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Interview by: Daniela Godinho
Portuguese / English translation by: Natália Superbi 

This week we proudly present our exclusive interview with Mark Jansen, founder of Dutch symphonic metal band Epica. The band will return to Brazil in March 2018 in the release of their latest album The Holographic Principle (2016) and EP The Solece System (2017). Currently the band's lineup includes Mark Jansen (vocals and guitar), Simone Simons (vocals), Coen Janssen (Keyboards), Ariën van Weesenbeek (Drums), Isaac Delahaye (Guitar) and Rob van der Loo (Bass). Check it out next:  

EC – First of all, let me thank you for this interview for Elegia e Canto. I am extremely happy for this opportunity because you were who first inspired me to listen to metal, in 2007. If metal has become so important in my life today, it’s because of you. Mark Jansen, your music changes lives, thank you! Well, come on. When you decided to leave After Forever, it must have been a difficult decision, right? The start of a new project is always uncertain. Did you imagine that you could form one of the most important bands of symphonic metal? After all, today you are a source of inspiration for many bands that have emerged in recent years. How do you see this Epica’s trajectory?
Mark: Thank you! :) Leaving After Forever was not solely my own decision, there was no way to continue. If it was up to me I would have left after the upcoming Nightwish tour, after the famous Pinkpop festival and after a Dutch national TV appearance. But it was not working anymore between me and Sander at that time unfortunately. I founded Epica the same day when I left AF and in the beginning it was hard but when looking back at it now it was the best that could have happened to me. I’m happy and proud that Epica and also AF have inspired many other bands.

EC – The year of 2017 is very special for all fans, because the album The Divine Conspiracy completes 10 years of release and, despite time passing, its lyrics still talk to us nowadays. How did you come up with the idea of making a concept album such as The Divine Conspiracy?
Mark: It’s not really a concept album but an album with a concept on it. Some lyrics are off topic. It’s definitely a highlight for me this album, the songs are strong. It was the last album we made with Ad Sluijter and I think he was on top of his game.

Photo of the album The Holographic Principle 2016
EC – Epica's lyrics are characterized by deep themes that make us think about our society, such as politics, philosophy and religion. I highlight one of the band's most beloved songs: Consign to Oblivion. On it you talk about a natural religiosity: “We shouldn't try to control life / But listen to laws the of nature”. This is a very discussed concept. What is your relationship with religion, or religiosities? And for you, what is the importance for the band to deal with often controversial themes in its lyrics? 
Mark: I believe that all religions are talking about the same thing. Many lines in the holy books are however multi interpretable and I have the impression that those are even being misunderstood. I have little or no connection with how religions are organised today. Especially as everything is literally connected you can’t see religions are separate things. It’s all the same thing after all. Everybody is looking for the same after all. 

EC – Design your Universe is my favorite song of all time! It was even my song choice for my graduation ceremony in college. Imagine an auditorium full of parents, grandparents and teachers listening to your gutturals... It was very exciting! One of my dreams is to listen to it live. The idea of building our own universe is fantastic. How did you come up with the inspiration for this song? 
Mark: We are creating our universe everyday. All of us as being one collective mind. If we want to change something in it we will need to start within ourselves. I see too many people blaming their misfortunes on others or situations. But when you’re not happy with your life it’s you yourself who has the key to change it. 

EC – The songs from the EP The Solace System were written at the same time as the recording of the album The Holographic Principle, right? Could you talk a little bit about the concept of these works and the creation process?
Mark: Yes they were all written at the same time and we didn’t know which songs would end up on the album and which ones on the EP. Fight your Demons is dealing about negative destructive thoughts we have to deal with every now and then or for people suffering a depression, every day. 

EC – In 2016, we [Brazilians] had the privilege of receiving the first edition of Epic Metal Fest outside Netherlands. Why the choice to held that edition of the event in Brazil? And how was that experience?
Mark: We thought Brazil would be a good one as Brazilian fans are always very good for us. 
And it worked very well, I hope we can do it again in the future.

Latin America tour 2018

EC – You return to Brazil in March 2018, as part of The Ultimate Principle Tour, South American tour promoted by Liberation MC. This will be the biggest tour ever made by Epica in the country. You will pass through eight cities, and I can tell you that the euphoria and happiness of the public with the announcement of this tour could not be greater. What are the expectations for this great tour through Brazil? And for the cities of Manaus, Fortaleza and Recife, it will be the first shows of the band. Can fans expect some surprise on the setlist?
Mark: We haven’t made the setlist yet but you can be sure there will be some surprises. Let’s see as well what the people want to hear. I will listen carefully to suggestions the upcoming months.

EC – Weeks ago we saw through your social medias that you were working on a secret project. And, surprising fans once more, you announced the release of the EP Attack of Titans, with versions of the opening songs of the anime Shingeki no Kyojin. That was something that fans could never really imagine. How did the idea of this project come about? And what can fans expect from this new EP?
Mark: We have recorded 4 songs of the series and made Epica versions of them. We have recorded them the same way as we have recorded our last album, with orchestra. We got approached for it if we wanted to do it and we gladly accepted as it was a great challenge and the music turned out great. It will first be released in Japan and later on as well in other parts of the world.

EC – Elegia e Canto thanks you again for this interview. Could you leave a message for our readers and Epica’s fans from Brazil?
Mark: Thank you very much for all the support to all our fans in Brazil, we will soon be there. Let the party begin :)


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