Interview with Ariën van Weesenbeek of Epica

Interviewed
by Jessica Clingempeel
© Ethereal Metal Webzine
9/2/2016

Your
previous album, as told, was inspired by Science, mainly Physics. Will this new
album take the same journey into the scientific realm as the holographic
principle is a scientific concept?

Ariën;
I’d say it’s got more to do with science, or rather science fiction. The story,
or rather the question, is that it’s not certain if our existence on earth is
real for certain. It could very well be that we’re perceiving all of this from
a different dimension, or whatever, that we’re living in a dream world.

The
Holographic Principle is an interesting title for this album. What made the
band want to use it? Did the band go through any other name suggestions?

Ariën;
It’s a catchy, powerful title. Mark came up with it, as he’s very interested in
those subjects related to physics and science. We didn’t have many other title
suggestions.

I read
that Heile was the mastermind behind the cover. Did Heile come up with the
entire concept or what inspired the artwork? Will the cover be holographic?

Ariën;
Heile only did the artwork. We came up with the concept, and we gave Heile a
few points of direction, and he worked it out from there, and came up with a
terrific cover, which won’t be holographic, but a very nice print.

Will
this album keep the same direction vocally and musically or will we see a
different side of Epica?

Ariën;
I’d say the direction of this album is much more metal, and a lot darker than
TQE.

Never
before did we sound so ‘in your face’, and the band’s been pushed much more to
the front. Plus, we’ve also used a lot more percussion this time, but that
doesn’t make the sound less ‘metal’ at all, maybe even heavier.

In
regards to the first single, will there be a music video?

Ariën;
Only the lyric video. We’ll have more videos coming up, but I can’t tell you
much more about them.

Will
there be any collaborations on the new album?

Ariën;
No, there won’t be any. That didn’t cross our minds.

Were
there any difficulties in the writing, production, or recording of the album?

Ariën;
Only shifting out the best material and selecting the best songs for the album,
haha. That was tough, but we made it.

In
2017, the band will be teaming up with Powerwolf, on tour, in support of the
new album. How did this come about, and can we expect another live DVD with The
Holographic Principle?

Ariën;
We noticed that Powerwolf is very successful, and we wanted to join forces and
tour together. I think this idea came up last year. We’re always brainstorming
how and with whom we could be touring, and it seemed like a great idea to do
that with Powerwolf. I’m quite looking forward to that! As far as I know, there
won’t be any live DVD plans, yet.

I read
Tarja was invited to appear in Retrospect. Due to conflicts, it wasn’t
possible. Will we see any surprises like this with the current tour? Maybe she
will appear on this tour?

Ariën.
Tarja simply didn’t have any time. No conflicts at all. She won’t be appearing
on this tour. She’s got her own plans and tours.

————-FAN
QUESTIONS————-

Brian:
Am I correct in understanding that the orchestra and choir arrangements are
going to be the bigger than ever?

Ariën;
Yes and no. The parts itself are more imposing, but for this album, the band’s
been shoved forward more than ever, and the choirs and orchestra are more of a
support of the band than the other way around. Really; the sound and production
came out blasting!

Brian:
Speaking of orchestral and choir arrangements: as an example, in the liner
notes of “Retrospect” Coen Jannssen (and Oliver Palotai) were
credited with transcribing orchestral and choir arrangements and providing
additional arrangements for both. What exactly is involved for Coen when he
provides orchestra and choir arrangements for your albums?

Ariën;
Coen usually comes up with the choir arrangements, and makes the transcripts
for the choirs, so that they know what to sing. He knows a lot of harmonics on
the keys, and that’s pretty astonishing how he’s translating this to choir
arrangements.

Brian:
Is the music played by the orchestra and the lyrics sung by the choir composed
and written by the band? Do the orchestra and choir have some compositional
input as well?

Ariën;
The band comes up with the music and lyrics for the orchestra and choirs.
Usually the orchestra and choir members don’t have any creative input – they
just do what they do best.

Brian:
Did you use the same creative and recording process that worked so well for
“The Quantum Enigma”: each member developing their ideas and
compositions alone and then meeting up and working on them together as a band
in person?

Ariën;
It was pretty much the same working style. It worked quite well on TQE, and for
The Holographic Principle everything went smooth and inspired as well. The
thing is; we’re living quite far from each other, so usually we communicate and
send ideas through long distance-web tracks, until we have most of the material
ready for jamming in person. Then the real fun starts, and before we know it,
we’re recording in the studio.

Rick:
How about musicians who are covering your songs on social media: would you
invite them to play live with you guys?

Ariën;
Nah, we wouldn’t. It’s nice that they cover our songs, at least most attempts
are nice, but we’d never invite them live on stage.

Emma:
Do you have any song(s) on any album(s) that you think you could have made
improvements on?

Ariën;
Haha, too many to mention! That’s always the burden of being a
musician/composer; you’re never 100% satisfied, and there’s always something
that could have been done better. But, that’s the drive to make a perfect
album, which we’ll never make because there’s no such thing. But as long as
we’ve got the drive to do so, we keep on going.

Wayne:
How long do you guys see your musical career going forth?

Ariën;
Me personally, I still want to play drums when I’m 80 years old. Music keeps
you young and healthy, apart from my liver maybe, haha. I hope that Epica will
go on for a long time. The way it looks now; we will!

Wayne:
It’s upsetting seeing the dismissal of Tarja and Liv from their respective
bands, so is Epica totally secure?

Ariën;
Haha, cool question. Yes; Epica is totally secure, nobody’s being kicked out
behind their backs, no worries.

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