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After Forever - Interview @ de Vorstin (Hilversum, NL) - 01.09.2007

Before the awaited comeback of Sander on stage, Floor Jansen answered some of our questions concerning Sanderís absence, their work with George Oosthoek, the upcoming European and North American tour as well as their experience with their label Nuclear Blast. We also had a sneak peek at the 'welcome back' cake that the band was going to give to Sander.

Floor Jansen (After Forever)
Metal-Ways: Last week-end, there was a meeting of the official fanclub 'Beyond Them', what did you think of it?

Floor: Before the meeting, I was afraid of what will happen, because on meetings like this, sometimes nobody is really talking and interacting. But everybody knows each other now, so it's like a big family meeting, and everybody was talking to each other, and the interaction with us was also much easier.
And the all walking thing was really good to get everybody loosened up a little bit. [Editor's Note: We did a little guided walk in the forest before a nice barbecue] It was really nice.

M-W: After a four months long absence, Sander is coming back on stage tonight, so what kind of feelings the band has about this?

Well, excitation would be the first emotion I guess, but also a little bit hum... not scared, but curious of what will happen if something goes wrong, like if something breaks... There's always something with Sander's equipment... (laughing) [Editor's Note: and of course a few things got wrong at the concert... :p] But I didn't expect him to come back too soon, so I think he's ready for it. We all feel that it's going to be like old times. He doesn't know it yet, but we have a really cool cake, with a picture of He-Man with Sander's face.

M-W: Did the absence of Sander bring something positive? Did it make the band grow, evolve in some ways?
Sander is like our band leader, so when he stepped away, there had to be somebody to take over this position, and Joost did a great job with that. But of course Joost is the one who came in the band the last, so that could have been very weird, but it all went very naturally, and it was not like he became the leader and we followed, we did so much more together. That made us more aware of what is going on as a group. I already knew because I was with Sander, and we always took care of it, but I know that the rest of the band didn't really know about a lot of things that needed to be done, because you can't talk about everything all the time, and now that became more like a group process, and I think that it was a good thing.

M-W: How did everything happen with George?

We knew him from the Orphanage time and he was the first one we thought of because he's a cool grunter and we kind of thought that we would be available.

M-W: Did George bring some new energy on stage?

Well, he brought his own enthusiasm, his own charisma, and he's used to be a lead vocalist as well, so that's good to have somebody who's cool with stepping to the front. He interacted very naturally with the audience. He was not like a new person on stage, it never felt like that.

M-W: I have a question about the new single Equally Destructive. Did you already decide that the Heart cover Alone will be the B-side?

Not that I know, I can't really say anything yet.

M-W: The video clip was shot in the Bibelot, but will there be some extra sequences of the band as well?

No, it's going to be only the live performance.

M-W: And is it already broadcasted?

Yes, in Holland it is.

M-W: About shooting the video clip, how do you feel about being in front of the camera?

It's very exciting, and it's very confronting because you can see yourself right away. And there is no interaction, it's just you. But I always enjoy things like that, also photo shoots...

M-W: How did the recent promoting in the United States go?

I really liked it. The difference between the American market and the European market is really visual. We noticed while talking with people from Nuclear Blast USA how different their focus is. They're really going to emphasize the heavy sound of After Forever. Heavy bands are doing very well there, and for us that's very good news. We always like to bring out that element. And it was just really nice to be in L.A., to see all that's there and the weather was good! We had a listening session that went well. There was good attention; it was a really good start for us.
M-W: It's been a few months now that you're working with Nuclear Blast, so how is it going? Is everything going as planned? Is there a good communication?

Yes, they're very into it. I mean, just the fact that we were brought out there to the USA to do that promotional tour is not something that you do with every band, and we're going to do that American tour, and they're going to support that. You know, the all planning is done properly: doing the promotional tour, then releasing the album, then coming out on the tour, and start talking about the next tour.
In Europe each country has like 10 printed magazines or more, but over there, there are only 5 big magazines for the entire Northern America, so for both Canada and all the USA states. It's such a huge district with just 5 magazines, and not even monthly features. So it's kind of hard... You don't do promotional tours like you have here in Europe, you only have interviews, so it's very important to get in those few magazines. And that's working, like last Tuesday I had an interview together with Anette Olzon, the new singer of Nightwish. There was one reporter, and he asked us to react on a few questions. That was awesome to get to know her, to know that this is going to be in one of those big magazines.
Sander Gommans's cake
M-W: About this interview with Anette, can we expect some collaboration between your two bands?

No we didn't talk about it at all, since we're both ready to release an already recorded album there, that's not really the time to talk about that.

M-W: There are only two gigs left in Holland, after that you're going to start the European tour, and after that the American tour. In Holland, it must be cool for you to play because there are always the die hard fans in front of the stage, who make sure that the atmosphere is good, so how do you apprehend touring abroad?

You know, it's not a 'non-familiar' thing, it's not the first time. We'll certainly miss those people who are always making the others so enthusiastic. But it's not like that it frightens us that they're not there. We're going to make sure that we get the people that know us or do not know us in those audiences going.

M-W: Do you already know who will be the support acts for the French and Italian shows?

I think that it will be a different band for each show. We're not going to take somebody along.

M-W: Once the American tour is over, are you going to add some concerts in Holland, or maybe in Europe?

Yes, we're already working on a lot of shows in November and December. Parts of those will be in Holland, but also some other European countries.

M-W: Do you also plan on working on some new material when you'll come back here?

No we're now focusing on touring because even if the album has been out in Europe longer, it's going to be all new in the States, and we haven't been to South America yet. This is going to be the first tour in Europe, but we can do another tour maybe next year, or go back to the States, and then we have the festivals again... So I don't think that writing will be like already happening, but in the time in between I can imagine that we start working, but there's no rush or pressure.

M-W: About those concerts you'll do after the American tour, do you have an idea of a special concert? Maybe with an orchestra, or a concert where you'll play some old songs...

We're working on some things yes, but I can't tell you that... (laughing)

M-W: After the Walhalla festival, where Sander was in the audience, he told us that looking at the show from the crowd made him realize that the setlist needed to be more energetic, with some more heavy songs, what do you think of that?

Yes we talked about it, it's partially true... We're going to make some changes... It's really hard for us to make a setlist where everything's in. Sander is, you know, into very heavy stuff... It's also a matter of taste and we have to choose between so many albums that it's really hard to satisfy everybody. And of course we were not able to make so many changes because we didn't have Sander with us, and with George, we couldn't say: "hey for the next show we're going to do 5 different songs", so we had to stick with this, and now we can start to be very heavy again.

M-W: And if you had to choose an old song to sing it again, which one would it be?
Hum, we're already working on getting some older things in... One of my favourites would be I guess Forlorn Hope, I also always enjoyed Attendance... or Only Everything, or whatever, we have so many songs! (laughs)

M-W: Ok, to conclude, a more general question: what is the most positive thing about being the singer of After Forever?

Well, the fact that I can sing things that are written by myself: lyrics and melodies. It's great to be able to do that. For instance, look at Anette, or even Tarja from Nightwish, she sang what Tuomas wrote: his lines, his words. And I can do my thing, I'm totally myself in this band, and I think that's the most important thing!
Floor Jansen (After Forever)
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