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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
EPICA we interview Mark Jansen

INTERVIEW EPICA - MARK JANSEN 2013

MARK JANSEN

of EPICA

Talks to Mark about the upcoming Australian Tour, the latest album and more...

 

 

 

Hi Mark and welcome to Australia, You touch down for your first tour of AUSTRALIA on 17th April in Brisbane. 4 very quick dates in our major cities - how did the tour come about?

 

 

Mark: We haven’t played in Australia yet but fans have been asking for it for a long time already. Some of our fans fly on a regular basis to some shows in Europe or the USA so now it's about time we come to them :)

 

 

The tour is causing a lot of interest on Metal forums down here at the moment are you looking forward to checking out how crazy we are?

 

 

Mark: Definitely! We love crazy energetic hot crowds and I have been told you got such a crowd. So let it all happen soon!!!

 

 

Is there anything you are especially looking forward to seeing or doing when you get over here?

 

 

Mark: We'll stay some extra days in Perth, hopefully there are some interesting things to do. I love cycling, hopefully I can rent a bike or maybe a fan can provide me with a bike so I can race and explore the surroundings.

 


Prior to your visit you also take in some dates in China, what’s the Metal environment like over there?

 

 

Mark: I have no idea, never been there either, but the Asian markets are opening for metal music since some years. After we have been there I am able to tell you all about the local metal environment.

 

 

You also make your first ever appearance in Indonesiaat the Hammersonic Festival in Jakarta is it exciting to get the chance to come and play around our part of the world and make some new fans and friends?

 

 

Mark: Absolutely, we have played in 60 countries all over the world so far but every time we play in a country where we haven't been before it feels extra exciting. I have heard that the crowd in Indonesia is beyond wildness. Hatebreed played there, and they were very excited about that crowd. Every part of the world has something unique and I love to travel and explore these things. Indonesia has always attracted me as well as an old school friend has Indonesian roots and was visiting the country on a regular base.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of your former band-mates Floor Jansen (we know she’s not related) was over with Nightwish in January and they went down well do you keep in touch with former band mates?

 

 

Mark: Yes I am in touch with her on a regular base. We work together on several projects as well. She's one of the best metal singers I know. She was very excited about her Australian trip and told me that we are going to have a good time over there.

 

 

Epica celebrates its 10th anniversary on 23rd March this year and you are celebrating with a special performance entitled Retrospect. As well as a 70-piece Orchestra and Choir you’ll have guests and will broadcast the concert live online in HD quality. How long did it take to plan that and are you looking at undertaking and similar giant undertakings?

 

 

Mark: It took about one year to plan and organise this. It's a huge amount of work, As we are a small group of people we had to organise many things by ourselves. Coen and Isaac have been working like crazy and had a crazy schedule. Basically we all had but they worked the most.

 

 

We hope we will see a Blue Ray of that out at some point?

 

 

Mark: That would be great! ;-)

 

 

Why do you think the Dutch love Symphonic and Gothic Metal so much is there something in the water?

 

 

Mark: In the water are some minerals, I drink it a lot and it tastes good :P I have no idea why this style of music became so popular here. It's a scene and once it is growing and getting bigger people abroad start noticing it and it becomes kind of a hype. This hype had its highlight some years ago. After that many bands disappeared and only few remained. Fortunately we're one of the survivors.

 

 

Tell us a little about your other project:  MaYaN who played GrasPop in 2012 are you on hiatus or is he project at an end?

 

 

Mark: We're working on a new album but obviously Epica is taking so much time that we need to wait a bit until we can record the next MaYaN album, but definitely it's not dead.

 


MaYaN is a progressive symphonic death metal band and it's nice to use ideas that do not fitt in Epica for this band.

 

 

 

 

 

For Epica things seem to be getting bigger and better each year. This year you are breaking new territories what does the road ahead hold? Are you a meticulous planner?

 

 

Mark: We have been acting by intuition quite often. But nowadays things are still growing and our team is getting bigger so we start planning more ahead. But not too far ahead as I cannot stand the idea that my whole year would be fully booked. I want to remain the feeling that I am sometimes completely free to do whatever I want to do at that moment.

 

 

How are you with labels? The band has been described as many things but ‘Symphonic’ ‘Progressive’ ‘Gothic’ and ‘Power’ appear to be the words most often used to accompany Metal when describing you. Does it really matter surely people should just listen to the music?

 

 

Mark: Music needs a label for people to have an idea what they can expect. For us it doesn't matter, it's the music that speaks for itself :)

 


The latest album Requiem for the Indifferent came out in March last year and hit the charts in the US are you happy with how things are going so far?

 

 

Mark: Yes I'm very happy, the album sold very well; in a time that many people download we still sold enough albums to keep on going and make a living from music. We won’t become rich but it's enough to realise our dreams.

 

 

The album was inspired by factors such as the tension between different religions and cultures, and also the state of the world with war, natural disasters and the GFC.  Great material from an album, are you generally pessimistic about how the human race is treating the planet?

 

 

Mark: It's obviously not a good way. But it seems very hard to change this mentality. The free market economy created an individualisation and it's promoted to try to get as much as possible for yourself without caring too much about nature. The ego got the central role. I have the opposite opinion. We cannot live without each other, without the planet, without the nature. We are in fact more connected that most of us realise. It's proven in quantum physics that on the smallest scale everything is literally one. Everything is energy and energy floads from one to the other. We are literally one so we have to start realising this again, re discover.

 

 

What songs from the album are you playing live? And what is going down particularly well?

 

 

Mark: We play Serenade of Self Destruction, Monopoly on Truth, Delirium and Strom the Sorrow on a regular base but we haven't made the set-list for Australia yet.

 

 

All six members of the band write the music, but you and Simone write most of the lyrics, is there a formula? What comes first?

 

 

Mark: We almost always write the music first and after that the lyrics. The music gives the inspiration for the music.

 

 

What inspires you as a musician? There must be easier jobs?

 

 

Mark: Easier jobs? Nooo inspiration comes and goes, when it's there you better sit down and let it flow. I think it is the easiest job in the world. As long as you let it happen. Don't try to control it because you'll get the opposite effect. Inspiration is something you can impossibly define. And no one knows where it exactly comes from. I think there are so many things we don't understand. But it’s not important, important is how we use it. Musicians, poets, writers, painters, everybody who creates art makes use of inspiration. When you have a talent for this you just have to let it happen.

 

 

Who do you think over time your most enduring influence has been? The one you keep going back to?

 

 

Mark: My youth, the impressions you get in your youth form you for the rest of your life.

 

 

If you could have been a fly on the wall for the recording of any album at any point in time, just to see how the creators interacted what would it be for you and why?

 

 

Mark: first of all I wouldn't like to be a fly and needing to feed myself with the shit of those artists haha. But I would have enjoyed seeing a pink floyd album getting into shape. What a magnificent band! A pity they will probably never make a new album anymore.

 

 

What is the meaning of Life?

 

 

Mark: Love and growth

 

 

 

By Mark Diggins March 2013

 

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