MG: Hello guys thank you for accepting our humble request! Russian fans of metal music looking forward to Epica concerts. Your answers will help them in their anticipation.
Mark: you’re welcome and thanks for the attention for Epica.
MG: Your new album “The Quantum Enigma” is the sort of record where everything came together - the symphonic elements and the massive choirs are brilliantly incorporated with elements from thrash, death and progressive metal. But will you surprise us with new experiments? Have you got something in mind already? How do you see Epica’s future?
Mark: We don’t really think about how our music will sound in the future, we just let it happen. Our intuition guides us through the process. We will always experiment a bit but also make sure that our foundation remains intact. There are bands that change so drastically that it would be better to change the name as well. There are also bands that release basically the same album every time. We try to balance it and stay in the middle. Experimenting without losing our essence. We have started composing for the next album already but those are just the very first ideas that we’re working on.
It’s too early to tell in which direction the music will develop.
MG: Is there a possibility for us to hear male or female guest vocal on your future albums? Who is your dream guest?
Mark: Our dream guest is Mikael Åkerfeldt but so far we haven’t succeeded in convincing him to sing on our album haha. Who knows it will happen in the future. He has a great voice and if he does’t want to grunt it can also be a clean part as long as it fits the song.
MG: made amazing score covers - Battle Of The Heroes and Imperial March, was it one-time thing? Will there be more interpretations of classics?
Mark: We have done quite some indeed mainly for “the Classical Conspiracy” show and album. It fits Epica’s music well and maybe we’ll do some new ones in the future but like the music I don’t know what we will do in the future. We covered those songs as it was part of the concept of this show with Orchestra in Hungary. We don’t know what future projects will cross our path but for sure we are always open for new challenges.
MG: Simone, have you ever thought of trying something completely different? Extreme vocal perhaps?!
Simone: I am currently starting my Jazz project with my husband which will be released spring next year. Extreme vocals like grunting and screaming is not for me. There are some ladies in the business that are good at it, but not me haha!
MG: Simone, you gave birth to your son last year, was your voice influenced by child’s birth?
Simone: Yes, the hormones, the experience and the emotions are all there in my vocals. I think that it has been a good change. My voice is more powerful and the range has expanded.
MG: Is it difficult to combine the child's upbringing and concerts?
Simone: Yes, but we will make it work. We have family and friends that help us out. My husband will be home when I am gone and the other way around as well.
MG: This year we saw not only new Epica album, but new MaYaN album «Antagonise»! Mark, could you tell us a little about it?
Mark: It was a hectic year 2013 and in 2014 I could harvest finally what we have worked on so intensely. I am extremely happy with both albums. ‘The Quantum Enigma’ lifted Epica to the next level and ‘Antagonise’ was also received very well by media and fans. I must say that it was very energy consuming to work on both albums around the same time and especially for the lyrics I always dig so deep that it takes a lot of my energy. So to work on two albums was quite a challenge. I don’t think I would do it again like this. It’s better to have some time off in between. As I am a perfectionist I cannot give myself only 80% for something so I need to give all my energy. I was quite exhausted after those albums were finished. But like I mentioned 2014 is the year of harvest and it’s great to play this music live now.
MG: Can we wait for any solo surprises in the future from other guys?
Mark: I know that Rob is working on some music but I don’t know if it will be a solo album of more like a project. Simone is also working on some music with Oliver Palotai. Isaac is wiring some acoustic guitar music and maybe he will release an album in the future. Personally I wrote a few tracks for the upcoming debut of Laura Macri, a more pop opera oriented project produced and mixed by Sascha Paeth.
MG: What is the last album you’ve heard? Which band it was?
Mark: The new album of Anathema as it’s one of my favourite bands. But I prefer their album before this one which is called ‘Weather Systems’. Also the new album of Opeth made quite some spinns in my cd player. It contains some grey tracks but I must say that I miss the brutal parts a lot as well.
MG: Are there any young interesting bands you noticed lately?
Mark: I often go out for a drink in Caltanissatta (Sicily) as I live there nowadays. Sometimes I see some interesting bands performing there. Quite some talent on this island. But I don’t know their names haha.
MG: How much has the situation on the metal scene changed since Epica’s debut? Is it harder now or easier perhaps?
Mark: It’s hard to build a steady fan base and get good spots on festivals. It took Epica also many years before we started getting good positions on the big summer fests. But the harder it is the bigger the challenge and we love challenges. If it would be easy it would’t be fun anymore I guess. When Epica released the debut the download industry was not as big as it’s nowadays so we were lucky to get a very good budget to record our album. For new bands it’s much harder to find good fees.
MG: Have you ever faced the prejudice because of female lead vocal in the band?
Mark: Of course, I guess every band will face certain prejudices but it’s always fun when someone comes to us and admits the prejudices are not right. One of them is that a band with a female vocalist is just for girls and sound soft. But our crowd is 50/50 man/female and I think we have proven that we’re not so soft either. Our last album might even be our heaviest up to date.
MG: What is music for you? Hard work or lifestyle?
Mark: I have music always seen as art, by creating it we make ourselves happy and also lots of people. Of course you need to work hard for it because nothing comes automatically. But it’s much easier to work hard on something you really love doing than some other job that you would hate doing.
MG:What would you do if not the music?
Mark: I don’t know because it’s not the case. I think no one can answer that answer with 100% certainty. But some options are, I could have become professional cyclist as I love doing it and I guess I have some talent for it as well. Another option is that I would have become a writer as I like writing. Or psychologist as I have a master university degree in Psychology.
MG: Isaac, have you ever thought of giving your own master classes?
Isaac: No one ever asked me, but I'd take it into consideration if there would be demand for it.
MG: What is the most extravagant thing your fans have ever done?
Mark: Having sex in front of our stage. That was pretty extravagant.
MG: What is the wildest stereotype you heard about Russia?
Mark: We get quite some propaganda about Russia by our western media channels. The western leaders like us to believe that Rusians cannot be trusted. Just like you get to hear the same about the West in Russia. As we are musicians traveling around the world we get to see with our own eyes what’s true and what’s not. In reality things are not as black and white as the media show us. There are good as well as bad people all over the world. The wildest stereotype must be that many Russians are often drunk, loud, rude and making a mess in airplanes. Fortunately I know many Russians who are not like that
There are also many positive stereotypes about Russians: good sportsmen, strong and persistent and you can build a great party with them!
I always judge people individually as stereotypes are always the beginning of coloured judgement.
MG:What would you like to say to you Russian fans?
Mark: Can’t wait to be back and rock the night with all of you! Give us all your energy and you will get it back 10fold!!!
Nightcom and MetalGossip Team wish you good luck and new wonderful songs!