When we arrived at Biebob in Vosselaar to see Xandria, Serenity and Jaded Star play, we got the sad news that Xandria was forced to cancel due to illness of singer Dianne van Giersbergen. Despite the unfortunate situation we still had a very nice talk with bass player Steven Wussow. We had our talk in a nearby cd-shop, Steven took a seat in the wonderful Markus Mayer chair that was exposed in the shop and before we could even ask a question he started explaining the situation to us..
Steven: You were expecting Dianne, but… actually the whole bus is a driving viral colony. Everyone is sick on the bus except me, I’m more like a cockroach actually! Dianne is sick, she really can not sing today, she was able to perform the shows yesterday and the day before yesterday, but today she came down on the bus and when she said good morning , nearly no sound came out of her voice. I was like “fuck, what’s wrong?” and she said “ my voice is a bit damaged today”. so I said “yeah, you’re not gonna sing tonight, believe me honey”. We took her to the doctor and he said “no, absolutely no singing”.
It’s a pity, also at femME you had to cancel your show, because of a back injury of Gerit (the drummer), it’s not nice off course!
Steven: It’s horrible, we’ve had some other chaotic circumstances on this tour to, Marco also had to leave us for two shows because he was in hospital with some pretty serious issues, luckily they could be solved within a time-frame of a few days so we could pick him up on the way back.
So the tour has been pretty hectic?
Steven: Hectic but amazing! Despite all the chaos that happened on this tour, it was one of the funniest tours ever, we laughed so much!
Because of the bands you were playing with?
Steven: Yes, we knew Serenity for a longer time because we’ve been touring with them before, so we know that it would be cool. The Jaded Stars came in and it also clicked from the first moment, it’s just like a school class going on the road.
You partied a lot after the gigs?
Steven: Sometimes yes , sometimes no, there was just a good feeling on the bus.. good vibes!
When you’re really around each other all the time, don’t you sometimes get annoyed by other people?
Steven: Yes off course the privacy is not existing, but when you get along that good, everyone leaves the others alone for some time. We also have our own backstage room so when someone doesn’t want to be part of the conversation, he/she can just put on a headphone or watch a movie. It’s been only 3 weeks so that’s still okay, but if we’re touring longer it can get tough sometimes.
After this tour you’re going to take some time off ?
Steven: Yes and no; we’re going to do some single shows. But we use the time in between for the preparation of the next record that is going to be recorded during the summer. In autumn we’ll be back on the road, we’re also doing some summer festivals, all the offers are coming in right now.
Do you already have concrete ideas for the new album?
Steven: Yes, the songwriting is more or less done, we’re in the pre-production at the moment; putting everything together and seeing what we can fix here and there. It’s gonna be a good one!
Will it be very different from the precious record?
Steven: No, we will definitely follow the way that we started out with Neverworld’s End, it’s going to be some natural evolution like we had from Neverworld’s End to Sacrificium and from Sacrificium to the new songs on the Fire and Ashes EP . So if you liked this path, you will definitely love the new record. It will have all the signature elements, the bombastic orchestration, the powerful heavy metal songs and of course Dianne’s voice.
On the “Fire and Ashes” EP, you did a cover of Sonata Arctica and Meat Loaf, where did you get the idea for that?
Steven: The Sonata Arctica cover happened more or less by accident. We got an offer by a Scottish indie label that wanted to do a Sonata Arctica tribute sampler and as we’ve been on tour with them, they ask us to join and we said yes. We picked Don’t Say a Word, recorded it and it really turned out very good. We thought it would be a shame to not use it other than for the tribute sampler, so we’ve put it on the EP. The Meat Loaf cover has a different story. When we were doing the photo shoot for Sacrificium, we were putting on some music to get in the mood and then we stumbled over the Meat Loaf song (I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) FYI). Everybody knew some story from our teenager years , like “this song was on the very first CD I bought” or “I kissed this girl to the song”. Then we started joking around like that maybe some day we should do some cover tune. When Napalm Records came around with the idea of this EP, we wanted to do some new songs and then we always wanted to do these “re-recordings”. This delivered us 5 songs and we decided to put 2 more covers on the EP. We said let’s give it a try and see what we can do with this Meat Loaf song. Believe me, if we would’ve fucked it up, nobody would have ever heard of this idea! (laughs)
For you personally , are there some bands you’d like to cover?
Steven: Yes off course, sometimes we’re joking around like “we should cover this song or that song”, but nothing particular. I guess we will do some covers in the near future again. We will probably not make new covers for the next album, but if there is another EP or some special record I could imagine that we do it again some day.
You’re touring in many countries, is the reaction from the fans different in different countries?
Steven: Yeah it is, the mentalities are different in every country and you also see it in the crowd at concerts. It’s absolutely different when you play in Russia, South America, the US or in Europe. In some countries people are much more passionate and in other countries people do nothing after the show. It’s really cool to experience all of that.
Xandria exists for a long time already, what do you think your fans think of you, of your music and what it means to them?
Steven: That is a heavy question. If it comes to live shows, for me it’s the most important thing that people who come to see us, have a great evening. They see rock bands sweating and putting on a good live show. And for me the best thing is always when the people walk out smiling, that means we have done everything right. When it comes down to the records, it’s personal for everyone. We have already received mails from people telling us “your music has given us so much”, that means a lot to us. We are making music because we love to and if someone is really digging it and feeling the same, that is really cool.
You’re touring with Dianne and she’s Dutch. Did you already have the chance to learn her some German and did she already learn you some Dutch words?
Steven: The funny thing is that Dianne understands and speaks very good German, but still we usually communicate in English because she thinks that her German is not good enough, which is NOT true! The other way around it’s hard. She always tries to teach us some stuff in Dutch, but Darren is much better in it then me.
Is there a festival you never played that you really wanna play?
Steven: festivals are good to be at because it’s always a big party. You meet a lot of people you haven’t seen for a long time because you just run into them once every 2 years. Maybe I’d like to play Wacken sometime, or Hellfest in France would be even cooler because it has much more style. I’ve only seen pictures of it but other bands who played there told me it’s even cooler then Wacken.
One last question. If you would have the chance to make a line up for an own festival, what bands would you put there?
Steven: At first, I would make sure that we would be the only “so-called” female fronted band. I would put together a line-up with some really good party rock ’n roll bands, maybe headlining should be Aerosmith. And then some for heavier sounds like In Flames and some classics like Megadeth. I would just want to create a good night for people to have a good party, have some drinks and then walk out with a smile! (laughs)
Thanks a lot for your time!