Interview with Dianne van Giersbergen

Ex Libris

‘’The love for music is the last thing I would ever want to lose.’’


Writing his review of Ex Libris’s new release, ‘’Chapter Two: Anastasia Romanova’’, Joshua got the idea to interview Dianne van Giersbergen about the project. Unfortunately Joshua could not do the interview himself, and passed it on to me. Super exciting! I talked with Dianne about the new music and about her business, Precious Metal Jewelry.

“Hello Dianne, thank you for taking the time out of your day to get interviewed by us! How are you today?”

Dianne: ‘’Hi! Right now I am very busy with promoting and doing interviews about Ex Libris’s new release: ‘’Chapter 2: Anastasia Romanova’’ by day, and making jewelry at night.’’


“The second chapter of the ANN trilogy is now out which focuses on Anastasia Romanova, how are the reviews for the chapter so far?”

Dianne: ‘’They are very good! I’m slightly overwhelmed by it, even. Both fans and reviewers are super enthusiastic about it. Most compliments are about how detailed and real the story is. Especially the ending, people are really impressed by that part.''


‘’You must have put an amazing amount of time and energy into researching information!’’

Dianne: ‘’Yes that is true! The boys have to study the material too, but I do the most research. What we do first is making a timeline, and from that timeline we pick three subjects that we want to write about. Those subjects are always seen from the perspective of ANN. We would never tell about the revolution and that the tsar was under house arrest, I mean there is a part in there, but seen from the eyes of Anastasia, how she experienced all this.’’


‘’It sounds very hard to place yourself into another person.’’

Dianne: ‘’It is! Of course, she isn’t alive anymore so we can’t ask, so we have to draw conclusions of our own here and there. That’s why there is so much research, you need different sources to compare and overlap, making sure you have the right story in front of you. For example I have read about the lessons the children got in the Russian court, how neat and strict those lessons were, what her parents were like and how they were raised, there goes an amazing amount of time in one chapter.’’

‘’How long does it take to write one complete chapter?’’

Dianne: ‘’Well, we did a crowdfunding, and we promised the funders that they can expect a new chapter every six or seven months. It is impossible to make all the chapters at the same time, a lot of confusion will happen and it would take away from the quality that it is now. So I have a small amount of time to such intensive research.’’


‘’Isn’t that extremely difficult?’’

Dianne: ‘’Yes. That is a way of saying it, but difficult makes it sound very negative. I would rather call it a challenge! I have studies classical music so I am used to doing that kind of research, for example a part in an opera. But what makes it cool is that because you know so much about it, you can really express the feelings and emotions in the music. They become real.‘’


‘’How did you find these three ANN’s? What makes them so special that you want to write about them?’’

Dianne: ‘’We specifically chose for different eras, and every band member had some ideas. I came up with Anne Boleyn, I love English history! Our keyboard player Koen came with the idea about including Russia in the project. I didn’t know about Anastasia Romanova before, but of course now I do. The two stories are so extremely different from each other and that makes it so interesting.’’

‘’But mostly it keeps it interesting for yourself. Sometimes I listen to albums and it exists of twelve uninspired songs that all sound the same.’’

Dianne: ‘’Certainly! Haha! Last time someone said to me: ‘’When I buy a new album from a band, I secretly hope it is entirely different from the last one. If not, it is like I already own that album’’. You have to invent the wheel with every album that you make. Of course, the ANN trilogy is taking that extremely far, Chapter One was more vintage progrock, a lot of renaissance influences. And now with Chapter Two we are in 20th century Russia, with other instruments and influences. It also is THE symphonic Chapter.’’


‘’Sounds like this one is right up our alley!’’

Dianne: ‘’I might have some experience in that field yes, haha! I have written songs for (I guess we can talk about it now) Xandria as well, especially for ‘’Theater Of Dimensions’’ (2017). I have learned a lot in that process and I can use that now.’’


‘’Small sidenote, I had bought tickets for a Xandria show around that time. And a month before the concert you announced that you were leaving the band.’’

Dianne: ‘’Oh my, I am so sorry!’’


‘’No, it was not your fault! I loved ‘’Theater Of Dimensions’’ so much and couldn’t wait to hear those songs live. And now you will never get the chance to play or perform those songs again, even though you worked hard on them as well.’’

Dianne: ‘’Thank you! When I look back I like to think that I have learned a lot and made beautiful memories to cherish. The rest I just want to leave behind me. My work continues with Ex Libris!’’

‘’It might be a bit early to ask, but are there already things going on behind the scenes for Chapter Three?’’

Dianne: ‘’Oh yes of course! I haven’t started yet, but the boys are writing riffs here and there and the timeline is being set up. The details will come after the interview period, because I do not want to mess up with all the information, or accidentally say too much!’’


‘’Are there any touring plans for when the trilogy is complete?’’

Dianne: ‘’Touring is too big of a word. We would love to do some exclusive shows, completely tailored to all Chapters. But touring like I have done before, with so many shows shortly after each other is impossible. This is a completely different band, with different people that have different lives. Some of us do not have that kind of freedom. We just want to keep it fun, and that is what I missed most while being in Xandria. It became a quantity over quality situation, and at some point the love for the art disappears. The love for music is the last thing I would ever want to lose.’’

’Now, we also have some questions about your jewelry business Precious Metal. How does the music connect to the jewelry?’’

Dianne: ‘’I made jewelry before Precious Metal, I have always found it fascinating. So when I found out how to make certain pieces, a whole new world opened in front of me. I was able to create my own, unique pieces to wear on stage. So when I saw the guys backstage changing strings, I basically saw them throwing away material that I could still use, and so my idea was born. The unique thing is, there is already a story behind the material, music was made with it. I thought that it would be nice for people to hold on to that moment a little longer than just going to the concert. The best part is the commissions I get: I’ve been asked to make several engagement rings, with strings from the concert that these people met each other at.’’

‘’How long does it take to finish an entire piece of jewelry?’’

Dianne: ‘’It totally depends on the design and the material, but size does not matter. I can easily spend two hours on finishing a big statement necklace, but making a very tiny ring is a lot more precise so it will take longer. The material is very stiff and is hard to bend and mold, because it is not made for this purpose. There goes a lot of time and love in each project.’’


‘’It sounds incredibly difficult to work with those materials.’’

Dianne: ‘’Of course working with regular jewelry material is easier, but way less unique. The uniqueness makes it worthwhile.’’


’Do you make all designs yourself?’’

Dianne: ‘’That depends, most of the time I make them and I let the customer check online. I let them make a few suggestions based on my design. But I also make completely custom designs, can be based on an item I already made, or be entirely new. I can take it as far as the material allows.’’


‘’I am actually already out of questions… Is there anything left you would like to tell? Something I forgot?’’

Dianne: ‘’I want to thank you for your time and the promotion you do, but also the people who will read this interview. Thank you for the support! Without writers and fans it would become very boring to make music. Without fans we would not exist.’’

Thank you Dianne for making time for us!


Read Joshua's review of ''Chapter 2 - Anastasia Romanova'' here!


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Ex Libris

Precious Metal Jewelry


By Tamar