Interview mit Mark Jansen (Guitar, grunts & screams), April 2012
"... we never made a desicion what's "in" and changed our music because of that. "
When you started with Epica, did you expect this success?
I think if you’d expect exactly what you have you be kind of Nostradamus. I had no expectations. I worked hard and would see what happens.
What is your vision for Epica?
People think that’s an arrogant answer but that’s an honest answer, and I always say: we want to achieve the level that Rammstein has. And we will see how far we get. But if you set yourself easy goals, you reach them and you’re satisfied. We always keep on having goals. You need goals to keep hungry for developing yourself. But we are very happy what we achieved already.
Do you prefer to play in front of only a few hundred people or in bigger places like huge festivals with 100.000 people?
I don’t have a preference. When you play in a intimate club where it is warm and getting hot then you get a great atmosphere – a vibe – that’s amazing. When you play for example at Wacken Open Air with 100.000 people, that’s also great but in another way. It would be less exciting to have only one of both. That’s why I like to have Club shows and the festivals, and Club shows again. So it doesn’t get boring.
What makes you proud about yourself?
Oh, I’m proud of my University degree in Psychology, and of what we have achieved with Epica, and I am proud of what I have achieved with After Forever in the past. Also that I have made an album with MaYaN, my other band. I’m also proud to keep on sporting and stay in good shape. Today I was jogging for 35 minutes and I made a walk of 1,5 hour. I do that so often that I don’t get tired on stage because I’m used to it.
Do you like it when journalists compare Epica with other female-fronted symphonic metal bands, especially for example Nightwish?
Well, I don’t like it but it doesn’t bother me either. It’s normal, just a one football team will be compared to the other. You cannot have a world without comparison.
Did you like Nightwish more with Tarja or or with Anette?
My personal taste: I liked them more with Tarja, but that’s just a matter of taste. I respect a lot how they still continue and still have the success they had before. And they are even bigger! They did the right thing. But I loved the atmosphere with Tarja more, which was special.
Some years ago there was a huge hype about female-fronted and/or symphonic metal bands. This hype seems to be shrinking. How would you explain this development?
This hype a few years ago was a bit natural because if there are some successful bands in a genre there are a lot of other bands who want to have a piece of the cake. Now it’s back to normal proportions, the strongest bands survived. The other ones who just wanted the piece of the cake, they didn’t make it. So I’m happy with the situation as it is now. We always made the music we really wanted to make, and whether there is a hype or not, our fan base is growing each year. That is a natural development. So we never made a decision about what is “in” and changed our music because of that. I think that’s the only good way to make music.
Where do get your ideas for new songs and for the booklet?
We always split up the work. So the booklet is mainly Simone’s thing and she also works on the designs. I only see the results at the end and say if I like it or not . I’m more in charge with writing part of the lyrics und writing the music, that’s what I really enjoy. I don’t know where the ideas come from. I get inspired when I’m sitting in this special room in my house, but I don’t know why. It just comes to my mind. It sounds weird but I truly think that it comes from somewhere else and just gets into my head.
You mentioned your other band MaYaN. What about that?
Well, most of the guys from Epica are also in the other band, even Simone. So it doesn’t affect Epica. If Epica is free we go on with MaYaN. That’s more like progressive death metal with a lot of grunts but also with some clean vocals. There’s a male voice and Simone’s, it’s some kind of metal opera. Epica is our main project and the other band is just for fun. So we play with MaYaN just at a few festivals we liked, for example Graspop.
Is there any place, festival, or country where you would like to play?
Japan, Australia. I’ve never been there, just heard all the stories. I’m sure, one day we will go there. We had some offers for Japan but we did not realize them so far because we would have to pay money to play there, to make up the difference. But we have to make a living from our music so we’ll wait till at least we break even.
If you had the chance to be an actor in a movie, which role would you like to play?
That’s a funny question! Yesterday I was watching Batman and I thought that would be really cool .
If you had some free time to spend in Switzerland, what would you do?
I love the mountains so I would go to the mountains to cycle. There is nothing I love more than being on a bike at a hot summer day and to cycle.
Do you like Fondue?
I ate it, yes, but what I like most from Switzerland is the chocolate. Swiss chocolate is the best in the world! With cheese we always say, we have the best cheese ourselves.
What are your further plans for Epica?
The whole year 2012 is fully booked with a lot of touring with some festivals. There will be a second European tour, a South American tour, a North American tour and a UK tour. So we start about thinking of 2013 now – if the world will still exist . 2013 we want to give a big anniversary show – 10 years of Epica. For that we’ll require a big orchestra, and that’s gonna be the highlight of 2013. And we want to make a DVD out of it.
Mark, thanks a lot and the best wishes for all your further plans!
Interview by Kassandra