September 24, 2013 Interview- Floor Jansen of ReVamp & Nightwish
Heavy metal has always been a male dominated genre since it’s inception. If you go back 15 years ago there were not many female fronted metal bands. Women have fought their way for respect as vocalists in the metal world over time. Leading the revolution were a handful of European based bands which paved the road for the female fronted metal scene we have today. Bands like Nightwish, Lacuna Coil, and After Forever. Vocalist Floor Jansen started her career at the young age of 16 in After Forever. Having accomplished a great deal in the past 16 years, Floor started a new project, ReVamp in 2009 proving there is life After Forever. Recently we sat down with Floor Jansen for a in depth look at her career in metal, the new ReVamp album Wildcard, her time with Nightwish, and much more.
Crypticrock.com – You formed ReVamp in 2009 after the end of After Forever. Was it difficult for you to say goodbye to After Forever after 14 years together and 5 records?
Floor Jansen – Oh yes of course it was difficult.
Crypticrock.com – You have been involved in the metal scene for almost 2 decades now. You had success with After Forever in the underground metal scene and made some spectacular music. What are some things you have learned over the years gaining the experience you have?
Floor Jansen – Well a lot. Everything changes once you’ve been doing it for a long time. Times change as well. I’ve become more relaxed I guess about the whole thing. It changes once you have the feeling of having the back up of our experience. Being a young girl in the metal scene I was not taken serious. One because I was so very young, two because it was a way more male dominated scene than it is today. There were not so many female singers in metal bands. I think that changed and the times have changed. Instead of a rookie I became one of the more experienced who has been around a long time. People just look at you differently and that makes everything kind of easier.
Crypticrock.com – Yes and you are right times have changed. When you first began with After Forever there weren’t as many female fronted metal bands as there is now. There are a lot of them, you and a few other bands sort of paved the way for that. Now last year something rather unexpected occurred. You filled in at a show singing live for Nightwish and you became their new touring vocalist. Tell me how that happened for you, was it a challenge for you, and what was it like to play music with them?
Floor Jansen – They called me. It is a challenge I think already when they would’ve called me 3 months ahead and asked “Would you like to tour with Nightwish?” but now I had 3 days. The whole preparation was so short, was really scary for all of us, we had no idea what would happen. It was great to see that it worked the way it did. I am happy, honored, and proud that of all people in the world they called me. It has been nothing but wonderful since the get go, we got along really well. We proved to be a very tight group and we had a lot of fun together. It was pretty awesome.
Crypticrock.com – It had to be a pretty amazing experience. I understand that tour is over now. Have there been discussions at all about you becoming the full time vocalist of Nightwish or is this just something temporary?
Floor Jansen – I think if any announcement could be made about the future of Nightwish it would have been made (laughs).
Crypticrock.com – Fair enough (laughs). Now your new album with ReVamp Wild Card was released September 3rd in the USA. It’s your 2nd record with Revamp and 1st since 2010. I have heard the record and have to say it’s excellent. Tell me what the writing and recording process was like for this new record?
Floor Jansen – We started writing parts of it after the release of the 1st record. Then I got sick so everything was put on hold. When I came back we needed someone to coordinate the writing process because there were good ideas from Jord Otto, Ruben Wijga and myself. The song structures were not getting there as well as the first record. This was the first time writing as a band for the 2nd ReVamp album and 7th studio album for me with my own band so it needed to be good (laughs). I asked the help of Joost van den Broek who played in After Forever, who also co-wrote and co-produced the first Revamp album. He already knew the band and together with him we sat down. We kind of made a musical mood board of what we wanted the album to become and worked by that. When we were 80-90% through the song writing process Nightwish called so that kind of changed things. Even though we did decide to keep the plan for the recording as we just made, that did mean that all the instruments would be recorded while I was on tour with Nightwish. Usually I am around, even though I can’t do anything. It’s just nice to be involved and part of the process but this time I just couldn’t. My vocals got recorded a month later due to the whole thing. We had 3 months off with Nightwish from February to April. That the was moment for me to record what was already written, make the photo shoot, make the artwork, and get the whole thing done. It was pretty cool how it all came together.
Crypticrock.com – It sounds like it was a very busy time for you between Nightwish and completing the record. Now the new record displays your dynamic range of singing ability, and the record overall appears to be heavier than the previous. Was that something you consciously was going for?
Floor Jansen – Absolutely yes, that’s one of the things that we put on the mood board.
Crypticrock.com – That definitely shows through on the album. Now ReVamp will be touring Europe this November with Kamelot. Can North America expect to see a tour in support of the new record as well?
Floor Jansen – We are working really hard on that, absolutely. It looks like 80-90% sure we’ll do that in 2014. I really wish I could announce it proudly already but all I can say right it’s very very likely and definitely our ambition.
Crypticrock.com – That sounds great and something for fans in North America to look forward to. There are a few guest appearances on the Wild Card album one of those which being Mark Jansen which was an original band mate of yours from After Forever until 2002. What was it like to work with Mark again?
Floor Jansen – It was not the first collaboration between Mark and I since After Forever. I joined him on his Mayan project and joined Epica on stage on various occasions, also their 10 year anniversary show here in the Netherlands, they made a DVD out of it. We’ve been on stage and doing things together for a couple years together now. It felt good after I had been singing on an album of his and a DVD to also have him on our album. It was a nice way of working together and a nice energy that we had going on. When there was a song suitable for him which was “Misery’s No Crime”, it was just a match (laughs). It was very cool the way he did it.
Crypticrock.com – It’s very cool that you two work together on other projects even after the end of After Forever. You also had a guest appearance of Devin Townsend on the record. How was it working with him?
Floor Jansen – The thing was as he is such a talented musician and adds such a personal touch to everything he does he said “I am open working together but I’d love to hear the song and see if I can co-write”. I said please be my guest I’d be nothing but honored. We sent him the idea of the song instrumental and I also gave him an idea what I had in mind vocally, but kind of left it there. His schedule is so crazy busy that he couldn’t look into it, so I finished the vocal part in the song structure as it was and sent him the idea and he loved it. He sang basically what I wrote but he did give it that Devin Townsend touch. Unfortunately we couldn’t record it together since Canada is not really around the corner from the Netherlands and both our schedules are impossibly busy. Devin is the kind of man you can trust things with (laughs). When he sent it back it was like wow he did it better than I could have imagined it could become. Super awesome and what a great guy.
Crypticrock.com – That has to be an honor to work with someone like him that has built such a name for himself in the metal scene.
Floor Jansen – Totally. When I was asked for his album it was a little bit short notice last minute thing. He said we needed a soprano singer who knows metal to do this at the right timing and feel, and the people in the choir here are not doing it so they advised me to ask you. I was like OK (laughs). It was a crazy thing and it came out well and he was super happy with it.
Crypticrock.com – That sounds great! Now you have a very powerful voice. What I want to know what type of training have you gone through in your life? What have you done to train your voice to be as powerful it is?
Floor Jansen – It was a mixture of two things. I was born with a great set of chords, I have thank my parents for that. I also had the chance to study. I did 4 years of rock academy, a new study back in 1999 for pop and rock music. While I was doing that I was already taken lessons at the music theater academy. I enjoyed it so much after my graduation I did 1 more year after that, but I became busy with After Forever so I couldn’t do it full time. I was about 24 at the time my operatic voice grew and I decided to do 1 more year of opera as a part-time study. Next to that I’ve been teaching for about 10 years now. Always working with other singers, it kind of makes you stay in touch with what’s happening within the vocal methods world. That also kept me sharp about new things and also how I learned to growl and do the rock stuff. I wasn’t able to do that before and it gradually grew on me. I wanted to know how the technique works and did a self study on that one. That is a bit of how the past looks.
Crypticrock.com – That’s a lot of dedication and passion on your part to continue to study like that.
Floor Jansen – Yes, I loved it. I am a complete nerd when it comes to vocals (laughs).
Crypticrock.com – Well that’s a good thing because it has paid off. What are some of your musical influences?
Floor Jansen – In my early days weird enough it was Roxette. The first thing that got me into singing was a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber. I think if someone would play me the music now I could still sing from beginning to end knowing every word I sang. I sang it for a few years in a row daily (laughs). I started listening to more rock and grunge back then. I started to love and still do Skunk Anansie. Skin has just a amazing powerful voice. Then there is Anneke van Giersbergen who was with The Gathering. When that came out I was like wow…. that voice, still love her. She became a friend actually. She has a great clear yet still powerful voice. The combination of that with metal became inspiration to try and do that myself. Up until today there are a couple of great singers in the rock/metal scene such as Russell Allen. He is a versatile power singer.
Crypticrock.com – That is a great mix of rock and metal. My last question for you is regarding films. Crypticrock.com is a rock/metal and horror news site so we like to focus on all genres. Are you a fan of horror films and if so what are some of your favorite horror films?
Floor Jansen – I never watch horror movies. I’m really sorry I couldn’t name one (laughs).