Michiel Papenhove of Within Temptation - Back
1. How did the band get started? How did you meet and how long have you been together?

Michiel Papenhove: Robert started the band in 1996 with Sharon. They asked Jeroen and me to join them, and so we did. A keyboardplayer was found fast: Martijn, Robert's brother. At this time we have Ciro as our drummer. We met of mutual contacts in the metalscene at that moment.

2. How would you describe your music?

Michiel Papenhove: Atmospherical metal. Metal with melody instead of only aggression and repetition. We want to create an atmosphere instead of a "cool" image. We use metal as a way to express power, not as a basic starting point.

3. What are your biggest influences?

Michiel Papenhove: Influences are hard to give, since all bandmembers have completely different backgrounds. Robert and Sharon love bands like Type O Negative, Paradise Lost or Rhapsody, while Ciro listens more to metal or progressive music. Jeroen is more into symphonic and progressive music, as is Martijn (bands: Marilion, Spock's Beard, Flower Kings) and I'm more into punkrock/hardcore music. That kind of wraps up our influences.

4. What influence do you think your bands has in music and metal today?

Michiel Papenhove: I have no idea, and we don't really care. We make the music because we like it and because other people seem to like it. We have absolutely no goal as in influencing other bands. I know it happens, because bands tell me they're influenced by us, but I don't really have an opinion about it. It's cool for your ego, but I don't care about my ego too much...

5. What made you want to be in the band? And if you weren't in the band what would you be doing now?

Michiel Papenhove: I heard Iron Maiden when I was twelve or so and that made me want to play in a band. And I'll also wanted to express my not so kind feelings toward mankind, which made me end up in a punkband (about seven years ago), in which I still reside. WT was a "happy coincidence" to pass along my way. Great music, nice people, great (normal) attitudes.

To get things straight, this band is only a small part of my life. I play guitar in a punkrock/hardcore band called Barton Dean and bassguitar in a band called Fokkum, and besides that, I have two jobs: as a webmaster and as a programmer for multimedia applications. And this year I'm graduating, finally finishing my study Information Sciences. In a few months, I'll also be founding a small underground magazine. So eventhough I'm a band, I'm still doing a lot of things besides it. Life's too short to just be in a band.

6. Are any band members in side projects? If so what are they, and explain a little about them.

Michiel Papenhove: Yes. Jeroen and me are both in Barton Dean, the mentioned punkrock/hardcore band. I'm also in Fokkum (also mentioned). Barton Dean is about fast songs, very melodic and still aggressive with lyrics that have a meaning. Fokkum is more old school hardcore, or Crust, which is lyrically meant to be more radical than Barton Dean. Fuck society, fuck humanity, that kind of stuff. The other bandmembers are currently not involved in any projects.

7. How would you feel if a band took their sound from yours and became very well known?

Michiel Papenhove: Great, let them. I never had the intention of being famous or being seen as some sort of god on a particular area. Music can hardly be new anymore, the cliche "everything has already been done" is indeed very true. And we've been hearing that we stole a lot from the Gathering, while most of us hadn't even heard of that band before we got into WT. So I'm not going to point my finger at a band, saying "you stole our stuff". Maybe they were influenced and borrowed something, but look at nowadays Top 40 music: everything's ripped. So, I wouldn't really mind.

8. What current bands do you like or respect?

Michiel Papenhove: For myself, I have a lot of respect for bands like Satanic Surfers, Adhesive, Lag Wagon or Ten Foot Pole. But I guess you'd like to hear something more in the metalscene. Then I'd say Orphanage. I love their music and I really like the bandmembers a lot. We all get along very well, which is great. Tons of respect to Orphanage.

9. How many demos/albums do you have? Tell me about them!!

Michiel Papenhove: We have one demo ("Enter") which is not available anymore. We did a promotape for DSFA after that, but that's also not avaiable (and has never been). Then there's our first recording, "Enter", from which a single was released, called "Restless" (includes Pearls of Light and a classical version of Restless). And last but certainly not least, there's an EP that's called "The Dance". For that EP a video was also shot.

10. What demo/album do you like the best?

Michiel Papenhove: I like it all. It's great hearing stuff you once came up with blasting through your speakers. There are some songs I like a little better, but overall, I like 'em all.

11. What is the meaning behind the songs?

Michiel Papenhove: Ask Sharon, she writes the lyrics. I don't really get involved lyrically, because it's not my piece of cake. I like the music and the melodies used to create that music. Lyrically, I know what Sharon sings, but what her deeper meaning is behind those songs, I don't have a clue.

12. What are the bands favorite songs?

Michiel Papenhove: I have no idea. I guess we like 'em all because else we wouldn't play them. There are of course some personal favorites, but is that so interesting to know?

13. What does the future hold for the band?

Michiel Papenhove: We're just going to wait and see. As I mentioned, WT is more of a hobby and we have no plans of dedicating our lives to the band. So we'll probably never get big and never do worldtours. But that's not exactly what most of us pursue anyway, so that doesn't matter. We loved every minute of the time we spent with WT untill now, so everything that somes after that is greatly appreciated, but is not seen as something to strive for. We'll see.

14. If you could play with any band who would it be and why?

Michiel Papenhove: Personally, I'd love to play with Satanic Surfers. That would be a dream come true. For the others, they'd probably say comletely different things, but hey, you asked my opinion ;-)

15. Who writes the majority of the music?

Michiel Papenhove: At this moment Robert writes to majority of the music and Sharon writes the majority of the lyrics.

16. Who has been the favorite band you've played with and why?

Michiel Papenhove: Definately Orphanage. As I said, they're great people, great musicians and that's why I'd say they're my favorite band we've played (and even toured) with.

17. Where did you get the band name from?

Michiel Papenhove: We just thought of it in a "think-of-a-bandname-session". Some others were thought of, but this was the one that we chose. It's kind of poetical and you can speculate a lot about the meaning of it. And that's nice.

18. Describe what the band is like live?

Michiel Papenhove: We try to give the audience "full entertainment". So we have a lightshow, we don't just stand on the stage, and we encourage the audience to participate in the gig. We want everyone to have fun, that's about it.

19. If you are gonna do any kind of video what would be in it?

Michiel Papenhove: We have a video. It's for The Dance (the song). It's sort of an animation movie about a character who goes through some little adventures and ends up in a not so pleasant situation.

20. Are there any touring plans made; if so tell me about them?

Michiel Papenhove: No, none. As a matter of fact, the fifth of may we did a "closing gig" in Wageningen. Now we're going to work on new material or else we'd still be playing the same set we were playing way back in 1997. And that sucks, simply because it's boring. You want to have new stuff. And I think the fans also want new stuff, so touring will not be an option quickly. After we record the new album, we'll probably just do a tour of venues in Holland.

21. Where do you think the band will be 20 years from now?

Michiel Papenhove: Probably we won't be there anymore. I don't want to get old like Mick Jagger or something, still stuck in the same band. WT is a hobby, and as a lot of other hobbies, they don't last 20 years or so. That would be very unrealistic, in my opinion.