Sharon den Adel: Within Temptation’s New Album Will Be About Social Matters
Within Temptation's Sharon den Adel was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program. The singer discussed the band's most recent single, "Entertain You," which reflects on certain aspects of modern society, also revealing that social matters of today will be the source of lyrical inspiration for the group's eventual follow-up to last year's Resist album.
Prior to releasing Resist, Within Temptation were at a crossroads, as was den Adel, who contemplated the balance of her life and its relation to her personal ambitions and the next 20 years.
Read the full chat below.
There was great anticipation for your European tour with Evanescence, then, of course, coronavirus shut everything down. Mentally, how did you cope with the disappointment?
It makes it easy that everyone is in the same kind of situation. I've always found it difficult to put my mind on something that I'm going to do and then have changes, but this is just something you have to accept.
What makes it easier is the fact that there's no other option than accepting it, and everyone else is in the same kind of position. It's very insecure because you don't know when you can eventually tour.
The tour with Evanescence has been postponed but I'm not sure if it's going to be fitting now that we have it scheduled for this September. I think it's too early. Those kinds of things makes it a very restless, unsure period of time. [Editor's Note: The tour has now been pushed to 2021. Dates and ticketing info here]
There's an unsettling quality to the video for the new single, "Entertain You." What needs to be taken into consideration when your instigating emotional reactions?
I'm not sure everybody gets what it's about... In the video what we are trying to portray is the storyline, which is using people for entertainment. It's a little bit of and us-and-them kind of situation that they're creating which is wrong in our opinion.
People are different — they have a different belief, different colors of skin or anything that maybe is different from the majority in a way. That's what we're trying to portray with the song.
With the video, it was easier to make the story better. Two kids are fighting with each other and the idea behind it that they're being watched by cameras. People are watching outside so they are betting — using other people for your own entertainment. The reason for this video is the fact we saw all the videos going viral of people being harassed because they are different, so we thought maybe we can bring this back to a storyline for a video and that's what we tried to do here.
Within Temptation, "Entertain You"
"Entertain You," it's a standalone track. What does writing a song without the overall context of an album allow you to do?
It's the first time that we've done this. What it allows us to do is to be more in the moment. If you write a song, you release it now that you can do it. You're not waiting a long time to put it on the album which can be released two or three years later.
It feels like maybe you want to change things already, or maybe you didn't think the song even fit on the album, and if it's the first song you write, and you're going to write a lot more songs... It might feel outdated. But it feels good for now and it'll be on the radio for a few months as a single or whatever we want to with it.
Sharon, prior to the last album, Resist, your creativity was challenged by the emotions brought on by illness and loss. What scared you most about an inability to create new music?
What happened between Hydra and Resist was the fact that I was a little bit at a dead-end in different ways. I didn't know where to take it musically with the band — not just me, but everybody in the band. What's going to be the next musical step? We've been doing this for such a long time.
Another thing was I've spent my whole adult life in Within Temptation, so I felt like I needed a balance — is this something I want to do another 20 years? Or, do I want to do something different?
My dad got very sick at the time and I wanted to be more with him. I also realized time goes so much faster than you sometimes realize and you miss out on people that you love too much — all kinds of celebrations you need to be at, or exams, or graduations, those kinds of things. I needed more balance with my family life and the band. Most of the time, everything went to the band. It's a bit of a rollercoaster you're in. Everything all together was very emotional for me so I felt blocked. That's the worst thing that could have happened to me.
Music is the best thing — family, health, those kinds of things more important, but music is the first thing after that to me. It's a way for me to express myself and deal with life. So when I wasn't able to write for myself, I felt very suffocated somehow — A lot of pressure.
To take the pressure off, I decided to take some distance from Within Temptation and just do something totally different with the hope that I might come back with ideas for Within Temptation. I told the rest of the band to do the same and take a break from everyone because I didn't see us playing for a while or recording anything at the moment. So I did my own personal project, called My Indigo, which is totally different from Within Temptation.
My Indigo, "My Indigo"
I did learn from that process a lot. I dealt with a lot of feelings that I needed to deal with that I couldn't put into Within Temptation. Eventually, I did get space again in my head and my heart for Within Temptation to create.
Your life leading up to Resist was reflected in that album. What might the next album reflect about your life today?
Well we've only written "Entertain You" for the next album, which we only recorded two songs for and we have a lot of demos - but a lot of inspiration comes from daily — the things you read in the news, the things you see on social media, there's so much to write about.
This new album that will be about social matters I think, like "Entertain You" is. With Resist it was about your privacy laws and those kinds of things. A lot of things are changing in the world and we should be more aware of it. We are in our own rollercoaster and things are going fine, but sometimes you need to take a look at the bigger picture. Maybe a lot of people do that, but I know a lot folks only focus on music. For me, that was a very important source of inspiration and it will be for the next album.
Thanks to Sharon den Adel for the interview. Get your copy of Within Temptation's 'Resist' here and follow the band on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show here.
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