Interview | Mark Jansen from Epica
Almost 20 years after their very first show in Tilburg, Netherlands, Epica will come back for a unique concert to celebrate their anniversary in great style.
Back at the venue in which they made their debut as a symphonic metal band in 2002, acting as a support band for Anathema at Poppodium 013, fans can expect a great night with the band and will have the possibility to watch Sahara Dust playing once again. Maybe the support band is different from what we’re expecting, but the mere thought of watching the original band playing together again is giving fans the chills.
A year has passed since the newest addition to their discography and Omega is still one of the best albums they’ve made. Complex, filled with strong guitar and bass solos, their eighth album was responsible for one of the greatest live streaming events in symphonic metal history: Omega Alive was filmed in 2021 and watched by over 1 million people from all around the world.
This concert made it possible for the band to fulfill their wildest dreams and also create a new atmosphere they might bring to their next concerts. That dark circus vibe really won a lot of fans’ hearts, so people are wondering if their next production will also show that unknown side of Epica.
An interview with Epica´s Mark Jansen
To celebrate this 20-year passage, I had the greatest pleasure to talk to the one and only Mark Jansen – guitarist, composer and mastermind behind those powerful messages Epica get across through their lyrics. Check it out!
Rock and Art: Epica is celebrating 20 years! Congrats! What, in your opinion, has shifted from the 2002 Epica to the Epica in a 2022 “version”, so to speak? What memories do you hold dear from that time?
Mark Jansen: Many things have changed over the years. Even the world we live in has changed. But what stayed the same is our love for symphonic metal music. We still feel that same passion as 20 years ago when we started working on a new album.
Rock and Art: What fans can expect to see on Sep, 3rd, in Tilburg? Is there any chance of another pyrotechnical concert, like Omega Alive?
Mark Jansen: Yes we are aiming for a big production there. It’s our anniversary show in the venue where it all started for us. We played there in support of Anathema. Now 20 years later, we have played there several times, great memories and looking very much forward to the anniversary show.
Rock and Art: Epica just released a brand new DVD, Omega Alive, and we witnessed a side of the band that was unknown: you guys had fun, your wildest dreams actually came true and created something unique. What part of you was shown on that day?
Mark Jansen: The side of us having fun is a known side of the band I guess haha. But due to the pandemic, we couldn’t perform so recording a DVD of a studio setting show was something we normally would have never done in normal circumstances but gave us possibilities to add show elements we could not do during a regular show. I’m happy we could do a show like this during the hard times in the cultural sector.
Rock and Art: With regard to composing, what truly inspires you?
Mark Jansen: Film music, metal from my childhood, nature, and whatever else that starts the inspiration flowing. It can be anything. Inspiration comes and goes. It is sometimes hard to tell what initiated the process.
Rock and Art: Epica spent many years talking about science and religion. A few years ago, I saw that you’ve chosen to talk more about inner truth, self-respect, and listening to the signs of the universe. What changed in you to open your mindset to these subjects?
Mark Jansen: I think it’s a personal development. Since I was a kid I have been fascinated by how the universe works, where we come from and what our purpose is here. At a certain moment I discovered that everything that happens in the outer world has a direct link to our inner world. Nothing beyond exists without our inner selves.
Therefore, if we truly want to change something in the world we have to start with ourselves. It’s a never ending path of learning about ourselves and I love to write lyrics about this process.
Rock and Art: During the pandemic and lockdown, some bands tried to reinvent themselves in terms of live streaming concerts. How did you guys handle surviving as a band while shows and tours were restricted?
Mark Jansen: We had a hard time like all bands but we never stopped working on new things. That kept us going during these hard times. It’s not nice when all the time shows need to be canceled or postponed, but patience is a virtue and sooner or later things will get better. In the meantime we did the Omega Alive show and we started our Epica Universe Project where we created a community with our fans. These things can just make the difference to keep the band alive.
Rock and Art: Epica and Apocalyptica joined forces and are set to go on the road in 2023, any chance Latin American audiences could expect to see both bands?
Mark Jansen: You never know but for now there are no plans in that direction yet.
Rock and Art: For ages, the metal scene has been a male-dominated territory where women had to battle a lot to be seen. With Epica being a female-fronted band, do you think this has changed over the years?
Mark Jansen: Yes I think it has changed a lot already. Not only in the metal scene but in general women have claimed successfully their position. I’m a big fan of this development as I didn’t like the male-dominated world. I think the male and female balanced energies lead to the best results.
Rock and Art: Epica traveled all around the world and met people from different nationalities. Which country is your favorite to play and what do you do to remember those places? I mean, do you go for some sightseeing, buy souvenirs, eat some specific foods…
Mark Jansen: There are some countries where I love to play, there’s not only one that is far better than others but everywhere where the fans experience the show passionately I like to play. I like Japanese food and also the food in Mexico, Brazil and Argentina to name a few are very good.
Rock and Art: Can you give us some advice about something you’ve learnt in the past few years?
Mark Jansen: I got really into coldness adaptation training. I started about 5 years ago. It was just an intuitive move as I am always looking for natural ways to strengthen the body. Ever since (since 5 years) I never got the flu (and luckily also never contracted the Covid so far). Of course it’s hard to tell how it would have been without this training but before those 5 years I often got the flu so I’m convinced of the benefits and for me it’s a fantastic tool.
The community is growing and I’m happy that more people go back to the basics and take care of their health the best possible way. Eating healthy, getting enough sleep, sports and de-stressing are also very important.