Sunday, August 13, 2006

Interview With Guitarist Ad Sluijter of Epica

How did Epica get started?
We started out in April 2002 after Mark was asked to leave his former band, After Forever. We already wrote some music together once in a while so we went searching for other musicians right away which took us until October. In November we recorded our first demo, in December we did our first gig, and in January we recorded our debut album which was released several months later. It all went pretty fast.

Epica has an interesting blend of several styles. What inspired you to blend those styles together? And how difficult was it to do so?
Actually this happens pretty naturally just because of the simple fact we are all influenced by different stuff, so when you blend in all of those different ideas you get a pretty mixed up song, hehe.

Considering the musical blend - the combination of acoustic, classical, and metal - I bet your live performances can get quite interesting.
Unfortunately we don't have the budget to have a choir and orchestra live, so we have the choir and orchestra recordings from the studio running along on ProTools, which is the best solution in this case. As for the mix with acoustic and electric, we try to work in an acoustic ballad in every setlist.

On your website I saw epic SF/F films like "Dracula", "Lord of the Rings", "Star Wars", and "The Matrix" listed as favorite films among the various band members. Has Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror been inspirational to Epica's musical style, and if so in what ways?
I'm not sure in which way these movies influence us, but I know their soundstracks do.:)

Your lyrics have powerful messages in them, both socially and spiritually. Was this intentional or did it naturally evolve from the musical style blending that makes Epica so epic in scope?
Mark tends to write a lot about religion while Simone writes a lot about more personal stuff, I don't think they write about that 'on purpose', it's just that these subjects appeal to them, so you can say that it is a naturally thing.

Your CDs, The Phantom Agony and Consign to Oblivion, sound like concept albums. Could you tell us the concepts behind them?
Both of them contain a mini concept. On TPA it is "the embrace that smothers", and on CTO it is "a new age dawns". The first one is about religions like Islam and Christianity, and the second one is about the Mayan culture.

What are your future plans?
We just recorded a live DVD which is edited at the moment, which will be released in September. Also in September we will be touring the USA and Canada with our friends from Kamelot. After this tour we will be entering the studios to record the follow up of CTO which will be released somewhere around May next year.


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