Music Talk: Exclusive Interview with Xandria

Xandria is one of my favorite bands. If you are a fan of symphonic metal, more than likely you know who they are. And if you are not...well, you will find out, as they are one of the hottest acts to come out of Europe.

Recently, I had the opportunity to catch up with the band about their new front woman Dianne van Giersbergen, as well as, the new album Sacrificium which comes out next month and here is what they had to say...

(Q) Tell me a little more about Xandria...

Marco: We are a symphonic metal band from Germany, and we combine the energy of metal and rock with the epic atmosphere of a movie soundtrack, a combination that is created to take the listener away into his own imaginary world. You can say we are making the soundtrack to that voyage… 

The band exists for a while already, but it was on the last album "Neverworld´s End" we really improved our sound to be what we wanted it to be – big and epic – and this will be continued on the new one "Sacrificium".

(Q) Behind every amazing creator lies a source of influence. Tell me, who or what inspired you to create Xandria?

Marco: There was really one album that inspired me to have the vision of an atmospherically, very emotional kind of metal music, and that was the "Wildhoney" album by Swedish band Tiamat back in 1994. This has been when I made my first steps on my first electrical guitar, together with a friend of mine who was playing the drums. We often have been meeting at his parent´s garage to jam and develop songs for this idea of a sound. But it took me many years of learning and different personal constellations to finally really be able to do the music I wanted to. And with time a lot of new influences formed what Xandria is now, such as classic metal bands like Metallica, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, and on the other hand film score composers like Hans Zimmer or Howard Shore, along with many other elements, like Celtic folk music for example.

(Q) A lot has changed with the band. Manuela Kraller left after three years and has been replaced by Dianne van Giersbergen. Steven Wussow is also new, as he has replaced Nils Middelhauve. The question everyone wants to know is, will the sound be the same?

Marco: The new album "Sacrificium" is following the way we have stepped on with "Neverworld´s End", and I am convinced that everyone who liked "Neverworld´s End" with its bombastic film score sound will also love the new album! See, this band follows a vision no matter if we have line-up changes. Of course this makes a new input in details, and we have carefully been looking for musicians who can only improve Xandria here, but the overall vision behind Xandria stays.

(Q) Your new album Sacrificium is scheduled to be released on Friday, May 2nd of this year. I am so excited and cannot wait! Tell me a little more about 'Sacrificium'...

Dianne: Like Marco already said our "Sacrificium" album is the follow up to the very successful "Neverworld’s End" album. It will be my debut album with Xandria and I for one am very excited about its release! When I joined the band the songs were already 98% finished but I found my way to contribute to them by making some minor changes to the vocal lines, to let them really match my voice, and I had the honor to write two of the lyrics on the album: "Little Red Relish" and "Sweet Atonement", the other lyrics are written by Marco.

When I heard the songs for the first time I was really impressed and I am sure all listeners will be too. They will be lured into the deep, dark, mystical world of "Sacrificium" where they will want to wander around forevermore.

(Q) What makes Sacrificium different from Kill The Sun, Ravenheart, India, Salom̩ РThe Seventh Veil, and Neverworld's End?

Marco: With "Neverworld´s End" we started a totally new chapter for Xandria, so you cannot really compare the new era with the old albums before. In the old era the music was much more simple, and we never really have been sure which way to go. So it was a little bit of this and a little bit of that, but never really going the whole way, doing something uncompromised and full belief in ourselves. Today Xandria is having a sound which is a strong statement for big, epic, cinematic music, for music that shows emotions so honestly that it doesn´t give in an inch for rules that say "you can´t do this cause it´s not cool" – we don´t care for that! Our music is for people who don´t care to be cool, but dare to show their emotions, and dare to take a step into an imaginary, other world.

(Q) Do you have any plans of touring the United States any time soon?

Dianne: Yes we have! We will be touring North America this fall, starting September 3rd in Teaneck, and have the pleasure to support Napalm Records colleagues Delain and headliner Sonata Artica. We are very excited about this opportunity and cannot wait for September to come and to get into the U.S. touring mode! I guess the performance on the 70.000 Tons of Metal Cruise this January made us hungry for more.

(Q) You have so many fans from around the world including myself. Like any other band or artist, you also have critics. What advice do you have for those bands and artists who have to endure critics? How do you handle your critics?

Marco: The best thing is always to be as honest as you can be to yourself with the music you are creating. If you are totally happy with what you created, then it doesn't matter if someone doesn't like it. In fact, when there are people who dislike you as much as there are people who love what you are doing, you know that you are doing something special, cause you can´t please everyone with something that is not indifferent and mainstream. Apart from that, the tastes are varying, and that´s a good thing.

(Q) I am interested in knowing what your present plans, as well as, future projects are. What is next for Xandria?

Dianne: Well let us first start off to promote our new album! The "Sacrificium"-tour will officially start on may 1st in Germany and it will lead us to and through many more countries, some of them are already on the calendar, others are yet to be announced. Of course we have plans, visions, hopes and dreams for the time after that, which will all lead to the follow up to "Sacrificium". But let us first enjoy the time to come and live the dream we now have within reach.

(Q) For your fans reading this interview, what would you like them to know?

Dianne: We would like to thank all of our fans and followers for their support and loyalty! We are able to be who we are, make and perform the music that is ours because of you. Thank you for this and we hope to meet and greet you at one of our shows!

For more information about Xandria, visit right now!