VUUR – Anneke van Giersbergen, Tuska Open Air, 2017

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With Vuur’s upcoming debut approaching us slowly on the horizon, we’ve been dying for any chance we can get to learn more about the album and the sound, and with “London” now released to the public and their set at Tuska Open Air behind us, that anticipation has only grown. As such, we managed to grab 10 minutes with the mastermind herself at the aforementioned festival, where we learned more about the music and its creation, as well as how one vital piece of Vuur news had completely escaped our notice!

 

Welcome back yet again! How are you feeling about how everything is progressing with Vuur and the new album?
Thanks! I’m very excited, because the album turned out super good, if I can say so myself. Not because of me, but because of the band and the production and producer and everything. The songwriting went well. We wrote together also with Esa Holopainen from Amorphis, so we had some really cool people working on this. I’m ecstatic! It’s done, it’s finished, so we are focusing on the shows and the whole album release, which is going to be after the summer.

You’ve said that the upcoming album is loosely based on the places you’ve been and now the first song is “London” – can you tell a little bit about your experiences in London and how they relate to the words and the music?
There’s 11 songs and there’s 11 cities on the album. Sometimes I see… because we travel a lot, and every time you’re back in a country or city, you feel the same, like, “Oh yeah, this is what it feels like when I’m here.” When I was here last year, it felt the same. It’s strange, because you [spend] a year away, but every place has a certain energy. So that’s what I’m writing about. Also, some cities I see, as a person or entity, I write more stories about it, and some cities like London, there’s actually been stuff going on that I write about, like something in history. There’s a few songs about during or after the second world war, so there are multiple inspirations, really.

I’m interested in the vocal dynamics on the upcoming album between you and Marcela…
Actually, Marcela left the band.

Did she?
Yeah, you were not informed [laughs].

And she left before the recordings and everything, so she won’t be on the album?
No. That’s news for you!

So it seems! Rather, then, what happened?
She left when we were recording the album. We did the whole pre-production and everything and when we were recording it, it started before… she was kind of doubting whether she wanted to be a second vocalist in a band, because as you know, she is a frontwoman to her band and with a solo project as well. Apart from when we were doing The Gentle Storm, I did the album with Arjen [Lucassen; Ayreon] and she was not on it – she was there live – and then I wanted the whole band to do Vuur. Then the energy changed from being, like, helping us out with the backing vocals to being in a band as a member, and I think she felt that it was too much in the background for her. Which I understand and agree with, and I would say the same thing, but we do miss her because, as you know, she’s wonderful. But I think she made a good decision and now she has the freedom to do everything she wants for herself.

That makes perfect sense. You participated in our Tuska Special Feature last year and you said that you’ve been here with so many other bands, and you were hoping to get to come here with your new band, and now here you are already!
Yes, I did it! The thing is, our album is not out yet, and usually the festivals only want a band – usually – when the have a record out. I asked Jouni [Markkanen], the big man of this festival, to give me a chance, and the festival was booked now half a year in advance, so we had no music for him, and I said to him, “I’ve been here with Devin, and with The Sirens, and everything. I love this festival and I want to play here,” and he gave me a chance without listening to one of our songs, because he trusts me and the music and he trusts that it’s going to be fitting to this festival. So he gave me a chance, which is grand of him because he can have any band he wants, because this is a fantastic festival. So I’m happy-happy to play here on my own.

That’s really exciting! Also, last time we spoke you were planning to see the Devin Townsend Project’s Transcendence Tour in the Netherlands – did you end up going, and did you end up performing or just watching?
Yeah, I did! I sang two shows with Devin.

Perfect, how’d it go?
Great! I was also in a period when I didn’t play that much because I was in the studio and I was in the middle of everything, so to be on the stage, and with Devin no less, it was fantastic.

Are you going to stay around Tuska to see any of the other bands performing?
I have my gig, and then I have a solo acoustic gig, and then I have the Devin gig, so actually I’m kind of all over the place myself, but if I do have time, I’d like to check out what’s going on.

You said you were really enjoying Mastodon’s latest album – will you be able to see their set on Sunday or will you have to leave before then?
We have to leave tomorrow really early, but I saw Mastodon in Holland 2-3 days ago and they were on fire! They are great! So they’re here this weekend? Fantastic!

Then my last question is, we’ve been noticing on Instagram that a lot of the female vocalists have a really cool fellowship, you’re always so supportive of each other, commenting and chatting on each other’s posts, and we had asked Cristina Scabbia about this and how she felt about it and she was very enthusiastic, and then we asked her if she would consider doing a female-fronted vocalist collaboration someday, and she thought it would be cool. So I was curious what your thoughts on all that might be?
Are you forming a band [laughter]? Of course it’s great, because they are all really great vocalists. We did that a little bit with The Sirens, but I also kind of see happening that all that we did in the female-fronted scene, so all the collaboration and mixing up, maybe it’s time for something new, you know what I mean? Because now in this scene there are some really cool female vocalists who have the growling and the screaming thing going on, and also they can sing very well. I like that it’s moving around now. So you have the female festivals and so on, and they are all collaborating, and I think it’s been done. We did it with The Sirens, and I feel that chapter, for me, is kind of closed. But I’m never saying never, because the chances to sing with someone like her is of course would be great. But I’m focusing on Vuur.

Fair enough! Thanks again for taking the time to chat with us once again, and best of luck with your set at the festival!
Thanks!

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