I can’t explain why I am dead positive that this Dutch outfit will sooner become one of the “name” bands rather that fall into oblivion. Everything went without a hitch: crashing and overwhelming success of the debut “Enter” supported by the massive European tour and enhanced by the noteworthy participation at Dynamo Open Air ’98, and now the mini-album “The Dance” to crown it all. So far, so good. And it’s only the beginning... Speaking from Holland, vocalist and guitarist Robert Westerholt filled in the details.

The reason of our attention to your band, as you might guess, is the release of the mini-album. Will you explain such a step to satisfy my curiosity?
It is just because it will take a while before our next CD is out. Those were songs we wrote right after “Enter”. So, we decided to put out something before the next summer when we will play festivals. We wanted to bring something for our fans, satisfy them in a way, ha ha!

The mini-album is released through DSFA, as well as the first CD. Why did you choose this label to sign a contract with?
Because it’s a Dutch company. They are not a very big company and they can give you a lot of attention.

Did you receive any offers from other labels like Nuclear Blast, Century Media and Massacre?
Yes. But we wanted to start first with a smaller label. If the things go well, we will try to find a bigger label.

Do the guys from DSFA know you will probably change their label for a bigger one?
Yes, sure.

And don’t they mind it?
Well, they have no choice. We have signed for two CDs. After that we are free to do what we want to.

I know you were the founder of the band, the main tempter so to say. What made you play that sort of heavy gothic with female vocals and male growling?
It was not really a decision for me. It was a natural thing to do ‘cos I like melodic metal. As well as death metal. So, I made a combination of the two. But nowadays I am not into death metal any more. A few years ago it was exciting but now it’s boring. And I can’t call our style “gothic”, as SISTERS OF MERCY is also gothic. You can find different elements from different styles in our music.

The line-up of your band has very various musical tastes, if I am not mistaken...
Our drummer is about eight months with us. He’s always played in death metal kind of bands. Our bass player is twenty three, I know him from school. He is more into symphonic music. The second guitar player really likes hardcore. The keyboard player is my brother and he got into the band because of me, as I needed a keyboard player. When he started with WITHIN TEMPTATION metal music was rather new for him. Sharon, our female singer, I know her from school. Metal was also new for her.

WITHIN TEMPTATION is a great name for a band for my personal thinking. How did you come up with it?
It was very hard to make a band name. So, we thought that WITHIN TEMPTATION sounded good. It also has the meaning that we wanted to achieve with our music. Get the listener into a fantasy world. Get him within temptation.

So, do listeners get within temptation?
Some, ha ha!

How has your life changed since WITHIN TEMPTATION became popular and you became to professional musicians?
We haven’t really become professionals. We did a lot of shows, so now we are very busy with our work and study... But musical life is not so romantic for me anymore. What I am disappointed with, is that a lot of people think metal is not a commercial music. This is not about money. But I have learned that metal is also about money. People have to make living out of it. It is normal, but I thought it was a more romantic thing.

Did the selling of your CDs somehow improve your material status?
No. It still costs us money. For money we receive from our CDs and our shows, we buy new equipment and stuff. We now also build our own small studio to record our next album there. By this time we haven’t bought a bottle of beer by the money we got!

You study in the university. The manager of human recourses is a good profession, well-paid, I suppose. Are you going to continue as a musician or would you prefer working as a manager after you graduate from your Alma Mater?
I hope I will do both. I will never quit making music. Even if we are not popular, I will continue making music, it’s a part of me. I have a lot of interests in my life, and doing one thing I will get bored.

You have already played at Dynamo Open Air twice, which is really amazing for a young band. How did you manage to get at such a prestigious festival?
The first time we played on a small stage. I think it is not very hard if you got a CD. And our CD sold very well. So, it was not too difficult to get on a small stage. And, of course, we are from Holland, and they know us better than the bands from Norway that they have never seen before, you know. They saw us in clubs. Well, I have never stood on such a big stage before. It was a bit scary and also very exciting.

How did you survive the first tour? I believe the first tour is always the most complicated and difficult one.
It was. It was like you always hear from bands: the food was bad, you were in the bus all the time, and every night you got to a dark club. There were not too many people at the shows. In Holland we are very popular and there are always a lot of people at the shows, so it was a bit weird. But it was a great experience for us, now we know what it is like. Pretty tough!

Journalists tend to call you the inheritor of THEATRE OF TRAGEDY...
I have never thought about that. We just play the music we like and we are fortunate that other people like it too. I just worry about my own music.

OK, let journalists label bands. Still I wonder if you are going to stay aggressive (in your own way, of course) or switch to a more melodic stuff? Stop growling for instance?
It is possible that I stop growling, but not because we want to become more commercial. But for now I don’t see any reason for doing it.

So, there won’t be any “pop surprises” on the new album...
No “surprises”. I will still be growling...