They were ‘born’ in 2002, during an era in which not only symphonic, but every metal genre thrived. Pioneers, with lyrics that even poets would envy and orchestration that would make the best orchestras jealous of, Epica have established themselves as one of the greatest bands of their genre. Of course, no further reccomendations are needed.

Greek version here.

At July 2nd, Epica are returning to Greece for one more show, at Rockwave Festival, ‘teaming up’ with EvanescenceGojira, Anathema, Paradise Lost and Flogging Molly, in a pretty metal evening, from every aspect and genre. 3pointmagazine had a chat with Mark Jansen about the aspect and the role of Epica in the world of metal, and not only: We discussed about their new album, The Holographic Principle, which has to do and was inspired by the homonymous principle of string theories and a supposed property of quantum gravity. Of course we also talked about their return to Greece and how they look forward to it.

Greece, once again. How does it feel returning for one more show?

It’s always a pleasure to play in Greece and see all my greek friends again!

[Besides Flogging Molly] someone could say this year’s Rockwave Festival Day 2 is pretty ‘metal’, including, well, you of course, Evanescence, Gojira, Anathema and Paradise Lost.

I don’t know what is playing the other day or other years but I’m happy to play with Anathema. It’s one of my favorite bands and Danny (Cavanagh) did tourmanagement for us on the latest euro tour. He’s a great guy. Paradise Lost did play on our Epic Metal Fest in Brazil, that was an honor too as I listened to Paradise Lost as a teenager already.

You’re currently on a South American tour (starting at 5/5 from Chile), Europe follows. Could you spot on some differences between the shows in, for example, Mexico and France?

We still need to go to South America. We have just been in Asia (Japan, Taiwan, South Korea) that was great, the people were very enthusiastic. It was our first time in Japan after all those years but I’m pretty sure we’ll go back soon again. The best crowd this year we had in London UK. It also depends a bit on the venue where you play. That venue in London had a lot of atmosphere already when it was empty, with the people inside it became magic.

On September you released your new album, where you tried some ‘different’ things, like using a full orchestra with brass, or making the guitars more prominent. Was that one step further, an experiment that -in my opinion- brought an excellent result?

We keep experimenting with our sound, as we don’t want to keep sounding exactly the same. Therefor we also changed our producer after Requiem even though our old producer was doing a great job, we just wanted to experiment a bit. As we write nowadays (in my humble opinion) more interesting guitar-riffs compared to the past it was about time to give them a more prominent role.

You also have six tracks that were meant to be included in the album, but eventually were not. It was said in a previous interview that these bonus tracks will be released later this year. Is there anything new on that matter?

All songs have been recorded to be album tracks but we knew all the time we had to make a selection. So after all we did but these left over songs are too good to be used just as bonus tracks so we wanted to keep them together and release them later on this year.

Can we expect to hear them, or some of them, live at Rockwave Festival?

Not yet as we are still promoting our new album The Holographic Principle and this show will be the first one we’ll be doing in Greece (this year).

Surely for the Holographic Principle you deal with a pretty great, from every aspect, concept. What was the inspiration for that? Did you first do your ‘research’ and then decided to write that album, or did the concept come first?

I got inspired by lectures from Leonard Susskind and documentaries about the Holographic Principle. I did my research, but it’s a personal fascination I have so I didn’t have to look for a topic it was already there as I was reading so much about it at that time.

You have said that in this album all the members of the band contributed to the writing. How was this process?

We start writing on our own (sometimes with the producer as well) and when we feel like the song is as great as we can make it we present it to the other guys. When we have enough songs we start making a selection of songs which we will rehearse and adjust. We keep working on them until we are all happy. after that we make a selection of songs which we will record for the album. From those recorded songs we make a final selection of which one will be on the album. Regarding vocallines we usually work with our producer Joost, Sascha Paeth (who always comes up with refreshing ideas as well), me and Simone together to play with the material and come to new ideas. But also here the other guys have input as well, especially in their own songs.

Has motherhood affected Simone’s presence in the band?

I don’t notice that much of a difference, she’s gotten more mature perhaps but she’s always been taking the band very serious and she still does. Of course we have to plan some things in a different way because of the motherhood but that’s normal with every job.

Would you say that Epica have been ‘pioneers’ in the symphonic metal genre or in metal in general?

I feel like being part of the pioneers (not of metal in general but of the style we make) when I started making this music with my former band After Forever, with Epica I continued on this path. Many young musicians come to me and tell me they have been influenced by my music, that’s a big honor to hear. Besides that there are quite some other great bands who have contributed in a great way too. We’re one of the lucky few who are still around and made it to the next level.

Would you do, if you were given the chance, a studio-like concert, with every orchestra and musicians that have ever recorded with you?

Only the thought about organizing such an event gives me headaches (laughs). It took us already 1.5 years to organize Retrospect where we played with 1 orchestra and 1 choir and a few of the musicians we have worked with.

Last one: A message – wish – advice to your fans in Greece?

Thanks a lot, I love Greece as most of you know and can’t wait to be back to see all my friends again. Thanks for all the support over all those years!

Thank you very much! Looking forward to your show!

Thank you too! Cheers from the Netherlands.