On the UK leg of their "Heart of Everything" Tour, Room Thirteen catches up with Within Temptation's Robert Westerholt (RW) down in the Quad behind Manchester University's Students Union where the sun has actually decided to show itself. A rare occasion in the rainy city. A good opportunity for this hard working band to stretch their legs outside the tour bus.

R13:So how come you keep getting the short straw? Doing all the interviews?
RW:No-no, it's pretty divided actually. Mainly it's Sharon and me.

R13:Looking at the tour diary, you've got quite a lot coming on... how do you cope?
RW: Well it's what we love to do. It's not a punishment or anything. The main thing we do have to do is look after Sharon's voice of course. When we have a bit of the flu it doesn't matter that much you know. We just have to take a bit of whiskey ya know, but if your voice is wrecked, you have a problem you know.

R13:So how does Sharon look after her voice then?
RW: Well, getting to bed early you know, try to eat healthy, stay in shape. That's the most important thing.

R13:Must be hard eating healthy in this country!
RW: Yeah it actually is. You of course have interviews. There's a lot of talking. It can be quite heavy. But no, it's a lot of fun.

R13:Since you helped found Within Temptation did you ever see the band going this way?
RW: No. Hopes and dreams. I can remember having one dream seeing this band, Gorefest. And I went to Dynamo in Holland which was, at that time, THE metal festival. First time they played was to 20,000 people. Gorefest played the main stage. I remember thinking "Wow! this must be real, that looks so amazing" so it was my hope that one day, I could also play. Expecting this now, is something that we never did and something that we never do. Don't take it for granted because music stays something personal and that's why we do it. It's a personal thing and I guess you are very lucky if other people like it.

R13:So you must have had this dream since you were pretty young yeah?
RW: Absolutely. Started playing guitar at 7. And acoustic guitar in Spain.
R13:I remember you saying this...
RW: Yeah, it's not until around puberty where you start to develop your own musical taste of course.

R13:Speaking of Spain and the continent, you've just played Italy. What's that like there? Italy doesn't strike me as quite rock or metal. How well did you go down there?
RW: It seems they are all over the world, the metal guys! Actually, it was our first concert we did in Italy. But it was amazing... these people in Southern countries.. it's warmer there so they are warmer. Maybe it's just a cultural thing I think, but it was really a lot of fun. What was a lot of fun is that hardly any of them talk English but they still sing along with the lyrics.
R13:It's got to be a lot of fun.
RW: Yeah, the circumstances are great. The weather's been fantastic which is great when you can get out of the tour bus and the venues are all pretty nice I must say.

R13:You are doing Download again this year. I caught you last year and it was an amazing show. Did you actually have to turn Sharon's voice down for that gig?
RW: Ah yeah, it's the monitors... we cant hear what's going on.

R13:You got a huge crowd at that show. Are you looking forward to playing again?
RW: It was quite surprising you know. I remember that show was very short you know. It started right away and right away something happened which is great if you play a short set of course.

R13:Do you think you've broken the UK now? Do you feel the UK crowd has warmed up to you a bit?
RW: Definitely warmed up a bit. Broken? That's always relative. For us, it's fantastic. We can play, now, like a headline tour here, and of course, great venues and for us, that's a great thing. . I've said this before but this is a country that breathes music. Such a big musical history. Every city has some great band coming from it. And you can feel it in the people.

R13:You've just released the album in Japan as well.
RW: It's doing very well. Doing much better than the last record. I don't know why. There's a bigger awareness.

R13:This album is pretty different isnt it?
RW: Yeah, yeah, I think we always develop with every album.

R13:That's quite hard to do?
RW: For us it isn't. We are still not satisfied with what we have. We can always find something new. Often when making an album you find new challenges like "ah shit, we should try this in the next album" you know? We are also not so closed in by a specific form. And we ourselves, let ourselves do what we like, what we want to do.

R13:You worked with a few more vocalists on this album.
RW: Well yeah, Chris Caputo of course. But now, I think this record shows what we've learnt from all of our records. That's why we are so pleased with this one. It's something we've had for years in our minds and it sounds like this and we were able to do that. Especially now, it has a bit more power in there. It comes out better this time and the variety we like to have in our music, that's also really well in our album. It's a great step in the development of the band though I don't see it as the ending.

R13:Is there anyone you are looking forward to playing with?
RW: Yeah, there are a lot of great bands and we recently found out about a band called Coma, but they don't tour that much so I don't think it'll happen, but touring with Tori Amos. I think that'd be great. We admire her so much. As a musician, it's fascinating, there are so many bands and also, our musical taste is quite big. But also, if Pantera were to tour again!

R13:What about your videos? They are pretty epic.
RW: We have a love hate relationship with videos. Because when you make a record you have control over it and time to develop and change if you don't like things but with a video you come up with an idea you like, but you are still so much in the hands of the video director and if he's having a bad day or not quite into as you thought he would be or the timing... you are always so much under time pressure with videos. They always have to be released "By Then". You don't have a lot of time if you are working on a record or touring. And sometimes, you have to shoot it in a day, or two, three days. And it has to happen and if it doesn't happen you have something you have to live with.

R13:Which is your personal favourite?
RW: Well there's the 'Mother Earth' video I liked and the 'Memories' video I like. The 'Angels' video is nice but there are some elements which I felt differently about. It's a love hate relationship. We have our million dollar ideas but you don't have a million dollars.

R13:So being in Europe and the UK, what did you have for dinner last night?
RW: Indian food! There was an Indian restaurant near the venue.
R13:Manchester is known for its Indian food.
RW: Oh really? The thing is man, my intestines didn't react very well. I think security and the stage man came off worse because I farted big time!

R13: We've all done that! So you are looking forward to this gig tonight then?
RW: Yeah, it's a real Academy here. I didn't know that.
R13:Yeah, there's been quite a few bands here.

R13:Well I shall let you enjoy the sunshine.
RW: Thanks for having me out in it!

Within Temptation continue to tour across the world in support of their new album, "The Heart of Everything".