– Hi, thanks for your time. What are you currently up to? How is everything doing right now with XANDRIA?
Philip: Right now, we are of course busy to prepare the shows we will play in May. We spent the last weekends in the rehearsal room and everybody practiced a lot because the new songs are fun too play, but also quite challenging!
– You have just released your new opus, entitled «Sacrificum». What are your expectations on it? And how is its feedback being thus far?
Philip: It is very interesting! Very interesting!! Many love it, some hate it. And that’s always better than being somewhere amongst everyone else. It seems that people seem to react strongly this time. Of course, we feel like we did the right thing because refining the sound of “Neverworld’s End” promised to be worth the effort, musically satisfying and a lot of fun. And so it was…
Marco: The new album is exactly what we wanted to do, so our expectations are already fulfilled – the most important thing for us is that we like what we do ourselves. This is the only basis for truly having the chance to win other people´s hearts with music. But we know that we are not doing some mainstream music, it is very special, very bombastic, epic and atmospheric, and also honestly emotional – daring to open your heart in a way this music does with its love for lavish, dramatic gestures and emotiveness is for sure nothing for people who rather like to “stay cool”, it´s for people who also dare to open themselves in that way. We know that with our music we are pretty much polarizing – there might be as many people who hate it as there are to love it.
– This release sees some changes in the band, as the departure of both vocalist Manuela Kraller and bass player Nils Middelhauve. What prompted their departure?
Philip: Both felt that it was time to move on and try different things. When Nils left it was the consequence of an unfortunate streak of situations in which he had a different opinion than the majority of the rest. This led to a point where he didn’t feel comfortable and as the right guy in the right place anymore. Manuela told us that she wanted to be free in everything she does. When she said it that clear, it was obvious that we couldn’t work together successfully in the future.
Marco: After just one album with us she wanted to do other things musically, and it was her decision then to leave Xandria. This was a big surprise for us and the only thing we could do was accepting her decision.
– They have been replaced by singer Dianne van Giersbergen and bassist Steven Wussow. Why did you think they were the right members to step in? What do they bring new to XANDRIA?
Philip: Both are just fantastic persons to have around. They bring a lot of positive energy, they are great musicians and also very commited to the stuff that needs to be done besides the music.
– I personally think «Sacrificum» seems like a perfected and natural follow-up to your previous release. What are your thoughts on this? As you have always been loyal to your style still perfecting the recipe.
Philip: We feel like we followed the path of “Neverworld’s End” and focused even more on the elements that we liked the most about it. The strong melodies were the essential elements in xandria songs from the very beginning, now we have an even stronger focus on metal and on the symphonic elements implemented in the songs.
– The album starts in an epic way with the 10 plus minute long title-track, which can be a bit risky. Why did you decide to have this track opening the album? How mch focus did you put on the songs’ order?
Marco:The song order is very important, it´s the same as with a good dinner – you don´t eat the dessert before the salad… it´s a composition as much as a single song is a composition. For us it was not risky to put this track in the beginning, it was just the way it felt right. And if it feels right for us, we don´t think about strategic issues outside the music, why should we? We are not a pop band…
– Anyway you have managed to keep it dynamic an intersting. How important is keeping things enjoyable? Both for you as musicians and songwriters as for your listeners.
Philip: Keep it enjoyable for yourself, and people will recognize it. I’m sure when people see us play the new material they will instantly see how enjoyable this is.
– There are also some songs that have a somehow cinematic feel. Besides music, what are you inspired by?
Marco: You just got it, film scores are a quite a big inspiration for Xandria. The same as score composers want to create a certain atmosphere and perfectly accentuate and create pictures in your mind, we also want to do this with our music. It´s just that the pictures are not there already. They are in the lyrics, so the music has much more to be the carrier for the imagination.
– And what do lyrics on this release deal with?
Marco: Very personal thoughts and feelings, as also topics that came to our minds when looking around in this world: The road to perdition mankind is on, thinking this planet is its own, destroying and abusing it. And the feeling that you as an individual are so helpless about this. In the title track I describe the inner world of a person that sacrifices himself for his ideals or the persons he loves, this was inspired by all the stories about wars, nations suppressed by dictators with people trying to overcome this that we hear all the time on the news. So pretty serious stuff. But there are also some songs dealing with certain topics of a fantasy story or movie that we found very interesting – we like to put a little twist to those stories and watch them from a new perspective. And there are also at least two love songs on it, one about a very tragic love that never could happen, one about the feeling to be able to hide away from all the dire in the world with your beloved one for a while. So the lyrics deal with quite diverse topics. We write about all the things that are on our minds.
– All this about «Sacrificum» being said; how could you describe it in just 3 words?
Philip: “Best Album Ever”… hahaha, did I mention I am proud of this record?! A little less subjective I could say “Cinematic Symphonic Metal”
Marco: “Explore your imagination”
– And finally, what are your near-future plans?
Philip: Live-Shows, we will tour Germany in May, have a lot of festivals in the summer, play a 6 weeks tour in the US and Canada in autumn nad after that we have gigs in Russia, China and Japan coming up. Will be exciting!
– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Philip: Thanks a lot, was fun answering these questions, thanks for reading until the end and don’t believe people who say our album sucks… it doesn’t. Listen for yourself! 😉
Marco: Hope to see you all on tour, because it´s great to celebrate the music with you fans – without you, a concert would be nothing. So we are very much looking forward to play for you all soon!