Room Thirteen: So how come you've been lumbered with interview duties rather than Sharon?
Robert Westerholt: Well, she's been attacked by flu. We thought she had got rid of it, but yesterday it started again. We're making sure she's careful before the show- doing as little with her voice as possible.

R13: Does having a cold affect her voice when she sings?
RW: It depends on the cold, normally she can sing. It doesn't go as well for us, but normally it's no problem. I think last year she had a time when she couldn't even talk. That was bad.

R13: Do you find it annoying if people say that you didn't perform your best when Sharon has a cold and can't sing so well?
RW: No, not at all. We never get that reaction! If it can be heard in her voice whilst talking people understand.

R13: So you're on Roadrunner now in the UK. What made you choose to go with a record label that has many artists that are quite different to your own music… Or do you fit in?
RW: Yeah, well they're different, but they're also different from each other. We feel very much at home on Road Runner and they've had Type O Negative for years!

R13: 'The Silent Force' is the first "proper" release over in the UK isn't it? What happened with 'Mother Earth'?
RW: 'Mother Earth' had a very small release with Sanctury in the UK, but Road Runner are really dedicated to their bands and look after them well.

R13: Did you get to see any bands at Bloodstock before your set?
RW: Umm... We arrived pretty late, so we saw After Forever and Amon Amarth. We wanted to see Cathedral, but they played on the other stage, but we're going to see them tonight when they open for us. We had a fantastic reaction from the crowd. It was a bit like a musical- we had a standing ovation from the crowd because of the seating around the main stage. It's a really nice venue. It's great for us, because the first time we played here it was the London Scala, and now we're headlining Bloodstock and playing at the Astoria.

R13: You've played at loads of European festivals this summer. Which were the best?
RW: It's difficult, because no one concert is the same. Sometimes it feels really relaxed and just feels right, then your next festival will have a brilliant crowd. So, it's hard to compare. It's why I like playing- because it's always different and you can see that on the DVD which is released in the UK. It was recorded at Rock Am Ring, which was a fantastic show. The weather was horrible. There was a lot of rain and wind… but the rain stopped when we came onstage and the sun was just going down. It was a fantastic atmosphere. Most of the time it's the surprising festivals that are the most memorable. We were in Germany and played at a festival where lots of different bands were playing… We were not sure how we'd go down and didn't expect anything, but we went down well and a lot of new people were introduced to our music. It was amazing, the whole crowd was fantastic.

R13: So Sharon's done work with bands such as After Forever… Have you done anything with other bands?
RW: No, not really. Within Temptation is the right thing and works so well so I don't have time for other bands. At the moment we're starting to work on some music for a video game, which is a nice change.
R13: Which game?
RW: An online roleplaying game, like World of Warcraft, which I used to play but I just don't have time for now. I got up to level 10 in a day but I've not played it for months.

R13: How do your fans find out about you?
RW: People find out about us differently because of the variation in the way our albums have been released in different countries. People will find out through their friends, or the internet and by internet radio stations. Sometimes they find out by radio, or just word of mouth. It's always fun when people listen to different types of music.

R13: There's a big difference between 'Mother Earth' and 'The Silent Force'- as a band you sound more mature and much more confident, but you've also dropped the long intros and your instrumentals have changed.
RW: It's something a lot of people have pointed out to us with our new record. We didn't really intend to drop the intros, but they have vanished. The songs have shortened, but that might change with the next record.

R13: Another thing I've noticed is that your slower songs are much more listenable on 'The Silent Force' compared to 'Mother Earth'... They seem very sickly and not very metal whilst your newer slow songs are more powerful.
RW: Within Temptation are able to write slower songs- we've a broad range of songs we can perform, and I like that varitation. We always try to make peaks and slower songs. Our newer stuff sounds much more mature. You learn and that's the best part of songwriting- that you learn and your writing matures. It's a challenge to write a better song. Our latest record is another step. Not always better, but it's a different step.

R13: If you're writing a song, how do you tell if it's a good song or not?
RW: That's difficult… You never know. Sometimes it can be very personal, but another person will not find that quality in a song. It's always different and has different meanings for certain people.

R13: Do you have any songs that you'd say sum up your life, or that you can relate to?
RW: If you write music, that you write loads, but you only keep the songs you're passionate about. You'll always have a connection to the songs you keep. With every song there's a connection with yourself. It can be a very personal thing because you attach it to yourself in your life or a movie or just a certain moment. Every song has some kind of story.

R13: You've got a wide lyrical content in your music. How do you manage to have such a variety in your music whilst other bands get stuck on just one subject?
RW: People sometimes have the same things that remain important to them. We try and explore life… try and philosophise. We really like fantasy novels, but to some people it's just a story. Sometimes it's has a lot of wild new ideas and that's what we like- to question and see what would happen if we were different people living different lives.

R13: Do you normally watch films of that genre then?
RW: Yeah, I like things that question. I like films that have a different kind of look on life - like The Butterfly Effect. They're very inspiring. We also read a lot because those kind of things inspire you to write new and different songs.

R13: Would you consider writing music for films then? Do you have any songs already in use in films?
RW: We have our music in some things on TV… and sometimes you'll be watching a documentary and you'll hear your intro in a sports program or something. Our music is very emotive, so it gets used a lot. It feels very strange to hear our music in a different situation… connected to the program rather than the feelings you originally wrote it with. You do sometimes get your music used when you don't approve of, which is unfortunate.

R13: What made you pick up your guitar?
RW: I used to live in Spain for five years when I was young, so my parents made me and my brother have Spanish guitar lessons. We sung and played at the same time, and that's how I started.

R13: What was your first Electric guitar?
RW: An Ibanez, which I bought myself. When I went to Holland I realised that Spanish guitar wasn't really for me as I listened to more music, so I bought myself an electric guitar.

R13: What was the first song you learned on your electric guitar?
RW: Ohh... That must have been 'Eye of the Tiger'... or Metallica, I loved playing 'One', but I was really bad at that, so I started to play my own music. I started to experiment and at fourteen I stopped lessons and wrote my own music.

R13: What artists would you like to play with to play which song?
RW: ...Uuuh... Well I kind of do that every day because I play around with loads of different styles. I really love Nirvana, Metallica… anything. Sometimes I find a really good R'n'B song and I think that a riff could be added to it easily.

R13: Right, last question. What made you cover 'Running Up That Hill'?
RW: Sharon has been compared to Kate Bush frequently, so we researched the songs that Kate Bush had done and we thought it would be fun to show people how we'd do one of her songs. It was a bit of an experiment, but we decided it was great and at the time we were between records so we thought our fans would like it- so we released it as a single. People love it when we play the song live, and it did well as a single too. It's a totally different take on the original, which had a very dreamy feel to it. Our version is a real rock song, so it gets a good reaction. Most of the time people don't like covers, but it works the other way and people will want to get into the original.