Interview with Mark Jansen of Epica
Epica lives up to their name, being a live powerhouse that few bands can compare to. It's obvious that this is a band that has a special chemistry together and love what they do. I was fortunate enough to be able to sit down with guitarist and band founder Mark Jansen to talk about Epica, its future and the new project by a former bandmate of his.
Dasher10: I'm here with Mark Jansen of Epica. Your new album was a lot more guitar driven than the previous two. Was there any particular reason for this?
Mark Jansen: No particular reason but we wanted to have it more balanced.. There were more songs written from guitar. So the natural evolution would be that there would be more guitar parts on the album itself. I think that there are way more guitar riffs than in the past that carries the part of the song. So we really wanted to have more variation and that's why the guitar sounds more heavy.
Dasher10: In the age of the iPod and mix tapes, where attention spans are shortening, what is it going to take to keep progressive metal alive throughout the next decade?
Jansen: I don't know what it takes but the only thing I can say it that if you make music from the heart, what you really feel, it can survive anything. It's never going to die. You hear these things on the radio, you hear the hype and then it disappears again. But that's all microwave music, it doesn't last forever. The reason why we make music is because we love it, it's a piece of art. There's always a fanbase for this type of music so we don't worry about in in the next decade, if people will like it or not. I think there will always be people who will like it.
Dasher10: A lot of your band's lyrics deal with Mesoamerican cultures. When did this interest start?
Jansen: Since I was a child. I've always been attracted to South America and Latin America but once I started reading books about the Mayan culture, I got more interested and read book after book to understand their culture and their ancient wisdom. Every year I learned more and I wrote lyrics about them and it never let me go.
Dasher10: It appears that starting Epica kept your career afloat since your previous band, After Forever fell apart. How do you feel about ReVamp, which has two former members of After Forever in it?
Jansen: I already heard some music by the new band, they sound pretty heavy. I wish Floor the best with her new project. I hope she gets a lot of success. Furthermore, I think that there is a good chance that we're going to play together one day, because we're already in touch and I think that it would be a good combination to have ReVamp later on as out support and she also asked for it because one of the best opportunities for her is to tour with Epica since there's already the same audience. There's a lot of potential, let's see how it's going to develop.
Dasher10: Regarding that, do you ever worry about animosity between your fans and Floor's despite there being no personal issues between the two of you?
Jansen: Fans who always choose a side have no brain.
Dasher10: Well said. What do you think is going to be next for Epica in 2010 and beyond?
Jansen: We're going to tour a lot. After this we're doing shows in Europe, then South America, then some shows in Greece, at summer festivals we'll show up, then at the end of the year we might do another round here and Canada, also anther round in Europe. All the while we're going to be writing an new album. It always takes a while for us to write an album. We already started writing it, actually. We're going to record it in 2011, and hopefully it will be released at the end of 2011.
Dasher10: Are you surprised that a European progressive metal band can headline in the United States where the current trend is deathcore and breakdowns, that you could make a dent in the North American metal scene?
Jansen: On the one side I'm surprised that we've been so successful so far, on the other hand, a lot of bands have dropped out in recent years. They didn't break even and they don't go to the US anymore. The good thing about that is that the people who want to go to shows go to our show because there aren't too many bands like us touring here anymore, the bad thing is that hopefully the scene isn't vanishing. That would be a pity. Hopefully we can contribute in keeping the progressive scene alive and we keep on coming back because it's now really paying off and I also hope the other bands from Europe keep coming back the the US and even though some other styles are big here, I hear every night that fans are so thankful that we come over to the US and play our music here since there are enough people who really enjoy it.
Dasher10: Good talking to you. I really dig the new album, Design Your Universe.
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