- Posted By: Dark Emperor
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Taking advantage of Simone Simmon's promotional visit to New York, Infernal Masquerade manage to have a discussion with Epica's charismatic vocalist about the band's latest release "The Quantum Enigma". Note: Interview was transcribed due to some phone connection issues (Thanks Verizon!) and some text might be a paraphrased in order to make more sense and be cohesive.
Infernal Masquerade: First of all congratulations on your baby boy, and now let’s get started with the question. Can you please tell us a bit more about Epica’s latest release “The Quantum Enigma”, out on Nuclear Blast on May 6th in North America.
Simone Simmons: Sure, “The Quantum Enigma” is the band’s sixth full-length release and it is another very typical Epica release filled with symphonic elements as well as heavier parts. This release is the first one with our new bass player Rob van der Loo fully incorporated with the band. This release is different in the sense that we had more time to rehearse the songs as a band and it shows in the music, with everything put together more cohesively. In terms of the lyrical concept, Mark Jansen presented us with the concept of “The Quantum Enigma” that deals with Quantum Physics in a more philosophical level. It talks about different perceptions of reality, as this everybody’s reality is different from others.
I. M: What would you say is the biggest difference between this release and the band’s previous albums?
S.S: In this release we put focus on the basic things behind the band’s sound making it heavier and more of a collaborative effort, not sending pieces over email and then piecing them together in the studio. We have a different production team behind this release as well as recorded in Sandlane Recording Facilities in The Netherlands. The album was produces by Joost van den Broek and mixed by Jacob Hansen. With the current recording and mixing team, the band’s sound is different than in the previous albums with less compromises and full of melody and groove.
I.M: Besides the Tour dates involving the European Festival circuit during the summer, are there any larger scale plans for touring in promotion of this release.
S.S: We have the first show presenting the album on April 30th, in Tilburg, Netherlands. After this we do have some festivals in Europe and we are currently planning a full-scale tour to promote the album in Europe as well as Latin America and North America over the course of the year and into 2015.
I.M: With all the effort and constant touring that Epic has put into North America, how do you see the band being recognized for this now?
S.S: It is great to see all our effort and time reflected in more and more fans coming to the shows and the record sales. Touring in North America is a great endeavor since the tours are longer and we are all in a double decker bus together for over 5 weeks. However, touring in the US is excellent since my favorite thing is to see the wide variety of diversity of fans we have in North America that come to our shows and talk with us.
I.M: Being now a parent, how do you think you will be able to handle the touring duties and demands of being in a band like Epica?
S.S: I am lucky to have a very supportive family that understands the demands of being a professional musician. While I am away for long periods of time, I am also home for long periods of time as well. Having been on break for a while now, this is the longest time I have been away (one week – doing press and an acoustic show in New York) since becoming a parent.
I.M: Do you think the life in the road is something you want to expose your child to? Is there a point when you think it will be ok to do this?
S.S: I don’t think I would want to expose him to this kind of stress. It will also be unfair to the band since we all travel and are in confined spaces at times. I don’t think it will be good to try to be telling them to be quiet and adjusting to our schedules.
I.M: In terms of the guest appearances, why did you choose to only have the participation of Marcela Bovio and Daniel de Jongh on some vocals and of PA'dam doing the choir arrangements?
S.S: We are Epica and we want the albums to sound like Epica, we don’t think we want to rely on having multiple guest musicians as a gimmick to appeal to a wider variety of people. All the music was not written having somebody in mind to perform on it, and even Daniel’s appearance was spontaneous since he was in the studio and we thought it would be cool if he sings on the particular track he does.
I.M: We noticed that your voice sound a bit different in this release, is this something planned or did we get a weirdly compressed digital promo of the album?
S.S: This is very true, and I think it shows my evolution as a singer and my desire to transmit emotions differently. Over the past year or so I have experienced many different emotional and personal things (having a child) and this is part of my performance. When trying to express different emotions different methods of singing fit better to certain parts of the album, like trying to having a stronger sound in certain songs.
I.M: With almost 70 minutes of music in “The Quantum Enigma” and five other full-length releases, how hard has it become to pick songs to make the set-lists for the live shows?
S.S: This is getting increasingly hard having so many songs to choose from that our fans want to listen to. We try to keep a good balance of new songs as well as the most popular tracks of our previous albums. We want to provide the fans with the opportunity to listen to the new album as well as hear the songs that they know and love. Not being able to play for two hours every night, we have to very carefully select which songs we are playing in order to keep the fans happy and entertained.
I.M: What are the songs you are looking forward to playing the most in the upcoming live shows?
S.S: Unchain Utopia, Sense Without Sanity, The Essence of Silence.
I.M: Just to wrap things up, is there anything in particular that you want to let the people in North America know about “The Quantum Enigma” and the band’s future plans?
S.S: Yes!, we believe that “The Quantum Enigma” is our best release to date and the fans will clearly hear it when the album is out. We are also looking forward to seeing them back in the road when we return to promote this release.
Read our review of "The Quantum Enigma" here.