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Epica Interview 2006

Epica Interview 2006
By: Sam Grant
With: Mark Jansen of Epica

Interview Info
By: Sam Grant
With: Mark Jansen of Epica
February 2006

Sam: Last year we were talking about your new album. At that stage, the title of Consign To Oblivion had not been decided on. What did you find the consensus on the album was?

Mark: The album was received very well by press and fans. It’s an album in which we show progression as a band. Simone sings with more variety for example. Currently we are working on the next record already, this one will be a little more heavy in comparison to The Phantom Agony and Consign to Oblivion.

Sam: It's clear that CTO has many Latin inspirations. What event was it that unlocked this interest in you and inspired you to write an album along this theme?

Mark: I’ve been inspired by the mayan culture as this ancient culture contains a lot of wisdom and hidden information which is very usefull nowadays. These people lived in close harmony with nature, had a much better calendar than we have nowadays and knew a lot about the universe.

Sam: Why the title Consign To Oblivion?

Mark: Because the mayan culture has been Consigned to Oblivion. But on the other hand it has never disappeared and will for ever be present and for those who are interested in it, the information is available and you don’t even need to search that hard to nfind a lot of answers from this ancient culture.

Sam: The video for Trois Vierges is highly unusual. What does it represent?

Mark: We don’t know yet if we will release this video as we have worked on some other videos. For example Quietus and Solitary Ground, especially Quietus turned out great!

Sam: You've also been touring a lot over the last year. What place did you play that you enjoyed the most? Do you enjoy returning to Holland to play after far away gigs?

Mark: Paris was amazing, the people were singing along all vocallines and the melodies. The venue was as good as sold out witrh 900 people. Simply an amazing gig! It’s always been nice to return to Holland, it’s our home. We love to play in Holland.

Sam: I haven't seen the film myself, but what was your impression of Joyride and did the music you composed fit the film in the ways you wanted or expected it to?

Mark: I’m not happy with the result of the film that’s why we released the score without mentioning the movie at all. They changed so much of my music in the movie that I don’t recognise myself in the music anymore. On the score you’ll able to listen to themusic as it was meant to be.

Sam: Now that you have written film music, was your experience in this avenue enough to make you want to carry on doing it? What other avenues of composition would you like to explore?

Mark: Despite the false start I would love to compose another score for a movie. I learned a lot from it and I’m ready for a step forward. Yves also develops himself very quickly, he’s a great sidekick!

Sam: Now that you've got two albums under your belt, there seems to be a very secure feeling in the band. Are you all working well together and do you feel the unit is solid? Is Epica now becoming the band you always thought it could be?

Mark: Yes Epica is becoming the band where I was dreaming of, we tour a lot and there’s a lot of inspiration for new songs. The band is very solid as we have still the same line up since the beginning.

Sam: Also last year we were also talking about Invisible Circles. I remember you saying that if AF made a strong second album after your departure then their position in the market would be stabilised. Do you think that Remagine will stabilise their position in the scene now?

Mark: I don’t know, the band makes progression but things develop not that fast anymore. I hope they will keep on growing.

Sam: Let's talk about you more as a person. Was it always an ambition of yours to be in a band when you were younger and if so, does the music Epica play fit in with the kind of music you were listing to then?

Mark: Yes absolutely! When I was young I was dreaming of a combination of classical music and metal already. That’s exactly what I’m doing now.

Sam: I was spending a lot of time in Holland in the first half of this year. How do you feel the Dutch music industry treats the bands within it and it is easy to flourish as an up and coming band in Holland? What restrictions do you come up against?

Mark: the people are very enthousiastic but the media is neglecting us. Yesterday we played in Brasil in a TV show (programm Do JO, the Brasilian David Letterman with 10 million viewers), the Dutch Media can learn a lot from them, they are sleeping.

Sam: Why do you think Holland is so successful at Gothic Metal and are you happy with your music being described as such?

Mark: I don’t care how our music is being named, the music stayes the same J I don’t know why Holland is that succesfull with Gothic Metal. For sure it also helps that the dutch metal lovers are gothic metal minded.

Sam: What other bands in the Dutch music scene do you feel are up and coming and do you respect?

Mark: Nemesea is coming up, and from Spain there is Ebony Ark. They have a lot of talent and I respect them.

Sam: What would you be doing if you weren't in Epica?

Mark: Than I would have been a cyclist like Lance Armstrong. Every summer when I’m spending my holidays I climb some mountians in the frensh alpes.

Sam: What other albums have you heard recently that have moved and inspired you?

Mark: the King Arthur soundtrack of Hans Zimmer. I’ve listened to it many many times and it still doesn’t bother me. Also the debut album from Ebony Ark from Spain is a great one.

Sam: What can you tell us about any new material in the works? What direction can we expect Epica to take from now?

Mark: The next record will be heavier and will be a concept album J It’s gonna be a lot of work but we have some more time now to prepare the songs (half a year more) and to work out the whole story.

Sam: Finally, if, as a band you had to choose between Danny Elfman and Hans Zimmer, who would it be?

Mark: As a band: both of them J They are great! Personally I go for Hans Zimmer as I’m a big fan of his work but recently I discovered more of Danny Elfman’s stuff as well and his work is very interesting as well.

Thank you Mark, for taking the time to interview again with Sonic Cathedral!