I had the chance to see Xandria headline recently at The Garrison in Toronto. I wanted to sit down and talk to Xandria about their new album and first headlining tour of North America. With bad timing, things didn’t work out but the next best thing is having the band answer our questions through email.
Thanks to Gerit, Philip, and Dianne to take time out of their busy schedule and answer our questions.
1 – Theater Of Dimensions is your latest release and it is your 7th studio album release. Overall it seems to be the most successful Xandria release. Can you tell us what was different about the writing of Theater Of Dimensions compared to past releases?
The biggest difference in the writing process is that with this album we, for the first time, built the songs around the voice. Keeping it in mind with every step of the way but mostly in finding tunings that support Dianne‘s vocal register and best vocal colors. Next to that our producer but also co-writer Joost van den Broek has been heavily involved. He has been able to create transparency in our songs, provided them with awesome arrangements that really put the symphonic element in our music and keep a helicopter view on the whole process, guiding us where we needed guidance and bringing out the best of us.
2 – Who does most of the writing musically and lyrically?
Philip, Dianne, Joost and Marco have been in the studio writing songs together. Sometimes in different settings but when you ask who wrote the songs of the last album then it is a combination of those four. Lyrically the songs have been equally divided between Dianne and Marco.
3 – Xandria has been with Napalm Records since 2012. What brought on the change from Drakkar to Napalm?
We were looking for a label with a more international reach and are very happy to have found Napalm.
4 – Tell us about the album cover on Theater Of Dimensions. Who is the artist and where did this idea come from?
The album cover has been designed by Stephan Heilemann and the outcome is a mix of his ideas and ours, brainstorming together and going back and forth. He really is a master in working out these ideas and have in a brilliant way provided us with the cover we have now.
5 – Dianne joined the band with Steven in 2013 for the release of Sacrificium. This is the album that introduced me to Xandria. How did Dianne and Steven become part of Xandria?
Steven replied on our search for a new bass player via an online advertisement. Dianne was recommended by Joost van den Broek who was already producing Sacrificium when Manuela decided to leave. We needed someone who could step in on short notice and could give the band a new face and he ensured us she was up to the task. Both Steven and Dianne have become undeniable members of Xandria and have brought a new color and fresh energy to the band.
6 – Xandria took a 5-year break from recording. What were the Xandria members up to during this time?
We’ve taken our time to gather ideas on the new sound that we wanted to find for the band, brainstorming on how to get there and which third parties we needed to turn to in order to get there. During this period we did, however, perform with Lisa who was still our singer back then.
7 – 2013 you played one show in the USA and in 2014 you came back to do your first North American tour. How was the experience playing on your first North American Tour?
Overwhelming. Touring the US is very different from touring Europe and although there were some things from touring in the US that we had to get used to (the non-existence of catering for example ) but the audience for sure is one that is always in for a party!
Very very nice! We’re touring around with 2 awesome bands that are kind enough to support us on our very first headline tour and can happily say that we’ve had some great audiences. People who have come to multiple shows, traveled from far and gave us the best time on stage night after night!
9 – You play many festivals around the world, as well as many club venues. What is your feeling about playing clubs instead of the big outdoor festivals?
Well, of course, it is very different, but both are nice! Compared to bigger festivals a club gig can feel intimate but we do enjoy the contact and interaction with our fans a lot. You could say that every show has something unique and we are for sure enjoying all that the audience, big or small, gives us!
10 – You have played in many countries. Is there anywhere you would really like to bring the Xandria live experience that you have not yet played?
We’ve not yet been to Australia and New Zealand, that would be a real treat if we could ever go there!
Thanks to Jon Freeman of Freeman Promotions in setting this interview up with us at Decibel Geek.
Shawn “Animalize” Irwin