Adrien Begrand of PopMatters recently spoke to former THE GATHERING singer Anneke van Giersbergen about her decision to leave the band and launch a new project called AGUA DE ANNIQUE.

"I had been in THE GATHERING for 13 years, and I had never done anything for 13 years in my life," said Anneke van Giersbergen. "It's been my whole adult life, so to leave that, on one hand, was a very clear decision and a very strong feeling, and I was ready. In 13 years, things had changed in my personal and musical life. It was difficult as well, because the guys, they were like brothers, so to leave that and to change that relationship has been a long process and was probably one of the hardest things I did.

"I told them at the beginning of March, and so we really took some time to assess the situation," she continued. "Also, the guys, they wanted to see what their plans would be next. Of course they were not happy with my decision, but they are respectful and they have good spirits to continue. Of course, I put a big stamp on the sound and the look of THE GATHERING, but on the other hand I'm not the only singer in the world, so it's going to change, but it's not going to stop."

Regarding her reasons for leaving, Anneke said, "There were a lot of physical reasons, but they all came out of one big feeling in my heart that it was time to change. I was supposed to do this record besides THE GATHERING, and I was given time and it was all okay, but I like to do other small projects and work with other people a lot. I had some plans, and the feeling became stronger to develop that more seriously and also especially to be with my family a little bit more. Now, I can direct everything I do from this one agenda, and it feels very good to be the director of your own life. In a way THE GATHERING was officially a bigger band, and we were day and night constantly working with it, and it was quite intense, all the processes. So a lot of small things became one big feeling, like, ‘Okay, I'm ready.'"

"Air", the debut album by the creatively named AGUA DE ANNIQUE is a collection of songs that run the gamut from hard rock ("You Are Nice"), to folk ("Come Wander"), to COLDPLAY-esque pop ("Yalin"), to piano-based balladry ("Day After Yesterday"), to even a few progressive-minded moments that would make her old band proud.

"Some of these are quite old, actually, because I have so many songs," she said. "In the GATHERING period I also had many songs and a lot of them hadn't been used, so they were shelved. I just recorded them simply, on mostly guitar and vocals, and recently I've been playing piano and writing a lot of songs on that. They all have kind of their own charm, like the easygoing, simple ones, but I'm equally proud of the mini-epic ones, because they all have a different feel. I have so much stuff, I think I can release four more albums."


Watch AGUA DE ANNIQUE's video for the song "Day After Yesterday":


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