way. We really like the album a lot and still do like it a lot but we really feel there's an '80s feel to the songs. When we started writing this album again we felt like we were already knowing we were gonna go a different direction also.

Could you tell right away that "Hydra" was going to be different than "The Unforgiving?"

When we had written the first song, which is actually the first song on the album, "Let Us Burn," it felt like it should be more guitar-orientated. We knew the orchestra could still be there and we could still have the symphonic element there but it's really minimized actually more than ever. When you describe what Within Temptation is it's melancholy and heaviness. Emotion - real direct emotion in a way.

That's what every Within Temptation album has been about?

I felt if you do that description, you can say that for every album we brought out I think. Then it's still very much Within Temptation but 2013 instead of 2007 or 1997 when we brought out our first album. It always corresponds with the time we're bringing out an album and it really fits that time somehow. So I think this album really represents how we are now but also with elements from the past.

What older sounds did you bring back?

We have one song with this growling voice (Robert Westerhold growling on "Silver Moonlight") again but not in combination with the classical voice. A more natural way of singing and how I'm doing it now mostly. Also we have the twin guitars again, which we had on "Mother Earth" and we use them in "Tell Me Why" in a certain way. So we're bringing a little bit of the '90s back and in this "Tell Me Why" song there's also this intro, which is more like an Alice in Chains kind of intro and the way they had the intros. Like ahh ahh ahh (sings descending melody line) and the harmonies? To my appearance (Sharon means "to my mind"). Hah hah hah.

"Tell My Why" has amazing harmonies on there.

Yeah, I like it also very much. You can see there was experimenting a lot and also with X-Zibit it was also again like we had a certain vision how there could be a crossover and keeping in mind Aerosmith and Run DMC at the time although it's a totally different song and totally different band. But we felt if they can do it, there must be a way to make also our music somehow crossover with rap. Not because we wanted to do something renewing (different) but we felt in an artistic point of view that it could really, really work with our kind of music.

Was it difficult finding that balance between the rap thing and rock?

We just tried and tried constantly with several songs and just taking rap music from the Internet and trying it on our songs. For a lot of songs it didn’t work and finally we had this song "And We Run" and we felt like, "OK, this could really work with this song." Combining this with a rap kind of voice like X-Zibit's, which is very dark and very heavy and has a lot of bass in it, was a good contrast with mine. He was like the perfect person to ask for this song and also because he already tried a lot of experimental stuff on his own things. He already tried rap with guitars and orchestration and we felt like, "OK, he's somebody who's really open-minded or open for this kind of collaboration."You reached out to X-Zibit?

We contacted the management and they contacted him and pretty fast afterwards we were talking to X-Zibit. He heard the song and liked the song and we told him what the song was about. I must say I didn't talk to him but Robert did. I was still recording my vocals at the time he was talking to X-Zibit actually on Skype. We never met so far but hopefully we're gonna record a video soon for the song and gonna release that also.

Is that how you worked with Howard Jones and Dave Pimer - sending them tracks and having them record their parts remotely and then sending that back to you?

Yeah, exactly. Nowadays it's so easy to do it just in your own studio and everything. Everybody feels comfortable because they're in their own environment. Another thing was the time thing of course. We had to finish this album within a certain time.

Four collaborations on an album is a lot. Right?

Of course there were a lot - there were four collaboration - but we didn't think they'd all work out that well. You have a certain person in mind for it but you're not sure. So we tried four of them and we were very, very happy how they turned out. It was the best possible (results) we could get back. Also because it worked with the melodies and had the right impact and added something really cool to the song. We were happy they all worked in a certain way.

It felt natural asking Tarja Turunen to appear on a song?

We asked these people to collaborate with us because they reminded us somehow - and the song reminded us - of them somehow. An epic song like "Paradise (What About Us)" with Tarja could have been a song on her album as well as on our own album. It could have been written by her. We felt like it's in her comfort zone.

What was it like working with Howard Jones (ex-Killswitch Engage) on "Dangerous"?

We thought the song had some overlap with Killswitch Engage although he came back with this epic kind of voice.

Working with Dave Pimer (Soul Asylum) on "The Whole World is Watching" was a strange choice.

In the beginning when we wrote the song, it was really a Soul Asylum kind of song. I loved Soul Asylum and especially with the "Runaway Train" song. It was always very special to me. We felt like, "If we're gonna do this song on the album, we need to have him in as well." Because it's maybe on the border of what we normally do. All these people were actually asked because of the fact we had a certain vision of how they could sound really great on these songs.

What you doing now besides taking care of your kids and keeping Robert in line?(laughs) That's a big job! We're doing some promotion and I've been going by airplane everywhere in Europe for the last two weeks to Germany and England to talk about the album. Having listening sessions with radio and magazines and stuff. So that's been the thing I’ve been focused on lately. We still have to do the video for "And We Run" and that's up next actually.

Thank you. Sing all the good notes.

OK. See you in America.

Interview by Steven Rosen
Ultimate-Guitar.Com 2014
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