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Simone Simons (Epica)

Interview with Simone Simons from Epica
by Michael Dalakos at 19 April 2005, 9:49 AM

Having Simone Simons in point blank distance was quite frustrating for me. This twenty year old 'goddess on earth' made me lose my words more times than I can recall. Chatting with her for something more than twenty minutes before Kamelot's live show here in Athens I realized that not only is she an exceptional vocalist but she also is one smart lady!

Simone, I know this is not your first time here in Greece. You have also been here on vacations.

Yes this is true, I have seen some of the islands here. It was really nice.

What can you tell us about the forthcoming album of Epica?

I believe that the new album is more mature than our first attempt. In the first album me and the drummer \[Jeroen Simons] entered the band three months before the recordings began. Now, after two years we have played roughly two hundred shows so there has been a great bonding between us. In the new album almost every member has contributed something. Yves \[Huts, bass] and Mark \[Jansen, guitars] are still the main composers. They are fans of soundtracks so I think the new album has a more epic feeling. On a personal level I can say that I experimented with my vocals a bit. I had great help by Amanda Somerville since some of the songs are a bit out of the ordinary style of Epica. I think the new album is more diverse than the first one.

Please explain to us a bit more the term mature in the description of the new album.

I think that now everybody knows exactly how Epica should sound like. All the members are good musicians but in the first album we had mostly to set a base for our future direction. When you will listen to the new album you will know exactly what I am talking about. The first album was for me the first professional work I’ve done for vocals. It was a little bit scary. This time we were more confident.

So there are things in the first album that sound wrong to your ears now.

Well not wrong but yes I believe that there are couple of details I could have worked more on. I think this is the point of being in a studio, to be as much a perfectionist as you can be.

When you joined the band were you ready for such success?

To be honest no. But we knew we had something good in hands. I gave 100% of my abilities and it worked fine. I had to learn a lot of things. So many things have happened those last two years and I often need some time for myself to think about what happened. I can say that I am really enjoying the privilege of traveling around the world. I am so young but I have seen so much of the world.

Do you think that bands like yours or Evanescence open the doors for Metal to a broader audience?

I know that such bands became quite popular. Popularity draws the attention of fans to related bands. Once you mention a band everybody will try to check them out. So yes I think we have helped a bit ourselves. Also now I think there is more respect for female vocalists. I know there was a time where the audience saw us as big boobies but now they respect us. I am very happy that this kind of music gets more appreciation since it is a very beautiful music, but still you have to work very hard to achieve anything.

Do you have any plans for guest appearances after Aina and The Black Halo?

Yes I have but I can’t say! \[laughs]

Oh come on!

There are a couple of operas and I will probably be part of the second Aina. I don’t really know since we are currently totally focused on the promotion of our forthcoming album.

Epica is one of the very few bands that have released only one album and then a DVD! What is your opinion on this kind of exploitation from your label?

I don’t see it as exploitation but as good promotion

Correct me but what we are doing now is promotion. Printing a DVD and selling it is not.

First of all it was not only an idea from the label. We had two video clips and a lot of backstage material. We really wanted to share those things with our fans. Then we had the possibility to be part of the 2 meter sessies and that’s a big honor in the Dutch T.V. as you can imagine we could not let this go unnoticed by the rest of the world. I know it is common for bands to have like three albums and then do a live CD but there were several factors that led us to this decision. Again I don’t see it as exploitation. It is very nice material to watch.

So, do you believe that nowadays all that it takes is a good female vocalist?

Definitely not. In fact now there are many good female vocalists that it is really hard to achieve something by simply having one on board. Maybe like ten years ago people got stunned by a talented female vocalist. I don’t think it is that easy now. Personally I like Lacuna Coil amongst those kind of bands. I have met Christina \[Scabbia, vocals] and she is a true artist.

Some people still believe that women have no place in Metal, but hey I am not one of them!

I believe you, but I also believe that’s bullshit! \[Laughs] Sorry to say this but people who still think this way are simply out of the world. Is it my idea or are the most successful Metal bands today those with female vocalists?

The CD and the DVD come with outstanding package. Do you think this is a good way to overcome piracy issues?

First of all this shows that we are really like what we are doing. Then personally I get totally disappointed when I buy a CD and it has a two page booklet. Why does it cost so much? I think this is great value for money. Yes it fights piracy at some point but it mostly shows we respect our fans around the world. Also I have to say that we are very satisfied with the way our label approaches details like artwork.

So far you’ve managed to accomplish success in a relatively small time period. What are your plans and dreams for the future?

I hope to have the ability to keep on working with Epica for as many years as possible.

A message for our readers?

Thank you very much. Epica really hopes to visit Greece for the next album. I love this country and it was really great to visit you once again with Kamelot.

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