Interview with Epica 6

Source: Rockpages
2007

While the upcoming album by Epica, entitled "The Divine Conspiracy", was at the mixing process, we had the opportunity of a little chat with Epica singer Simone Simmons. She was in a good mood and very talkative, despite the lack of time, discussing with great enthusiasm about Epica's new album, the Mayans civilization, her trip to Egypt and her encounter with the Finnish gossip media, while we were trying to avoid fixing in her eyes. Interview by George Anasontzis and Sakis Nikas.

 

 

Rockpages.gr: In what phase are the recordings of the new album?


Simone Simmons: Well, we have actually finished recording and now Sasha (Paeth) is ready to do the mix. I heard some songs with arrangements and vocals edited and it sounds amazing.

 

Rockpages.gr: What is the concept this time?


Simone Simmons: I cannot say anything about it...

 

Rockpages.gr: You can't reveal anything or you don't know anything...?


Simone Simmons: I do know everything (laughs).

 

Rockpages.gr: You mentioned Sasha. How important is Sasha to the making of your sound?


Simone Simmons: Well, Sasha also works with the rewriting of the vocal lines and since we worked with him in previous albums, it's just a winning team, and we really love to work with him. The studio is very comfortable; it's an old farm, which they rebuilt into a studio. It's in the north of Germany. So, yes, Sasha is a great guy to work with and he will give you a good result, like Kamelot and Rhapsody sounds...

 

Rockpages.gr: Consign to Oblivion was influenced by the Mayan culture. How did you choose this concept?


Simone Simmons: That was Mark's idea. He wrote three or four songs for the "A New Age Dawns" that were about the Mayan culture, he read many books about it and he really got inspired by their way of thinking, that we should avoid the loss of nature. The ending of the song, "Consign to Oblivion", is about how we are losing ourselves and we only think about the material world. We don't think about the people as a community any more, everybody is working for himself, we are very selfish and we forget to take care about nature. Just drive more cars and pollute the world.

 

Rockpages.gr: I guess you agree with that...


Simone Simmons: I agree with that.

 

Rockpages.gr: Have you watched "Apocalypto" by Mel Gibson?


Simone Simmons: Mark has seen it and he didn't like it. According to him and what he read about the Mayans, he didn't recognize so much about it, and it was just an action movie. Well, you can ask him later cause I didn't see it. It looked nice on its website though. It's mainly Mark who's really interested in the Mayan culture and I agree with him on the main ideas, but I never read books about it. Actually I have more connection to the Egyptians. Mark and I went for a holiday there and I really liked it. I liked the art... we went to the Museum in Cairo, and I was very angry because our guide, she had two little children and she had to leave, but we wanted to stay in the Museum, because there was so much to be seen. I have many warm memories from there... Well, the guide was a little bit annoying and also because I have blue eyes, people were coming after me all the time...

 

Rockpages.gr: Maybe they wanted to buy you.... They tend to do this.


Simone Simmons: Yeah, yeah (laughs). But anyway, I felt like home and when I entered the land, I could feel the history. I think Mark has got more connection with the Mayans and I'm closer to the Egyptian culture.

 

Rockpages.gr: Any connection with the Greek civilization the way you have with the Egyptian?


Simone Simmons: Well, I like the food here, the people are very nice, I already have a nick name, "Kouklitsa". The mother of a friend called me kouklitsa.

 

Rockpages.gr: You know what that means?


Simone Simmons: Yeah, little doll. And Simounita. That's how they call me. The people are very hospitable, I like the music. Last time, we went to a restaurant. It was very cozy, the weather is great, I like Greece. I also liked Thessaloniki. Now I know a few Greek words I can say, like efcharisto, kalispera, kalinixta and kalimera. Moro mou...

 

Rockpages.gr: What can you tell us about the Nightwish rumour that appeared at some moment?


Simone Simmons: (Laughs) I am a friend of Tuomas, but that doesn't make me the singer of Nightwish.

 

Rockpages.gr: There wasn't any proposal?


Simone Simmons: No, no, no. I was just talking to him in a Finnish festival, last year, in July, and he was there to visit some bands, and he said to me "Oh Simon, now we're talking together and you realize we will be in the gossip magazines". And it took a while and then I got a call from Mark saying, "Hey, you're at the Finnish gossip magazines and they say you are the new singer" and blah blah blah. Anyway, I guess it doesn't harm, because now we had some problems with the dvd, no drummer and no record company. We were still a little bit in the picture, so we didn't mind in a way that... it's a little sign that you're becoming more well known, the people start to think of you and want to know what you're doing all the time.

 

Rockpages.gr: So, the Finnish gossip media like writing about metal music...


Simone Simmons: It's the Finnish gossip magazines because in Finland gothic music is so popular, it's a mainstream music in a way. There, you are a biggest star than you are in Holland for example.

 

Rockpages.gr: There seems to be a lot of bands, like After Forever, Within Temptation, Epica, coming from Holland, which is a small country, that play the same kind of music. Isn't it a little peculiar that a lot of bands at the same place and the same time, play the same genre of music?


Simone Simmons: There are several explanations for it. I think it's becoming a little bit the culture of the young people, you know, gothic music is becoming really popular, so more people know more about it and start new bands. I think so far we have pretty much talented bands coming from Holland and one of the first one was of course the Gathering, which you cannot really refer to gothic anymore, as it was during the Mandylion time... Finland has a lot of gothic bands, the whole Scandinavia, it was, let's say like the birthplace of those bands...

 

Rockpages.gr: How do you feel about all these female fronted bands?


Simone Simmons: I like it. I think girls get more power now (laughs).

 

Rockpages.gr: But how does the rest of the band feel that the female singer gets all the lights. What would the band or any band of this kind, be if they had a male singer?


Simone Simmons: It's the same with all bands, it doesn't matter if it's metal, rock, pop - well, in pop you mostly don't have bands but just a singer -, but it's mostly that the singer, male or female, gets most of the attention because you are the face of the band, you do the interviews, you are on the poster, and if you have a pretty face, that will be exploited of course to sell more. But I always say, that if people give me a comment like "You have a pretty face" that's ok. But first of all, I'm a singer. I'm not a model. That's my job and what I'm doing in the band. The whole physical thing is part of the wrapping with the photos... If people listen to the cd, it doesn't matter if you're pretty or ugly because they just hear your voice. But if you do to the show and there's this huge bear standing on stage which is a woman, then it's not so nice to look at. You have to present yourself in a good way, but that is a small part of it all.

 

Rockpages.gr: I think Therion is like that...


Simone Simmons: Yeah, I've seen them, but somehow, they are not trying to be sexy. They're just standing like this.


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