Floor Jansen is one of the most representative female personalities in metal.
Not only is she a strong frontwoman, the mastermind behind the symphonic metal band ReVamp, but she’s also the newest face of Nightwish, the epic band for which she’s fulfilling vocal duties.
Floor has been received with wide open arms by the very picky fans of the Finnish mega-group, which is in itself a very great achievement.
On August 23rd 2013, ReVamp, Floor’s band, will release its sophomore effort entitled “Wild Card”. Maximum Rock Magazine got a hold of the beautiful lead singer/ frontwoman and spoke to her about her recent “affair” with a debilitating burnout (which she successfully beat the sh*t out of), about the new record, Nightwish and much more.
Read the outcome below.
You went through some tough times lately, with the burnout incident. Have you recovered completely from that? Are you feeling well now?
I’m feeling good. For a long time things were not as they should have been, but fortunately I’m much better now and I’ve made a full recovery.
What was your relationship with music during those tough times. Did it motivate you to keep fighting?
Yes and no because I never considered anything else. I’ve done nothing else for the last 14 years but when you’re totally burnt out you don’t want anything, not even music, and that was the really scary part. Getting my energy up and recovering my passion for what I love doing the most were my biggest rewards. When you’re in a burnout the best thing you can do is to accept that you can’t do anything and that you don’t want to do anything, even though it seems totally unnatural.
Do you think that music cuts both ways? Can it heal but also kill the artist?
Yeah, I think so. If you stay in the industry without accepting it and without facing it for real you can lose your appetite for art. I’m very happy that I had the time – or that I was coerced into accepting the time – to realise certain things. The other „side” of this sword that is music is also rewarding and can teach you a lot of lessons in a short period of time. The essence of me and of what I love the most has not changed, but I did realise that the way I was doing things should change.
Some of the songs on the new record, „Wild Card”, have the following pre-title: „Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown”. Are the songs stories of the difficult times you faced recently?
Yes they are. They’re quite literally about that particular period in my life. I think I’ve written some of the most direct and personal lyrics. At the same time I hope that the message helps other people. Maybe someone can relate to it and find confort in it.
Did you ever feel that you’ve put out too much of yourself in a song? Did you ever take a song off the record because it was too personal?
No, that never happened. I think that when you write, and it comes from the heart, people need to know about it. For instance, I am perfectly aware of the fact that the songs speak about my personal situation but the fan might not know this, or even if he does, might find it more important to disover a message with personal value for himself. When you do things from your heart you should never hold stuff back. I’m not telling any secrets and I’m not saying anything that I’m ashamed of. The lyrics talk about me and I’m not afraid of the fact that people will see more of me. That’s the beauty of music…you don’t have to care about emotions being „wrong”. I have the same feelings as anyone and people should know those feelings.
The new album sounds very wide, epic and bombastic. What was your inspiration, music-wise, this time around?
Everyone in the band sat down together with the producer and asked themselves what they want as ingredients in the new album. You can’t plan a creative process but you can specify what you’d want it to contain. We made a long list of ingredients and we concocted a play list with songs that had those elements in them. We called it our „Mood Board”. It was really inspiring because I listened to stuff that I would have never lent an ear to. I’m very proud of this album because we wrote it as a band. I’m very proud of the guys – especially our guitar player and our keyboard player – who came up with most of the instrumental parts. We made this record together and that is a great achievement.
Can you tell us some songs off the Mood Board?
There was this weird song by Korn with Skrillex, „Get Up”. I loved the way it mixed different worlds together. And then there was a lot of technical metal stuff. We put in some refreshingly modern elements, but we also held on to the „clichés” because we wanted to create something recognizable, while always giving it a new dimension.
The line-up has changed a bit from the first record. „Wild Card” sounds a bit more homogeneous than your self-titled debut. Do you think the current line-up is a bit better than the previous one?
The only thing that’s changed is the fact that we have a new bass player now. As for the line-up, this time around all the song writers are inside the band. The first record was written with the help of an external guitar player, but this time around we wanted the album to be done with the band only. You can tell the difference actually, sound-wise. As for our bassist, he left on such short notice that we didn’t have the time to find a replacement so we spoke with Johan van Stratum to fill in. We knew he’d do a great job!
Tell us more about your collaboration with Devin Townsend. It’s one of the most interesting collaborations of the year in metal.
I met him briefly at a festival and because of the distance between us, our work together was mostly done online. He was in Canada and I was over here. It’s not always possible to see the man when you work with him, especially since both of us are really busy with projects. I sent him the song with and without vocal parts because he said that he’d like to have an active role as a songwriter. He told us that he was not very comfortable with the idea of being a „guest” on a record. He liked the song very much and added his personal touches. Our song fit right into his mold and our collaboration was a great success. Everyone who listened to the song is very enthusiastic about it.
How does the dynamic from the two bands you’re part of – Nightwish and ReVamp – differ? Is it hard to make that transition?
Well it’s easy but I can’t do it at the same time! When I’m touring with Nightwish I can’t do any ReVamp stuff, and when I’m home with ReVamp I don’t focus on Nightwish. The two worlds are different and my position in the band is different. In Nightwish I sing and perform, but in ReVamp I do a lot more. The guys are very different. ReVamp is a Dutch/German band, while Nightwish is a Finnish band. Nightwish has been doing this for as long as I have, or longer, and the guys from ReVamp are a lot newer to this world. In both cases there’s a lot of talent and there’s the right spirit and work ethics, but things are just really different.
Did you ever think of joining Nightwish permanently or was it from the start a part-time thing?
To me these are two different things because the initial idea was a part-time thing. I was supposed to step in for the rest of the world tour that they were doing and for the summer festivals. The decision was supposed to come after that. Things are going well right now and of course people are asking themselves if this will be a permanent thing. The final decision will come at the beginning of 2014 and it is up solely to the band. I don’t dare to think about what it will be but the only thing that I can say is that if they asked me to permanently step in, I would happily say yes.
Is there any chance we might get to see you live in Romania with ReVamp?
I hope so! After we release our album there will be a tour with Kamelot and I hope 2014 will have way more European dates!
Special thanks to Floor!