Within Temptation - Interview @ Zenith (Paris, FR) - 08.10.2007
Just before Within Temptation’s concert in Paris, we spent half an hour talking with the guitarist Ruud Jolie. He answered our questions about the US Tour, the upcoming special concerts in Eindhoven and Rotterdam (with the Metropole Orchestra), the new single, the multiple nominations for Belgian, Dutch and European awards, and also the special relation that the band has with their fans.
Metal-Ways: What were your expectations about the US second tour? How did it go?
Ruud: We really try not to have high expectations before playing in new countries. And of course, we had been there 2 months before, so we already knew some venues, one actually in San Francisco.
We also played in 2 House of Blues. I already knew those venues because I had been to Los Angeles before.
And about the expectations, we already knew that some of the bands who were there two months ago were also coming, so we knew it was going to be fun, and it turned out to be pretty fun, so that was cool!
M-W: How was the audience over there? Was it different from here in Europe?
European people behave in different ways. If you go to Finland or to Spain, that's a whole different story. The Americans are very polite, and during the gigs, they get really outgoing. But you know you have some big cities where people are a little bit jaded, but after one or two songs, it's cool.
M-W: What about the press over there?
Since it was one of our first time there, we got basically the same questions we got in the beginning of the release here in Europe. Like "Why did you record with Keith Caputo?"... always the same stories, but that's not bad of course, people want to know how everything happened.
M-W: Do you already have some plans about going back there?
M-W: And over there, which album was the most famous one, The Heart of Everything? Or did fans also knew the previous ones?
The fans did of course, thanks to the internet and import cds.
M-W: About tonight, fans were asked to vote for their 3 favourite songs, so can you tell us which ones made it to the top 3?
It's The Fear, Aquarius, and Jane Doe obviously... it's not that I don't like Jane Doe, but there are songs that I like more.
M-W: Did you receive a lot of vote for those songs?
I think so, yes.
M-W: Will those songs be played again at the special gig in Eindhoven?
There's nothing decided yet.
M-W: Still about Eindhoven, you just announced what will be the first support act, Threshold, did you already decide what the second support act will be?
Yes, we know, it's decided, but it's not official yet, so I think I have to keep the secret.
M-W: Will there be any guest appearances? Maybe George (ex-Orphanage)...?
Actually, I really don't know. You know the thing is that we've been touring so much that my mind is not set on Eindhoven yet. And of course Robert is really involved in that part, in the management and that kind of stuff. And usually they talk about it themselves, or if they're talking about it, it's at night in the bus, when I'm watching a movie, or on a day off when I'm having, you know... a day off! :)
M-W: Eindhoven was sold out pretty quickly and you decided to add another special gig in Rotterdam. People talked a lot about whether or not the Eindhoven gig will be used as a DVD material, and I was wondering if you had plans about recording the Rotterdam show as well.
Yes of course, in Eindhoven we are going to record the whole gig. It will be a big show.
And of course, if it's good enough, we'll use it for a DVD. It will work the same for the gig in Rotterdam.
M-W: About Rotterdam, you will play there with an orchestra, where did this idea came from?
To us, it was pretty obvious, we always record on CD with an orchestra, so how great would it be to be able to do that live? And there's this big orchestra: the Metropole Orchestra, and we played with them on some occasions before, and we were thinking about how cool it would be to do a whole show with them.
M-W: About the new single, how did you decide that the song will be All I Need? Because the last one, Frozen, is a rather calm song, so you could have chosen to release a heavier one...
Yeah well... we all really like that song.
M-W: You recently shot the video in Germany. Why Germany? Is it because of the place, or because of the director?
Yes, because of the director. We worked with him on the Angels videos, on Frozen and The Howling... So that was the 4th video we did with him, and he knew this pretty cool old Nazi building, which was later occupied by Russians I believe, so the building already had this great vibe around it. So he's pretty much the reason why we shot in Germany. He's from there, and he has his crew over there, so it's easier for the six of us to fly over there, than for him with all his equipment and crew to come to Holland.
M-W: You just released the artwork of the CD. We can see Sharon with a lot of things on her face... can you give me some info about the storyline of the clip?
Again, I don't know that much... I saw the video only a couple of times. It was the first draft, so I got a pretty good idea of what it's going to be, but it still needed some adjustments then. It's going to be a very abstract video, so there's not that much of a big story lying in it. But Sharon ends up in a hospital, that's what I can say.
M-W: Since it was filmed in a military base we were thinking about electrodes, and maybe Sharon being the subject of a weird secret experiment...
No, no... Anyway you don't see that much of the military base, it's just a nice environment. It won't be shown as a military base.
M-W: Before shooting a video clip, do you as a band sometimes have some ideas about what kind of storyline you'd like to use?
We do the storylines ourselves.
M-W: Did you do this one too?
Yes and as I said, to me it's more an abstract video, it's not an obvious video like the Angels one.
M-W: Still about the singles, will All I need be the last one of this album?
Yes, I guess. We released four singles already.
M-W: Did you already think about the new album? Do you have some material somewhere?
Yes, but I'm not sure about the material. I'm not involved in the writing. You should ask those questions to Robert and Sharon, that's why they always do the interviews! (laughs) But I can say that we don't have so much material because they don't like to write on the road.
M-W: Do you have some personal projects asides Within Temptation?
Yes I do. I'm working on one project that is called For all we know. It's on my MySpace site. And right now it's still me, but I'm writing songs, and a couple of them are pretty much done.
It's going to be something totally different from Within Temptation. I'm telling you that because that's something I've been asked many times. But it's no use of doing another band with exactly the same elements. Picture yourself as a baker. You make bread for a living, and then, after work, you decide to make some more bread as a hobby? No, it would be kind of silly.
M-W: Will it be heavier?
It's going to be heavy and hysterical!
M-W: What are your plans for the future? Do you know if there will be a new tour?
Well, we still want to go to Eastern Europe, and maybe we're going to do it but we're not sure yet. And we also want to go back to Japan, they're working on this now. And of course, there will be the new album.
M-W: And about France, you already did a few gigs here this year, but is there any chance of another concert? Or you can say for sure that it won't happen?
There is never a 'for sure' in this business, that's the problem, so... There's nothing planned, but you never know...
M-W: You've been nominated 4 times at the TMF Awards, and one for an EMA Award, how do you feel about that?
That's cool. These nominations are based on what people think is good. And winning an award like this is cool because people actually vote for you. But on the other hand, an award that is about record sales actually tells us the same thing, because a lot of people have bought the album and liked it. So I think that every award is worth the same thing.
M-W: Delain will be one of your competitors on the TMF "Best Rock", so how do you feel about that?
It's cool, I like the people of Delain, so let's the best men win. But I'd like to add that it feels weird to have competition in music. If you want to have a competition, then do some fast swimming, or some running. You know, it's all about taste.
M-W: There's been a big evolution in your music from Enter to THOE, and especially in the structure of the songs. In the last albums, songs follow a very classical structure: the first verse, then the first chorus, and then the second verse, and the chorus again... Is it something planned, like a way to be accessible to a wider range of people?
No, we've never been concerned about wide ranges of people; otherwise we would play hip-hop music. No it's just that when you write a song, there's a certain flow which you feel you must follow to make it a good song. And history has proven, not only with us, but with millions of other bands that this structure is efficient. But it's the same story in all kinds of art, you have this flows where you have to find climax and stuff...
M-W: So you'd say that it's the best structure?
Yes, for us as a band.
M-W: How do you see yourself in 10 years?
Bold! Big beer belly! I think I would play mandolin in Bluegrass bands. Really! I'm serious. And it might not be with WT.
M-W: And as a band, did you talk about it?
No because like I said you cannot plan music, and you already said that there's such a good evolution between Enter and this album... And at the Enter time they never planned something like: "Well in ten years we will have this album, with those elements in it". It doesn't work like that. And right now, we're all still having so much fun... I never like to look ahead.
M-W: You have a very special relation with your fans. You are a band that really takes time to talk to the fans. After each concert, you do it, and you're getting more and more famous, and you're still doing it. How do you manage to do that?
That's what I'm asking myself sometimes... Well, to be honest, during this last tour I've been one of the first people to be in bed. I haven't been very socializing with the people unfortunately. I'd like to apologize for that, because I'm getting very tired... not of the people, but tired in general.
I feel that I really need some time for myself, so that's why after the gigs, I take a shower, and I go to the bus, I go to bed, watch a movie, and then sleep. But, you know, it's also getting harder for us...
Actually I like more to do a support act tour, because after our gig, the "real" band is playing, and we can socialize. But tonight we are the last band, and after a gig I like to sit down, take a beer, take a shower, relax... But after half an hour or 45 minutes, the venue will be empty, they will already be cleaning it...
M-W: Did you notice any evolution in the age of the audience? Are your fans getting younger, especially you that usually gets a lot of girls around...
You think so? I didn't notice it... Well actually, it also depends on the country. Like in Germany, we have a pretty old audience, people our own age, and of course a little bit above. In Spain we have a younger audience, in France too I think... and in Holland also a little bit younger, but in Holland it's even more diverse.
M-W: After all those years meeting fans, is there still some kinds of behaviour you really don't bear, or did you learn to accept everything from the fans?
Well the thing that I'm a little bit concerned about, sometimes, is that, like you mentioned, we are known to be very socializing with the people, and we still like to that, but last Saturday, we played in Berlin, and Martijn and I had to leave, because we already flew over to Paris yesterday morning, while the rest of the guys went with the bus...
And after the concert, we had all kinds of people around us, and we had to go, so we left, and those people are probably cool with it, but I hope they won't think that we are now, all of the sudden, arrogant.
Basically you go to watch a band when they are on stage, and if they come after the gig to talk with you, that's an extra, and I hope that people won't take it for granted that we do that. Because like I said, when I'm tired, sometimes I get very cranky, so it's better for me to go to the bus, than to stand on a picture with people. But of course we like to talk to people, otherwise we wouldn't do it.
M-W: Now I'm going to talk a little bit about the fanclub days. The two first fanclub days looked pretty much the same, except for the acoustic session on the 2nd one, thanks for that. And to be truly honest, in the audience we wait a long time between two 'activities', and in the end we didn't see you that much. I was wondering if it was the same for you, if you were also waiting backstage, doing nothing.
Yes we were... Well, the thing about the fanclub day is that it's planned in the summer, on a Sunday. And that's in the middle of our festival season. And I remember that the first time last year, we had this really crappy weekend in Sweden and in Finland, where we slept I think 6 hours in 2 or 3 days, and directly after that we had the fanclub day. We were all very tired, and of course we have to be there, and to be nice, and we are nice people, I think so, so it's not that hard for us, but still, I would rather do it when we have some more time off.
The last time, we had just been to Japan, and then we had this gig the day before until like 2 at night, and I had to drive home.
I was in bed around 5:30 and I had to be in Eindhoven at 10:00 again. So you can imagine how it was... and of course I like to walk around and talk to people... but that day, after everything: the acoustic set, the signing session, I was lying on a couch backstage because I was so tired, and that was the same for all of us.
So it would be cool if the fanclub day took place at another time, even if I think there was a very good reason it took place then... but I'd have to check again.
M-W: About your live performances, if you had to choose someone to do the Keith Caputo part during What Have You Done, who would be the more capable of doing it?
I think that would be me... We talked about it, but the thing is that Keith has such a great voice, and... but we'll talk about it...
M-W: The setlist is pretty much the same during the whole tour, so are you sometimes getting fed up with some of the songs? Why do you choose to go with the same setlist?
Yes sometimes... but the reason why we do it is because we think of the show as a big bowl you know. You need to have some tension, you need to have a quiet song, and you really need to have a nice flow in the concert. And since we work with a hard disk, for the background sounds, and the big video projector, it's not that easy to flip songs around.
We have to program that thing, and that takes hours. So it's not that easy for us to turn the setlist around. And since Steven is the one who has to do that, we don't want to take too much of his time. But we have some songs that we don't play every night, sometimes we play Frozen, sometimes we play Jillian, sometimes we play Final Destination... but obviously we begin with Our Solemn Hour and we end with Ice Queen.
M-W: Which song would you choose if you had to pick a song that you don't play often?
I like A Dangerous Mind, and I always like to play The Promise, and also Dark Wings.
M-W: If you had to choose one of your better tour dates of 2007, which one would it be?
I think House Of Blues in Chicago, it was really amazing, a really nice venue. And the Bataclan here in Paris, it was also great.
M-W: Last question, how did you spend your 2 weeks of holidays before the US tour?
I didn't do much, I stayed at home. Everybody was asking me: "Are you going on vacation?" I said: "Nooooo, not again, I want to stay at home finally!" (laughs) So that was it.
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