Taking advantage of Within Temptation's great European tour, we met Sharon Den Adel who confided without restraint in her life as an artist, a woman, a mother, a daughter,... A plunge into the intimacy of this entire artist.
PROGRACER - 25.01.2019 -
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On the eve of the concert at the Zenith in Paris, we had the pleasure of once again being able to talk to Sharon Den Adel about not only the new Within Temptation "Resist", but also her personal project My Indigo, which we wanted to focus on, since this break (which will call others) was a real revitalizing breath for the beautiful Dutch woman! Even if time was short, Sharon really exposed herself on these pivotal moments in her career and life...

2018 is a rich year for you who released your first solo album with the My Indigo project and a new album with Within Temptation. It's quite surprising from someone who said he needed a break.... 

Sharon Den Adel : (Smile)

Finally, could we say that you needed a break with Within Temptation more than a "normal" break that means doing nothing at all in the life of each of us? 

That's right! That's right! In fact, I didn't do anything for several months. Because I went into the studio to write for Within Temptation, but I couldn't. It was frustrating, because usually I always write, all the time, the inspiration is almost permanent. But for the first time in my life, I lost my passion for writing music and especially for Within Temptation.  

With My Indigo you have opened a new chapter in your life.  My Indigo seems to be a much more intimate and confusing album for fans. Was it a cathartic job, which helped you feel better? 

Yes, that's right. It was something I needed. I needed to make music and I went into the studio with that intention, but nothing that matched Within Temptation came. I didn't want to force myself to do it because it didn't make me happy. I was in a whole different mood. And when I finally opened up to myself to write what I liked, My Indigo imposed itself. I could only write for this project even if at that time there was no project, just songs. 

I then had two options: throw them away without anyone listening to them, or I could put them on a disc so that people would listen to them and maybe appreciate them. 
In any case, I had to go out of my writing comfort zone because I had never done this kind of music before. I didn't know what I was getting into, or if people would join something totally different. So I had to find out what kind of songs I was going to play, which musicians could be suitable, what I was going to call the project, all this I had no idea. 

It was a strange musical mix for me.  All this started when my father became ill. There were a lot of different emotions. He didn't want a hospital too far from home to stay close to my mother when I would have preferred him to go to a more specialized facility. We had some conflicts about it, which sent me back to my childhood when I had had conflictual relationships with him as well, although he was my hero, with his stature as a very great man, his brilliant mind, and his great honesty with all those around him. However, we didn't have many connections and I wanted to make more because I knew he could leave us. All this made "My Indigo" which talks a lot about how I grew up in the 80's, this mixture of influence from that time and ours, this complicated relationship, and very personal things. 

I needed to take time for all this, what was going on in my life with my father, the fact that I could no longer write for Within Temptation. So, I just said, Okay, Within Temptation, I'll put that aside, I'll do this project now. I need to look at what I've done in my life, reassess myself, where I stand. Like my father before me, I spend a lot of time away from my family...

You didn't want to reproduce this model and make your children suffer...

Yes, but not only that, because he was also very present with my mother with my children when I was away, taking care of the children with Robert (Editor's note: Westerholt, the band's guitarist and his companion in life) of course. The worst part is that I've been sorry for his absence all my teenage life and there I was making the same mistakes. That's why I needed to find a better balance between the group and my personal life, to put important things in perspective. 

Some "Resist" titles like "Endless War" or "In Vain" could have been written for My Indigo with another orchestration? 

No, I don't think so, but you're right, they have some things in common like the way I sing them, the rhythms and this more urban influence. Until now, there have never been such influences in Within Temptation and this one comes from My Indigo. But these tracks really sound like Within Temptation with very heavy riffs. 

Why didn't you name this very personal project by your name? 

Because it's a project. If I had called her Sharon Den Adel, people would have said, "Who is this Sharon Den Adel ?...". The name My Indigo immediately gives an atmosphere.  

Do you think you have reached a new audience with this album? 

Maybe people who like Within Temptation but find it too heavy. But we also have other fans from different backgrounds with a great open mind because we have evolved without producing quite the same music every time and yet they still listen to us, which is a nice compliment for us. Some will like it, others will not, but you can't make music for everyone. I mainly make music that makes me happy at the moment according to my mood, my state of mind.  

Do the themes covered in "Resist" such as fighting, resistance to adversity, come from this difficult period in your life, as a tribute to your father? 

No, I see them more as a call to open our eyes to the times we live in. My father came from a very modest background, his father died very young and he always wanted to promote justice for all and equal opportunities. Without being a concept album, "Resist" is above all a warning signal towards the so-called progress that controls our lives by making us believe that everyone has the same cards in hand like the Internet and social networks. Anyone can be monitored at any time. In our countries this allows a great openness but in other regions all this can be used by multinationals and governments against people and become very dangerous. Just like being on the Internet sometimes, especially for children who have no idea what they can risk. For example, we have a new law in the Netherlands that allows authorities in the event of even a minor offence on any subject to monitor you for the rest of your life. And we have done nothing to prevent that. That's what the album is all about. In the past we have also been inspired by these problems, dictatorships, injustices but by treating them from the Fairy Tale side. Today it is much more direct. The best way to get the leaders to listen to us is to protest. 

This is very topical, especially here in France... 

Yes, I know that, and you protest all the time (Laughs), that's what you have to do to make a difference. 

On the intro of 'Mercy Mirror', you can be heard singing with a calm voice, in the bass, which is rather unusual with Within Temptation. Has My Indigo opened up some artistic choices ? 

Certainly. Most often, my space is limited by orchestration and you don't always hear what I sing because the music is very present. For "Resist" we tried to minimize some musical parts to find a better balance. The urban influences I was talking about earlier also allowed us to find new rhythms, more groovy on some songs, which allowed me to experience more things with totally different types of singing from one track to another.  

Are these more urban atmospheres THE surprise you were talking about a few months ago about this new album? 

Yes. This pop aspect with a different production and new rhythms, we've never used that before. All this mixed with the riffs and rhythms we are used to writing has become the 2018 Within Temptation. If we had started our career today, that's how we would have looked. 

There are again some great guests on "Resist", like Anders Fridén (In Flames), Jacob Shaddix (Papa Roach) whose connections with Within Temptation are understood, but also Jasper Steverlinck. Why did you choose him? Is there a link with his brilliant cover of'Ice Queen' on a Dutch TV set? 

No, I love that version, but no. I always loved what he did with his group. He is no longer a member of it today and is involved in many projects. You know, I never do TV shows despite the many requests, especially in the Netherlands, I don't like to be on TV, nor do I like big shows like "Un incroyable talent" that I don't like at all... 

However, in some countries, such as Poland with Nergal, Behemoth singer and member of the jury, metal artists participate. 

Certainly, but I think it's a biased view of the artist's profession and the music scene. I know the kind of contracts that are offered to these young talents, on a commercial basis that has nothing to do with artistic creation, and I cannot support that. Perhaps this has changed a little over the years, but at least at the beginning. I can't support that. 

But in this Belgian show, where everyone takes up a title from one of the other six guests, there is a certain intimacy that they have guaranteed me and which is essential for me. And when they told me that Jesper would be there, I said "Really?"; there was also K's Choice, and I started asking myself the question and finally, why not! So during the week of preparation to cover songs by other artists, I had this strong connection with Jesper. We talked about a lot of things, and found a lot of musical affinities like Kate Bush for example. We thought we should really try to do something together and this new album was the opportunity to do so. 

In a previous interview, you mentioned the possibility of a follow-up to "The Unforgiving" released in 2011. Is it still in the boxes, or are we more likely to have a sequel to My Indigo soon? 

I should continue to write for My Indigo, even if what I write never comes out, because it's such a personal project. That's why I call it a "project" and not an isolated output. For my personal development it was an extraordinary thing to have this extra layer available. It was the sweetest part of me that came out of it, about the things I think I did wrong in my life and from which I learned a lot.  

This therapy on your life as an artist seems to have revitalized you and it is this aspect that makes us think that this could not be an isolated episode in your career. 

Certainly this has revitalized me by bringing a new breath and a new creative fire. Because it was my friends, my readings, the films I saw that influenced me in writing. Today it is my own life experience, my story that My Indigo reflects, as "Mother Earth" was also a very personal album. But when you stay close to yourself and your feelings, what comes out is often more powerful. I don't think I'm done with this. 

As for a sequel to "The Unforgiving", nothing is in the pipeline. We loved making this album and the comic book project that accompanied it, as well as all the influence of the 80s that inspired it, even at the musical level with Metallica or Iron Maiden that we immersed ourselves in all our youth, but it was a lot of work...

Time is short, thank you very much for the time you have given us... 

De rien ! Ce fut un vrai plaisir de vous revoir...

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With their catchy and immediate pop/metal melodies, all the tracks of this "Resist" are potential hits.
New album, new meeting with the always so beautiful Sharon Den Adel who talks to us about the manufacturing secrets of this "Hydra" with a few crispy anecdotes as a bonus...
Pure and hard Heavy Metal !

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