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INTERVIEW: Floor Jansen of ReVamp, August 2013

| 17 August 2013 | Reply

By Toddstar Jolicouer

Floor Jansen

Some artists just come out of nowhere, others are thrust to the forefront. My introduction to Floor Jansen and ReVamp was pure coincidence and a matter of being in the right place at the right time.  While surfing the net and looking for something new to listen to, I stumbled upon a video of Floor performing a ReVamp track and I couldn’t get the sound out of my head.  Waiting for new music has been difficult, but on the cusp of the latest effort, Wildcard, I was offered the opportunity to chat with Floor and I couldn’t pass this one up…

ToddStar: Floor, how are you today?

Floor: Very good, and yourself?

ToddStar: Good, thank you. Well, we want to thank you so much for taking time out for us today. We know you are a very busy woman, and we appreciate you taking time for us.

Floor: Well you’re very welcome.

ToddStar: Let’s jump into it. Wildcard. This thing is a monster. I’ve been listening to it non-stop since they gave me a preview for the interview.

Floor: Cool.

ToddStar: Listening through it, when the fans finally get their hands on this, what kind of things can you tell us about the disc that they may not pick up on the first or second listen through?

Floor: Ooh, I think quite a lot of the details you’ll miss, because it’s a lot of information all at once. It’s not a very easy going album. I think you’ll discover things every time you listen. I believe that was a bit of the idea behind the disc.

ToddStar: This album seems very personal in the lyrics. If you dissect the lyrics from the music it seems very personal. Is that something you really intended to have when this came to fruition?

Floor: Well yeah, I always write about things that are straight out of my personal life, but this time it did become a bit more direct, so I think that is what you hear more. It’s a more direct way of writing.

ToddStar: I stumbled across you as a performer with the debut ReVamp album. I hadn’t known anything of you previous to that, and when I first got that I couldn’t stop listening to it, and I’m finding this is the same way. You’ve kind of dialled it up and taken it to another level with this disc. Was there an approach that you had in mind when doing this that you said, ‘Okay, the first album was great, what can we do to make this better, or more sonic, or a better bang to our fans’?

Floor: Well yeah, you always hope that you can grow, but you never know if it’s going to happen or not, so it is good to hear that you enjoy it and you feel it has been growing. We’ve tried to get it like that, but yeah, we really worked hard on making this the next step.

ToddStar: Okay. You’ve got a song, a very long piece, but the three pieces, The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown, those three pieces together, even of themselves are individual stories, but they also weave together nicely if you listen to those as a consistent piece. Do you find that having a theme or a story to tell for bits and pieces, as opposed to just trying to write singles, do you find that to be something you tend to do, or prefer to do?

Floor: Not prefer to, it’s just how things grow. The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown is about the burn out that I’ve had, and I couldn’t really put everything into one lyric, so that is why I ended up three and connecting them by that theme, The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown. Even though musically they are not directly related, they became a three piece, and it seemed to work.

ToddStar: I think it does work. There are several songs on the disc I feel are very strong, and those three again, because of the nature of the lyrics, and the personal nature of the lyrics, but you’ve got the title track Wildcard, and then Misery is No Crime, I think are very just strong songs.

Floor: Thanks.

ToddStar: Are there any looking back that you think are just over the top great tracks?

Floor: No, that’s like taking ten children and saying, ‘I like that kid better, and I like that kid better. I think that one is going to achieve more’. As a song writer I can’t say that at all.

ToddStar: Okay, looking back though, when you were putting this album together, were there any songs that really just wrote themselves, just came together for you very easily?

Floor: I don’t remember. No seriously, I don’t remember.

ToddStar: Were there any songs that were just a nightmare to get finished?

Floor: I don’t know.

ToddStar: Okay, well it’s good that everything just kind of flows.

Floor: Yeah it did. The thing is, usually I am 100% focused on one thing, and now things… the whole process has been so scattered into pieces due to the burnout, the tour with Nightwish, the music was already written, in my head has been in a hundred million things at the same time, so usually I have a better recollection of these things, but now everything is one big memory of writing it, but not like special bits and pieces, like ‘oh yeah this song, that song,’ for some reason I just don’t have it this time. Even though I am super happy with what came out, of course that was an aware process, but I have no special particular memory.

ToddStar: You are a very busy woman, like you said, you’ve done different things. Just going back to the beginning of this decade, you did some work with Star One, you’ve done your two ReVamp albums, you did the album with Mayan, then the tour with Nightwish where you stepped in. Do you find that you get more enjoyment out of just kind of spreading yourself around and experiencing the different facets of music?

Floor: Oh yeah, definitely. I’ve always enjoyed that, even though I have always got one main thing, I guess after 14 years… ReVamp is my main thing, but then if you join a band as big as Nightwish all of a sudden you have two main things. That is a bit different. I have always enjoyed doing side projects, and different type of music.

ToddStar: You mentioned side projects. When After Forever broke up, at first you guys kind of just said you would put it on hold and see what happens, but then ReVamp kind of came along after a couple of little trials, is that something you even have any thoughts of revisiting again, or is ReVamp really just the direction you headed?

Floor: Well regardless of ReVamp, I don’t think After Forever has a future anymore, now.

ToddStar: I know it had your stamp all over it and I love your vocals, but I like the new stuff better.  I think just sonically your sound has just grown, and again…

Floor: Thank you.

ToddStar: …for you to improve on the last album in my mind was going to be a big task and you’ve done that.

Floor: That’s great, thanks.

ToddStar: You mentioned the tour with Nightwish. Any chance us here in the States are going to get to see or hear ReVamp live any time soon?

Floor: Well we are looking into the option, for sure, and it is like an 80-90% certainty that will actually happen, but unfortunately I cannot announce anything officially yet, but the odds are very good that 2014 we’ll do an extensive North American tour.

ToddStar: Excellent. I happened to find out this morning that actually it looks like you’re jumping on a great tour with Kamelot.

Floor: Yep, in November. We will tour with them In Europe.

ToddStar: Is that something you’re looking forward to?

Floor: Yeah, sure; of course. It will be a great combination of bands. The first touring period with ReVamp was quite short because I got sick half way, so it’s great that we can pick up where we left off with a band, and get out to Europe and show the new album around.

ToddStar: You’ve been at this for 16 or 17 years professionally, do you find as time goes on that you still hear and feel growth in your own song writing, singing, and performing?

Floor: Yeah, definitely. It’s not 16, it’s more like 14 years, but yeah, 14 or 15. I still find that, for sure, yeah. When I started I had no experience, I’d never even had a singing lesson in my life. I’ve studied, I made albums, then stopped and started doing new things, joined the biggest band in my genre. There has been a lot of growth, yeah.

ToddStar: If you had to describe the sound of ReVamp to someone who had never heard of you, how would you do that?

Floor: I would say that it’s a brutal album, brutal metal sound, very guitar riff orientated sound, with the vocal variety that goes from poppy singing to opera, to growls, and back to rock, and with some more bombastic film like influences, without becoming too orchestral. Yeah, like that I guess.

ToddStar: You kept coming back to the word rock, and here’s something that you probably don’t hear very often, but I’m a runner, I run a lot in the morning before work, and actually this album from front to back sets a great pace to run long distance.

Floor: Good!

ToddStar: It’s a great workout album.

Floor: That’s funny because I’ve been using it as a workout album, too. That’s good. I never really thought of it as a sports improving album, but it’s good to hear that.

ToddStar: Now, you’re taking this out on the road with Kamelot, and then hopefully like you mention we’ll see something here Stateside in 2014. When you’re planning a set, do you find that you’re really going to pepper the new stuff in, or are you going to really evenly mix stuff throughout your career, and make it a whole kind of Floor Jansen show?

Floor: Well it’s definitely not a Floor Jansen show, it’s ReVamp, so it’s about the new album, and the first album. On the first tour we did play some After Forever stuff, more because it was close to that period, but now that is all closed off and we’ve got two albums to tour with and one to come out, so that’s the most important.

ToddStar: Now, if you had to look back at the first album and pick two or three songs that you think will always be part of your set list, what would you think from the first album, what songs really just strike you as always needing to be part of your set list at this point?

Floor: Well definitely Head Up High, I think that is… and Sweet Curse, I think those will be there, and maybe In Sickness ‘Til Death Do US Part – Disdain.

ToddStar: Okay, those are great choices. Now, when you’re thinking about this US tour, and just a big worldwide tour, if you had to pick bands, whether ReVamp was going to be the support, or the headliner, who would you like to go out on tour with? Just a dream list.

Floor: I don’t really have dream bands, but I’d love to tour with Soilwork.

ToddStar: Oh wow.

Floor: Yeah, I love that band.

ToddStar: Now, and again we’ve talked a little bit about how personal this album is in nature, do you find that the other arts also influence, or affect, your writing, whether it be the lyrics or the music?

Floor: Yeah, but more on an unconscious level, I think. Yeah, more subconsciously. I love movies, I love books, I love arts, but I think you take everything in you on an unconscious level, and then it all comes out at the right moment. I can’t say if I look at movies like that I get so inspired, or that type of writing style is something that I like to implement, or when I look at the paintings of blah blah I get… so more on an unconscious level, but I do feel it enriches who you are, how you create your art. So does every other music that I listen to, whether it’s pop music, or classical, or whatever I listen to, it all forms a source of inspiration.

ToddStar: And that was a great segue way, thank you for leading me to the next question. You talked about different music.  Are there any bands out there right now putting out new music that just really inspire you, or influence you?

Floor: Not in particular no.

ToddStar: What was the last CD or MP3 you bought?

Floor: It was actually an album from Leonard Cohen. The Best of Leonard Cohen.

ToddStar: That’s a good choice. Floor, if there were one piece of music in the history of time that you wish you had written, what would it be?

Floor: Oh god, maybe Carmina Burana.

ToddStar: Why’s that?

Floor: It’s a classic.

ToddStar: Okay. I know you’re a busy woman, and I know you’ve got tons of these lined up, so I’ve got one more for you before I let you go, if you don’t mind.

Floor: Sure.

ToddStar: It’s 2013, you’re about to drop the sophomore release from ReVamp, and you’re getting ready to go on a nice tour with Camelot, at this point, with everything you’ve experienced, what’s the meaning of life?

Floor: For me the meaning of life is finding a healthy balance between all the things that you like to do, and that involves personal life as well, so I think we’re here to make ourselves and the people we love happy, and yeah, for me that would involve the balance between my private life and my career ambitions. That’s where Wolf And Dog some from actually, the song. That would be my meaning of life; to find a healthy balance there.

ToddStar: Excellent. Well, other than making sure everybody goes to your website and Facebook, and they pick up the new album, is there anything you would like us to promote, or like us to reference?

Floor: Well you can mention our great guests, Devon Townsend, Mark Jansen, and others.

ToddStar: I will certainly make those references, and they will definitely be in the CD review that we do as well.

Floor: Cool.

ToddStar: And once that is finished I will give you the heads up now, congratulations on a 10/10 that this album is going to get.

Floor: Really?

ToddStar: I’m telling you Floor, I love this disc. I’m an accountant for a living, and it’s been playing in my office day in and day out since Loana sent it to me from the label. I can’t get enough. Like I said, I threw it on my iPod when I run, I can’t get enough of this. You’ve really hit the mark.

Floor: Wow, that is wonderful to hear. Thank you so much.

ToddStar: Again, thank you so much for taking your time for us today, we really appreciate it, and I cannot wait until the rest of the world hears this album.

Floor: Well thank you so much for that, and for the support, and spreading the word of ReVamp in the States. I really hope this tour will happen. I want to ask everyone to stay tuned for the news about it, ’cause it will be quite an extensive one, so we should make it throughout the huge country you have, and again thanks for all the support. It’s great to hear you like it so much, that’s really nice.

ToddStar: Thank you Floor, and hopefully when you hit the States I’ll be able to thank you in person.

Floor: That would be wonderful. Let us know that you’re coming.

ToddStar: Will do.

Floor: Great, well thanks again, and have a great day.

ToddStar: You too, Floor. Thanks.

Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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