The Last Temptation
CoC interviews Within Temptation
by: Adrian Bromley
Passionate and powerful sextet Within Temptation are a fairly new band (formed in June of 1996) but play like seasoned professionals. Their debut disc, _Enter_ (for DSFA Records), is a stunning collaboration of beauty and creativity, delivered powerfully though epic-like song structures. In all, much like Orphanage or The Gathering, the music soothes and captivates us, taking us to a different state of mind upon each listen. Comprised of Robert Westerholt (guitars and growls), Sharon den Adel (vocals), Martijn Westerholt (synthesizers), Ivar De Graaf (drums), Jeroen van Veen (bass), and guitarist Michiel Papenhove, the band is turning heads overseas with their music as well as playing at the annual Dynamo Festival in Holland this year (which will have happened by the time this story is published). By e-mail, guitarist Michiel Papenhove answers the questions that Chronicles of Chaos asked about his extraordinary and talented band.

CoC: Explain to me the songs and ideas that went into the making of _Enter_? Were all the ideas the band had for the record captured in the recording?

Michiel Papenhove: With this record, we tried to create an ambience to which people can flee. All songs are in some way related to the theme 'escaping to a dream world.' But on the album, some songs try to point out that fantasy isn't everything and that 'ordinary' life can be great, too. So you could call _Enter_ an album that can take you away on some sort of a musical journey. Before we went into the studio there were eight finished songs. All of these songs were put on the album, so there were no others left.

CoC: Why do you think the beautiful harmonies and death growls work for the band? Why was this style/sound chosen by the band to pursue?

MP: We try to create a contrasting feel with our music. That's why Sharon sings like an angel and Robert grunts like some creature from Hell. And that's why we have very clear and distinctive keyboard parts and D-tuned guitars as opposite. I think we found a rather good way of expressing both sides, because it works for our songs. When Within Temptation was founded, almost all of us had been playing in similar bands (The Circle, Voyage), and Robert (who started everything) already had a mental picture of what the music should sound like. So it wasn't very hard to decide what kind of music we were going to make.

CoC: Is songwriting difficult for the band? How do you prepare for it?

MP: For this album, it hasn't been very difficult. Robert had been writing songs for a couple of years already, so when we got together we took pieces of ideas and tried to create new songs. In about six months, we wrote eight songs, so you can't say that it has been very difficult. And we don't really prepare for writing songs, we just try some ideas and see what works best.

CoC: Influences? What bands inspired you to play music? What new bands do you like?

MP: Our influences and bands we like Clannad, Enya, Dead Can Dance, Paradise Lost, Iron Maiden, Marillion, Fields of the Nephilim, Enigma, Satanic Surfers, Bad Religion, Hole, Tori Amos, Kate Bush, Orphanage, Elegy, Cynic, and Tom Waits. Pretty diverse as you see. The last time we've been pretty busy, so we hadn't any time to listen to new bands, except the ones on MTV or so, so I can't give you any names now. But I'm sure there are a lot of them out there.

CoC: How would you describe your music? And the album _Enter_?

MP: Well, most of the time people refer to it as atmospheric metal with doomy influences, and why shouldn't I agree with that? It's so hard to label your music, so I usually don't try to do so. But when people read about you they want to know what kind of music they're reading about, so labels are very necessary. Better would be if people hear our music and make up their own mind on how to label it. And about the album, I think it has become a nice 'listener's album'. You can't really party on our music, so you could call it a relaxing album.

CoC: What is your take on the music industry having only been in it as a band for such a short time? Any things that enrage you or piss you off?

MP: There are very nice things and there are very rotten things. But isn't that what life's about? The music industry is just another business, in which a lot of people only want to make money as soon as possible. Of course those things piss me off really bad, but what can you do about it? But there are really nice things of course. For example, DSFA has gotten us a lot of things we thought we'd never have. A great album, an appearance on Dynamo, and lots and lots more. That's a great thing about the music industry.

CoC: Tell me about the upcoming Dynamo show. Is the band different live than on record?

MP: We try to get the some atmosphere live as on the record. But since we only played about five gigs (yeah, Dynamo's coming up...), I can't really tell you if we're very different live, because I just haven't had the time to listen to it yet. Been more busy concentrating on everything going right.

CoC: Where does the name Within Temptation come from? Any story behind the band name?

MP: Not a real story. We just sat around thinking about a name (the usual, as happens with almost all bands) and after awhile, someone came up with Within Temptation. We decided it fitted our music and kept it. That's about it.

CoC: How long do you want to do this 'music lifestyle' for?

MP: For as long as it's here. We are very down to earth people, so we realize that this isn't gonna take forever. We just wanna enjoy ourselves as long as it's possible. Music is still something that doesn't make you rich, so we'd have to keep looking for other things than just music. That's why four of us also study. But in my humble opinion, it doesn't have to stop very soon. <laughs>

CoC: Explain to me the European metal music market? How do you think it is different from the metal market over here in North America?

MP: Well, one thing is very evident: in Europe, we pay more attention to bands from Europe than people from the US would normally pay attention to bands from Europe. But I don't think the markets differ very much from each other. We are all people who like some kind of music, and that's why we support certain bands. Same everywhere. Personally, I think there are a lot of good bands coming from Canada (not only the heavy ones).

CoC: Future plans for Within Temptation? How do you see the band changing in the next few months or year or so? New ideas being brought to the music, etc...

MP: We're just letting everything happen to us. We would like to do a tour someday, but that's about it. Time will tell.

(article submitted 7/6/1997)

1/14/2002 C Flaaten 7 Within Temptation - Mother Earth
9/1/1998 P Azevedo 8 Within Temptation - The Dance
5/13/1997 A Bromley 8 Within Temptation - Enter
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