EPICA Guitarist: 'Often Musicians Have Their Heads Too Much In The Clouds'

The Great Southern Brainfart conducted an interview with guitarist Mark Jansen of Dutch female-fronted symphonic metallers EPICA on December 17, 2010 at the Masquerade in Atlanta, Georgia. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

The Great Southern Brainfart: Since EPICA plays some bigger venues in Europe, how is it playing small clubs in the U.S. when you come here?

Mark: I love it because that's the variation which is so great. For example, in Brazil we have a venue with a capacity of 6,000 and 5,000 people in there going totally nuts. That's a great feeling but when you play a small club and you can see actually everybody who is in the venue that's also a more intimate feeling and I like both. I wouldn't like one of them to disappear. Playing only big shows that would bore me. It sounds maybe a bit silly, but it would bore me, so I like the variation.

The Great Southern Brainfart: That's really cool to hear because I've heard bands who play clubs say that they wish they were playing bigger places. I can't help but feel that they should be engaging the people they are playing to and be appreciative of where they are at.

Mark: Often musicians have their heads too much in the clouds and are fantasizing about what can happen in the future. We are living in the now, and when we play a show we enjoy every second of it. I think that's the reason why we are in a band because we enjoy being on stage. It doesn't matter if we play for 30 people or for 30,000. The fun is what matters, and if 30 people are happy afterward than we are happy, too.

The Great Southern Brainfart: That is such a great attitude to have and an audience can see that in a band.

Mark: That's what they tell us as well. They come after the show and say, "You guys are smiling so much on stage and it gives us a good feeling too." I never understand when bands are looking like they are taking a dump on stage [laughs]. Then I think, "Why are you doing it? If you want to do something else in your life then do something else. Don't waste your time and the time of your fans."

The Great Southern Brainfart: 2010 has been a busy year for EPICA. What is in store for 2011?

Mark: 2011 is going to be a busy year as well. We are going to tour a lot until the end of the summer. We are going to do the 70,000 Tons Of Metal cruise which will be a good experience. It's really going to be fun. Then we are going to do a Latin American tour then we go back to Europe. We are going to do the U.K., Netherlands, Turkey and after that we are going to do the summer festivals. Right after the summer we go back into the studio to record the new album. I really look forward to going home after this tour. I'm going to write some new music for EPICA but over the last year I have been writing for my other band.

The Great Southern Brainfart: Oh, MAYAN, correct?

Mark: Yes!

The Great Southern Brainfart: What can you tell us about this band?

Mark: It started as just something for fun but soon it grew into something that had to be perfect as well. I thought it was just for fun to make music with old friends but now it's as serious for me as EPICA is. Of course, EPICA remains my priority band and that's the band that's doing the most of the tours but MAYAN will fill in the gaps and maybe we will do some touring with EPICA in the future.

The Great Southern Brainfart: Conceptually and lyrically will the MAYAN material be similar to EPICA?

Mark: Lyrically, you will find a lot of comparisons because it's my style of writing. I didn't attempt to write about completely different stuff. It could have been lyrics for an EPICA CD as well but music-wise it's completely different. It's way more grunge and way more heavy. It is still symphonic because I love that kind of music. It's like a mixture of SYMPHONY X and OPETH style. That kind of direction.

Read the entire interview from The Great Southern Brainfart.

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