“Spread the word around / Guess who’s back in town” (Thin Lizzy – “The Boys Are Back In Town”). After being almost completely away from the music industry for five years, Dutch soprano Dianne van Giersbergen is back with a new single “After The Storm” under her own name DIANNE. She wasn’t completely gone though, as she appeared on two Ayreon albums (a live album and “Transitus”), the Powerwolf album “Call Of The Wild” and last year she was The Angel on Archie Cane’s “Tommy And The Angels”. And she still had her Precious Metal Jewelry business, of course. That, and her other band Ex Libris is still alive as well. But as for now, she concentrates on DIANNE and we got the chance to hear her out on the new single.
INTERVIEW BY: HENK VAN NIEUWENHOVEN
Hello DIANNE, welcome back and congratulations with your new single “After The Storm”. Happy?
Thank you so much for having me and for congratulating me on the release of my very first solo single (ever!), “After The Storm“. The word ‘happy’ does not even begin to describe how I am feeling about this release! The single has been out now for a little over a week and the support that I’ve received is overwhelming. I’m not only speaking about the +100K on YouTube and thousands of streams on the various platforms. Most of all, it’s all the sweet messages that people are sending me, saying that they are so happy with my return into symphonic metal. A feeling that I totally share, by the way. It feels good to be back!
Can you give us an update on what you’ve been doing the past five years?
Well, of course I have been busy with creating music with my progressive symphonic metal band Ex Libris. I founded the band in 2004 and when I joined Xandria I was never planning on giving that up. It did require us to pause for a little bit, but I’m happy to say that after the break with Xandria I released the album “ANN” with Ex Libris in 2019 and so far it’s the album I’m most proud of! Furthermore, I’ve also been busy with my Precious Metal Jewelry. That’s my very own jewelry brand, for which I design and create jewelry out of donated (bass) guitar strings and cymbals. The materials are donated by famous and upcoming bands and musicians. Through my creations these materials get a second chance to shine! What else I’ve been encountering in the last 5 years is something that I will be sharing with everyone through the songs of my upcoming solo album “Soulward Bound“.
“After The Storm” is the first in a series of singles that will eventually result in DIANNE’s debut album “Soulward Bound” that will be released in five years. Why did you choose for this approach?
The journey towards writing, recording and releasing the first song took me 5 years (starting from the moment that I left Xandria). In these 5 years, I set out to find myself again as a vocalist in the symphonic metal genre. The album will mirror my journey and will therefore be released in a new and unconventional way: spread out over 5 years, with 2 singles each year. Releasing all the songs like this also means that people will be much more familiar with all the songs on the album. And it gives me a chance to also continue building my Precious Metal Jewelry brand, as well as my band Ex Libris.
““After The Storm” is a song about standing up for yourself and abandoning your position as pawn in someone else’s war”. It was co-written by producer Joost van den Broek, but is it also partly autobiographical?
Yes, the music is co-written by Joost van den Broek. He also orchestrated, produced as well as performed on “After The Storm“. In the upcoming songs he will have the same involvement. The lyrics however are 100% my writing and are 100% autobiographical.
The single was created with the help of some renowned Dutch musicians: Isaac Delahaye (Epica) on guitar, Johan van Stratum (Stream Of Passion) on bass and Koen Herfst (Vandenberg) on drums. How did you get all these people to help you out?
Haha well firstly I have to correct you there and say that Isaac Delahaye from Epica is not from the Netherlands, but from Belgium (sorry, my bad!). Still close enough of course to drive up to the studio and record some amazing guitar tracks. All the musicians involved are not only outstanding musicians, but also friends of mine. Each of them helped me to get back on my feet, when I broke up with Xandria in 2017. So when I was ready to return to the genre, it only took one phone call and they were in.
For the music video you worked with another Dutch band, Blackbriar. How was this collaboration accomplished and where was the video shot?
The video for “After The Storm” was recorded at Müllerthal, near Echternach in Luxembourg. It’s a very beautiful region, where I used to go hike with my family when I was younger. I can still remember the bridge and the waterfalls and knew that this was the perfect place to shoot the music video. The video is indeed recorded and produced by Blackbriar, by René, Robin and Zora to be more precise. I know them from various get together at Sandlane Recording Facilities where we both have been recording our music. “After The Storm” is however not the first time we worked together. They also shot and produced the video for “The Diary“, one of the Ex Libris songs that features on our album “ANN“. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWhMuUJ0D_c
Will the debut album mainly contain symphonic metal songs or are you going to take a chance on other genres as well?
No, it will be all about symphonic metal and me using classical vocal techniques!
Do you already know what the next single will be and when you are going to release it?
Each song will have it’s own cycle of writing, pre-production, recording, mixing, mastering and releasing. Which means that I haven’t written any note or word yet for the upcoming song, but will soon start working on it! I do have an idea of what the song will be about topic wise and soundscape wise of course. In the end, they will all fit together and form my album.
You also have your own jewelry shop called Precious Metal Jewelry. Can you tell us something more about this?
Well I’ve already shared that my brand is called Precious Metal Jewelry and that I design and create jewelry out of donated (bass) guitar strings and cymbals. I am the face of the brand (which means that you will see me on all product portrait pictures, proudly showing you the design that I’ve created), but I am also the designer, creator, photographer and yes even the helpdesk assistance. I started my brand when I found out that I have a talent for creating jewelry, especially unique statement pieces that no other shops could offer me, but that I did want to wear on stage. I have a huge list of bands and musicians that donate their materials to me. You can browse my website by artist or musician or you can just search for a design that you like and instantly listen to a song from the artist that donated their materials for that design. The website is: https://preciousmetaljewelry.com (I ship world wide!).Will we see Dianne van Giersbergen and her band on the Dutch and European stages this or next year?
Next year might be a bit too early, as I would only have one or two songs to perform. But once I have a full set list I am definitely planning on returning to the stage, I’ve missed it and by the look of it my fans have missed me.