When it was announced that symphonic-metal icons Within Temptation were announced to headline Saturday at Bloodstock-Open-Air this year, it got quite a mixed response. BOA purists may remember they headlined one of the first Bloodstock festivals in 2005 (when it was still in-doors!) and others felt they don’t belong on the same bill as Rob Zombie, Napalm Death and Cannibal Corpse.
Even so, a lot of rock and metal fans were excited to see such a big band gracing the Ronnie James Dio stage. From their breakthrough album ‘Mother Earth’ in 2000 to their recent album, ‘Hydra’, which reached number 6 in the UK album charts – Within Temptation have been an unstoppable force in metal.
We caught up with guitarist Ruud Jolie to talk about their collaborations and covers on ‘Hydra’, what they had in store for Bloodstock this year as well as being in a female-fronted band in male-dominated industry.
How are you enjoying Bloodstock so far?
I only arrived a couple of hours ago so I haven’t had time to walk around or anything but it’s been good. Had some lunch, talked to the guys from Opeth, drank a beer – and I’m happy, easily satisfied.
Your latest album, Hydra, came out last year – do you feel it’s had a good reception so far?
Yes. Definitely, we’re headlining Bloodstock! So I don’t think we did that bad.
The album features collaborations with Howard Jones (formerly of Killswitch Engage), Tarja and Xzibit, as well as others. Quite a mixed selection – How did these come about?
It’s not that we started writing songs with these people in mind, the songs were written and we thought it would be great to have one of these people record it with us. Especially Dave Pirner [front-man of grunge band Soul Asylum] on ‘Whole World Is Watching’. We tried to find him on social media but he was nowhere to be found, it was almost impossible to get a hold of him. In the meantime we got this guy – Piotr Rogucki. He’s from a Polish band called COMA. So we did the song with him but then we found Dave Pirner as well! It’s really cool. I think it’s great to work with different people.
So where did the name of the album ‘Hydra’ come from?
The thing is: the songs are quite different, we have these different collaborations, and I don’t know if you have heard of the story of the ‘Hydra’ monster? It’s from ancient mythology, if you chop off one head, two heads come back – so it’s a multi-headed monster. We thought that would be perfect for this album as it has so many different flavours.
The bonus disc of ‘Hydra’ has a lot of cover-versions of songs by the likes of Lana Del Rey, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and more – will we be hearing any of those covers in your set tonight at Bloodstock?
I believe we’ll do one. It’s not really a surprise because it’s the only cover we do live [Frozen Tears]. I’m a huge Iron Maiden fan and I already play in an acoustic tribute band called ‘Maiden United’ so I cover them a lot with that band. Maybe something like ‘Charlotte The Harlot’ would be a great song to cover.
So now Hydra is out, will you be recording a new album or going on tour soon?
Eventually. We haven’t really started working on it yet, first we are wrapping up this festival season then we’re going to go to Russia in October, then it’s time to start touring for a little bit.
You are one of the few bands on this bill with female lead singer. Do you feel the metal genre and metal festivals are male dominated?
Maybe it’s different here but I feel in the metal industry there are many female-fronted bands. Do you know Winter In Eden? They’re from Newcastle. I produced their latest album, they are probably one of the few female fronted metal bands from the UK. Maybe it’s just that area. Or am I just being a total idiot here? [Note: No Rudd they are from Newcastle. You’re far from an idiot!]
I still think the term ‘female-fronted metal’ is ridiculous anyway, because it doesn’t say anything about the style of music. For example – Arch Enemy are doing something completely different to Within Temptation. Butcher Babies too. And if you put a female singer in a band instead of someone like James Hetfield: Would Metallica all of a sudden be classed as ‘female-fronted’ metal? Probably yes, but it’s still something completely different to what we’re doing.
So what else can we expect tonight?
A very diverse set, I believe. Something old, something new, all kinds of different stuff. Some nice visuals here and there, and some surprises.
Check out what we thought of Within Temptation at Bloodstock 2015 in issue 5 of RAMzine: Click here to read the full issue – for FREE!!