Interview with Anneke Van Giersbergen

Recently the eclectic Dutch vocalist Anneke Van Giersbergen has announced that she will be a part of two historic tours. Firstly, she will be performing as part of The Sirens with Kari Rueslatten and Liv Kristine, as the first three women to play the now globally huge female fronted metal scene. On top of that she will also be making her first performance with her old band The Gathering since her departure in 2007 at the bands twenty fifth anniversary show next year. Add all her touring with her solo band, and constant collaborations and song writing, and she’s a very busy lady – and it’s lovely of her to take the time to answer some questions for Swirls of Noise:

Hi Anneke, thanks for talking to Swirls of Noise, as my favourite singer it’s a real honour to interview you! Firstly, how did the idea to tour with Liv Kristine and Kari Rueslatten as The Sirens come about?

 Hi John! Thank you! When I was recording my latest album Drive, I asked Kari to join me for a song. She is such a wonderful singer and one of the first ladies of our scene and I felt like it would be great to sing together. The song didn’t make the album, but we kept in touch. Then I met Liv at a festival last year and we said we should do something together like a project. We figured we should celebrate being the first generation ladies fronting rock and metal music. As we were inspired by Kari and her music in those days we asked her to join us and so here we are!


The Sirens from left to right – Kari Rueslatten, Anneke Van Giersbergen and Liv Kristine

What can you tell us about the material you will be performing on the tour, and will you be performing on each other’s songs?

 We have lot’s of ideas for the live show, it will be a great night for sure.

When you first joined The Gathering twenty years ago, was there a feeling that you were part of something really special, and that the scene you had started would become such a global phenomenon?

We didn’t realise we had something special when I joined TG other than that we had found the perfect combination of people who could inspire each other to make this great atmospheric music. The fact that I was a girl didn’t occur to us, but my voice fitted perfectly with the music so we made an album. When that exploded, of course we knew the scene would never be the same 🙂 And not only female singers were inspired, also women in other areas felt free to join the metal scene, like female sound and light engineers, journalists, photographers and most of all, the audience. Lots of girls were attending the shows from that time on. It was great to be part of that exciting era.

Anneke Van Giersbergen’s first album, The Gathering’s seminal Mandylion

With the Metal Female Voices Festival happening every year now in Belgium, are you proud that what you’ve done has inspired many women to perform in a genre that was always so male dominated? And how does it feel to have come full circle to be playing the songs at the festival with The Sirens that really sparked the movement off?

Yes I am certainly proud of being right there, at the birth of a whole new scene that seems to not fade away any time soon. I think the MFVF is the perfect place to celebrate this and the Sirens will feel very much at home there for sure.

The Sirens will be playing the 12th instalment of the Metal Female Voices Fest

With your regular release of new albums, frequent collaborations and constant touring, you’re one of the busiest musicians there is and the range of styles you still cover in your music is staggering, from the soft acoustic shows to belting it out powerfully with Devin Townsend. What is it that drives you to put so much into your music, and what draws you towards so many different styles? Your voice is impeccable at anything you try!

Anneke with Anathema’s Danny Cavanagh

Thank you. Well, the secret might be that I just love music and I LOVE singing! My music collection is wide ranged, just like most people’s I would think. Sometimes I am in the mood for heavy, sometimes soft, classical, happy etc… It’s the same thing with my music. An album is always a chunk out of my life, like a little bit of my state of being that is shown and made audible and visible at that moment in time. As I grow and change during my life, that is what you get to see and hear. That is why no album is the same. The beauty of it is that lot’s of people go through the same process of life and this music means to them what it does to me. 

Anneke performing with Devin Townsend

The Gathering rarely played in the UK with you as a front woman, but since you left you’ve come to these shores on most of your tours. What do you think of playing in the UK, and in particular the British crowds?

Anneke playing London’s Borderline in 2012

I love it! You are an honest, passionate crowd. You are loud and proud 🙂 It’s great to play for an audience like that!

With the 20th anniversary of The Gathering’s Mandylion approaching next year, are there any plans to play any special shows with the band to celebrate, as they did with the twentieth anniversary of Always?

Yes, well now you know 🙂 We will play a one time only show in Holland on the 9th of November with all band members TG has ever had and we’ll celebrate 25 years TG with songs from all the albums.

The Gathering with Anneke as vocalist

With much of this interview focusing on what you’ve achieved in the past, what does the future hold in store for you and your band, past the tour with The Sirens, and your part on Devin Townsend’s new record Ziltoid 2?

Well all that of course, and I am also creating an album together with Arjen Lucassen. It will release somewhere early 2015 and it will be fantastically, bombastically super heavy and beautiful. I will go out on tour with that as well. Furthermore I am involved in the Lorrainville project, which will release an album full of beautiful laid back Americana-like songs this fall. And I am writing for future solo albums. And only sometimes… I sleep 🙂

Anneke Van Giersbergen promo picture for 2013 solo release Drive


And finally, thank you so much for answering questions for Swirls of Noise Anneke, I’m really looking forward to The Sirens show as well as the Ziltoid 2 album with Devin!

Thanks John! Looking forward to it all! XxX

Anneke in The Gathering’s early days


Anneke will also be making her first performance with The Gathering since her 2007 departure on November 9th

Anneke Van Giersbergen will be performing with Liv Kristine and Kari Rueslatten and Liv Kristine as “The Sirens” on the following dates:

14.10.2014 DE Bonn, Harmonie 
15.10.2014 FR Colmar, Le Grillen
16.10.2014 UK London, Proud
18.10.2014 BE Wieze, Metal Female Voices Fest
17.12.2014 NL Zoetermeer, Boerderij
18.12.2014 DE Jena, F-Haus
19.12.2014 DE Nagold, Alte Seminarturnhalle
20.12.2014 FR Paris, Divan Du Monde

Many thanks to Rob Snijders at Strictly Creative Music for setting up the interview.

Find Anneke Van Giersbergen, The Sirens, and The Gathering on facebook.

Watch the video for My Mother Said from Anneke’s most recent solo album, Drive:


9 thoughts on “Interview with Anneke Van Giersbergen

  1. Pingback: Interview with Liv Kristine (Leaves’ Eyes) | swirls of noise

  2. Pingback: Interview with Kari Rueslåtten | swirls of noise

  3. I’d like an answer to this question from the interview:

    What can you tell us about the material you will be performing on the tour, and will you be performing on each other’s songs?

    “We have lot’s of ideas for the live show, it will be a great night for sure.”

    That says nothing….

  4. Pingback: The Sirens premiere two new songs “Sisters of the Earth” and “Embracing the Seasons” | swirls of noise

  5. Pingback: The Sirens at The Garage, London, 16/10/2014 | swirls of noise

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