Within Temptation (Sharon Den Adel)
You need to be brave if you want to turn the page. And we must say that Sharon Den Adel is brave enough, even to confess that the style that made Within Temptation famous in the golden years of symphonic metal, somewhere between heavenly and gothic, doesn't fit her so well anymore. And that the duet with the American rapper Xzibit, the most controversial collaboration on the new album "Hydra", is haunting her sleeps...
Article by Alessandra Leoni - Publish on: 21/01/14

I had the chance to talk to Sharon Den Adel, Within Temptation frontwoman, while she - and the rest of band, of course - was busy filming new videoclips, having some new photoshoots, and while she was ready to travel across Europe to promote the new album, entitled "Hydra". So, to break the ice, the first question (I admit I have always wanted to ask) was about that very "promotional routine" an artist has to deal with, every time there is a new album. Is there anything that Sharon doesn't really like in that routine? Well... "Yeah, I don't really like videos and photoshoots - they aren't really my thing", says the singer, who's been the image of the band since its debut in 1997, with the album "Enter". "I always want to be in control of everything I am doing, but I just have a camera ‘watching' me and I have to look at it all the time... But I admit, these things are all very important if you want to promote an album! So I just do them".


withintemptation_intervista_2014_02As it's very smooth to talk with Sharon - regardless of the technical difficulties (i.e. bad phone connection) - we immediately started talking about "Hydra": since it's a serpent-like water beast in Greek mythology, what kind of connection is there between the mythological beast and the lyrics? "For us, the hydra is much more a metaphor of the various huge events you have to face during your life. We have been writing music for almost 20 years now, people might think that this time we would face a very original theme, something really different, but to be honest, we just wanted to write about big events in life, from many different perspectives, as you are getting older (laughs)! So, you have to look at the hydra in the eye... And face it. For us, it is also a metaphor for the musical diversity in the album".


And that's the core of the conversation with the Dutch singer: the musical diversity of this album. It is important to do that well, with no regrets or hesitations and it is crucial not to do the same album twice, but how can "Hydra", a quite different album, sound as a "pure" Within Temptation album, compared to the previous releases (i.e. the very symphonic-oriented records such as "The Silent Force" and "The Heart Of Everything")? And how might longtime fans react to the evolution of their style? What has changed in the writing process throughout the years? "It's that in "The Heart Of Everything" we have done all we could do in writing symphonic rock music", says Den Adel. "So, we decided to put that kind of songwriting aside, we couldn't do more than that, that was we could do within those boundaries. We have always wanted to change our way of writing from album to album and at the same time we felt like we had to go beyond the boundaries we set. So this time, as we were writing "Hydra", we felt we could all we like, anything we like, such as more uptempo songs, or putting rap vocals in a song, more collaborations with different singers... But there's also a little bit of return to the past, as in a couple of songs there is the growling voice". Is that Robert (Westerholt, Sharon's husband, and Within Temptation fouding member/main guitarist) back to the growling parts? "Yes, it's him! He doesn't really like doing the growling, but since we had many collaborations in this album, we just thought he could do that again, as they are really small parts. But I think he does it well, no matter what he thinks of his growling! I think he does that pretty well! (laughs)".

Apart for the now well-known collaboration with Tarja Turunen in "Paradise (What About Us?)", Howard Jones in "Dangerous" and Dave Pirner in "The Whole World Is Watching", the focus is on the much-discussed collaboration with American rapper Xzibit in "And We Run": "I have to admit I am quite anxious about it, because is a very different song and a very different style from the rest of the album. The other songs I sang with Tarja, Dave or Howard are let's say more ordinary than "And We Run". So I am thinking ‘Oh God, how people are going to react at this?' (laughs). As the album is not out yet, I am a bit anxious! But it's good to hear that someone in the press appreciated the effort".



Another important issue about "Hydra" is that Sharon's voice is definitely more powerful and organic, less pristine and angelic: "Yeah, that's very true. As the album is more straightforward, and diverse, for each song I had to find the right way to get into it - but for all of them I tried to put in my voice as many emotions as possibile. That's very important". One last aspect of "Hydra" to be analyzed was of course the production: "We have always been in control of everything we have done. Of course we had a producer, but we did everything all together. It was something like a teamwork, but the choices are always our own. We had a style, a sound in mind and we tried hard to achieve it. We had our struggles with some songs in turning them the way we really wanted. But in the end, we can say that "Hydra" sounds exactly in the way we wanted and we are satisfied with that".


As many loyal Italian Within Temptation supporters want to know, one of the final questions was focussed on the reason why there isn't any Italian gig planned in the first leg of the tour: "We are trying hard to get a gig in one of the Italian festivals. We have this first leg of the tour, then the summer festivals, then hopefully another leg of the 2014 tour (which I presume will head to the U.S. and Canada and not to Europe). We really want to come back to Italy, and do some in-club shows! We are working hard with the bookers and promoters". So, let's keep our fingers crossed and hope to see Within Temptation back in Italy very soon.

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