Revamp Interview With Floor Jansen
Interview and transcription by Erich Heintzelman
When After Forever broke up, your versatility gave you many options for the future, singing in musicals or operas for instance. What inspired you to continue with metal music?
Well, it’s not like I didn’t consider it but I feel most comfortable in this scene. This is where I’m sort of home. I’ve been doing this for 12 years and I grew into the scene and into this world very much and I like it very much. Next to that it was very, very heartwarming to see that so many people kept following me and kept wondering like oh my god now I’m forever stopped what are you going to do we hope that you’re gong to get back with the band or you know, with a new solo or whatever you want to do. Come back and it’s so nice to see how loyal fans of the genre are. And next to that I just love metal. That didn’t change. I love musicals and opera and all that stuff as well but scene-wise I fit into this much more and I just missed it so much that I, well, that altogether I came to the conclusion I have to do this now.
Revamp just recently released their self-titled debut album. How long did you spend writing and recording the new album?
A year. It was all done pretty fast. I started in April, May 2009 writing and making sort of the concept of what Revamp was to become and in January 2010 so early this year we recorded it. Yes, it got released in the end of May here in Europe, well the 27th of July it will in the States.
Revamp is a dynamic album but it is also a heavy album. Was this your original intention when forming the band, or did this develop more during the songwriting process?
No it was absolutely my intention. I really wanted this to become heavy, very riff-oriented, less bombastic maybe then After Forever but definitely heavy. And, well, uh, it’s a very good thing that you hear that.
With After Forever you shared vocals with Mark and Sander, but on this album most of the songs have you as the lone vocalist. Did you enjoy the freedom of being the only vocalist on these songs?
Yes but it never felt that, you know, only with Mark was only the first two or the other three albums afterwards were just with Sander but I never felt, you know, that that was in my way. We always had these grunts, these growls as an extra to the music. If it would add to the songwriting then we did it. It was not like an ingredient we needed. And I always enjoyed it, also writing for the grunts, I always wrote the lyrics and the timing and stuff like that. So no, it was not like that but it’s nice to be able to use my voice in a very diverse way. That was something I did want to do for this album, even more than with After Forever.
You and Joost van den Broek were part of the writing team on this album. With After Forever disbanded, how has the reaction from After Forever fans been to the Revamp album?
Well they all, everybody has been so positive it’s really amazing and heartwarming to see people still standing behind me now that the album’s actually there and people, you know, enjoy it so much. It’s very, very cool to see. Of course people compare a lot of things, also a lot of people say it’s definitely a new sound and a new band. I got a lot of reactions I also got from people who say they’re so happy I got to continue, that there is a new band now that makes it possible just to listen to my voice. How nice is that?
Lyrically this is a melancholy and dark album. When you composed the songs did you start with the music first or the lyrics?
The lyrics always from the start, and you know, after awhile we have a couple of sounds, or, you know, musical ideas and there are lyrical themes in my head and um …yah, then they combine, then I start working on they lyrics on the melodies that are already there.
On songs like “Head Up High” and “Break” you use a more aggressive vocal style than in the past. Is this something you plan to continue to feature in the future?
Absolutely, yah, yah. Yah, I really enjoyed that. I like the heavier rock adaptation, live I sing the songs that we have on our album with Björn Strid, the Soilwork singer you know his parts I sing them live. So it’s heavy even scream-like growing style is growing me and yes, integrate that next to operatic and stuff. Ya, that’s a huge challenge and definitely something I want to explore more.
There are many great songs on the album. Are there any personal favorites or ones that really shine when performed live?
Yah, it’s always hard to sort of pick a favorite. I consider every song I ever wrote sort as my baby. Well, you wouldn’t prefer, you know, one of your children above the other. But I have to say that “Disdain” and “Sweet Curse” have a special place. “Disdain” I guess because now I’m doing this stuff live you know which is a new thing or me that I enjoy very much. Sweet Curse because it was one of the first songs that I wrote completely. So also the music I’m so very proud of it. Joost worked on the arrangements and Waldemar the guitar parts but essentially it’s my song. Yah, together with Russell Allen which was a friend for many years. This is a plan we had for so many years already like we should do something together, we should record a song together, and we finally did. It’s also very enjoyable to sing live.
What is the inspiration behind the Till Death Do Us Part trilogy?
Well actually it was because I saw a movie, a Dutch movie about somebody being very sick. A young woman, healthy, happy, everything was working for her. Then she got sick and she never got better until she died. That whole process was what the movie was about. How she dealt with it, how her family and her husband dealt with it. Very heavy and there were most stories that I’d heard about similar to those that, yah, really did something with me. I really got inspired by to write about it and so that’s also why three songs are connected to this theme because we all read about this same situation but from different angles and also from different moments in this process and through the eyes of the different people involved, both the person who’s sick but also the people next to the bed, you know, the loved ones who can’t do anything about the suffering of, you know, the patient.
“I Lost Myself” is a beautiful ballad that feels very personal and emotional. In fact much of the album feels like you are revealing many of your feelings. Is this accurate?
Yah, definitely. ..a lot of stuff straight from the heart that I needed to get rid of in a way. ….and formed the sorts of inspiration for my lyrics and for this album. Yah, I mean Here’s My Hell…. and I Lost Myself both are very direct lyrics from a certain period in my life where things weren’t exactly peachy.
Does the song “Trial of Monsters” refer to a specific person?
No, not to one person but with monsters I refer to war criminals and dictators. The songs about, you know, you have the international tribunal now here in The Hague where war criminals and dictators are being put to justice. And I think that fact is brilliant. You know, people that have put themselves above the law for awhile now finally get a voice – er, lose their voice – and their power and, you know, the people who they victimized do have a voice and do get the chance to set things right. I think that’s a very good thing and that’s what the song is about.
You have been singing professionally since you were a teenager. Are they any particular artists or bands that still inspire and influence you today?
Of course, yah. I mean I’ve always been a huge fan of Anneke Van Giersbergen from …. first with The Gathering now I still love her work with Agua de Annique even though it’s not metal at all anymore. She has such a brilliant voice. I love Skin from Skunk Anansi. Yah, she’s a great voice. Yah, and Nightwish, very cool. But also voices like Christina Aguilera are people you know and the different styles and my god the girl can sing!
Revamp will surely be touring Europe. Are there any tour dates for North or South America planned?
Well I’m working on the South American tour now because, you know, people there have been behind, or sorry, Revamp from the day that I announced back in September of last year. North America is definitely high on my wish list and something I’m going to go working on for now on that the album is about to get released. So there’s definitely, there are plans. Some are more concrete than others but definitely a wish to come out and play.
You have guest vocals from three very different and distinctive voices. Did you envision these contributions as you were writing the songs?
For some, yes. Like for “Sweet Curse” indeed. For “Disdain” I didn’t have one particular voice in mind. I did want a very powerful and diverse voice. And I could never dream that it could become the Soilwork singer ….because I’m a huge fan so that was cool. And “Here’s My Hell” was actually all done. The whole song was done but we kept missing something in the mid part and soon realized OK, it should be growls. The first person we thought of was George because we worked with him, Joost and I did, with After Forever when he replaced Sander when he was sick. When he was still in Orphanage, After Forever and Orphanage did many shows together. So we go back so many years it was, you know, very nice to be able to ask him and that he wanted to do that. He also joined us live on stage a couple of times so, very cool.
In general, this album has a lot of heavy riffs. I know you play guitar as well as piano. Did you perform any of the guitar work on the album?
No, no, no no. (laughs). God no, no, that’s Waldemar. I mean, he is the guitar player. I am just somebody who touches the instrument every now and then. I suck big time. Ya, no, I would never dare to do that. And piano I played for, just because I .. with my teaching. But … and it’s getting better, less horrible than before. But no, I’m definitely a singer who also plays instruments just a little bit.
Thank you so much for speaking with me Floor. We will look forward to hearing more from you in the future!
Well thank you. I really do hope so as well. I thank you for supporting Revamp in the States. I hope you guys are going to love it, love it enough to bring us over.
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