Metalmieze.de: You are trained soprano, with a master's degree. When was it clear to you that you would rather sing in a metal band, than in an opera?
Dianne: When I auditioned for the Conservatory to become a student there I had already founded my Dutch band ‘Ex Libris’, they were even one of the reasons I decided to audition to study classical music! For me it has always been clear that I wanted to combine technical challenging vocal techniques with rock/metal music. I just love the heavy bombastic sound of the guitars, the atmospheric overlays of the synth and a lyric vocal line to bind it all together.
So for me it wasn’t that I studied classical music and decided to step into symphonic metal, I was already in symphonic metal and decided that I would also step into classical music to get the best vocal education I think there is.
Metalmieze.de: On your website I have seen, that you also give vocal coaching lessons. Do you prefer beeing a "teacher" or performing on stage?
Dianne: Teaching and performing are 2 very different worlds that sometimes overlap. My students help me to keep an open mind, never take what is given to you for granted and appreciate the path I’ve already walked. Teaching them is as much a part from me as performing is, I wouldn’t chose one above the other.
Metalmieze.de: How did you get into "Xandria"? Did they ask you or was it your intention?
Dianne: When Manuela decided to leave the band, they had already begun recording the ‘Sacrificium’ album in the ‘Sandlane Studio’ in the Netherlands with producer Joost van den Broek. When Joost learned that Xandria were in need of a new singer who would be able to step in as soon as possible and would be up for the challenge, he referred them to me.
Metalmieze.de: There are so many comparisons drawn to bands like Nightwish, Within Temptation and so on. Is this rather annoying or an honour for you?
Dianne: People always like to label bands, products, everything actually. Of course I can see the overlap between Xandria and the bands named, but I can also see differences. But never the less, being compared to bands like that for sure isn’t an insult! Haha.
Metalmieze.de: Let's talk about the new album "Sacrificium": there are of course a lot of cool songs on it! How far have you been involved in the songwriting?
Dianne: When I joined Xandria most of the songs were already finished. We did however take the time to fine tune them a little bit while we were in the studio for the vocal recordings. With this we set the vocal lines more to my voice and make sure that I could really blossom.
Next to that I also had the honour of writing 2 lyrics: ‘Little Red Relish’ and ‘Sweet Atonement’ are written by me.
Metalmieze.de: Speaking of great songs: the video for "Nightfall" is also pretty awesome! Where was it shot, and how was the video shooting and what has made it the most fun?
Dianne:For the video we travelled to the a small village called ‘Zeitz’, nearby Leipzig (Germany). There the film company we work with had found this abandoned church that is in decay, which of course is a perfect fit to the lyrics of ‘Nightfall’ but also to the artwork of our ‘Sacrificium’ album.
The day itself was great fun! Though it was freezing cold inside the church I must say that I enjoyed every moment of it, as well the band shots as shooting the story line. I was already proud of this achievement when we had the chance to see some footage on the day itself, but now with the final video released I am even more!
Metalmieze.de: Your current tour is over now. How does it feel to be the only woman with the men on a tour?
Dianne: I love it! In my personal life I have more male friends then female. I love how open, direct and honest men can be. Being on the road with the Xandria guys and crew feels really natural. We have great chemistry between us and really enjoy our on ánd off stage time together.
Metalmieze.de: What is a MUST (apart from many attendees at the shows) that should never be missed on a tour? Something you need for yourself while being on the road.
Dianne: Hmm I do not have a special something with me that will remind me of home or that I need to make me feel more self secure. But what I do need is everything with which I take care of my voice and health: a scarf, vitamins, enough water, and oh if this would be possible: enough sleep.
Metalmieze.de: What is your biggest wish for the future of the band? Is there a stage you're dreaming of to play in any case?
Dianne: Well maybe the guys kind of spoiled me already. The first festival we did together was the 70.000Tons of Metal festival and I absolutely loved every minute of this cruise! So that’s a dream come true right there!
Of course there are big stages that I could name and that everyone would name, but I must say that it is very important to me to enjoy each and every show; for me the show must first be about entertaining the fans, no matter how big or small the venue and the crowd.
Metalmieze.de: Now what is next on your plan? I have seen that there are two shows with Ex Libris in July. Is there perhaps a new album soon?
Dianne: Ex Libris has released ‘Medea’ on the 18th of January 2014 and we are still in the process of promoting and enjoying that release. Same as Xandria with ‘Sacrificium’. After the time, energy, blood, sweat and tears investment that recording an album is, you must take the time to sit back, perform and enjoy your music before opening up a new musical chapter. And that’s what both bands are doing right now.