"The war doesn't stop. I know a lot of people are tired of it, but Ukraine doesn't have that luxury." Why Sharon den Adel travelled to Kyiv to film Within Temptation's new video for upcoming single A Fool's Parade

Sharon Den Adel
(Image credit: Press)

Last week, it was revealed that Dutch symphonic metal icons Within Temptation were recording a video in Kyiv, the capital city of Ukraine, to go alongside their upcoming, pro-Ukraine single A Fool's Parade. The band's frontwoman, Sharon den Adel, travelled to the city herself to take part in the video shoot, and in an exclusive new interview with Metal Hammer, she opens up on the experience of travelling to the war-torn nation, who remain embedded in conflict following Russia's invasion in 2022.

Speaking to Hammer writer Dannii Leivers following her return from Kyiv, den Adel explains that her brief trip to the city was made possible by Music Saves Ukraine, a non-profit organisation seeking to raise awareness, funds and humanitarian aid to those affected by the conflict. 

"They invited us in the first place, at the beginning of this year, to come over and see up close of how life is in Ukraine," says the singer. "Also to spread the word, keep the attention to Ukraine, so people will keep on supporting Ukraine. Kyiv is a city that is under attack now and then, but it's not like it's on the east of the Ukraine, where there's a lot of attacks constantly and on a daily basis, and where devastation is way worse than in Kyiv."

Den Adel goes on to reveal that her visit to Kyiv came just before the latest major attacks on the city by Russian forces, which have included the launch of hypersonic missiles, and have taken place over the last few days.

"The day after I came back, there was a massive attack on Kyiv for the first time in four months or something," she confirms. "And even when I was there, there were attacks, or at least there were drones. We had a lot of fans in a [studio] doing [a] scene for the video and then the air alert went off. There was an air alert, and then they said, ‘Okay, don't worry about it. We're in a building now. So as long as we're not near glass windows, then there's no problem.’"

Den Adel also reveals the everyday reality for people living in the Ukrainian capital, and sheds some light on how citizens in the city are able to keep safe. "Everybody in Ukraine has an air alert app," she tells Hammer. "And from the moment that something leaves a plane or a certain drone or whatever, they already know it from the moment it's across the border of the Ukraine. The Ukrainian people know, and it will be detected and the alarm will go off for certain regions where it's heading for. And then everybody is actually informed in time because they have time to take a coffee and go to a shelter.

"Of course," she adds, "close towards where it's really happening on the East side, where there's constantly bombing and constantly people and cities attacked, there is way more casualties than in Kyiv, way further into the country."

A Fool's Parade, a b-side from last year's critically acclaimed album Bleed Out, is unflinching in its position on the Ukraine/Russia conflict, specifically in its criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his regime's actions. When asked about the song and its title's meaning, den Adel is similarly unflinching herself.

"It refers to the fact that Russia tries to blind a lot of people," she says. "There’s a lot of propaganda, changing their story constantly about what history is or what history was and telling people that [Ukraine are] fascists, twisting history. That is what they do. They divide and conquer constantly. And that's what A Fools Parade stands for. [Putin is] putting up a facade and people are buying it. And that's a sad thing. There's also a lot of people, of course, who don't buy it, and it's sad to see that people aren't united in the same way. We're living in the West. We have free press. We have so many possibilities to see what the real story is. It's such a clear war. Who is the invader and who is trying to protect their country? That there's even discussion is unbelievable."

When asked why it was important for her to go to Ukraine itself to shoot the video for A Fool's Parade, den Adel stresses the importance of continuing to spread support for Ukraine in a media landscape where people move on quickly from world events and major news stories, and underlines that while the Western media may not be as focused on the Ukraine/Russia conflict right now, it doesn't make the situation there any less urgent.

"I wanted to do it because I want to keep pointing out how It's very important to keep supporting them," she says. "And by being there, the story gets bigger. If I would have done the video at home, people would say, ‘Why would you do it at home? It doesn't give anything to the story.’ I want to keep the attention on Ukraine, and to keep people thinking about it, because news just fades away very quickly. News today is old news tomorrow. It's the same with the war. The war doesn't stop. I know a lot of people are tired of it, but Ukraine doesn't have that luxury to be tired of the war because then they'll lose."

Read more from Sharon's interview in an upcoming issue of Metal Hammer magazine. For more information on Music Saves Ukraine, visit their official website at https://musicsavesua.com.

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He is also probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.