Throughout the last 25 years, Within Temptation sold more than three million records, revolutionized the metal scene with new sounds and approaches – and the story still keeps on going. Before the metal-collective from the Netherlands will perform at „Musik im Park“ in Schwetzingen we spoke to singer Sharon den Adel about courage, inspiration and the power of music.
Miss den Adel, when you started the band in the 90s, female-fronted metal felt like a revolution. Were you never afraid of failure?
Sharon den Adel: To be hontest, in the beginning I wasn’t associated with metal music at all. Actually, I was a grunge girl. Robert (Westerholt, announcement of the editor) was already in the scene for many years, and I just came around the corner and everything was new: the writing, the songs, the sound, that you had to create. It was an exciting time, especially because you had noone, to tell you: This is, how it goes. It was a brand new territory.
Honestly, how difficult is it to go this pionieer way?
Sharon den Adel: I mean, you have icons to look up to. To me it was Kurt Cobains wife, Courtney Love, and also Sheila E., that became the drummer of Prince – but generally, I never really cared that much, what people might think of me as a woman in the scene. I was always a very open-minded person, that don’t wanted to be limited by anything or anyone. Which doesn’t mean, that there were no restrictions, but I just ran into them and said: Here I am. And I think with this kind of fearlessness you are ready to win the heart of your fans (laughing).
When we listen to your voice, there is so much depth and beauty, that could also work perfectly in the opera scene. Was this something, that draw your interest?
Sharon den Adel: Surely. And this is actually, what makes our music exciting. Also singers like Tarja Turunen or many others were bringing something into metal, that was unknown before. Suddenly you heard pop-influences and celtic sounds and this crossover that we did, made us special.
The early success of your band was remarkable – so soon in your career you played festivals like Hurricane, Wacken and Rock am Ring. Weren’t you surprised, how fast you could convince the huge crowds?
Sharon den Adel: I will tell you something: In May 1997 our album came out, just a few weeks later we had our fourth gig at Dynamo Open Air in front of 10.000 people. And I tell you: nobody was guiding us. We just jumped in the cold water, it was plug and play. I heard absolutely nothing from my bandmates, but the dream was real. Just one year before, we were standing in the audience and suddenly we were on stage. It was like a fairytale coming true.
How did you manage not to end up in a huge mess this way?
Sharon den Adel: I think, it was the sake of youth. You can cope with everything and absolutely nobody can stop you. Sometimes of course you do create a mess, and you receive the bill for it. Especially in the beginning we signed record deals, that we would never accept again, but fortunately with Vertigo we found a partner in Germany, that was able to reach the strong metal scene in Germany, but also Europe and the world.
Also your style of music changed pretty much throughout the years. While the first two albums were pretty dark, by the time there were more clean vocals and symphonic party coming in. Was this planned, or more like a process?
Sharon den Adel: It might be strange to say, but music is a very organic thing - also technically. First we had Vinyl, then came the CD-player, nowadays we have streaming. It is the same with music itself. I mean everyone tries to evolve and use different sounds to enrich the production, but also to keep it interesting for you and not do the same thing over and over again.
An the other side it can be quite risky to do big changes on your own style, without losing your own roots. I am just talking about „Hydra“, that was produced by Xzibit…
Sharon den Adel: It was never really complicated, because it was happening so naturally. You always have keep exploring, keeping your ears open and also try stuff. The evolution won’t come automatically. Talking about Xzibit: When we announced, that we will work with thim, many fans were shocked and told us, that we will ruin the band. In the end, it was one of our hugest successes. So no matter, if it is Reggae, hip hop or Soul: as long as it is good and it appeals to me, my songs know no limits.
The new record has the telling name „Resist“. If we look into the society nowadays, it’s not quite popular to resist. Do we have to learn that again?
Sharon den Adel: Definetely. We have to learn to resist us and also think more about the planet, that we want to leave for the next generations. Because while everybody is timeless und complaining, there could be a brighter future laying ahead - if we would set the right priorities. The last time, we had mass-demonstrations in the Netherlands was in the 80’s. The people aren’t realizing in which direction we are going. We should stand up for what we believe in and not be to busy to fight for our own life, because it’s 5 before 12.
With „Musik im Park“, you will perform in the big garden of elector Carl-Theodors castle, where hundreds of royals were listening to concerts and watching avantgarde-operas – does the location, where you perform, play a role for you?
Sharon den Adel:: Surely, our first focus is the music, but it does help to have a beautiful environment around you. This also gives an extra sparkle to the show. Sometimes you can even use this to create something new. Because where you are in a dark venue and you have to create everything by yourself, it’s quite complicated, but when you have a building with beautiful lights around you, it creates a totally different mood, that also I as a fan of history and castles will enjoy. I’m looking so much forward to perform in Schwetzingen! mer
Concert in Schwetzingen: August 3th 2919, 7.30 pm, park of the castle.