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In Words: The Gathering

- Hugo Prinsen Geerligs - Feb. 2000 - Claudia Ehrhardt -
- Anneke van Giersbergen - July 2000 - Claudia Ehrhardt -
- Hans Rutten & Frank Boeijen - Jan. 2010 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

The Gathering
The Gathering

Hans Rutten & Frank Boeijen - January 22nd 2010 - Krefeld (D), Kulturfabrik

Last year The Gathering presented the first album after Anneke van Giersbergen's departure. At The West Pole Silje Wergeland made her first appearance as the new The Gathering singer. Now they are on tour to promote The West Pole and to celebrate the band's 20th anniversary. Before the show in Krefeld I had the chance for a short conversation with drummer Hans Rutten and keyboarder Frank Boeijen.

The audio file is hosted at another website, you will be re-directed.

Click here to listen!

Claudia Ehrhardt


The Gathering: Anneke van Giersbergen - live 2000
Claudia Ehrhardt

Anneke van Giersbergen - July 2000 (by email)

Unfortunately I couldn't take the opportunity to meet The Gathering during their promo trip and so I did an emailer with Anneke. Not my first time with the band, but the first busi;ness talk with Anneke...

How you came up with the title if_then_else?

If_Then_Else is a computer language as you may know. We are living in a time where everything is going fast, TV, food, music, everything. This is okay, and all the new inventions are great, but we have to try not to get crazy. The human body can't really keep up the speed of life. We have to sit down sometimes and relax! Between If_Then_else you, yourself can fill in the gap's, choose your own life. Don't let it choose you!

The album is heavier then your last studio release. Was it planned to go that direction? Or just developing?

It's always a natural development. With How To Measure A Planet we were floating in space and now we landed back on Earth.

Why do you decided to put out a single? Releasing a single before the album release is not unusual for you, but for the genre!

We always put out a single, even though it doesn't do much for us and our genre. It's just a way of telling people that we are out there!

Why do you chose Rollercoaster?

It is the most representative piece on the album we think.

Is there a song with a special meaning for you? Lyrically or due to the writing process? If yes, please explain why.

We all love the song Amity. It was written in the studio and it just came out! The lyrics I wrote in 5 minutes on the couch in the studio when the guys were working out the musical idea for it. This doesn't happen very often, so it's a very special one for us!

You're writing the lyrics. What inspires you? Please tell a little bit about the lyrics of if_then_else? Especially how you came up with Analog Park!

Analog Park is about the peace you can find in a nice place like a park, but also in the balance you can have in yourself. Even though there is a bad world outside. The whole album is a bit about that subject, the fast world and the peace you can find within yourself which make you survive.

How are the reactions so far? I guess after a few weeks in the stores and lots of interviews you know what the fans and media think about!

The reactions are really good. The press likes it as well, but in Holland we don't sell as much as we used to. The rest of the world is going better, so we are not complaining!!!

How you came up with the cover artwork? Who had the idea?

We do our artwork ourselves. We just took a day of photo shooting and we ended up making pictures in our local train station. The idea was to make an image of our fast world.

You played at the Bizarre festival a few weeks ago. (The set was shown on German TV) What do you thought when you got told that you'll play there?

It was a great honor! It's a fabulous festival and it meant a great deal of exposure for us in different areas than only the rock and metal scene.

How was playing at the Bizarre? How was the reaction of the fans?

The people were great! Also after the gig, people emailed and let us know they liked it and that felt very good!

This leads me back to the tour... I saw the show in Cologne which was in the beginning of the tour. It seems that many of the MDB fans weren't interested in you... Some shouted for MDB. How was the reaction in general on that tour?

It was a very good tour. There are some people who like My Dying Bride better than The Gathering and the other way around. That's okay of course! But usually the reactions were very good.

Is a tour planned for the new album? Will it be a headlining tour? Or support / co-headlining?

We have been touring for If_Then_Else with a Dutch band called Green Lizard. They are very good! We toured through Europe. The reactions were great! We will go in February to the North of Europe and Scandinavia. (If you want details, check

I know that Holland and Germany are good markets for The Gathering. What about other European countries? Overseas?

All of Europe is doing very well. Italy, Spain and France are going especially good. We will go to Mexico at the end of the month and the USA is coming along now.... So we are very happy about that!

When you came into the band it was a turning point. Who you get in touch with them?

We had a mutual friend that introduced us.

Do you had a vision of the sound The Gathering would have with you? Or do they had a certain vision for which they were searching a singer?

No, we just had an open mind. We want to make music and when it feels right it's good.

When you look back to your early days with The Gathering, what did you expect? Have your expecta­tions been fulfilled?

More than fulfilled! It has been a good 6 years. I learnt a lot about myself and music. About the music business as well, but the most important thing is that we feel good about the music we make and that we can express ourselves.

As one of the few female singers you are always in the interest of the media. Do you enjoy that or is it more like a curse? How does the band feel about that?

It's okay, because it is normal to have the singer as a focal point, but I urge people to see us as a band. We make music with 5 people! Some people even think that I write everything or that I'm the boss of the band, but that's bullshit!!! I'm just one of 5 band members in The Gathering.

Do you play an instrument?

Yes, I play guitar.

Which musicians inspired you? Is there a certain singer who made you start singing?

I love Prince as a singer and as a musician and Ella Fitzgerald.

What kind of music do you listen to? Name a few all time faves and some new stuff, please!

Radiohead, Massive Attack, Prince, King Crimson, Mozart, Frank Zappa.

You toured with different bands, played at festivals and met a lot of musicians... Anyone who impressed you? Make you feel like a fan again?

All the bands impressed me, but only Radiohead would make me feel like a fan again, I think!

What was the biggest compliment a fan made to you?

There was a girl in Hungary once who came up to meet us after the show in Budapest and cried in my arms, coz she was so moved by our music which woke up a lot of feelings in her... That was very heavy...

Thanks for answering my questions and I hope to see you on tour later......

No problem! Good luck.... Bye, Anneke

Claudia Ehrhardt


The Gathering: Hugo Prinsen Geerlings - live 2000
Claudia Ehrhardt

Hugo Prinsen Geerligs - Feb., 15th 2000 - Cologne (D)

The Dutch atmospheric metal band The Gathering are on tour with My Dying Bride. A package which seems not to be perfect for the bands. I thought that it would be interesting to talk to the Dutch and so I ask their long-time friend and sound tech Raymond, if he can ask the band to give me an interview. It wasn't planned and so it was up to the band... And they were so kind to spend some time for this interview! Bass player Hugo Prinsen Geerligs took me on the bus for this little chit-chat...

The Gathering is around for quite a while and even Anneke is in the band for several years. Now you released a live album which you recorded in Holland which I think is a reminiscence to your fans. But why you decided to do a live album instead of a studio album?

Well, take it as a bonus and we recorded it in Holland, coz we play a lot live in Holland. And we always have better conditions in Holland and it ain't that expensive for us. That's the reasons for recording it in Holland. To release a live album doesn't count in the meaning of our contract with Century Media. It's something special which we thought was nice to do at this certain time. We exist for 10 years and so it's kinda anniversary thing. Well, it's nice for the fans, too. Often fans tell us that they prefer our live sound. So that was the initial idea to do it.

As far as I remember for the album two shows been recorded. Was it hard to choose the songs? After releasing several albums you have a lot of songs to choose from...

What we did, we just recorded a show of the How To Measure A Planet tour. Therefore we play more songs of the latest album and than we selected the songs which came out the best. We had the feeling that the album shouldn't be too long. We just wanted an album of an hour something, coz when you listen to a band for more than an hour you start losing your concentration on it. Up to an hour it's nice and you maybe feel to listen to it again.

Most live albums are double CDs....

That's a remark we got several times! Why don't you do a double CD? And we answer, coz it's no rule! *laughs* And we already released a double CD studio album, so a double CD live album would be too much. Personally I think that the double CD studio album is more interesting than a double CD live album. Another remark we got is that there are too many songs from How To Measure A Planet on it, but what most people don't know is that we think about releasing a compilation of the B-sides. The idea behind that compilation is that pretty often the singles haven't been easily to get. So on the compilation will be many songs people don't have and most of these will be live recordings. Recordings we done also with our former guitarist and if you own both album in the end, it's an almost complete thing.

Okay. When I arrived I was wondering that you play as second, coz in the announcements it always looked like The Gathering been headlining! What happened?

Well, the tour was planned as a double header. We have the same sound, the same lights and our sets have the same length. When we started planning the tour they really wanted to finish the night. We went like "Okay, so that's early time for us and we have more time after the show..." So it was no problem.

The ads and the posters show The Gathering as the headliner, but as long as you have the same conditions and time, I think it's okay for the fans.

That's true and My Dying Bride complaint, coz The Gathering logo was much bigger at the posters and it also shows parts of our live album cover. I can understand that, coz it's strange.


That's my opinion as well. To play on second position is better for us, coz we have a live album out, but no new songs to offer and they do have a new album. We feel that it's more appropriate that they finish the night.

I think people are just wondering, coz they didn't know about it. How is it going with My Dying Bride? Musically you differ, a band like Lacuna Coil who toured with you in the past, is musi­cally closer to The Gathering than My Dying Bride.

That was a really strong package with Lacuna Coil and Segmen!

For me it's this time like bands from different genres are touring together, so how is it going?

Yeah, I know what you mean. That was something we though about as well. We don't know if it'll work and it's quite a difference. They are more connected to the really old stuff of The Gathering. That's also one of the reasons why we prefer to play before My Dying Bride. Some fans of us will like them as well, but most fans who are in our new songs won't like them. For these fans it would be a tough time to stand them for 90 min.! The other way around it's easier! If you are into MDB, it's easier to stand The Gathering for 90 min.

I think that's true and the package with Lacuna Coil was almost perfect!

Yeah! And also Seigmen fitted very well into the package.

Is it a kind of challenge to play in front of a mixed audience like you have on this tour? With Lacuna Coil and Seigmen you attract almost the same fans...

No! There are two reasons for... First, we play in a totally different genre and second, I don't like the idea of a contest thing in music.

I don't thought about a competition with the other band. I thought more about trying to turn the MDB fans on listening to The Gathering...

Oh, now I got it. We don't think about it that way. Sure, it's interesting to try to capture their fans as well and the other way around.

Have you ever thought about showing a The Gathering show at the internet?

No, but we thought about taking some web cams into the studio. We are in the middle of the recordings. We been in the studio for about 4 weeks already and we recorded about 11 songs so far. After the tour we'll continue recording. So we thought about that, but the studio doesn't have cable internet and so it would be pretty expensive. Probably next time...

You talked about the new album.... What can we expect and when will it be in the stores?

It's planned for June.

You said that 11 songs are already recorded. Does it sound like the last album? Or do you changed?

It's a development, but we tried to include all the strong elements of the former releases....

... Tried to take the best out of everything.

Right, that's it! For example the way we did the songs and how we did them for How To Measure A Planet we liked and that we kept. The Mandylion album was very powerful, a strong album. The strong unity of Mandylion was something How To Measure A Planet lacked of. So we tried to combine this. The songs will have more diversity and we try to use different tempi and feelings. The songs became much shorter which is really surprising for ourselves. It's like "Hey, we can do a 5 min. song!"

Then it was time for Hugo to get prepared for the show. This interview was done spontaneously, so I wasn't prepared, but I think it cleared a few things about the tour and gives a little pre-view for the coming album...
And now it's show time for The Gathering!

Claudia Ehrhardt


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