23/04/2003 § Leave a comment
After Forever Interview
By: Sam Grant
With: Floor Jansen
Sam: What did the Gothic genre represent to you before AF and what does it represent to you now you’re more attuned to it?
Floor: I don’t know anything about gothic. It never brought me anything but confusion about the name.
Sam: What sort of music were you listening to when you were younger, and what do you listen to at the moment?
Floor: I started with rock like Pearl Jam. Soon I discovered bands like Metallica, Pantera and Machine Head. That’s when I started to listen to metal (I was 16 years old I guess). I still listen to metal mostly, all kinds of it but also to other good music from, for example, Sting, Annie Lennox and Pink Floyd.
Sam: Classical instrumentation and vocal styles are heavily integrated into AF’s sound. How deep is your knowledge of classical music? Do you have any favorite composers?
Floor: Personally I am not very integrated in classical music. Our keyboard player Lando is a great fan of Chopin and I heard a lot of classical music even since I was a kid but I don’t have any favorite plays or composers. The real classical way of singing opera is not my personal favorite either. The male vocals are ok but the female ones can sound very unnatural to me. It’s more a personal thing. I like the classical sound if it’s a bit lighter like Tarja’s voice from Nightwish.
Sam: There have been many comparisons made between AF and Nightwish. Is this a fair comparison? Would you compare AF’s sound to any other band?
Floor: I think Nightwish and After Forever has got a lot in common. They also use keyboards and female vocals and they have classical parts too. Though, every band has got it’s own sound and ways to compose the songs. Tarja is very classical and she barely uses her ‘pop voice’. I combine these two more, a big difference too.
Sam: Since studying at the Rock Academy in Tilburg, what have you learned about your strengths and limitations as a singer?
Floor: The Rock academy thought me more about the things in my voice I didn’t use before I went to school there. I never sang opera there, or used my high pop vocals (that sort of style to sing is called belting). So I worked on all kinds of things except the things I use in After Forever. I have lessons on the conservatory in Tilburg now where I can study my opera and belting voice.
Sam: One thing that always impresses me about AF’s music is how tight the band is in spite of the complexity of the instrumentation. Where do you rehearse and how intense is your rehearsal schedule?
Floor: We rehearse in the garage at my place. We see each other a lot when we are writing the new songs and when we rehearse them. The schedule is very tight. We rehears at least twice a week with the whole band. We do that now because we’re going to record a new album this summer and a mini-cd next week (end of April and beginning of May) so we need all our time to write songs. We barely play live but when we have a full schedule with gigs we don’t rehears at all.
Sam: There are a lot of allusions, in Decipher in particular, to the importance of not being scared to try new things, to excel one’s self and not having barriers. What barriers do you find you come up against?
Floor: The only thing we could see as a barrier could be search for simplicity. Sometimes it’s more difficult to leave some things out than to put it in. Enough is enough. But further the writing process has gone very well and we have no trouble with anything worth telling!
Sam: Which vocalists do you admire? You have already collaborated with many – whom would you most like to collaborate with now?
Floor: There are many vocalists I admire. Singers like Annie Lennox, Skunk Anansie, Tarja from Nightwish and Russell Alan from Symphony X. I would like to work with all of them if it was possible!
Sam: Presumably you’re not getting a lot of spare time at the moment. What would you do if you had a couple of days to yourself?
Floor: I would go on a holiday with my boyfriend and guitarist Sander!
Sam: One of your earliest performance memories is being in Joseph and The Technicolor Dreamcoat. Any chance of seeing you in a revamped metal version?!
Floor: Hmm, who knows! I would love to make a combination between metal and musicals one day. Not with After Forever (though you’ll never know) but with a future project.
Sam: Can anything beat the feeling of performing a song well?
Floor: I don’t think it can be compared to anything else. It’s wonderful!
Sam: Can you give us any information on new material you’re working on?
Floor: The songs will be typically After Forever again! That’s one thing that’s for sure. We’ve evolved between our first album and our second and I think we’ve continued to grow. The songs have a clearer structure, better classical parts, better guitar work, a better collaboration between the drums and bass and between all the instruments together and the vocals. Everybody has found his own place within the music know so every instrument has the space to be heard. My vocal parts are improved too I think. The full-length album we’ll record this summer will be a concept album! It will be released next year (so you’ll have to wait a while) but…to make the time waiting for new material shorter we’ll release the mini album in autumn of this year! The mini album consists out of 4 songs by After Forever and two covers!
Sam: Decipher has to be one of the most accomplished and polished CDs I have heard from any band in any genre. How would you personally like to develop the band’s sound now?
Floor: The sound on Decipher is very smooth. We would like to sound of our next work to be more metal again. It’s possible now because every instrument has got it’s place within the music. Guitars can play the biggest role here, and on another part the classical instruments take over. I think the sound will still be accomplished; it needs this because else it’ll turn into one big hump of sound, but less polished.
Sam: Thank you for giving us the opportunity to have this interview – it is greatly appreciated. The very best of luck for the final legs of the tour and I hope you get plenty of time to recuperate!
Floor: You’re very welcome! Thanks for your interest!