Allie Jorgensen of L.A. Metal Media conducted an interview with guitarist Mark Jansen of Dutch symphonic metallers EPICA prior to their January 5 concert at Regent Theater in Los Angeles, California. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the evolution of EPICA:
Mark: "It's been all right. Ten years ago, we were just starting to make a living from the music. Now, ten years later, we are still around and we still make a living from it. Yeah, one of the lucky few. We're very thankful to all the fans. Without them, we wouldn't be able to do this."
On EPICA's continued success:
Mark: "The thing is to always put some new goals. When there's new challenges, new goals, when everybody is excited about these challenges, then you go again. For example, I always feel that everybody is so into making a new album. If I would feel it's not like that anymore, then it would be maybe it's better to stop. But I feel this hunger from everybody to make the best possible album. Now we are working on a new album, so I feel it again. As long as that feeling is there, then there's a future for EPICA."
On changes in the music industry over the last decade:
Mark: "The most significant change is, for sure, the downloading. That changed the whole thing. But unlike many musicians, I'm not negative about it. I always joke, actually, about it. I say, 'If there was no downloading, we'd be millionaires.' But I don't need a million euros. I'm happy with what I have. What it changed, I think, a lot of things changed for the better. Music is now more easily accessible and record companies have less influence on bands. Yeah, we are anyway lucky with Nuclear Blast, because they give us a huge amount of freedom and that's also what we need. The first company always tried to influence us in a way. For us, that didn't feel comfortable. But there were many record companies like that, but they got fewer and fewer, and bands release their own music. I think it's really good. The bands have more power over their own music."
On the songwriting process for the follow-up to their 2016 "The Holographic Principle" studio album:
Mark: "That's in a very nice stage now, because we wrote all the songs. We finished also the vocal lines. Now, at this point, I'm working together with Simone [Simons, vocals] on the lyrics. We made a final selection of the songs to be on the album. That was an exciting moment. It was also a painful moment, because some songs didn't make it and the writer of the song is a bit disappointed. [Laughs] It is hard, because you think when you write a song, for example, it's the best song in the world. Then for the guys that wrote a song that didn't make it, it's always a bit of a painful moment. It's for the best of the album. We do voting. Then the songs that get the most votes usually make it to the album. So, I think we have now a selection of 12 best-possible songs. I'm really happy about it. Everybody always thinks they have the best album coming up. For us, it's no different. [Laughs] But let's see how the fans are going to receive it. I think it's more into the direction of 'The Quantum Enigma' again."
On when he expects the new EPICA studio album to be released:
Mark: "We're going to record it from February until May, then at the end of the summer, it's going to be released. This year, yes."
Last fall, EPICA celebrated the 10th anniversary of its milestone album "Design Your Universe". To mark this special occasion, EPICA re-released this fan-favorite LP as a "gold edition" on October 4 through Nuclear Blast. This edition contains the album remixed and remastered by Joost Van Den Broek with updated artwork and a second disc containing newly recorded acoustic versions of "Design Your Universe" songs.
November 2019 saw the release of "The Essence Of Epica", a lavishly designed and fully illustrated, high-quality hardback which tells the story of EPICA in bandmembers' own words. The book is available in two distinct editions: the Classic is a 208-page, hardback with foil detailing, filled with over 200 images; the Signature hardback is signed by the band and comes in a deluxe clamshell box with three exclusive, original art prints created by Stefan Heilemann.